Women and Body Image

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Eleven million women in the United States suffer from eating disorders- either self-induced semi-starvation (anorexia nervosa) or a cycle of bingeing and purging with laxatives, self-induced vomiting, or excessive exercise (bulimia nervosa) (Dunn, 1992). Many eating disorder specialists agree that chronic dieting is a direct consequence of the social pressure on American females to achieve a nearly impossible thinness. The media has been denounced for upholding and perhaps even creating the emaciated standard of beauty by which females are taught from childhood to judge the worth of their own bodies (Stephens & Hill, 1994). To explore the broader context of this controversial issue, this paper draws upon several aspects on how the media…show more content…
Then in the 1950's, more voluptuous figures were the ideal. Since that time the ideal body shape for women has become more and more slender (Borzekowski, Robinson, & Killen, 2000). Unfortunately, for many people the ideal thin body is nearly impossible to achieve. This makes women feel dissatisfied with their appearance. Hence the beginning of a negative body image. Recently, researchers have become concerned with the question of how and to what degree advertising involving thin and attractive women is related with chronic dieting, body dissatisfaction, and eating disorders in American females (Stephens & Hill, 1994). The esteemed attention that female thinness culminates began in the United States back in the 1950's (Garner, Garfinkel, & Thompson, 1980). During the last three decades, pageant contestants, fashion models, and famous actresses have grown steadily thinner (Lake, Sweeney, & Wagner, 1999). Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed only 8 percent less than the average women. Today the average model weighs 23 percent less than the average woman (Dunn, 1992). Surprisingly, as the body standard has continued to thin, the average weight of American women has actually risen. In 1950, mannequins closely resembled the average measurements of a woman. The average hip measurement of mannequins and women was 34 inches. By 1990, the average hip measurement was 37 inches for an average woman, while the average mannequin hip measured only 31 inches

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