Psychology Term Paper
(Topic: Eating Disorder- Anorexia)
21-year old Brazilian model, Ana Carolina Reston is only one of the thousands in the fashion industry who has suffered from the eating disorder, Anorexia Nervosa. Sadly though, she was also part of the ones who died (November 14, 2006) because of having such sickness. Ana was only 40 kilos (or 88 pounds) and was diagnosed dehydrated the day she passed away. That time last year, she had been the second model who had succumbed to the disorder- 3 months before her, co-model, Luisel Ramos also died while doing a fashion show. Because of such events, the
Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder which had been very rampant in females (particularly in teens) for the past years. Yes, there were also some males who have been diagnosed to have this, but they can only be seen in small percentages. Anorexia is essentially starving yourself- which can be done obviously by not eating food or in severe cases, not taking in liquids- including the one our body needs the most, water. It can basically be described as a “fear” of putting something in your mouth. Some physical symptoms of having this disorder includes: Significant weight loss, Depression, Change of Menstrual Cycle or complete absence of Menstruation (for females), Mild Anemia, Growth of Lanugo (baby-fine hair covering the body) and Having brittle nails and hair.
According to my research, doctors have yet to find the exact cause/s of Anorexia. Their main theory is that there are varieties of factors involved such as Genetics, Family Behavior and Culture. There are a lot of treatments available for Anorexia- from Medications to Nutrition Education, and even Family Counseling- But since almost all of those who suffer from this are in denial that they have such disorder, they refuse to be treated. Anorexia Nervosa is just one of the many eating disorders out there. Although it’s considered as one of the deadliest, there are still a lot of unhealthy practices that we are being exposed to right now. Some examples of the most common are Bulimia Nervosa (forced-purging which can lead to Anorexia when not stopped) and Binge-Eating (non-stop eating which causes Obesity or other cholesterol-related problems).
In my opinion, it just all boils down to this:
Acceptability in Society = Popularity and Money.
Popularity and Money = Celebrities and Models.
Celebrities and Models = Stick thin.
Stick thin = Anorexia.
It is our nature to want to belong. Whoever came up with the saying, “No man is an island” knows what he’s talking about. Human beings generally have tendencies- We crave the feeling of being wanted, being known by the masses, being important, being SOMEONE. Media and Society play very big roles in why we think we need to conform to this. Have you ever noticed the famous paintings during the Renaissance & Medieval Eras or the sculptures that were made in the Ancient and Classical Periods? How different do the models then look compared with the models we have now? It was because a long time ago, being big was what was socially accepted. Voluptuousness meant that you were part of the wealthy ones because you had money to buy food and stuff. This is also what is happening right now. Ashley & Mary Kate Olsen, Nicole Richie, Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan are just some of the many well known celebrities that are talked about right now. We always see them on television and in print-ads. The younger ones look up to them for fashion and style. But what do they all have in common? You decide! Modern media sends us this message. We were fed with the message that being thin is what is attractive to the eye. That having the stick figure is what you need to be “in.” Picture this- A young (14-year old) girl, standing 5feet-4inches is medically considered healthy if she weighs 110pounds (average weight per height). But because of what sees on T.V. or maybe because suddenly some kid at school picks on her for being “healthy”, she comes to believe that she has to drop down to just 90pounds. So then she starts to skip meals, a little at a time- depriving her body of the nutrients it needs for her to grow and develop normally. She gets thinner and thinner, but she still believes she’s fat. Eventually, her body rejects anything she takes by mouth. She becomes very undernourished and she now needs to be admitted in the hospital or if worse comes to worst, in a funeral home. Sad, but then that’s reality. That is what’s really happening right now.
The thought of wanting to be like someone or wanting to be a part of something glamorous isn’t bad at all. It, in some way, in fact gives us a euphoric-kind-of-special feeling. Who wouldn’t want to be well-known, right? Who wouldn’t want to have their pictures taken in exchange for large sums of money? All of us dreams of that kind of life. What makes it not good though is if we still continue to follow something that we know is not right to begin with. It’s if we still patronize the kind of attitude when we know for real that it’s going to be harmful for us in the long run. Being a fan of someone famous or some celebrity, like Lindsay Lohan for example, is normal. But why don’t we, instead of following her negative traits (like her being Anorexic before), focus more on the positive things she had offered- her powerful singing voice or her flair for acting. As I’ve said earlier, Media and Society do play a great role on how we perceive things. They are correlated with how we choose to live our lives. But, it does not mean that they are the main causers of why some of us are thin, average or fat. In the end it’s still up to us to decide on whether who or what to follow. Now who would you want to be? Pin-figured Olive Oil, Spinach-eating Popeye, or Glutton-man Brutus?