This is a highly debatable subject and although it is not considered to be the cause of eating disorders, media is often viewed as a contributing factor, especially amongst adolescent girls, who view the size and shape of models and actresses, as ideal body image.
Adolescents, who have an eating disorder, often have a distorted body image to begin with. They’re often over critical and ruthless in their self-evaluation, in terms of their body shape and weight. Through the medium of magazines and film, current trends pertaining to body image, or rather society’s image of the body, a person with an eating disorder feels that their own personal body, does not measure up to what is portrayed within the media and ideal or beautiful.
Unfortunately for the past decade, the fashion industry, while admittedly being at the mercy of advertisers,’ has used ultra thin, nearly skeletal looking models. The entire waif look has graced the pages of magazines and film, unfortunately for a person with a non- healthy body image and lack of self-esteem, striving to achieve what society has deemed beautiful, becomes an obsession.
The trend within the fashion industry is beginning to change, most notably in Milan, which have recently refused to allow underweight models to grace their notorious runways. Not all within the fashion industry are so willing to take a stand, they are in business to sell and that if the advertisers’ wants to use all too thin models, then that’s what they will have a gracing their magazines pages.
Although this trend is moving towards the use of healthy sized models, it may help to change society’s ideal on what a women’s shape should be. Some argue that it is much too easy to blame the fashion industry, when in reality eating disorders are at least initially a mental issue of the individual and their own idea of body image.
The debate is far from over and even with the strides that the few within the fashion industry has made, in the attempt to change society’s concept of what an ideal shape should be it is a task that will surely take decades to rectify. Society has a tendency to resist change, even more so if the media’s slow to change with it.
One of the warning signs of an eating disorder is the obsession with all too thin models and actresses. A person who suffers from an eating disorder often has many pictures of excessively thin people, strategically placed normally around mirrors or close to food sources. Generally, these pictures are used to remind the person suffering from an eating disorder of what they want to look like and it is used as a deterrent to eat or as motivation to exercise more.