The Media & Eating Disorders
By Deanne Jade, National Centre For Eating Disorders. Acknowledgement: The British Medical Association, Eating Disorders Body Image and The Media
The media are held responsible for the supposed growth of eating disorders in the country. To what extent is this true? In this short article I would like to separate myth from fact, and to provide the reader with some articles that might help them decide which is cause and which is effect.
What Is The Media?The Media and Eating Disorders
The media is an important aspect of life in our culture. About 95% of people own a TV set and watch for an average of 3-4 hours per day. By the end of the last century over 60% of men and 50% of women read a newspaper each day and nearly half of all girls, from the age of 7 read a girls magazine each week. In addition, people interact with a wide variety of other media such as music delivered by cd’s or videos, and communications via personal computers.
Each form of medium has a different purpose and content. The media seek to inform us, persuade us, entertain us, and change us. The media also seeks to engage large groups of people so that advertisers can sell them products or services by making them desirable. Other institutions such as Governments also engage the public via the media to make ideas and values desirable. Institutions from politics to corporations can use the media to influence our behaviour. We can trace our involvement with the media back to the drum messages of the Indians, the shouts of the town crier. All that has changed are the multitudinous ways in which information passes to us and the increasing sophistication of the media providers.
The argument about whether the media shape society or merely reflect current or nascent trends is constantly under debate. Before the Second World War, it was believed that the media “injects” values and morals into society. However, social research in the 1960s showed that the audience...