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The Role of the Media in the Development of Eating Disorders

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Exercise 2: The role of the media in the development of eating disorders

Individuals over time have continually been exposed and manipulated to believe in the concept of having a ‘perfect’ or ideal body and appearance. The pressures to meet societies demands to achieving self-satisfaction with one’s body image and physical and emotional wellbeing have influenced the notion of eating disorders. As people are exposed to countless forms of media such as television, radio, magazines and the Internet on a daily basis, media being a mass form of communication has been labelled as the culprit of eating disorders. The role of media heavily contributes to the development of abnormal or disturbed eating habits within an individual, including anorexia, bulimia and even obesity. The role of media in the development of eating disorders can explored via analysing the social context, influence and aetiology of eating disorders. Through further evaluation of this matter the role of the media in the development of eating disorders can be thoroughly explored.

Individuals are exposed to the media on a daily basis and many blame the mass media for being the source of eating disorders, however not all people develop eating disorders from the mass media, therefore it is to question what role the media actually plays in the heavily viewed topic of eating disorders (Spettigue & Henderson, 2004). To understand the role of media in the development of eating disorders, the social context, of this century must be analysed. Over the past ten years it is evident that a significant decrease in body measurements of the ‘ideal weight’ of celebrities and models have significantly decreased (Harrison & Cantor, 2006). The ‘ideal’ body image presenting thin, underweight women are constantly reiterated in fashion magazines and on television. Although not all individuals may be influenced by...

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