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Thin Ideal

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The Thin-Ideal Women around the world struggle with self-worth as well as depression. Many of these lead to more severe situations, such as eating disorders or even suicide. The idea which has created these issues has developed over time through media and the fashion world. The idea that women are to look a certain way and wear a specific size has caused much turmoil for those living in the Western world. It has been proven through research and studies that show the impact media and advertising has on a woman’s self-esteem as well as her self-image. It has become a cultural idea for women to have thin, curve-free bodies, which cause women who do not fit the image to feel body dissatisfaction along with an importance of the woman’s weight leading her toward depression. Though men can be effected by the stereotypes of body images, it is higher amongst women (Rizon and Fallon, 1988).
How Media Portrays the Thin-Ideal The media portrays the thin-ideal through many different aspects. It almost always uses a communicator (the person who is used to relay the message of how thin is the best body image), a message (this is different depending on the type of media used), the channel (which is also different depending on what message the communicator is trying to portray), and finally the audience (who the communicator desires to reach through his or her message using a specific channel). An example of this type of media would be a Weight Watchers commercial. Recently, they have begun to use Jennifer Hudson as a spokesperson, or in social psychology terms, the communicator. She uses Weight Watchers as her channel to reach her audience of young females struggling to lose weight. Her message is clear, using the Weight Watchers program will help women to go from looking the way she once looked, overweight, and become thin and beautiful as she is portrayed on the commercial (Unattainable Ideal, 2012).
Who’s to Blame? Why would a woman want other women to feel the need to fit a specific size? If this is difficult to believe, that is most likely because it is false. It is thought that the thin-ideal was first set in place by a man. The idea is that a man desired a woman to look this way and in the fashion world, created the ideal image of a woman for his designs. As males have caught on to believe women look best when they are thin, throughout history, they have continued to develop designs fit for thin women, leading the media to also catch on to the thin-ideal. Kite addresses the male’s role in the development of the thin-ideal. She states that men should not be able to continue to control the way women feel and believe they should look as compared to the western world’s image of an attractive female (Kite, 2011).
As the world has continued to press the issue of the thin-ideal for women to be thin in order to be or feel beautiful, some have argued that the media’s display of thin women should not affect women in a negative way, but research shows otherwise. Many research studies have been conducted on the subject, leading to the proof of the affect the media and advertisements have the body-image of most women. One study, conducted by Stice and associates produced women who had to argue against the Thin-Ideal and stand up for their own body image. Many of the women who took part in the research started out feeling as though they had a strong body image of themselves until each one had to begin arguing against the media’s idea of women and their physical appearance. The woman each concluded the project, discovering how the media has made them each question their own body-image (Stice, Mazotti, Weibel, and Argas, 2000). Another study conducted by a group of psychologists took place where young college women were given different articles and magazines containing women displayed to be thin, along with the guidelines of the thin ideal. The women who took part in the study found themselves in a different more negative mood, causing them also experience negative feelings toward their own bodies (Pinhas, Toner, Ali, Garfinkel, and Stuckless, 1999). The women who took part in these types of studies all came to the same conclusion, stating how the media caused them each to feel as if their own bodies were not good enough for the world. Though it is not the entire world who shares this view, it is most common in the western countries, mostly in the United States. Not only is the effect on society negative for adult women, but there is also a negative impact on the youth of today. Young females feel as if they can never look the way the magazines tell them they should, causing them to develop eating disorders and depression issues, but young males are affected as well. Young males look for young women to look as the magazines portray them to look.
Opposed Opinions Though there are many people in the world who feel as if the thin-ideal has a negative impact on the world, there are those, especially those who support the media as well as the fashion world, who believe there is not a negative impact on women or others, yet it gives the women a goal to reach for and males, a standard to set for the type of woman they should find attractive. Christopher Ferguson wrote an article about the study of scientists who desired to disprove the negative effects of the media through the thin-ideal. Ferguson expressed that men and women both look to the media as a standard for how they should each look as well as the type of person he or she should be attracted to. The scientists Ferguson referred to express that each person has his or her own desires which are not heavily influenced by others of the media, but from his or her own personal preferences (Ferguson, 2013). Men who are raised in a home with a heavy-set mother often find more heavy-set women to be attractive even though society states they should not be attractive, but seen as unhealthy and lazy human beings. People who are overweight often struggle with his or her own body image, but not because of society’s standards of the ideal image, but due to the way he or she feels about their own appearance compared to friends, family, or his or her own idea of how he or she should appear. Though people believe this to be true, more research backs up the idea of the media’s role in portraying an image of how individuals should look compared the edited images found in the media as well as magazines and online. These different ideas formed into the minds of women as well as men can lead to depression and different types of eating disorders.
