Fixated on the Surface

Looking around, it is easy to be blasted with visual fallacies of a “desired body.” People have different definitions for this term, yet most people fear to categorize themselves under their description. Our society has plastered into the brains of young women that “pretty” is the price they pay to this world. This is why over 40 percent of elementary school girls are concerned with their weight and 81 percent of ten year olds are tormented by the idea someone may classify them as fat.

So when did the term fat become derogatory and when did it corrupt the minds of youth that the only way they can be accepted is to be skinny? Since when did owning one’s body become an anomaly?

Essentially, when did beauty become something worth dying for?

A compensation for this low feeling of self-worth is the mental illness of anorexia nervosa. Let’s get the myth out of the way that anorexia is a lifestyle choice.

The National Institute of Mental Health defines anorexia as extremely restricted eating and a pursuit of thinness resulting from a distorted body image. Being anorexic means a person is limiting their caloric restriction and being so consumed with food, weight, and body image that it interferes with their happiness. But being thin is not the only consequence of this extreme dieting and exercise overdose. Symptoms that can develop over time associated with this disease include thinning of bones, lethargy, infertility, muscle weakness, and multiple organ failures. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders has found genetics, environmental factors, and personality traits all play a factor.

The National Eating Disorders Association cites research about the media as not being the only cause for body dysmorphia but finds numerous links between exposure and disordered eating. For women, this dissatisfaction is shown when given a thin ideal. Sixty-nine percent of girls between the ages of 10 to 18 confirm that the photographs of models and celebrities represent an ideal figure even though these photographs are often digitally altered to create physically impossible ideals. With just a picture to look it, adolescents are not aware that the figures they see are unrealistic. This confusion can chip away at their confidence. The media may not be the only cause, but it has a powerful effect in corrupting the thoughts of adolescents and young adults.