What does the rise of eating disorders tell us about the relationship between the body, femininity and masculinity?.
Two million people in the world suffer from eating disorders, whether it is anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Two thirds of teenage girls and one third of teenage boys do not like their bodies and the weights they are at. Many people suffer from related conditions like bulimia and anorexia but do not meet specific conditions to have their symptoms called that. This category is called unspecified eating disorders. Symptoms of unspecified eating disorders are restrained eating, binge eating, purging, fears of fatness, and distortion of body image. People suffer from eating disorders because of our society standards. Everyone wants to look like a supermodel or a body builder but not everyone can. They start to obsess about being thin and looking at their normal body weight as being fat when actually they are at a healthy weight. When they start judging their bodies, they set restrictions on what foods they can eat and intense hunger sets in. Normally, they go on eating binges because of the severe hunger pains that they can not overcome. Weight cycling then takes place when dieters go on energy restrictions followed by bingeing. Weight cycling results in losses and gains of weight (Penelope, 1997:5). This habit can make weight loss much harder over time because it messes up your metabolism. Among people with eating disorders, athletes; primarily dancers, gymnasts, and endurance runners, can be seen with these problems. .
What's remarkable now is how much the media affects body image, and how willing and eager people are to mess with Mother Nature. Although there are other factors that contribute to eating disorders the media can partially be blamed for the millions of people with eating disorders because it promotes and glamorises being thin to the public. A healthy newborn child eats when it is hungry and stops when it is full.