Eating Disorders Have Multiple Complex Causes; The Media Is Not To Blame

1782 words - 7 pages

When the topic of eating disorders (ED), anorexia, bulimia, starving, purging, or any other form of self harm is brought into an everyday conversation, it is simply looked at as nothing out of them norm and is just brushed off as if the topic was concerning what the President had for lunch that day. At first glance, the average person would probably conclude that the main reason eating disorders are so noted in young women today is simply due to the fact that the media puts so much pressure on these women to be “perfect”. Eating disorders are a very prominent and common factor in our society, it is not something anyone can really evade. There are many theories as to what causes eating disorders. Although doctors and ED specialists cannot specifically pin point the direct underlying cause, there are some characteristics of EDs that can be proven. The causes of eating disorders are simply a mix of biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors and the media should not be held accountable as a main influence to these wide spread health disorders. Even though the media is one of the factors that possibly could and has contributed to the development of an eating disorder in our youth, it is not even relatively close to one of the main components.
Many people have misleading concepts as to what anorexia actually is. As stated in the article “Anorexia Nervosa” found on Wikipedia:
The term anorexia nervosa was established in 1873 by Sir William Gull, one of Queen Victoria's personal physicians. The term is of Greek origin: an- (ἀν-, prefix denoting negation) and orexis (ὄρεξις, "appetite"), thus meaning a lack of desire to eat.
Although the term "anorexia nervosa" literally translates to "neurotic loss of appetite" the translation is misleading. Anorexics do enjoy eating just as much as anyone else does, if not more. Rather than a literal “loss of appetite”, it should be regarded as the self-punitive addiction of fasting (Anorexia Nervosa, Wikipedia). The National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders states that anorexia nervosa is “characterized by emaciation, a relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight” and those who have anorexia will “lose weight by dieting and exercising excessively; others lose weight by self-induced vomiting, or misusing laxatives, diuretics or enemas”.
Although one in 200 American women suffers from an eating disorder and an estimated 8 million people suffer from this disease today – seven million women and one million men, eating disorders are nothing new (Mantell). Anorexia has origins as far back as the 12th and 13th century. Religious women, often referred to as “holy anorexics”, were praised for their fasting practices; even denoted to as true saints (Kuenhal). These women held very high positions and status’s in the church for their holy obligation and will to fast for their lord. However, bulimia was significantly demonstrated by vomitoriums in the...

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