This is a highly debatable subject and although it is not considered to be the cause of eating disorders, media is often viewed as a contributing factor, especially amongst adolescent girls, who view the size and shape of models and actresses, as ideal body image.
Adolescents, who have an eating disorder, often have a distorted body
image to begin with. They're often over critical and ruthless in their
self-evaluation, in terms of their body shape and weight. Through the
medium of magazines and film, current trends pertaining to body image,
or rather society's image of the body, a person with an eating disorder
feels that their own personal body, does not measure up to what is
portrayed within the media and ideal or beautiful.
Unfortunately for the past decade, the fashion industry, while
admittedly being at the mercy of advertisers,' has used ultra thin,
nearly skeletal looking models. The entire waif look has graced the
pages of magazines and film, unfortunately for a person with a non-
healthy body image and lack of self-esteem, striving to achieve what
society has deemed beautiful, becomes an obsession.
The trend within the fashion industry is beginning to change, most
notably in Milan, which have recently refused to allow underweight
models to grace their notorious runways. Not all within the fashion
industry are so willing to take a stand, they are in business to sell
and that if the advertisers' wants to use all too thin models, then
that's what they will have a gracing their magazines pages.
Although this trend is moving towards the use of healthy sized models,
it may help to change society's ideal on what a women's shape should be.
Some argue that it is much too easy to blame the fashion industry, when
in reality eating disorders are at least initially a mental issue of
the individual and their own idea of body image.
The debate is far from over and even with the strides that the few
within the fashion industry has made, in the attempt to change society's
concept of what an ideal shape should be it is a task that will surely
take decades to rectify. Society has a tendency to resist change, even
more so if the media's slow to change with it.
One of the warning signs of an eating disorder is the obsession with all
too thin models and actresses. A person who suffers from an eating
disorder often has many pictures of excessively thin people,
strategically placed normally around mirrors or close to food sources.
Generally, these pictures are used to remind the person suffering from
an eating disorder of what they want to look like and it is used as a
deterrent to eat or as motivation to exercise more.