Eating Disorders and Perception of Beauty dissertation

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Eating Disorders

How the Perception of Beauty Influences Eating Disorders

With everything changing in this society, the aspect of beauty especially when it comes to women has kept changing, sometimes desperately to the extent of individuals adopting extreme behaviors in the pursuit of the ideal 'beauty'. Instances where different kinds of media communicate the significance of physical beauty in the contemporary world and the means of achieving such traits are widespread. The attachment of food and modes of consumption of these same foods and the positive effects they produce as regards an enhanced attraction, as the society propagates goes without saying. The problem of eating disorders has increased in the contemporary world thanks to the spread of notions like these, as this paper reports. The focus of this report is to explore the influence of the idea of beauty to eating disorders with specific reference to anorexia. The discussion opens with a brief introduction of eating disorders citing the problem factors relating to the conditions, the role of the idea of beauty and characteristic that the victims present just to mention but a few. The section that follows explores the how the society handles and views the idea of beauty and attractiveness today and how many have attached the issue of eating with close to all definitions of beauty. The paper narrows down to the specific condition among anorexics addressing factors like the triggers of anorexia, the definition of the condition and the aspect of treatment of the disorder. The paper then deals with anorexia as a worldwide endemic before exploring the factor of gender. Following these are the theories that explain eating disorders, anorexia included together with other psychological features that associate with the conditions. The process of recovery also emerges together with the current and future research in a paper, which concludes with a summary of the entire discussion.

How the Perception of Beauty Influences Eating Disorders


Eating disorders are grave medical conditions, both in the physical and psychological sense. The conditions which emerge in the form of bulimia, anorexia and binge eating among others unfortunately, has increasingly become common with the shift time, the young adults and adolescents being the major victims (Bryant -- Waugh & Lask, 2013). The concept of beauty as governed by the way individuals eat if a fact which comes not as a surprise especially in the contemporary where media is exploding with all manner of information on how individuals can improve their levels of attraction. Eating disorders have different dynamics with the individuals affected presenting more or less the same class of traits. The call of beauty, especially among the female gender continues to increase and as such the availability of massive information on how to achieve beauty. The most frequently explored aspects of beauty lie in different ways of controlling eating besides the application of cosmetics. Eating disorders have a variety of triggers; say in the case of anorexia where the influence of the media of the desire for attention leads to the adoption of the abnormal eating behaviour (Cox, 2001). Moreover, these patients have characteristics, which help distinguish them from other ordinary individuals in the society. Like other conditions, this disorder is treatable if the patients follow the appropriate treatment regimes but is not included among the varieties of global pandemics. Eating disorders are a problem, which affects both genders though in different proportions. Moreover, it has a socioeconomic angle to it, which emerges in different explanations, psychological theories included. Patients suffering from the conditions have the capacity of recovery owing to the many available channels of recovery and with the ongoing research as regards the different aspects of the condition, much of such channels are, expected to emerge. However, the field of research still has a massive gap to fill when it exploring eating disorders likes anorexia. This explains the need for future studies on this subject.

The Concept of Beauty in the Contemporary Society

I recently saw a Dove commercial that so brilliantly summarizes the way that women often view themselves. Entitled "Real Beauty Sketches," an experiment is made in which a sketch artist asks multiple women to describe themselves. Without seeing them, he draws the images that they describe. The second half of the commercial involves these women describing the other women in this experiment and the sketch artist drawing those new images. Finally, each woman sees a side-by-side drawing of herself, each time her own description depicting a woman who is much older and uglier than the one described by someone else. The message rings clear: "You are more beautiful than you think." Many women have a tremendous amount of self-doubt and harsh self-criticism. Women often believe they are fatter than they are, uglier than they are, and older looking than they really are. From where do such self-doubt and such a fixation on physical appearance, originate? Men and women, boys and girls, are taught from an early age that the value of women lies in their youth, beauty, and sexuality. This single idea has led to gender stereotypes in almost every arena of life. The one on which I would like to focus is in the world of business.

In a world where women learn that their worth is dependent on their beauty, it is no wonder that anorexia plagues such a large part of the population. Instead of focusing on their minds and inner qualities, the world often judges women on their outward beauty. Women, and even girls, quickly learn that their self-worth is often, increased when they appear more beautiful.

According to Patzer (2006), the contemporary world has explosively exposed all individuals to media content that bombard people with images of seemingly flawless an implausible looking individuals with women being at the forefront. Women and some of their male counterparts focus on unachievable standards of beauty as the basis for confidence and self-worth. The widespread use of science in enhancing beauty for example in the applications of make, exploration of surgical procedures, extreme use of physical activities, dieting and the use of injections constitutes the common means for attaining such goals. The glorification of physical attractiveness in relation to weight has caused debates in different arenas considering the considerably unhealthy limits that individuals go in an attempt to achieve the measure that the society considers ideal. The relentless pursuit for thinner physical looks in no more extraordinary factor, sometimes exposing individuals to the adoption of life threatening behaviors. Jackson (2007), in the publication "You're So Skinny! Advice, Personal Life Experiences, and Over 50 Weight Management Tips on Maintaining a Slim Figure" presents a scenario where a very limited proportion of women confess satisfied with their body weight. This is irrespective of most of them having the perfect and required weights with respect to health standards. This is to blame for what the society has taught the women and some men. The fact that attractiveness has become defined in the sense of physical beauty and even more with physical weight has made the society believe that thin is perfect, whatever the extent. The adoption of eating disorders mainly is to blame for this since individuals focus on reducing their food intake with the view of limiting their weight increase and achieving the desired 'beauty'. Anorexic and bulimic individuals are mainly victim of the propagation of the concept of beauty as a factor of weight. This has not only led to a vain search for beauty but has also exposed them to life threatening medical conditions (Vandereycken, & Beumont, 1998).

Society needs to begin to teach its youth that the value of women lies in their intelligence, power, and independence. At the age of eight, forty four percent of girls want to be leaders. Yet, by the age of twelve, only twenty-one percent believe they could be leaders. By age twelve, the average girl had seen 77,546 commercials -- many of which are geared toward emphasizing the power of man and the beauty of women. Out of high school girls interviewed, three out of four said that they feel guilty or depressed and thirty-one percent have admitted to starving themselves in order to lose weight. Society needs to emphasize achievement and not appearance. Over the last few years, America has seen a three hundred percent increase in cosmetic surgery in women. There has been a four hundred percent increase in liposuctions and an alarming six hundred percent increase in breast augmentations. Therefore, in other words, as leadership positions dwindle, cosmetic procedures are on the rise. This is a poor reflection of the values that our society teaches. "What we believe a leader should do is not consistent with what we think a woman can do." This is what needs to change. Despite all the incentives and monetary compensations in the world, we need to create a population that believes in the future of our women as leaders and not just pretty faces. Perhaps, if we emphasize the brains of women instead of the body,…[continue]

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