Depression and Eating Disorders People who suffer from negative body images as well as body dissatisfaction often develop depression, anxiety, and in many cases, eating disorders. Depression takes place when a person begins to feel major sadness or loss of interest in different areas of his or her life (National Institute of Mental Health, 1995). As people become depressed and withdraw from people in their lives, he or she is likely to turn to food for comfort, creating an eating disorder. There are many different types of eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and obesity.
When women struggle with the pressures from the thin-ideal they often develop depression and sometimes an eating disorder. One of the most common eating disorders associated with the thin-ideal is anorexia. When a person chooses to no longer eat a healthy amount of food which is needed by his or her body to survive, he or she can be diagnosed with anorexia. Harrison discusses the harmful effects of the thin-ideal and its relation to those suffering from anorexia in her article titled “Ourselves, Our Bodies: Thin-Ideal Media, Self-Discrepancies, and Eating Disorder Symptomatology in Adolescents”. Not only does she address the harmful effects on people, but specifically young children who believe they need to look the same as others are portrayed through media. Depression and eating disorders, most commonly anorexia, are a growing trend among young people, especially teenagers (Harrison, 2001).
Just as anorexia is common among people affected by the thin-ideal, there are also many people, mostly young women, who suffer from bulimia. When a person eats his or her food in front of others, to keep people from knowing he or she struggles with an eating disorder, he or she will then go to the restroom or somewhere away from others and force him or herself to vomit the food to keep the calories as well as the nutrients from reaching his or her system. This is a difficult subject for many, but it is a real disorder which many young women suffer from low self-esteem when comparing themselves to the way the world expects them to look. Bulimia takes place when a person forces herself or himself to eat normal foods, yet forces himself or herself to eat and then get sick. Spettigue discusses the harmful effects of bulimia and how it is a growing epidemic among young girls today due to the thin-ideal and how the media portrays young girls on television and through magazines (Spettigue, 2004).
Binge Eating Another common eating disorder is binge eating. When a person, usually women, feels depressed or suffers from low self-esteem, he or she often feels the need to binge eat. He or she will go long periods of time without eating and then choose to eat large quantities of food, usually unhealthy processed types of foods. This can eventually lead to vomiting from the guilt and causing bulimia to come into effect for the person or he or she will gain large amounts of weight, leading to deeper depression and guilt. Pidgeon and Harker discussed binge eating as one of the side effects of people who try to live by the body mass index chart as well as media which both support the thin-ideal of the western world (Pidgeon and Harker, 2013).
Binge eating and other eating disorders can lead to a person becoming extremely thin, but on another level, binge eating as well as depression and anxiety can lead to obesity within men and women. When a person becomes depressed, it is common for the person to turn to food as comfort. He or she will eat foods which they know are not nurturing to his or her body, these types of foods, especially in large quantities can lead to obesity. When a person realizes him or herself to be obese it is likely for the cycle of depression and over-eating to continue. Though it is against the thin-ideal for a person to be slightly overweight, he or she might begin at a healthy weight, but due to the ideals of the world and physical features, depression can lead him or her to an unhealthier life-style (Thompson and Stice, 2001).
Overcoming the Thin-Ideal Living in a world where people believe it is part of his or her culture to be thin can lead to many issues within a person self-image. Looking though a magazine, watching a television show, looking at news reporters, and even noticing billboards, can all cause a person’s mind to believe he or she should look a specific way. These types of feelings lead to depression and self-hate. There are ways to overcome these issues. A woman must learn to embrace the body she has, no matter the size, because it is a part of her identity (Belmonte, 2012). Each woman is unique in her thoughts, dreams, hopes, and ideas, so why can she not be unique in her body size or structure? A woman is created to be a gift, no matter the size of her clothes. The thin-ideal creates a woman to look a specific way, but women are meant to look the way their body grows depending on the amount of care the person gives her body. When eating healthy, he or she can understand the importance of his or her health and strive to be a healthy version of themselves instead of a carbon copy of a person seen through media outlets (Dittmar and Howard, 2004).

