Exercise 2: The role of the media in the development of eating disorders
Individuals over time have continually been exposed and manipulated to believe in the concept of having a ‘perfect’ or ideal body and appearance. The pressures to meet societies demands to achieving self-satisfaction with one’s body image and physical and emotional wellbeing have influenced the notion of eating disorders. As people are exposed to countless forms of media such as television, radio, magazines and the Internet on a daily basis, media being a mass form of communication has been labelled as the culprit of eating disorders. The role of media heavily contributes to the development of abnormal or disturbed eating habits within an individual, including
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Through further investigation into the social context of the day and age of today, it is generally acknowledged that women believe that they must adhere to the pressures of society and the media emphasising the importance of appearance. Through the media glorifying the “slender ideal and beauty”, (Spettigue & Henderson, 2004) women feel pressured to feel ‘beautiful’ and some women believe that in order to feel beautiful they must attain a slim figure or else they suffer from self pity which then can lead to the case of eating disorders. Through a conducted survey, it was found that eighty-three precent of adolescent girls read fashion magazines for an average of four hours per week (Spettigue & Henderson, 2004). Representative individuals who read numerous fashion magazines were questioned about how they felt whilst reading these magazines, some responses gathered included, “I am preoccupied with a desire to be thinner”, “I eat diet foods” and “I avoid eating when I’m hungry” (Harrison & Cantor, 2006). This obsession to yearn for a ‘better’ body due to women viewing media in the form of a magazine demonstrates the immense impact the media has on how individuals view their appearance and the various measures and methods individuals will undertake to achieve the appearance they desire.
Media is a powerful form of communication, however it can lead to an influence in the aetiology of eating disorders. An