Women & the Media
400-600 advertisements bombard us everyday in magazines, on billboards, on tv, and in newspapers. 1 in 11 has a direct message about beauty, not even counting the indirect messages. ~About-Face
Eating disorders are a lot more complex than just pointing the finger at the media.
But I will be the first to tell you that the size discrimination & desire to diet portrayed in the media definitely plays into the cards of an ED’s development.
The average female model weighs up to 25% less than the typical woman & maintains a weight at about 15–20% below what is considered healthy for her age and height.
At 19, I found myself hospitalized 40 miles from home in Waltham Mass. As my freshman year at UMass came to a close, I wasn’t excited for the start of summer vacation, like the thousands of other students. Instead, I was dreading the weeks to come, because I knew my ‘vacation’ would kick off at Walden Behavioral Care.
Since then, every doctor, every therapist, & every nutritionist I’ve seen has asked me the same question, over & over, about the eating disorder in my health history:
To be honest, I don’t know “why.”
Sure, I’ve done my fare share of thinking and personal theorizing over the past 3 1/2 years, but I’ve yet put my finger on a specific reason.
Maybe I never will.
But what I can tell you is this:
Just months before I was hospitalized, I wrote a final paper about how the media predisposes women towards ‘Disordered Eating,’ the lesser of two evils. It was a topic I chose. Obviously, I was influenced by my own lifestyle. And it would be hard to argue that this was simply a coincidence, rather than the unfortunate foretelling of my imminent future.
It was a silent cry for help.
Somewhere deep down, I had already identified something contributing to my distortions.
Click to Get a Glimpse of the Media’s Hall of Shame:
To see more examples, check out the Gallery of Offenders at About-Face.