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In a world where image seems to be everything, it's hard not to pay attention to the way you look. Body Image is a quickly growing fad all over the world today. Everyone wants to be that "Victoria Secret" model or the buff guy on the cover of GQ magazine. The problem is some people go the wrong way about obtaining that image and even go to the extent of hurting themselves to reach that ideal look. Many of us catch ourselves standing in front of a mirror analyzing every detail, curve (or lack of), and flaw of our bodies, although there are those who admire their favorite parts as well. Of course everyone has a part of their body that they dislike, but when analyzing turns to an obsession that's when trouble can start. Millions of Americans are in a battle with their own bodies, focusing so much on what they look like that it turns into a fixation. In fact, so many are dissatisfied with their bodies that poor body concept is considered normal in today's society. People tend to distort their views about their own bodies causing them to have a negative body image and such an obsession may be detrimental to their health. Such a negative image can cause low self-esteem, depression, sexual dysfunction, poor health habits, and sometimes psychiatric disorders (Something-fishy website). Most of all, it can lead to the eating disorders that are currently plaguing a majority of women today.
When women go beyond the limits of their own bodies, the results can be deadly. In today's day and age, society is more aware of this then ever. If a young woman walked into a doctors office twenty years ago thirty pounds underweight and her hair falling out, the doctor would probably recommend putting moisturizer in her hair. Today, every doctor would know better than to overlook the possibility of an eating disorder considering five to ten million females and one million males suffer from an eating disorder of some sort in today's society. "(Anorexia) strikes between 5 and 10 percent of American women, and has one of the highest fatality rates for a mental illness." (Wolf 355). Martha Herrin, codirector of Dartmouth College Eating Disorders Education said, "(The sufferers) tend to be young, from 14 to 25, white, affluent perfectionistic type-A personalities"(www.Dartmouth.edu website). Strangely enough, such a fatal and widespread disease does not get recognition, research, or prevention programs as other equally fatal diseases. But why is there such an increase in eating disorders in today's generations, and why is it targeted at white, middle class, teenage girls?
There seems to be a difference between today's society and that of previous decades. Although, even decades ago people were still obsessing over their weight and envied people of the media. From wasp-waisted, corset look to the dangerous curves of Marilyn Monroe to the boyish figure of Twiggy and the more recent supermodel Kate Moss. "A generation ago, the average model weighed 8 percent less than the average American woman, whereas today she weighs 23 percent less...the average model, dancer or actress is thinner than 95 percent of the female population."(Wolf 356-7) The obsession probably began during the time of the first women's movements of America, around the 1920's when females became equal members of society voting and becoming a part of the once thought of "man's world". Perhaps as women became involved in society, they began to let their bodies be controlled by it. The once valued image of fertile women, commonly seen in statues and paintings, with full hips and plump bellies and faces suddenly turned to "the look of sickness, the look of poverty, and the look of nervous exhaustion." (Wolf 356). Maybe women in their mind feel that if their bodies represent self-control and obedience in today's society. "Women operate in a man's world and no matter how accomplished you are, or how good you are at anything, you have to look the part of the beautiful woman, the model thin woman."("Cindy", Berman 353). Perhaps the equality that women now share today caused competition within themselves to prove to be what society labels as "the best".
Along with the rise of women in today's society affecting their self-image there is still the highly influential effect of the media. Everyone knows that media also has something to do with why we obsess. Many do agree that the m
Terminology mentioned in this term paper
media exposure, HIV,
Names mentioned in this term paper
Habib, Ed, Melissa Willyard, Charles I. Schuster, Marilyn Monroe, Kate Moss, Cher, Berman, Martha Herrin, Bill Clinton, Susan Bordo, Pamela, Stallone, Mariah Carrey, Pamela Anderson, Michelle, Anne Klein, William V. Van Pelt., Dan., Jennifer Lopez, Tyra Banks, Hesse-Biber, Will Smith, Sharlene Janice, Lauren Hill,
Organizations mentioned in this paper
Dartmouth College Eating Disorders Education, GQ, Dartmouth College, Villarosa,
Locations included in this research paper
Saddle River, New Hampshire, America, The Something Fishy Website, Beverly Hills,
Health Conditions talked about in this research material
psychiatric disorders, depression, confusion, sexual dysfunction, AIDS, hypertension, syphilis, chlamydia,
EntertainmentAward referenced in this research paper
Companies talked about in this paper
Keywords referenced in this paper
eating disorders, body image, society, ideal, white women, black women, role models, thinness, standard, perfect body, negative body image, Dartmouth College, Upper Saddle River, self images, White culture, Something Fishy, hispanic, middle class, magazines, African American, recent, psychiatric disorders, Beverly Hills 90210, late night talk, black men, Wolf, hip hop culture, new media, average american, this generation, sexual dysfunction, does not follow, nervous exhaustion, GQ magazine, to let, young woman, Susan Bordo, one million, A generation, Disappearing Acts, Mariah Carrey, Marilyn Monroe, Tyra Banks, mental illness, physical appearance, Bill Clinton, soft focus, unwanted pregnancies, Kate Moss, sexual content,