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Old 1st August 2011   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: January 2010
Posts: 188
Default Media causing anorexia in children

The devastating impact of our toxic, thin-supremacist culture continues to claim female victims, except that now, those victims are growing even younger.

Appallingly, anorexia victims are now as young as 5 years old. It may sound like madness, but it's true, as this Daily Mail article reveals.

The true weight "epidemic" assaulting society is not one of girls being "over"weight, but rather, severely underweight:

The anorexia victims aged FIVE: Doctors blame ultra-slim celebrities as almost 100 under-9s are treated in hospital

By Sophie Borland
1st August 2011

Children as young as five are being treated in hospital for severe anorexia in a shocking illustration of how early they can become obsessed with body image.

A total of 98 youngsters aged between five and seven have been admitted during the last three years because of eating disorders normally associated with teenagers and adults.

A further 99 aged eight and nine were admitted over the same period, as were almost 400 aged between ten and 12, and 1,500 between 13 and 15.

The number of under-nines needing hospital treatment has doubled in the past year.

And these represent only the most severe cases, where children have become so desperately underweight that their lives are in danger.

There are likely to be many more youngsters with milder eating disorders who have not been taken to hospital.

The statistics, released by NHS trusts around Britain under the freedom of information act, underline the worry that youngsters – particularly girls – are increasingly obsessed with being thin.

Needless to say, this crisis hasn't sprung up out of nothing. It is directly caused by the media and fashion world suppressing plus-size beauty and instead promoting a starvation standard:

Many idolise ultra-slim models and celebrities they see in magazines and on TV, and try to slim in the hope they will look similar.

Experts warn that girls are now beginning to compare themselves with ‘size zero’ models and celebrities when they are still at primary school.

Rosi Prescott, chief executive of the YMCA, said: ‘As a society we are far more obsessed with body image compared with 20 years ago.

‘Young people are...looking up to these celebrities and models as references, even though many are not real because they have been airbrushed.'

Experts blame society’s ‘size zero’ obsession for the recent surge in cases.

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this crisis is the fact that girls are growing up fearing and hating their own womanhood, to the point where they actually try to stave off puberty. This is harrowing:

Susan Ringwood, chief executive of the eating disorders charity Beat, said some are so frightened of developing curves when they reach puberty that they starve themselves to try to keep their slender child-like figures.

She said: ‘The ideal figure promoted for women these days is that of a girl, not an adult women. Girls see the pictures in magazines of extremely thin women and think that is how they should be.

‘That can leave them fearful of puberty, and almost trying to stave it off.'

The article page at the Daily Mail actually consists of two separate pieces. The second is equally heartbreaking, as it shows how girls are sacrificing their own childhoods in the name of self-imposed starvation:

Instead of playing, our little girls count calories

by Tanith Carey

Until today, mention the word anorexia and you’d probably think of teenage girls starving themselves for a variety of emotional reasons.

But now anorexia has become a scourge which is stripping children as young as five to their very bones.

the fact that nearly 200 girls aged between five and nine have needed hospital treatment over the last three years shows how our children are paying the price for growing up in a celebrity culture.

Even the tiniest girls are internalising media images which tell them, simply and unequivocally, that thin equals perfect.

If it’s not the girl pop stars they sing along to, it’s the talent show performers they admire and the models they want to look like. Even their dolls come in size zero.

Instead of enjoying carefree childhoods, playing and learning at their own pace, our daughters count calories.

The implications of this are horrifying. Here we have an industry -- the fashion industry -- whose guiding lights are hardwired to find female curves and all visible indications of womanliness unattractive; who are instead attracted to androgyny. And these sick individuals have so successfully foisted their perverted personal aesthetic on society that they are making women in general hate their own womanliness.

In other words, the degenerates who run the fashion industry are brainwashing all of society -- certainly all women -- to think like men-who-are-not-attracted-to-women. And at an ever younger age.

