Eating Disorders: Personal or Social Problem? Essay

Words: 1888
Pages: 8

In today's society, there is much attention being given to the subject of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia; unfortunately it is because these disorders seem to be becoming more and more common. The question that remains is whether eating disorders such as these are simply personal problems of the individuals, or if they have become a social problem that needs to be addressed more aggressively. Having grown up in this society, I see this issue as a definite social problem. To say that these increasingly common eating disorders are personal problems, implies that the causes of them are personal as well, which I believe is not the case. A social problem is something that goes against society's goals and values; it would seem …show more content…
The authors of "You Can Never Be Too Thin" -- or Can You? A Pilot Study on the Effects of Digital Manipulation of Fashion Models' Body Size, Leg Length and Skin Color point out that the "thin ideal" portrayed by the media is a cultural construct, and that our society has become such that "merely being a woman in society means feeling too fat". They also explain that girls as young as middle school are often preoccupied with the thin ideal as many of them try to look like girls or women on television or in magazines. For many young adults, the response to this kind of perpetuated ideal can turn into a drive for thinness that can ultimately lead to anorexia or bulimia. As exposure to the thin messages from magazines increase, the symptoms of dysfunctional eating behavior are likely to increase as well. Research that specifically addresses the media's impact on eating disorders suggests that comparing oneself with the thin ideal makes appearances seem of great importance and creates dissatisfaction with one's body. Also, some research claims that exposure to the thin ideal produced feelings of depression, reduced self-confidence and increased body dissatisfaction among young adults. Current research into eating disorders advises that consumers need to be informed about the