Media, Appearance and Eating Disorders
Many women are concerned with their appearance. Too many of them are caught up with the image of being skinny and pretty. By seeing all the beautiful, thin women in the media and in society, they may feel insecure about the way they look. Therefore, they try and do anything they can to acquire that appearance. Methods they use to try and achieve this are by self-starvation, known as Anorexia, or induced vomiting, known as Bulimia. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are only two of the eating disorders that often result from their incessant desire to be thin and "beautiful."
Eating disorders, such as these, also occur amongst men. However, it is less common. "Standards for males simply are not as extreme or as inimical to normal body builds as are women's standards" (Fallon, Katzman, and Wooley 8). It is not just the biological aspect, though, that makes this occur more often in women. Fallon, Katzman, and Wooley claim
On even a practical level, women's self-image, their social and
economic success and even their survival can still be determined
largely by their beauty and by the men it allows them to attract,
while for men these are based largely on how they act and what
they accomplish. Looks simply are of secondary importance for
male success. (9)
Beauty and fashion are also in part with their desire for social acceptance and success. Women try to meet an unreasonable weight standard because fashion requires them to. Men are encouraged to be strong and powerful. As they work to develop their power in the gym and at work, they associate "thin" with "skinny" and "weak." Even though female models often look frail, (which men hate in themselves), female thinness is not classified as "skinny." Instead it is popular and defined as glamorous and sexy. This maybe helps explain why only five-to-ten percent of people with eating disorders are male.
Anorexia nervosa is the persistent pursuit of thinness. A person suffering from this eating disorder refuses to maintain normal body weight for his/her age and height. He/she weigh eighty-five percent or less than what is expected for their age and height, and deny the dangers of low weight. He/she is terrified of gaining weight and becoming fat, even though they are distinctly underweight. Young girls do not begin to menstruate at the appropriate age, and in women, menstrual periods stop. In men, sex hormones fall. Also, often included with anorexia nervosa are depression, irritability, withdrawal, and peculiar behaviors such as strange eating habits.
Bulimia nervosa is the diet-binge-purge disorder. A person with this eating disorder binge eats and feels out of control while eating. He/she vomits, misuses laxatives, exercises, or fasts to get rid of the calories. Dieting is done when not bingeing but then he/she becomes hungry and binges again. He/she believes self-worth requires being thin. Their weight may be normal,...