Relationship between women in advertising and
Eating disorders in young girls
“It is estimated that 47% of the girls were influenced by magazine pictures to want to lose weight, but only 29% were actually overweight. Research has also found that stringent dieting to achieve an ideal figure can play a key role in triggering eating disorders.” Also, “it is estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder – seven million women and one million men,” (Jayson 43). Women become increasingly aware of their bodies as they get older, especially with the constant awareness of media advertising. Studies have shown that 90% of eating disorders are from young girls who experience the pressure to fit society’s ideal of ‘beauty’ “In a culture that cuts off women from many of their own possibilities before they barley have had a chance to sense them, that pain belongs to all women.” (Barber 37). The media is a very powerful influence
that impacts young women’s development negatively. “Women are ultimately becoming more objectified, sexualized and fight to meet the expectation of fitting the beauty standards in the society, as young girls facing these great obstacles of beauty standards adopt bad habits leading to eating disorders” (Kilbourne 211). “Young girls face stigmatization from their male and female friends; and in many occasions fight to outdo these obstacles that limit their independent notion of social beauty” also “while in some cases they adopt poor eating habits because of the too much pressure from their peers and the media personalities” (Barber 46).While health complications are seen to be tightly associated with dietary practices, the influence of advertising cannot be fully adduced to the eminence of anorexia nervosa among young girls since people choose what they deem healthy to their bodies.
Influence of perception and diet
“Eating disorders are a generational problem that is shaped by perceptions and societal beliefs and values, the society will define the most likely promotional alternatives that businesses adopt in their advertising campaigns.” (Jayson 47). It is rarely a subject of contention when highlighting the most likely and a healthy dietary practice that is socially retributive, several people enlisting psychological disorders, for instance, the anorexia nervosa or bulimia may be the taken to characterize serious disturbances of dietary behavior.
Barber argues that eating disorders may come as a result of unstable eating behaviors, which in some cases may be regarded as either unhealthy reduction of food intake or extreme overeating. These feeding patterns are influenced by feelings of distress or concern about body shape or weight (64). However, such practices are found to harm the normal body composition and functions. American Psychiatric Association notes that a person with an eating disorder may
have started out just eating smaller or larger amounts of food than usual, but at some point, the urge to eat less or more can spiral out of control. Eating disorders have had a significant influence in the current public health where health complications have been on the rise among individuals. In most occasions, women are influenced by the rising need to curb the spiraling dietary disorder as well as maintaining an appealing body shape. Jayson argues that men play a significant role in shaping these notions in women because women always want to stand out to men. Women are prompted to pick their best pictures, one orchestrating body contours, perceived to be charming for advertising campaigns so that their followers on social media will notice them as attractive and appealing (77). Diverse perceptions are developed by women on the issue of advertising and how they should adorn to meet both the social and marketing impacts that is anticipated for by such a campaign. For instance, in 2014, Always came up with an ad campaign dubbed “#LikeAGirl” where they took young ladies under the age of 14, and adult women to see how they interpret the phrase “like a girl”. There was a stark difference- the kids viewed the phrase on a positive note, meaning that they could do whatever they want if they do it “like a girl”, whereas adults proved more subjective to the phrase, as they considered it inappropriate and only fitting the interests of the young girls.
It is argued that some advertising practices have fostered development of attitudes and values that may work to disadvantage women while others posit that women are merely objects of desire. These social beliefs and values have shaped how and what modern woman adopt as lifestyle practice, and in most cases one that proves the relevance of such a notion (45). In tight coherence with recent research, media has been noted to play a significant role in the spread of certain eating disorders. Kilbourne found that most ladies between the ages 9-17 years prefer to remain thin and prefer to look like women on television, as a result there was a growing need to
check on the weight growth. Many young girls have found modelling in the lifestyles of the television personalities worth copying and critically important in their plight to meet expectations of being social regenerative (87).
Media and dietary practices
Research has shown that there exists a link between media and the attitudes and values that the young people have towards their bodies (Jayson, 37). Jayson further argues that it is what young girls see in televisions and other advertisement boards about how and what their seniors do that shape their lifestyle practices. Morality and healthy living tips are learnt from the media. Associated with this is the adornment of women in the media which further highlights the relevance of the context (45). Media is a cradle of information and misinformation on dietary practices. In some cases, “advertising media have promoted unhealthy foods such as foods that are rich in sugars cholesterols or salt. Manufacturers of food products adopts innumerable properties of the foods that young girls, who are less informed of healthy nutritional practices may see as the millennial diet” (Ferguson, Munoz, Garza, and Galindo 116). With their numb misunderstanding of the role of advertising, young girls have been swayed into adopting certain dietary practices that have negative impacts on their lives. Young girls have continuously been obsessed with televisions that they spend better part of their day watching. It is what they watch that filters and consequently shifts their interpretation of the most viable lifestyle to adopt. Copying from a range of advertisements demonstrating certain foods have had a robust influence on their lives. The most common foods which enlist most promotions in the media may include sweetened cereals, fast foods, snacks, and candy. All these foods are rich in sugars, which have been noted to have face reaching implications on health (Ferguson, et al 94).
