Eating Disorders Influenced By Artificial Media Portrayals


Eating disorders are ruled by artificial media portrayals, according to Texas A&M researchers.

Srividya Ramasubramanian, communication instructor at Texas A&M, acknowledged the disconnect between reality and the mdi a, noting that the average sized American woman (160 pounds) is never portrayed. Ramasubramanian studies how the mass media effects body image, the definition of beauty and its effect on women and young girls.

“There is a lot of research that shows that media plays an important role in shaping the different ideas of what is an ideal body,” Ramasubramanian said. “There is a drive to pursue a thinness, in even girls as young as 9 or 10.”

Ramasubramanian added that mass media publicizes a very narrow view of beauty.

“We see that in magazines that show very thin images…the average model in many of these ads and mediums is much smaller,” Ramasubramanian said. “It’s a very constructed idea of what is beauty and that kind of body is impossible to achieve.”

The communication instructor noted young girls often engage in social comparison and internalize these impossible ideals. They become dissatisfied when they see such images, which can lead to psychological and behavioral symptoms like eating disorders.

Health education instructor Elisa McNeill added that loss of control is the largest issue surrounding eating disorders. Reinforcement behavior, like being praised for losing weight, can also encourage eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

Meghan Windham, a dietician at Texas A&M, emphasized that there are resources for young girls who are having trouble with eating disorders or simply the idealization of beauty. At A&M, an interdisciplinary ream of one physician and a counseling center work alongside each other to treat each patient wholly.

Source: The Batt / Photo Credit: Flickr

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