Body perception plays a major role in the self-concept that we create. Based on this view establishes our self-esteem, and many western civilizations are subjugated to an unrealistic image that their society conveys. Many young Americans cope with this “perfect” image by developing eating disorders. Although eating disorders can affect everyone the most common stereotype is young American women. Evidence shows that eleven million women and one million men have developed an eating disorder (Stephens et al). The social pressure to conform to a certain standard mainly affects girls, due to gender socialization and the objective theory. Eating disorders consisting of anorexia nervosa and bulimia are the result of a society that has underlying issues. The issues regarding society’s view for women and the media that reinforces this view, is the direct result of eating disorders that are continually on the rise. Gender socialization depicts how women are valued by their physical attributes, however; men are valued by their success and achievements. (Arnaiz) Also, the objection theory states how women are often objectified for physical attributes, and therefore have developed a sense of worth based on these attributes. (Fairburn) Social Interactionism shows the relevance of an individual’s issues with body weight and how this consequently affects the larger society.
Western society places high importance on thinness that is equated with beauty and success. Eating disorders are defined as a persistent disturbance of eating behavior or behavior intended to control weight, which significantly impairs physical health or psychosocial functioning.(Fairburn) Eating disorders include anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa that are primarily psychiatric disorders characterized by severe disturbances of eating behavior. (Chakraborty) Our cultural view has created many social problems developed from the media including, the obsession with dieting and dissatisfaction with body image that is resulting in a rise of eating disorders. Now more than ever restrictive diets or eating less, is a rationalization to a healthy lifestyle and not considered a deviation (Arnaiz). Eating disorders create social issues ranging from family dysfunction, physical harm, and mental harm.
The gender socialization theory expresses the key importance body shape is to women. This is shown through cultural ideal thinness, as depicted through underweight models. Our society views slim bodies as beautiful and worthy, and is compared drastically to the image of overweight individuals who are regarded as offensive or even disgusting. This proves that women are evaluated through self-concept or self-image. On the other hand, men are more viewed for their accomplishments and success(Mintz).
The prevalence of eating disorders in the United States is continually rising due to dissatisfaction with body...