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Eating Disorders In Society Essay

2018 words - 8 pages

Eating Disorders in Society Over winter break, I was in the locker room of my local gym and overheard a conversation between two middle school aged girls. They were weighing themselves and exclaiming that they needed to lose weight. One of the girls said that her and her mom were going on a diet and the other said that she needed to lose at least ten pounds. I was shocked, mainly because these girls were very petite as it was, and it also caused me to wonder why girls and women are so obsessed with female body image. You probably wouldn't hear middle school age boys talking like that in a locker room. It is no wonder why 90% of all eating disorder cases are women, while only 10% are men. Eating disorders affect women; specifically white women because of the way that Western Society views women, as well as pressure from family, the media, how men are viewed in society and cultural stereotypes.There are two main types of eating disorders: Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia. Anorexia is the intense fear of gaining weight although the anorexic is typically at least "15% below a minimal weight for their age" (Way, 5). She also has a distorted body image and will convince herself she is fat when she is emancipated. An anorexic may also experience amen rhea-missing three or more consecutive periods. Bulimia consists of binging and purging, often times a great deal of food. One of the main differences between anorexia and bulimia is that anorexics are in denial that they have a problem, while Bulimics know that they do and try to hide it.One of the main causes behind eating disorders is the influence of society. In society, we develop certain ideologies about the way things should be in a particular culture. In Louis Althusser's essay, "Ideology and Ideological state Apparatuses", he addresses how the ideology of a society can influence and shape our own values. In his essay, he states, " What is represented in ideology is therefore not the system of the real relations which govern the existence of individuals, but the imaginary relation of those individuals to the real relation in which they live" (Althusser, 52). Basically what Althusser means when he makes this statement is that society sets up its own values and beliefs, which become the norm of the society. In return, the society holds these ideologies to be true whether or not they actually are.There are many ideologies that western society has about gender. For example, the ideology that women should be slender is one ideology that our society has. Because of this particular ideology, girls begin learning at an early age that they should be skinny and Western society places a great emphasis on this. There was actually a test done on young children who were supposed to select from a variety of photos which person they would not want to be friends with. The selection of photos contained pictures of children of different races, one of a boy in a wheelchair, and a fat girl, among others....

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