There was a time not long ago when this degenerate aesthetic would have been denounced as sick and unhealthy -- which it is. But now, nothing stands in the way of its corruption of society.

It is time for this madness to end. It is time for the industry to face serious regulation for the sake of the health, and indeed the lives, of all women and girls; girls now as young as 5.
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Old 6th August 2011   #2
M. Lopez
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Join Date: August 2005
Posts: 587
Default Re: Media causing anorexia in children

All too often, the other culprit in the poisoning of children's body image is, sadly, girls' own mothers. A thread on this forum last year identified this problem, and a recent article at the Huffington Post elaborates on the issue:

It uses as its springboard a troubling piece from Good Morning America, in which a pre-pubescent curvy girl was being bullied about her weight, both at school and, tragically, at home.

It's not only men, but women who encourage girls to concentrate their attention and efforts in the pursuit of skinny, sexy "beauty". In the GMA story, for example, both a mother and a female teacher are called out as shaming little girls into dieting and chasing physical perfection as the ideal features of being female.
(Kudos to the writer for putting the word "beauty" in scare quotes in this context, because, for once and for all, there is nothing "beautiful" about emaciation. It is anti-beauty. Once society gets its head around the idea that starvation is, in fact, ugly, as Western civilization traditionally understood, many of these problems will go away on their own.)

The HuffPo writer identifies how culpable mothers are in ruining their daughter's self-esteem by passing on poor body image, just like passing on a hereditary disease:

We mothers often model for our daughters our own insecurities...we pass down our self-loathing to them, and we consciously or unconsciously systematically campaign for their adoption of unhealthy physical obsessions. We talk of dieting, and weight loss. We say we feel f** or ugly. We judge other women. We jump on the bandwagon and buy magazines that pit women against each other, like the Who Wore It Best competitions.

Her next point is crucial - that a girl's home environment should provide an antidote to anti-plus media brainwashing, rather than what it too often tragically becomes, which is a breeding ground of curve-o-phobia:

If we took the energy we spend, in effect, supporting our daughters in the development of eating disorders, anxiety and depression, and instead spent it on cultivating self assurance and ownership of their bodies, it's possible it would be easier for them to hold their own against societal pressures.

The author identifies the long-term consequences of negative body image in young women:

When we inadvertently make life harder for our girls in these ways, we need to understand that they go on to carry this discomfort and lack of ownership over their bodies into adulthood with them. It undermines their confidence -- interpersonally, academically, professionally and sexually -- because it demands their attention in a crippling way every day.

A negative body image will affect a daughter's self worth and her ability to be comfortable in her body in all areas of her life, because if she has a negative body image, then throughout everything she engages in she will, quite literally, be in a body that torments her.

Besides this HuffPo article, the author has published a book on the subject, and her research reveals some troubling implications about how girls whose mothers have burdened them with body anxiety later (correctly) see their mothers as having been tormenters:

Of the women in my research who expressed their feelings about body image, most reported spending 30-40% of every day thinking about body image, and 46% of them said they focused on it because their mothers did. And they resent their mothers for this.

Her research also confirms that eating disorders are afflicting girls at an ever-younger age:

one study found 80% of ten-year-old girls had already dieted to lose weight, and another found that girls as young as five have a preoccupation with body image. It also stated that anorexia and bulimia are on the rise.

As others have pointed out on this forum, any mother who denies her own daughter food - whatever food she wants - is unforgivable. The most basic responsibility of motherhood is to nourish offspring.

And beyond that, given the fact that the media, and society in general, conspire to undermine female body image, the home should be the one place where girls feel supported and loved at whatever naturally full-figured size they blossom into. Mothers should help their daughters love their curves, no matter how generous, and adore their own beauty, not cripple their daughters' emotional well-being. And if that means that mothers must overcome their own negative body image to do so, all the better.

The alternative is eating disorders taking root in girls as young as five and ruining their entire lives. No girl deserves such a prison sentence, least of all imposed by the one person above all others who should be her ally, not her enemy.
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