Body Images, Eating Disorders, and Cultural Imperialism

An eating disorders comes from a number of factors such as psychological, physical, and social issues. “Media images that help to create cultural definitions of beauty and attractiveness are often acknowledged as being among those factors contributing to the rise of eating disorders”(Media). American Media affects people in America as well as other countries by exporting potentially unhealthy images of the human body.

First, the people that live in America are affected by their own media. Media can be brought up in different ways. For example, media can be shown in newspapers, Magazines, Television, and Movies. When the average American man and mostly woman sees the people in the media they start to compare themselves to the people in the media. This may cause problems for the individual. One problem that occurs is body insecurity. The individual might feel that the people on the media are more skinner or more beautiful or younger than they are. This causes them to become uncomfortable with their own body. For some, people take this as encouragement and they start living a healthier life, but for others they live an unhealthy life. For example, for an unhealthy life the individual might starve themselves and not get key nutrients and vitamins to the body. If the person overly compulsive with this problem of starving themselves than they might develop anorexia, which is a serious eating disorders that many Americans have.

Some other measures people are taking to try to cure this body insecurity are plastic surgery, which might make the individual look more beautiful than they original were or Botox which makes the individual look younger by paralyzing their face. Also, “men are abusing steroids, measuring their own muscularity against the oiled and perfected images of professional athletes, body-builders and Men’s Health models” (Bordo 725). Body image and body insecurity are now affecting men more commonly than it use too.

Next, the media in America does not just affect the people that live in America, but it also affects other countries that watch American Media. America is one of the most powerful and successful countries on the globe. Small countries that are not that powerful and not that successful look up to America and its culture. Fiji for example never had access to television until 1995 when a single station was introduced. This station broadcasted from the United States, Great Britain and Australia. Before this station was introduced there were no reported cases of eating disorders. “In 1998, three years after the station began broadcasting, 11 percent of girls reported vomiting to the control weight and 62 percent of the girls surveyed reported dieting during the previous months” (Bordo 724). Some thought that the Fijian cultural would not be affected by the media but they soon found out that the media was a key factor.
Finally, the media in America has effected people in America as well as other countries.. Media is a link to be a factor in causing eating disorders by projecting the unhealthy images of the human body.