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Effect of the Media, Perfectionism and Fat Talk in Eating Disorders Essay

Eating disorders are psychological disorders which affect one’s eating habits. They are usually the extremes. Anorexia, usually involves one starving oneself while bulimia is where one eats more food quantities than usual, but forces him or herself to vomit what he or she has eaten soon after (Eating Disorders, 2009). The media has made these disorders much more prevalent and chronic because it has instilled a culture of perfectionism and too much fat talk has created a fear of weight gain in people. Eating disorders have become more common in our society.

If one is not suffering from an eating disorder then probably he or she knows somebody who is. The greatest reason for this is increase in eating disorders is the media. The media has created a fallacy that one needs to have a certain physique in order for one to be considered attractive. One will notice that television programs and advertisements mostly feature slender women as the stars and if there are more built women in the set they are usually portrayed as unattractive and with low self-esteem.

One is tempted to associate confidence with slimness, and low self-esteem with higher body weight. The media has fallen short of advocating for people to starve in order for them to feel more confident about their body image. Also, the culture of perfectionism in our society is to blame for an increase in eating disorders. Nowadays everyone wants to look perfect “like the people they see on television”. They will go to all lengths to achieve the perfect body weight, the perfect figure and acquire the perfect nose, the perfect lips, and a flat stomach among other things.

This culture of perfectionism is to blame for eating disorders as people are striving to achieve the so called perfect weight, which does not exist. There has been so much talk about fat. Virtually every medical expert warns against cholesterol, so that people are very scared of consuming foods which contain fats and oils. Nowadays people are watching what they are eating and doing calorie counts, all in a bid to avoid cholesterol and “fat” in their bodies. However this is a fallacy as the body does require fats and oils, in small amounts.

Denying the body these fats and oils leads to malfunctioning of body systems. Having had the privilege of discussing eating disorders and the effect that the media, perfectionism and fat talk has on them, I can say I am more enlightened. I grew up with friends who had eating disorders and I am now in a position to understand why they had these eating disorders. I have realized that there is a need to control what children watch on television, and what we tell them so as to avoid them internalizing wrong notions about body image, which later on in life cause eating disorders.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, eating disorders frequently appear during adolescence or young adulthood and women and girls are more likely than males to develop an eating disorder (Eating Disorders, 2009). This is probably because of the misleading hype about the perfect female body in the media and in society in general. Eating disorders have become more prevalent mainly because of the media’s misrepresentation of body image. The growing culture of perfection is also another cause as more and more people strive to achieve the perfect body too often they end up with eating disorders.

There is also a growing phobia for fat, with so much information circulating about how fat is unhealthy and how cholesterol is not good for ones health. However this is gross misinformation and drastic measure need to be taken to prevent subsequent generations from being plagued by eating disorders as they may lead to complications like heart conditions and kidney failure, which can led to death. References Eating Disorder. (2009). National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved July 18, 2010, from, http://www. nimh. nih. gov/health/publications/eating-disorders/complete-index. shtml


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