No one is really sure what causes eating disorders, although there have been some good ideas as to why they occur. Most girls who develop anorexia, or other similar eating disorders, are between the ages of 11 to 15. This also happens to be typically when girls are going through puberty. At this time in their lives, their bodies are changing, their minds are focusing on new things, and it's easy to become very self conscious or even self loathing. .
With the media in America placing such high importance on being a thin woman, it can be hard to see that thin and beautiful are two different things. Looking at magazines like Vogue and Glamour and seeing the extremely thin models can make even the most confident people feel a bit under pressure to drop some pounds.
Teen anorexia is a problem that has haunted American girls for generations. As the stereotype of the perfect woman slowly shrinks in waist size, so do the girls trying to imitate that stereotype. In the 1950's Marilyn Monroe may have been the epitome of a perfect woman. This woman was a size 12. Now, with perfection being the Penelope Cruz's and Paris Hiltons of the world, the ideal dress size is considerably smaller, more around a size 1 or 2. Girls are literally risking their lives for this appearance. .
Advertising also plays a major role in American teenage anorexia. Jean Kilbourne, creator of Killing Us Softly, says that with advertising objectifying women's bodies, women are becoming more likely to change their bodies to fit into what they are seeing as sexier . The definition of sexy, as well as beauty, is being altered.
In addition to objectifying women's bodies, it also trivializes women's power. The women are photographed in demeaning positions, and they are very frail. This is advertising that weak, frail, women are what should be normal, and praised, because the models are beautiful. .
Teenage depression also has links to anorexia.