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In today’s society, body image issues and eating disorders are unfaltering and the definition of what is beautiful is often misconstrued by our daily exposure of the fashion, media and entertainment industry.
Eating disorders are very prominent within the fashion industry because models are pressured to be extremely thin in order to stay employed. A survey done by The Model Alliance founder and
researcher Sara Ziff revealed a glimpse into the reality of being in the fashion industry.
In her research, Ziff found that 62 percent of models were told to lose weight. That’s from a sample of people who are already considered underweight by World Health Organization standards.
Fifty-four percent who were told to lose weight were told that they wouldn’t be able to find more jobs if they didn’t. Twenty-one percent were told by their agency that they would stop representing them unless they lost weight. Over 9 percent had been recommended plastic surgery.
According to the national eating disorders website, over 80 percent of Americans watch television every day. With commercials, music videos, shows and movies constantly choosing to portray men and women in a specific light, it is easy to have low self-esteem. The “perfect” woman is often portrayed as being able to fit into a size two with clear skin, long hair and just the right amount of curves at the top and bottom.
The “perfect” man is shown as clear skinned, tall, and muscular. Low self-esteem is a factor that can contribute to the development of eating disorders, especially for those who are genetically predisposed toward developing one.
It is a common misconception that eating disorders only affect woman. According to the national eating disorders website, 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives. The number of males facing issues with bulimia, anorexia and binge eating disorders are on the rise.
The media does not help to break this unhealthy cycle when it comes to the younger generation either. As stated by the national eating disorders website, 35 to 57 percent of adolescent girls participate in crash dieting, diet pills, fasting, laxatives and self-induced vomiting. The images of celebrities that manage to make the cover of a magazine tend to be airbrushed and photoshopped to meet the standards on what is considered beautiful. Constant exposure to these standards can lead to an unjust belief that individuals must change the way they look to be seen as attractive.
Evidently, there is an issue within our society due to the constant obsession to exhibit only what is considered “beautiful.” However, this idea of “beautiful” is false. There is no perfect man or woman.