- There are 3 main eating disorders: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder.
- Eating Disorders are categorized as mental illnesses where there is an unhealthy relationship with foods.
- Approximately 24 million people in the U.S. struggle with eating disorders.
- Only 10% of people with eating disorders seek treatment.
- In a college campus survey, 91% of the women admitted to controlling their weight through dieting. 22% said they dieted “often” or “always.”
- Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. For women ages 15 to 24, the mortality rate of anorexia is 12 times higher than any other cause of death
- An estimated 25%t of college-age girls resort to bingeing and purging to manage their weight. 58% of the studied girls felt social pressure to maintain a certain size.
- 69% of girls ages 10 to 18 confirm that photographs of models and celebrities in magazines inspired their desired body shape.
As a young woman in college I know that social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or anything really that is on the Internet are huge influences on young women today. In my opinion college women are probably the biggest percentage of people that use social media on a regular basis. Although the Internet and social media is used as a way for people around the world to connect with family members, friends or strangers, they also provide a platform for women to seek out diet and exercise advice and a place for women to make comparisons with peers. Many times women use social media, thinspiration blogs and sites to seek out ideas of different unhealthy techniques that others use to lose certain amounts of weight or to continue losing weight.
Along with unhealthy encouragements online come unhealthy encouragements on clothing which can also be found online and in some stores. Earlier in the year Urban Outfitters was under heavy criticism for a few t-shirts that they recently released which they included encouragements for young women to “Eat Less” and “Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels!.” This issue was a very big deal and many celebrities even spoke out about how this clothing was completely absurd and was not something to joke about.
A lot of the encouragements that young adults encounter on the Internet can be found on different blogs as well as websites like tumblr, which can also be considered a social media website. Many of the encouragments come from quotes and images which are actually easily accessible that I was even able to attain some. Unfortunately these images are steering women in the wrong direction and are encouraging women to change in order to be “perfect” and “beautiful.”
In current times the thinner you are the more beautiful you are and basically every girl has the desire to have the unordinary “thigh gap” and look like a Victoria’s Secret Model especially when they air the VS Fashion Show very year on CBS. I am pretty sure that if they could trade lives with any girl it would be with a Victoria’s Secret Model because they are obviously extraordinarily beautiful in every way. The problem with this desire though is that it creates unhealthy body dissatisfaction and leads women to try and achieve bodies like these models, which sometimes can be extremely unrealistic.
In comparison to models today, models in the 1950s and 60s were a lot more full figured and definitely looked a lot different than women today. In the early 50s and 60s the desirable look was a full figure with full hips and bust but today it is almost the complete opposite. In the 50s models had an average BMI (Body Mass Index) of 23.6 and a height of 5 feet 5 inches, compared to today’s models with an average BMI of 17 to 20 and a height of 5 feet 10 inches. Clearly over many decades the desirability has changed tremendously and has been a leading cause in eating disorders among young girls and women.
Here is a video clip from Abc News reporting of a young women who is a real life Barbie doll.
From personal experience as a little girl I remember playing with dolls and one in particular was Barbie. The doll to play with and have was Barbie and if you didn’t have her well you simply just weren’t “cool.” Every little girl wanted to be just as perfect or skinny or tall as her because obviously she was beautiful! Although every real girl wants to be her she is really not the woman you want to be. According to several studies done in recent times experts were able to determine that a real life Barbie would be so disproportional that she would not be able to walk or even function as a normal human being. Some of this information is depicted in the images below.
Young girls and women have aspired to be Barbie on so many different occasions that these aspirations often lead to eating disorders and an endless cycle of body dissatisfaction which starts at a very young age with the exposure to Barbie. Some may think she is a completely harmless doll but in reality the unrealistic construction of this doll can lead young girls that they need to look a certain way in order to be called pretty just like Barbie.