Is Media To Blame For Eating Disorders

There are a wide variety of eating disorders which people can suffer from. The most popular ones are anorexia, bulimia and overeating. Anorexia occurs where the sufferer stops eating almost completely after a period of slowly restricting calories to unhealthy levels. In bulimia, the intention is to binge eat large quantities of food and then regurgitate or take laxatives to defecate them to avoid massive weight gain. With overeating, binge eating takes place without any form of purging so obesity results. These conditions have spiked in popularity over the past three decades. This raises the question, is the media to blame?

Yes, it is

In different ways the media has contributed to this epidemic. For anorexia and bulimia, there is a drive in young women and more recently, young men to become slender like the models they see on television and online. The majority of commercials feature people who are underweight wearing the most attractive clothes and styled to appear beautiful. This sends a subtle message that they are the only beautiful ones. For girls who are just entering their teens this can be especially difficult. This is a stage when many put on weight rapidly as they acquire a more womanly physique and with that input from advertising, they may mistakenly believe that they are fat. The same advertising companies make food seem doubly appealing by bombarding us with image of it. This makes it easier for some to slide into overeating.

No, it is not

The advertising industry definitely promotes one type of body as beautiful and makes unhealthy food look more appealing but we can never pin a psychological condition to that alone. Quite often people who suffer from anorexia or bulimia are going through some sort of upheaval in their lives. Superficially it may seem as if they want to be thing but the real problem comes from their inability to control their lives. Instead they micromanage everything that they eat and feel fulfilled when their weight falls consequently. With overeating, there are often issues of low self esteem. In a sizable number of cases where people become super morbidly obese, there have been instances of abuse in their childhoods. This makes them want to hide behind fat especially if the abuse was sexual.

The media most likely has a great deal to do with many of our daily actions. Despite that, we should not be too quick to blame it for everything.