Anorexia: Please, Do(n’t) Feed the Models

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Imagine a picture of an average-sized woman on the cover of Vogue; an accurate depiction of American women. She would have curves, her hair would be a little dry and her collarbone would probably be invisible. Well, seeing that happening would be something new! No, no, no, advertisers know that beauty and thinness sell. But with rising cases of anorexia and bulimia in this country, even among celebrities who are also forced to conform to this stereotype, one has to start to wonder: is the extra money worth the damage these images cause to society?

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anorexia102 Anorexia: Please, Do(nt) Feed the Models

anorexia103 Anorexia: Please, Do(nt) Feed the Models

If you take a look at the front covers of the most of the fashion magazines, you wouldn’t be surprised to find an array of super-thin models staring out from the glossy page with emaciated, sunken faces and protruding, skeletal hipbones. They are women with stick-thin arms and legs and a very sharp, prominent collarbone straddling the shoulders.

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These images are not shocking to readers of such magazines: they are the norm. One common stereotype swarms the pages of women’s magazines: To be beautiful, you must be tall, tan, blonde and thin. Headlines pop from flashy covers: “How to Lose 20 Lbs. in 10 Days or Less” and “150 Ways to Look and Feel more beautiful”. Within the pages of these magazines, women are fed an artificial image of beauty. They are bombarded with advertisements for shiny cars, sleek cell phones, swoon-worthy shoes and glittery cosmetics. The ads provide the same, ridiculous notion that if you buy the company’s product you will look as beautiful as the young, sweat-drenched, bronze beauty selling it. But beauty is subjective and cannot be defined by a few key attributes. However, women and girls of all ages are fed this image of artificiality and therefore, strive for something that is essentially unattainable.

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The negative, unhealthy, artificial images projected in fashion and beauty related ads combined with the number of ads women are exposed to daily is a dangerous combination. According to the Media Awareness Network, “research indicates that exposure to images of thin, young, air-brushed female bodies is linked to depression, loss of self-esteem and the development of unhealthy eating habits in women and girls.”

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But perhaps the most depressing issue is that the younger the viewer of these ads, the more vulnerable she is to experiencing life-altering damage to her self esteem and body image. The problems start earlier than anyone would like to admit. A study published in the Wall Street Journal surveyed students in four Chicago-area schools and discovered that more than half of the fourth-grade girls surveyed were dieting! Teen Magazine also reported in 2003 that 35 percent of girls ages 6 to 12 have admitted to dieting at least once and 50 to 70 percent of girls who are average weight believe themselves to be overweight. It doesn’t seem normal for such young girls to be concerned about adult issues like weight, but with images of skinny, beautiful women permeating every inch of the media that surrounds them on a daily basis, body image issues strike early. Young girls who should be playing with dollhouses are instead counting the calories in their lunchboxes.

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But young girls are obviously not the only age group affected. Adolescents are perhaps the most targeted by the media because of their amount of disposable income. Teens have after school jobs and virtually no bills to pay, so advertisers take advantage of this. When girls see ads featuring flawless beauties like Kate Moss, they believe that if they spend their money on the products directed at them, they will, too, be flawless. How can a girl face her peers if she’s the only one in class without the latest RAZR mobile? Or what if she can’t fit into the Express skinny jeans that everyone is wearing? Social suicide.

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There seems to be only one logical way to correct this problem: Eliminate, or at the very least, cut back on using models in advertisements that contribute to this stereotype. Countries that have put a ban on models with a BMI of below 18 are headed in the right direction. But, in order to create some real effect, major changes need to happen in advertising.

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anorexia109 Anorexia: Please, Do(nt) Feed the Models

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18 Responses to “Anorexia: Please, Do(n’t) Feed the Models”

  1. Bill B. says:

    This is not the type of article we need in America. Anorexia is extremely rare in the USA. So rare that in my 50 years, I have met over 50,000 women in person, but I have NEVER seen an anorexic woman in person, only in documentaries.

    However, obesity is at epidemic proportions! Some studies have shown that for every anorexic woman in USA there are 10,000 overweight women.

    So why in hell are you focusing on the incredibly rare problem rather than the extremely common problem?

    It is asinine articles like this that help cause women to be at an unhealthy weights and have much higher rates of obesity, and the related heart disease, diabetes, and cancer than 20 years ago.

    I think some heavy women designed this blog entry. Shame on you!

    • Markiz says:

      My friend, Copernicus did not show that the Earth revolves around America. If something is unacceptable to you it does not mean that the whole world should stop talking about it. On my other site I’ve made an article about obesity, and this of course is supposed to be its opposite.

      I know that obesity is a much bigger problem, but it doesn’t mean that this other is not existing!

      This is an article about anorexic models, don’t forget that! If you have seen any overweight model, please inform us!

      I wish you all the best! And yes, I’m not ”some heavy women”!

    • Elena says:

      Extreme anorexia is rare, and of course most people have never met anybody with a disorder so severe! But that doesnt mean you’ve never met or seen anybody with an eating disorder. Its not always apparent, and its not usually broadcasted.

      Seeing the impossibly (99% of what you see in magazines is edited and photoshopped) skinny and beautiful models creates a whole myriad of problems. Not JUST anorexia/bulimia, but also depression, compulsive overeating, low self-esteem, body dysmorphic disorder, bad eating habits and obesity.

      To say what you’ve said proves you know very little about the psychology behind eating disorders and obesity, and young women in general.

      This is the type of article we need MORE of in America.

      • Skip says:

        So, why only the skinny people are creating problems? In reality, the opposite is true, otherwise there won’t be so many fat people.

