Recent studies show that 3% of women develop anorexia, and 8% of women develop bulimic syndromes at some point in their life. Each year 1,000 women die from anorexia, while 5 million women suffer from some type of eating disorder. Also, the results of a current research show that 92% of young women and 44% of middle age women have dieted to lose weight at least once. Although, not all of these statistics seem to be extremely risky, they are still high enough to be concerned about. One of the main causes of eating disorders in today's society, is the effect that television and magazine ads in the media have on many women of all ages. The majority of all ads shown on television in the past five years, are full of flawless, skinny women selling beauty products for well-known companies.
It is hard for some women to ignore these ads because the more that they watch them, the more they desire to be like those good-looking women. The most vulnerable age group of women to pick up eating disorders from television media is young teenage girls. During the teenage years, girls are at the age where they are attempting to find their own identity. When they see television ads with gorgeous women, they sometimes get the impression that the average girl should also have that wonderful look. For example, many commercial ads with stunning women are run while shows such as Dawson's Creek and Friends are playing on television. Mostly teenage girls watch these shows, therefore they are usually also watching the commercials that follow.
The message being portrayed through these ads is that being skinny will make anyone just as beautiful, successful, and happy as the women shown on the screen. So, many young girls begin to eat less to try to develop the perfect body illustrated by brilliant models on television, and many of them also acquire various types of eating disorders. Another cause of eating disorders from the media come from magazine ads. More than half of the ads in magazines today are full of the ideal woman, which is usually a famous model or a notable celebrity. These models and celebrities are known by women of all ages that look up to them and desire to be like them. For example, a Calvin Klein underwear ad portrays the message " You can look good in your underwear, if you look like her".
Although, many women do not know, numerous changes are made by airbrush design that help make the women look spectacular. According to studies, the average model weighs 23% less than the average woman. This statistic may seem very dangerous and unhealthy to young women, yet most of them are not aware of it. The only thing that attracts most of their attention is the idea of becoming the perfect women shown in the magazine. Once again, young girls and even older women embark upon new ways to lose weight, and many times they develop life threatening eating disorders. In conclusion, television and magazine ads in the media may sometimes cause women of varied ages to develop eating disorders.
The way that our society can help this problem is to warn women of the dangers of eating disorders and help them to fight the problems that they may cause. A recent ad by Body Shop has been sent out that show a large woman with a quote next to her saying, "There are 3 billion women who don't look like supermodels, and only 8 who do". Although this ad may not be the perfect start to fighting eating disorders, it may change the way that some people feel about them.