Academic Psychiatry

The first image shows an extremely skinny Miss Australia candidate. The women who enter the Miss Australia Pageant are considered to be some of the most beautiful women in the world. However, this image shows prominent hip bones and rib cage. Young girls may associate this image of beauty with the pressure to be thin and therefore turn to eating disorders in order to look the same way. The rail thin image portrayed in this picture is the idealized body image in American society (Derenne & Beresin, 2006, 257).

This image could push someone towards an eating disorder because in order to gain such a body shape extreme calorie restriction would be necessary. Most young girls cannot look this way through a healthy diet and exercise because it is an extreme example of thinness. Therefore, they may be motivated to become anorexic in order to meet societal expectations of beauty. The second image shows six extremely thin models in an advertisement for thong underwear. Again, their ribcages and hip bones are prominently displayed as are their disproportionately sized chests.

This is another example of the intense pressure from the media to be thin (Derenne & Beresin, 2006, 257). A poor self image can push young girls to severe calorie deprivation in order to look like these models (Derenne & Beresin, 2006, 257). Further, this image shows young girls that in order to be beautiful they need to have large chests and wear thong underwear. This adds to self esteem issues and can motivate girls to turn to eating disorders in order to deal with their lack of control over their own body shape.

The media is becoming an ever increasing influence of the beliefs and values of children and teenagers (Derenne & Beresin, 2006, 257) and ads like this one only add to the idea that in order to be considered beautiful one needs to be very thin. Ultimately, this body shape and image is almost impossible to achieve without serious health consequences and constant media portrayal of this type of image fuels the desire to fit into dangerous societal expectations of beauty. Derenne, Jennifer L. & Beresin, Eugene V. (2006). Body image, media, and eating disorders. Academic Psychiatry, 30 (3): 257 – 262. Both Photos Courtesy of Yahoo Images.

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