Media’s Effect on Eating Disorders
Central Connecticut State University
Social Work 100
May 1st, 2008
Most young girls grow up thinking that Barbie is the ideal woman. Not only is Barbie extremely beautiful, but also she is very thin. From such a young age, girls are shown that skinny is beautiful. Media has been forcing for centuries to believe that the skinnier girls are happier, more successful, and more popular. From television commercials, shows, and movies, to magazine covers, and supermodels, statistics show that the media influences women’s desires to be skinny.
Television has put the most emphasis on being thin than any other type of media. From the skinny actresses to the diet commercials, watching television is teaching people that skinny is in. The images put out on television portray that prettier, skinnier girls have more friends, are more popular, and are more powerful. In most sitcoms, the heavier girls are the outsiders dying to be on the inside.
“Starved,” a new television show depicts three men and one woman all with eating disorders as a comedy show. According to Bartell (2005), a psychologist in Port Washington, N.Y. who specializes in treating teens, many with eating disorders, says,
“it may leave impressionable adolescents with the notion that eating disorders are so normal we can joke about them on television. And that’s really not the case. Eating disorders are serious, scary and for some they are truly life-threatening.”
“Starved,” teaches kids how to get eating disorders by talking about laxatives, exercising until you pass out, restricting food, and even purging after eating.
Studies of media and eating disorders have been occurring lately in Fiji, a southern pacific island. Anne Becker, an anthropologist at Harvard Medical School, has been studying Fijian eating habits since 1988. Fiji, a nation that has valued a thicker figure, has been hit by an...