Eating Disorders.
Who's responsible?

17.gif (26041 bytes) Picture Perfect?

Are images of thin models in magazines such
as YM, Glamour, Cosmo ans Seventeen
connected with eating disorders?

        Amber, 17, is currently getting treatment for bulimia. It all began when she was 12 years old. "I was a heavy kid. I was 5'6 and 185 lbs." recalls Amber. She remembers how her and her friends would look through magazines such as Teen, and YM. "We'd all stare at the models. We thought they were perfect." says Amber. "It made me feel even fatter. I hated my body, and I wanted to look like those models."

        They're everywhere. Pictures of thin, beautiful models, on billboards, in magazines, on commercials. The pictures look harmless, but they may be part of a larger problem plaguing many young girls.

        "When women of all ages see very thin women presented as the "ideal" body type, they naturally compare themselves to that ideal." explains psychologist, Mike Eastridge. "If popular culture and media show skinny girls as the "ideal," girls want to be skinny too. They seldom have the experience with life that allows them to really know that they are beautiful, desirable people even if they are heavier than the average supermodel. Their experience of the world is largely vicarious, and thus largely visual, and they want to be like the ideal that they can see."

        Although eating disorders are an extreme, it has happened before. And it will happen again until something changes in the modeling world. I talked to two models from Seventeen magazine to see what they think. "Some kids take it too seriously, and try to compete against those thin models. They starve themselves, just to be popular or to get guys to like them." says Taylor, 17 and a model for Seventeen Magazine. "Even though I'm a model, I'm not very, very skinny. I am just normal, and it's fine with me and my agent!" Mary, 18, a former model for Seventeen Magazine had this to say, "I think that some magazines take their modeling to the extreme with super-skinny girls, that are 5 feet 10 inches tall and 110 lbs. And I do agree that it gives the younger girls who look at these magazines the wrong impression."

        "Many young girls tend to focus on one part of their body that is too big, and only focus on these "imperfections" and often define themselves as "fat" on the basis of one body part. They want to be physically perfect, and have difficulty in seeing the real beauty of their bodies because one part of them (in their mind) is too big." says Mike Eastridge. "They have a distorted self-concept and low self-esteem. And in order to stop these eating disorders, we need to improve on these two areas and change the world's "ideal" body type."

How you can build your self-esteem:

Accept yourself. You don't have to be like anyone else. Because people are so different, you will never be able to please everyone. Be yourself and don't pay attention to what others say or think.

Forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has to learn to take criticism. If you make a mistake, use that mistake to learn from.

Learn a new skill. Find something you are interested in and do it. Share it with others if you want to. Choose something that is realistic for you, if you're good at auto mechanics, needlepoint, baking, go for it.

Reach out to others. When you do, others will respond. Look especially for those with a need. Try volunteer work or help someone in your family or neighborhood. If you reach out, your efforts will be appreciated, and you will have less focus only on yourself.

Be positive. Practice making positive choices. Decide to trust rather than to worry. Choose liking over disliking. Compliment rather than criticize. When things are tough, try once more rather than giving up. Give more than you take. Participate rather than watching from the sidelines. Be a plus, not a minus. Smile too.

Be assertive. Assertiveness means speaking up for yourself without offending others. Be comfortable with saying what you think in an honest and considerate manner. Respect comes to those who do.


Did you know that it's Beautiful Women Month?

Well it is and that means you and me.

Did you know that if shop mannequins were real women
they'd be too thin to menstruate?
There are 3 billion women who don't look like
supermodels - and only eight who do.
Marilyn Monroe wore a size 14.
If Barbie was a real woman, she'd have to walk on
all fours due to her proportions.
The average woman weighs 144 lbs and wears between a 12-14.
   One out of every four college aged women has an eating disorder.
The models in the magazines are airbrushed - not perfect!
A psychological study in 1995 found that three minutes spent looking at a
   fashion magazine caused 70%  of women to feel depressed, guilty, and shameful.
  Models twenty years ago weighed 8% less than the average woman.
Today they weigh 23% less.