“Advertisements have little or no attachment to nutritional needs, but rather a psychological twist to promote sales. Whatever that is viewed in the media will be what the young girls ask for. Parents who prove to meet such needs expose their children to health complications” (Kilbourne 49). Food advertising in many developing countries continue to create many health complications among children under 14 years. Despite the negative implications of advertising on dietary practices, it is also rational that a lot of dietary improvements continue to be enlisted in the growing media space. However, Jayson notes that ranging from promoting consumption of low sugars and cholesterol to giving a rational position on how poor health standards may be dangerous to health, media spreads the basic health principles that should be adopted by any rationally functioning mind. The growing need to meet good dietary practice have met support from many manufacturers both in the past and present (50). For instance, in 2006, 10 most influential food and beverage companies highlighted that half of their advertising campaigns will purposely promote healthier food and good lifestyles. Also, the National Research Council (2009) reports that some social advertising programs that promote a healthy diet in adults and children as well as physical activity tend to produce mixed results. However, Barber argues that it can rarely be held that advertising in the media mainly implicates dietary practices, but rather provides both positive and negative impacts that should be treated with utmost urgency (98) because they are continuous challenges.
“In June 2015, a newspaper in England pointed out that media industry is responsible for the spread of eating disorders. Consequently, media should be held responsible the escalating dietary complications that are being witnessed today. Though the interest of the media is to inform, persuade, entertain and initiate change, its implications greatly exceeds the benefits we derive.” (Anonymous 234). Jayson argues that rising proliferation of diverse foods into our diets have
seen people growing bigger, fatter, and in some cases people maturing at very tender age. The difference between body size and age in women is becoming an issue in the mainstream social analysis. Some regard this as being heavy, while others consider a proper diet (101).
“Anorexia is faster taking precedence in some cases due to poor dietary practices adopted from watching televisions” (American Psychiatric Association). Compulsive eating, commonly known as bulimia nervosa, a complication where food deprivation may lead to loss of unwanted calories is faster taking the lead in the dietary plights. Cross-social copying from friends, colleagues at work, peers, or even parents have also defined dietary habits of many young girls. “0.48% in girls 15-19 years old, and approximately 1%-5% of adolescents suffering from bulimia nervosa. It further notes self-perception, boy weight and image as the core drivers to dietary liberty (American Psychiatric Association 2014).
To this, the paper has presented an analysis of the influence of media, especially advertising on dietary practices, how young girls continue to be endeared into the shoes of women in the media ranging from how they adorn to what they eat. As they fight to meet this need they find themselves in a web of poor health practices; which may seem different to some of them, the influence of perception on determination of the most likely dietary practice. Further, the paper has analyzed how regenerative and informative media can be in promoting adoption of a healthy diet. In practice, the paper has presented a rational analysis on what prompt. As a result, there is rising need to counter elements of advertising that prove unhealthy to young girls so that eating disorders may be countered effectively.
Kilbourne, J. (1999). Two ways a woman can get hurt: Advertising and violence. Rereading America, Cultural contexts for critical thinking and writing 444-464.
Jayson, S. (20Feb.2007). Media Cited for Showing Girls as Sex Objects-usatoday.com. News, Travel, Weather, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, U.S. & World-USATODAY.com.
Barber, J. (2011). Objectification of Women in Entertainment Media Coverage Analysis.
Anonymous (2016) Eating Disorder. Details Findings in Eating Disorders (Eating
Disorders and the media), Psychology & Psychiatry Journal, 243. University of Manchester retrieved from: https://ezproxy.library.ewu.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.library.ewu.edu/docview/1770964963?accountid=7305
Ferguson, C.J., Munoz, M.E., Garza. A., & Galindo, M. (2014). Concurrent and prospective analyses of peer, television and social media influences on body dissatisfaction, eating disorder symptoms and life satisfaction in adolescent girls. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43(10, 1-14
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