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Word Count: 1,073
The influence of the media on the proliferation of eating disorders cannot be refuted From an early age we are bombarded with images and messages that reinforce the idea that to be happy and successful we must be thin Today you cannot read a magazine or newspaper turn on the television listen to the radio or shop at the mall without being assaulted with the message that fat is bad The most frightening part is that this destructive message is reaching kids Adolescents often feel fatally flawed if their weight hips and breasts dont match up to those of models and actors Today even elementary school aged children are obsessed with their weight The medias obsession with thinness and perfection has increased adolescent dissatisfaction with their bodies The statistics and facts that document how obsessed we are as a society with the pursuit of thinness are sad reminders of the power the media has in how our society evaluates self-worth Eating disorders are complex conditions that arise from a variety of factors including psychological interpersonal and social issues Media images that help to create cultural definitions of beauty and attractiveness are often acknowledged as being among those factors contributing to the risk of eating disorders Media messages screaming thin is in may not directly cause eating disorders but they help to create the context within which people learn to place a value on the size and shape of their body To the extent that media messages like advertising and celebrity spotlights help our culture define what is beautiful and what is good the medias power over our development of self-esteem and body image can be incredibly strong Media such as television movies and magazines are considered to be among the most influential promoters of the thin standard given their popularity and increase to the American people Importantly this effect has the potential to increase given continuing advances in technology and the increasing popularity and accessibility
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