Wednesday, 16 July 2014


An essay found whilst researching into, with relation to eating disorders and the media. I feel it raises good points, such as the societal ideals and norms of the modern world we live in. It also has some very good quotes which could be used for the essay within triangulation.

The media constantly sends out an influx of images and messages promoting an almost unattainable unrealistic image of beauty, that has consistently been linked to disordered eating and body dissatisfaction, predominantly among girls but can also be seen in boys. Throughout the years the ideal body shape has progressed from voluptuous and curvaceous an image Marilyn Monroe emulated to a slimmer and leaner frame in congruence with high fashion models such as Kate Moss (Katzmarzk &ump; Davis, 2001). Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia nervosa affect between 1% and 4% of young adult females (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Eating disorders have been linked to body shapes and images present in the media (Shorter, Brown, Quinton &ump; Hinton, 2008). For many children it is genetically impossible for them to obtain societies ideal body image, which may contribute to their obsession for a thin body frame (Lawrie, Sullivan, Davies &ump; Hill, 2006, pp. 366). In addition to the popular medias persistent message that it is necessary to be slender to be beautiful, there has been an emergence of pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia websites designed to encourage a lifestyle of disordered eating and thinking (Bardone-Cone &ump; Cass, 2006, pp. 256). Literature on eating disorders shows that self-internalization, social comparison, self-objectification, and the sociocultural etiological model may explain the effects of media on disordered eating.

Thompson and Heinberg (1999) have found that internalization of social pressures at least moderately mediates the effects of the media on women’s body satisfaction (Thompson &ump; Heinberg, 1999, pp. 339). Heinberg, Thompson, and Stormer (1995) used the Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Questionnaire, which they created, to discover a correlation between internalization and body dissatisfaction and eating disturbance, and that internalization predicts variance even when simple awareness of pressures and other risk factors such as teasing are accounted for (Heinberg et al., 1995). In another study, Heinberg and Thompson (1995) showed ten-minute videotapes of commercials to female students at a college that glamorized thinness or contained non-appearance-related images. Women who viewed the videotape that contained images that emphasized the importance of thinness in regards to beauty, were found to have higher levels of depression, anger, weight dissatisfaction, and overall appearance dissatisfaction. In fact women with high dispositional levels of internalization showed greater levels of dissatisfaction with their weight and overall appearance after watching the tape, in contrast to participants with low-internalization who showed a decrease in dissatisfaction with weight and appearance (Heingberg &ump; Thompson, 1995). Brief exposure to images promoting thinness as a prerequisite to beauty increases psychological distress and body image dissatisfaction, and as a result of these findings it is important to note that increased exposure may result in severe consequences (Heingberg &ump; Thompson, 1999, pp. 334). Internalization may help explain why some girls who have the idea that thinness and beauty are linked together engrained in their mind exhibit disordered eating behavior and higher levels of body dissatisfaction then other girls who hear the same message daily (Heingberg &ump; Thompson, 1999, pp. 350).

Young, McFatter, and Clopton (2001) studied family functioning, peer influence, and media influence as predictors of bulimic behavior (Young, McFatter, &ump; Clopton, 2001 pp.323). In this study it was found that media influence interacts with body dysphoria to increase the risk factor for bulimic behavior. Increased media influence predicted higher levels of bulimic behavior in women reported negative feelings about their body shape. This illustrates the commonly held belief that exposure to the medias portrayal of thin fashion models and actresses (those who emulate the idea of beauty), urge bulimic behavior in those with low self body image. Women with lower body dsyphoria reported lower levels of bulimic behavior when media influence was increased, indicating that those women may view their body shape as consistent with the ideal body image the media portrays, therefore increased media exposure decreases bulimic behavior (Young et al., 2001, pp. 334).

Shorter, Brown, Quinton &ump; Hinton (2008) showed a relationship between body-shape discrepancies with favored celebrities and disordered eating in young women (Shorter, Brown, Quinton &ump; Hinton, 2008). Celebrities may influence the unrealistic social comparison standard associated with eating disorders (Shorter et al., 2008, pp. 1364). People reap rewards in society based on complying with societal ideals and norms. People make social comparisons in order to acquire socially desirable qualities. People then go on to compare themselves to others that match-desired prototype and make changes accordingly (Shorter et al., 2008, pp. 1365). Giles and Maltby (2004) suggested that women use female celebrities as female social prototypes to embody, and many of these celebrities have lower than healthy body masses (Giles &ump; Maltby, 2004). Shorter et al, believe that people may develop disordered eating patterns to decrease the gap between their projected ideal self and the ideal image the celebrity conveys, which they compare themselves to. If this if found to be empirically true celebrity body shapes will be stated as causal factors in eating disorders (Shorter et al., 2008, pp. 1372). However, Tiggeman, Gardiner, and Slater (2000) showed that women are capable of appreciating and viewing women of a thin body shape with out developing disorder eating patters or lower self-image (Tiggeman, Gardiner &ump; Slater 2000).

Calogero, Davis, and Thompson (2005) have shown a relationship between self-objectification and disordered eating behaviors (Calogero, Davis, &ump; Thompson, 2005). “ Objectification theory has linked self-objectification to negative emotional experiences and disordered eating behavior in cultures that sexually objectify the female body” (Calogero, Davis &ump; Thompson 2005, pp. 43). Self-objectification is the psychological process in which women internalize onlookers objectifying perspectives on their bodies and consequentially excessively self-monitor their appearance (Calogero et al., 2005, pp. 43). 209 women in residential treatment for eating disorders completed self-report measures of self-objectification, body shame, media influence, and drive for thinness on admission to treatment, it was learned that internalized media ideals for appearance but not for information or pressures from media about appearance, contributed to self-objectification. This means that when one views sexual depictions in different mediums such as magazines, television, and the Internet, one incorporates those images in a self-schema and may feel the need to act upon it. Once this message is engrained in a person’s mind informational and pressuring aspects of the media have little to no effect. This finding is important because it may have bearing on the exposure and experience of media by children and adolescents (Calogero et al, 2005, pp. 47). This study also showed that internalized media ideals predicted desire for thinness directly and indirectly through self-objectification. This data shows that the media encourages women to self-objectify themselves, and that both internalized media ideals and objectification explain some variance in disordered eating patterns (Calogero et al., 2005, pp. 48). Self-objectification may hinder those with eating disorders from proper recovery. Typically those who enter treatment facilities do not list self-objectification as a possible cause, risk factor, or problem, and “when women continue to view themselves from a third person, rather than a first person, perspective, factors that contribute significantly to eating disorders pathology remain untouched” (Calogero et al., 2005, pp. 48).