Eating Disorders Essay

1433 words - 6 pages

Imagine a thirteen-year-old girl who weighs 60

pounds because she is starving herself. Every time

she looks in the mirror, she sees herself as fat.

Picture her parents watching their daughter literally

disintegrating into thin air. This is the life of a family

dealing with an eating disorder. Eating disorders

are a major problem with the young people of

today's society. While anorexia and bulimia are

sociological problems plaguing the world's youth,

there are also other eating disorders. This "fat

phobia", or fear of being over-weight, disturbs

people to the point where they are in a way,

committing suicide.

Eating disorders have been termed the disease

of the 1980's. An eating disorder is defined as "a

dangerous and intense striving to become thin

(Macionis 350). Even though it has been found

that "95% of people who suffer anorexia or

bulimia are woman, mostly from white, relatively

affluent families" (Macionis 350), "the

pre-occupation and obsession with food are not

limited to women" (Meadow 24). Although some

men also deal with eating disorders, most research

has been done on women. In 1985, 95% of

women felt they were overweight, while only 25%

were actually considered medically overweight

(Marshall 124). By the age of thirteen

approximately 53% of females are unhappy with

their bodies, and by the age of eighteen

approximately 78% are unhappy (Marshall 124).

Are culture could be seen as a narcissist society.

Narcissism is a preoccupation with one's self, a

concern with how one appears to others, and with

living up to an image (Meadow 127). It seems that

appearance is an important factor in our everyday

life. According to Michael Levine, who in 1987

said, "Our culture transmits powerful messages

that, just as men can not be too rich, women can

not be too thin" (Macionis 350). While all women

want to look as perfect as "Barbie", for some it

just isn't possible. For women, being slender is

almost synonymous with being successful

(Macionis 350). It is also thought that 40% of the

adult US population is significantly overweight

(Meadow 24). Some experts feel that eating

disorders are reaching epidemic proportions and

estimate the national rate to be as high as 12% of

women (Meadow 24). In fact, according to the

Phoenix Gazette on November 7, 1985, "Almost

one out of three women diet once a month, and

one in six considers herself a perpetual dieter"


24). It is considered that 54-86% of college

women binge eats (Eating and Sexuality 24). They

do this and still research shows that most college

aged women: 1) widely accept the idea that "guys

like thin girls", 2) think being thin is crucial to

physical attractiveness, and 3) believe that they are

not as thin as men would like them to be

(Macionis 350). While in fact most college women

want to be thinner then most college men say

women should be (Macionis...

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