Posted in Bloggies on April 14, 2013 by Administrator
Society’s Distorted Vision and the Thin Ideal
By Japjot Bal
As a species, humans tend to evade people, things, or thoughts that make us uncomfortable. For this reason, we often avoid addressing troubling societal norms in depth. Fortunately, my hands-on experience with the Eating Disorders Resource Center (EDRC) and various group sessions has been invaluable to helping me address this social issue directly.
Most of society does not clearly see that eating disorders transcend beyond physical discomfort and to a more psychological level. The environment around us, from our family and friends to the constant media and propaganda bombardment, has distorted our vision, leaving men and women of all ages vulnerable to the thin ideal. We have developed a truly grotesque view of what true beauty and health means as our limited human vision often prevents us from seeing the harsh reality behind the plastered images. Although these extensively airbrushed and forged pictures intrude our homes and culture, the message behind them penetrates our minds, slyly lowering our self-worth so that we will enter the vicious cycle known as corporate America.
The media and weight-loss industry feeds on our insecurities and volatile states of mind by subtly putting our perceptions of beauty and health on a virtually unattainable pedestal. The supposed discrepancy between the average American woman’s weight and the thin ideal has deteriorated countless individuals’ quality of life to the point that their only comfort comes from the thing that causes the loneliness in the first place: dangerous eating and exercise habits as a result of their depreciating self-worth. Eating disorders, or even body image issues, often make us isolate ourselves, whether it is not going out with friends to avoid eating “bad” food followed by intense regret or simply shutting ourselves in to avoid temptation. Whatever the reason, most American men and women have already dived into a haunting wilderness that continues to taunt us with an unachievable and unrealistic ideal.
Before beginning my volunteer work with EDRC and participating in group sessions, I was unaware of this so-called thin ideal, which lingers in every corner of modern society. I am truly grateful for the experience I have had and will continue to have within the eating disorder awareness community. It has showed me that on top of external influences, a person must be willing to discard misconceptions and be able to fully comprehend the implications of a certain lifestyle, giving her the ability to ignore unrealistic media images. Moreover, we, as a society, must abandon our convoluted perceptions and open our eyes to the true worthlessness and dangers of the thin ideal.
Posted in Bloggies on January 10, 2013 by Sheila Himmel
How do you measure progress against eating disordes? Sometimes, it's in miles.
The restaurant critic and the recovering anorexic went on a road trip last week. We were both very nervous about it, and leading up to this trip there were lots of arguments, even to the point of saying, “That’s it. I am not spending two days alone with you!” Yet we did, and not only lived to tell the tale, we had a great time and look forward to doing it again.
In the worst of the ten years since Lisa started down the full spiral of eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia, binge eating – the enjoyment of life pretty much fizzled away. Eating together, especially. We had screaming fights in restaurants and rarely sat down at the table together at home. The nadir was in a stylish Singaporean restaurant I was reviewing, where Lisa took long trips to the bathroom. I went in and lifted the toilet seat, and yes, someone had vomited. I scanned the dining room desperately for other possible suspects.
Posted in Bloggies on December 28, 2012 by Eve Pearce
The eating disorder sufferer, whether female or male will often have a complex array of symptoms. Sometimes they will fit neatly into the Anorexic or Bulimic spectrum, and other times may exhibit symptoms of both, or have other complicated patterns of beliefs about food and their weight. Recent studies over the last decade, on both small and large scale show that as many as fifty percent of all eating disorder sufferers are also likely to have some form of problem with substance abuse or drug addiction too.
The link between eating disorder and substance abuse
When someone is suffering from an eating disorder, their symptoms will be such that no matter how hard they try, what they see in the mirror is never good enough, they may view themselves as holding too much weight and, whatever the scales say when the sufferer steps on them, they will be lying.
A person who is addicted to drugs may take either illegal or perfectly legal substances to gain a feeling of calm and control over the both physical and mental symptoms they might exhibit, just as they either binge eat or withold food to gain the same feelings.
Conversely, drugs may be used as a means of controlling the appetite and aiding with weight loss. For instance, sufferers of bulimia may become addicted to using laxatives to make sure their system is purged clean of any food that they have ingested. Sufferers may also turn to other illegal substances such as cocaine or amphetamines to similarly “help” with weight loss and temporarily lift their mood.
Addiction can quickly develop when the sufferer needs larger doses of the same drug to get the same effect as their bodies become more used to what they are taking.
Posted in Bloggies on November 29, 2012 by Bryan and Rose
Bryan and I are two senior students who are doing a research project on eating disorders (ex: causes and effects of eating disorders). Over the last few days, we have been interviewing a number of professionals in the field, including the EDRC (Eating Disorders Resource Center), NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association), and private practice therapists. I would like to share some information we found that really interests us.
We know that media plays a role in the contribution of eating disorders, but we wanted to see just how powerful media is. Over the last few days, we were told about one experiment done in Fiji. Before the experiment, there was no television in Fiji, and there were hardly any people with eating disorder there. However, after introducing televisions, the results were shocking: as the number of televisions increased, the number of people with eating disorders also increased. This experiment stuck out to us, because it really shows the effect that media (in this case, television) has on society. Media distorts people's views about beauty by setting an unrealistic norm. All the models on magazine covers and advertisements look so perfect and thin that it makes us want to achieve that "perfect look" and that "perfect body". In reality, we know that the models on magazine covers are obviously photo-shopped and airbrushed. Although people know that the images are created using technology, people don't consciously think about that when they see an image of a model.
I feel that the important thing is to be satisfied with yourself. There will always be new things (ex: new ideas of beauty that media promotes) to strive for, but it really comes down to what you feel is beautiful. To me, some of the most beautiful things aren't being thin or being pretty. To me, qualities like confidence, high self-esteem, self respect, confidence, intelligence, determination, perseverance, and self approval are the most beautiful things in the world.
Posted in Bloggies on November 15, 2012 by Sheila Himmel
There's been so much good news for and about women in this election. A record 20 women in the Senate! The 18-point gender gap favoring President Barack Obama. The defeat of the two dolts who made incredibly stupid observations about rape. Could this be the dawn of a new era?
Possibly, because the needle is moving even on attitudes about weight.
As Alessandra Stanley, chief TV critic for The New York Times, reported Oct. 14: "Female Stars Step Off the Scale." Stanley analyzed new TV shows featuring normal and even overweight stars and came to this heartening conclusion:
"Self-acceptance has become a new form of defiance on television." Also mentioned, of course, is superstar Lady Gaga, who famously said about gaining 25 pounds: "This is who I am. And I am proud at any size."