Changing the Message Summer Body Image Issues
If several decades of women’s magazine covers are fanned out across a table, the spring and summer issues through the years will show progressive emphasis on losing more weight, more quickly, and with results that are assured to change fame and fortune. Advertising and the media has increasingly targeted younger and younger children, and boys and men are also placed in the bulls-eye. These are more than bright, glossy covers. They are damaging messages that affect body acceptance and positive body image. Those with anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders are particularly at risk.
Advertising and media blitzes are particularly problematic as the weather warms up. More physically revealing clothing and swim suits are featured, complete with guides on how to achieve an ideal summer body. Popular magazine covers (and television ads) catch the eye, but they don’t always reflect the truth. Models are often digitally altered, to change size or provide deeper tans. Recipes or weight loss “secrets” advocate unhealthy ways to lose weight. The word “perfect” becomes numbers found on a scale, or on a tag in a summer dress or bikini.
There is no research that supports the idea that one thing or one person can cause an eating disorder. But it has been proven that varying factors can contribute to disordered eating and distortions in body image. The media is one of these factors. Media exposes the public to unrealistic images, and then provides pressure to become what is seen in these images.
Castlewood Treatment Center wants to empower the public to change the messages expressed by the media, replacing them with healthier and more realistic ones. As eating disorder professionals, we promote positive body acceptance, and celebration! We do this through community and national advocacy, and by providing client-centered evidence-based care to those with eating disorders and associated problems.
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