        Because fat people are everywhere portrayed without negative comments and no one object to that, they are sending message to the others that being fat is acceptable.

        • chriss says:

          I would like to simply say that the girls who I know who have low self image, the ones who binge, purge, and starve themselves, surviving on handfuls of food a day…. they’re all overweight.

          So, does this mean that their behavior is okay? No. Not eating enough causes your metabolism to slow down, helping you keep that wonderfully high weight you’re so disgusted with… but our bodies don’t like that, so we end up binge-ing. However, the food we eat with such a slow metabolism actually causes weight gain… fluctuating weight, horrible self image…. Yes, the solution is to not point out that the people who fantasize ourselves as are simply illusions. Yes, the solution is to berate anyone who is overweight and continue to praise the skinny simply because they are not perceived as unhealthy?

          Health is more important than anything else. Eating right, exercising, running, enjoying activity, enjoying a variety of amazing and healthy food… THAT should be emphasized and admired more than any ‘appearance.’ The appearance comes after the lifestyle change. Not the other way around.

    • NickoMcBrain says:

      Well, Anorexia is more avoidable than obesity [I assume]. Lots of Americans are struggling financially and live in areas where the closest and cheapest food are junk foods and fast foods. Low income areas have fewer supermarkets than higher income areas. When a person needs to eat three times a day, and it’s some high calorie crap with little nutrients, obesity happens. Obesity in America is the fault of the way food produced. Not saying the people have no choice in the matter, but I am saying making the right choices is tough when you are strapped for cash.

      Anorexia could be avoided in so many cases if fashion magazines, television and movies would stop ONLY promoting perfect women as attractive. The only time you ever see a girl with even a little extra weight on her is in alternative modeling (gothic/ tattoo girls). It seems like everywhere else, even an extra 4 pounds of fat instantly makes a girl an ugly fatty, which is absolute nonsense! It’s fine to have fat on you as long as you are in the healthy range.

    • Ashmali says:

      My grandmother died from Anorexia. It is on her death certificate. She was not a model, just a mother and housewife who helped run the family business of a small 5 cabin resort. Throughout my life (a “normal” life in a small town in the Midwest, USA) I have seen at least 7 women and girls that have Anorexia. None of them are models! Just average people. It is a problem. I also know quiet a few women who are overweight because of being exposed to anorexia (therefore going in the other extreme direction), or are overweight because of the negative effects of the body image society pushes. -Low self esteem eating habits. Anorexia and bulimia are not as rare as you think, they are just harder to diagnose (I have done my homework on the subject). –It is easier to diagnose obesity. Plus there have been many research studies done recently, one article published in the New England Journal of Medicine about BMIs , states that thin women (of course very obese too) are at more of a risk of heath issues and death then slightly “overweight” women. Read the articles, do the research. I have.

    • A says:

      Ever think that so many people are obese because they can’t meet anorexic standards, so they just don’t bother at all?

    • Leilani says:

      i just had a little girl i was taking care of staring at a picture of this women in a magazine. and do you know what she said to me? “i wish i was pretty like her and skinny.” i don’t think your looking at the big picture here, no offenese i’m just saying we gotta start taking it easy on this whole idea of perfection and instead concentrate on healthy! i’m so tired of having to be so freaked out by a number on a square. i’m telling you at the rate we are going, trust me articles like these will become exceedingly common.

    • Kasey says:

      So what! It’s still a problem! It’s still a serious illness! I have never met one person with cancer in my entire life but it doesn’t mean it’s not an issue! Anorexia is serious, it kills people, it ruins their lives. Don’t be so ignorant!

  2. lalala says:

    Yes, obesity is a much larger problem than anorexia. Anorexia is partially sociocultural, but there is no proof that advertisements have contributed to it. It is really a chicken and egg problem, are advertisements featuring the desire of some women, or vice-versa? My opinion is the former. Putting only average-weight women in ads is not going to change anything. Ultimately it is a self-image issue and ultimately a psychological issue and should be treated as such. Did you know that not all anorexics are starving themselves just to be skinny? It is actually a form of self-punishment, self-deprivation, because they do not feel that they are adequate in their eyes. It turns into habit and a mantra… We don’t need to stop from who shows what in the media. People are not that stupid. Anorexics/Bulimics need to be loved and supported… Not treated as freaks of nature which we are prone to do. Sometimes you have to put yourselves in other people’s shoes to see what they are going through.

  3. Shanda says:

    Good article, but notice the ads on the side of the page are mostly half naked women posing provocatively.

  4. amazing news says:

    The title should be: “Anorexia: Please, Do(n’t) break the Models”

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  8. jenny says:

    their beatiful the way they were
    its not about the size of the body but the size of the heart <3

    • Remy says:

      I understand your point of view. Yes, everyone in their own way are beautiful however, Anorexia is a mental illness which should not be glorified. As a person who was diagnosed with anorexia, I’ll tell you that it was the most painful 3 years of my life. I was tired, hungry and irritable everyday and my menstrual cycle was all over the place . I was hospitalized and force fed by the nurses. I still did not want to eat and instead exercised for 5 hours straight. I lived off 200 calories a day and burned it off at the gym. My mom was so worried about me that I might just actually have fainted in the middle of the street. Since I live in Japan, So many women here are anorexic including myself. (I am still recovering) It is actually quite seldom you see someone overweight. The media now days seems to have promote eating disorders. The best way to live and be happy is just to be healthy! Eat right, exercise and eat sweets in moderation. Women are supposed to have some fat in order to give birth. I’m not saying they need to be FAT or OBESE. Just average or slim. Not unhealthily thin.

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