Conclusion The thin-ideal is mostly used in the Western countries, setting standards for women to feel and believe they must wear a size 3 or 5 in order to be considered attractive and healthy. The medical world has also set the standards to match the media by creating a body mass index for people to gauge their body on. The thin-ideal has developed negative feelings and life-styles for many people, especially young women, who feel the need to be thin in order to be socially acceptable. This idea leads to issues such as depression and eating disorders, causing people to turn to eating disorders, causing more harm for their bodies instead of reaching a goal to be thin. Anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and obesity are all eating disorders which stem from depression caused by the thin-ideal. The best way to avoid these types of diagnosis and difficulties is to strive to overcome the thin-ideal and learn to embrace one’s own body and appearance for what it is and no longer compare one’s self to others, especially those seen through the media.

Works Cited
Aileen Pidgeon and Rachel A. Harker. Body-focused Anxiety in Women: Associations with Internalization of the Thin-ideal, Dieting Frequency, Body Mass Index and Media Effects. Open Journal of Medical Psychology, 2013, 2, 17-24. doi:10.4236/ojmp.2013.24B004
Belmonte, Kimberly. "Feminism is squashing the Thin Ideal. Sparks Movement. Sparks, 18 Apr 2012. Web. 28 Feb 2014. <>.
Ferguson, Christopher J. In the eye of the beholder: Thin-ideal media affects some, but not most, viewers in a meta-analytic review of body dissatisfaction in women and men. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, Vol 2(1), Jan 2013, 20-37. doi: 10.1037/a0030766
Kristen Harrison. Ourselves, Our Bodies: Thin-Ideal Media, Self-Discrepancies, and Eating Disorder Symptomatology in Adolescents. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology: 2001 Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 289-323. doi: 10.1521/jscp.
Brit Harper & Marika Tiggemann. The Effect of Thin Ideal Media Images on Women’s Self-Objectification, Mood, and Body Image. Sex Roles. 2008. 58:649–657 DOI 10.1007/s11199-007-9379-x
Helga Dittmar, Sarah Howard. Thin-Ideal Internalization and Social Comparison Tendency as Moderators of Media Models' Impact on Women's Body-Focused Anxiety. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology: Vol. 23, No. 6, pp. 768-791. 2004. doi: 10.1521/jscp.23.6.768.54799
Lindsay Kite. “Sex Appeal and Thin Ideals: Are Men to Blame?” Published at March 15, 2011.
Lenny R. Vartanian and Shanta Dey. Self-concept clarity, thin-ideal internalization, and appearance related social comparison as predictors of body dissatisfaction. Body Image.19 May 2013. Pp. 495-500.
National Institute of Mental Health, D/ART Campaign, "Depression: What Every Woman Should Know," (1995). Pub No. 95-3871.
Pinhas, L., Toner, B. B., Ali, A., Garfinkel, P. E. and Stuckless, N. The effects of the ideal of female beauty on mood and body satisfaction. 1999. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 25: 223–226. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(199903)25:2<223::AID-EAT12>3.0.CO;2-B
Wendy Spettigue. Can Child Adolesc Psychiatry Rev. Journal List. Feb 2004 Vol 13 No. 1, pp. 16-19. <>
Thompson, J. Kevin, and Eric Stice. "Thin-ideal internalization: Mounting evidence for a new risk factor for body-image disturbance and eating pathology." Current directions in psychological science 10.5 (2001): 181-183.
Unattainable Ideal, “Module 1” (2012) Retrieved from
Stice, E., Mazotti, L., Weibel, D. and Agras, W. S. Dissonance prevention program decreases thin-ideal internalization, body dissatisfaction, dieting, negative affect, and bulimic symptoms: A preliminary experiment. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 27: 206–217 4 Feb 2000. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(200003)27:2<206::AID-EAT9>3.0.CO;2-D
Kristen E. Van Vonderen and William Kinnally. Media Effects on Body Image: Examining
Media Exposure in the Broader Context of Internal and Other Social Factors. American Communication Journal 2012 SPRING. Vol. 14, No. 2. <>

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Who Is John Krakauer's Suicide

...Jon Krakauer, author and climber, is employed by Outside Magazine to write down an article about the commercialism on Mt. Everest. Krakauer joins the most fatal Mount Everest expedition in history. Krakauer joins the climbing service referred to as adventure Consultants, guided by Rob Hall. The guide service is meant to speed up the adjustment method and guide the climbers with success to the summit of Mt. Everest. The climb is broken into camps: Base Camp, Camp One, Camp Two, Camp three and Camp Four. After spending weeks at Base Camp preparing for the gruesome climb ahead, the group makes several journeys up to the other camps to hurry up the adjustment method. Then, the group makes a summit push. Throughout the climb, Krakauer describes his teammates, his guides and different expeditions on the mountain. He tries to piece together a continual timeline of the events that will occur within the weeks they're on the mountain. All of the climbers have issues adjusting to the altitude, exhausting quickly, losing weight and moving slowly. The climbers' experience in mountain climbing varies greatly from some well qualified cambers, and some who must rely dominantly on the guides. Despite a variety of mishaps, the primary death doesn't truly occur until about hafway through the book. From that time on, death is something all the climbers become well acquainted with. The actual summit push is when everything begins to collapse. Rob Hall appoints a 2:00 pm turn-around time, which......

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