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Hannah Barlow
Ms. Gardner
English 10 per 1
8 May 2014
Anorexia: Dying to be Skinny
Girls starving themselves, girls purging and binging, girls weighing themselves countless
times a daythese are the tactics that anorexic females use to reach their weight goals. Anorexia
is an eating disorder in which females, and sometimes males, have a distorted self-image and
practice unhealthy habits such as excessive dieting and exercising to reach extreme weight goals.
All generations are suffering the pressures of society to be thin; therefore, the issue is becoming
more well-known and successful. The pressure that society puts on our generation to be skinny
promotes anorexia and contributes to the diseases success: countless warped celebrity photos,
photo-shopped models, and social media stimulate girls minds and influence them to think that
skinny is perfection.
Initially, many would argue that Anorexia is a disease of the brainsometimes linked to
autism, and that environmental factors contribute to the cause of the disease. Samantha Brooks,
an experimental neuropsychologist suggests, A center of self-control in anorexics brains
sprung to life when volunteers thought about foodbut only in the women who severely
restricted their calories. (Rosen). Furthermore, in the article Study Links Anorexia and Autism,
Bahar Gholipour, the author, reports that findings suggest the two conditions share certain
features, such as rigid attitudes and behaviors, a tendency to be very self-focused and a
fascination with detail. Overall, scientist, nutritionists, and other qualified individuals who
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support the anorexics believe that the disease is brought on by complications in the part of the
brain that focuses on self-control. They believe that anorexia is a disease that one cannot help
having; they believe it is a disease that needs to have the same recognition that autism does
(Gholipour). True, many might believe anorexia is caused by involuntary decisions; however,
anorexia is heavily influenced by social media and the high standards that society sets for the
way females should appear.
Admittedly, there may be a connection between how the mind functions and the images
of stick-thin models that the brain is exposed to. On the contrary, it is mainly the anorexic
models and celebrities that are giving misleading examples of what it is to be healthy; they cause
girls to become obsessed with body image. Georgina Wilkin, a former Prada model, points out
how eating disorders have become 'normal' and that when she was 15 years old [she] was told
to lose a few inches from [her] hips so [she] could be eligible for the best jobs. Young women
were being instructed to lose an unnatural amount of weight to fit the standards high fashion
required. These instructions required numerous dangerous techniques to achieve the ideal
form. This weight loss could ultimately lead to depression, anxiety, and health deficits. Judy
Siegel, a writer for The Jerusalem Post, reports that, The Microsoft research found that anorexic
models and celebrities appearing on websites led to an almost two-fold increase in subsequent
searches for these people and the development of anorexia itself. She also found an interesting
fact: People who develop anorexia tend to become more interested in celebrities who look as if
they are starving. According to this research, the females of todays society have many examples
to look to for their choices of weight control. The models and celebrities are already of such an
importance to young women that these females are willing to do anything to be like their idolized
celebrities and models. In conclusion, the anorexic models that females see on websites and in
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magazine spreads are ultimately a large influential factor in the development of the deadly
disease.
Secondly, online pages that support girls unsafe diet fads and relay detrimental workouts
promote and applaud Anorexia. Websites such as Thinspo, Tumblr, and Instagram generate a
place to gather motivation and support from fellow anorexics who are working towards the
perfect physique. Jim Salter, a writer for The Associate Press, states: the sites offered photos of
slender-legged models, and testimonials on how to achieve the gap and tips such as chewing
food but spitting it out before swallowing. These ideas, planted in the young brains of females
take root until an obsession begins to form. Salter reports in a 2011 study at the University of
Haifa, that adolescent girls who [spend] the most time using Facebook had a greater chance of
developing a negative body image and an eating disorder. The competitive nature of teenage
females drives them to compete with each other online, as well as motivate each other in
anorexic communities. Kim Callaway, a therapist, states: "It's not uncommon for people to be
on Facebook talking about what they ate today, posting pictures of their meals or writing about
how they're 10 pounds lighter than they were a month ago. (Salter) The information supports
the claim that select websites support the competitions and goals that females participate in.
Interactive social media sites such as Facebook show women examples of the physique they are
trying to attain until it becomes an obsession. In summation, the pages that support being
unhealthily thin and promote fads such as the thigh gap cause girls to become obsessed with their
body image.
The internet and social media combine to support girls anorexic decisions by leading
them to harmful links and websites that show celebrities sponsoring diet plans and offer special
deals on supplies that help the disease become more successful in its destruction. Jeremy
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Laurance, a health editor, points out that Many [websites] focus on purging, starving and the
use of laxatives and diet pills which cannot be obtained in the UK but are available on the
internet. Some include advice on self-harming and have links to pro-suicide sites. These
elements of the internet are accessible to all ages who are equipped with a computer and a search
engine. Laurance also confirms that In one year, more than 500,000 people visited the sites,
according to one study, and a 2011 EU survey found that more than one in five 6 to 11-year-olds
had been exposed to one or more sites with harmful content. These statistics demonstrate
societys influence on the younger generations. The online sources and social media provide
tools, and ideas to help young women become successful in achieving the perfect thinness. The
dangerous materials that can be easily accessed from the internet are an example of the dangers
exposed to women everywhere. Together, social media and the internet are prominent in the
minds of young women; displaying harmful content and persuading women to develop new,
unhealthy habits.
In short, the pressures that social media and society place on women such as high fashion
editorial spreads, online weight-loss competitions, and the unhealthy models, provoke them to
develop a deathly eating disorderanorexia. Anorexia is taking away females valued lives and
damaging others. The high standards that women have to fit themselves in is detrimental to
themselves individually and as a whole. As a society, we must replace the standards that have
been set. We must show females that ribs do not have to be visible for one to be considered
healthy and thin. We must stop the fascination over celebrities airbrushed bodies. We must
promote the appearance of a healthier, fuller model. We as a society must change the way we
view ourselves.

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Works Cited
Gholipour, Bahar. "Study Links Anorexia and Autism." Washington Post. 13 Aug. 2013: E.2.
SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 06 May. 2014.
Laurance, Jeremy. "Hundreds of Websites Urging Girls to 'Starve for Perfection'." The
Independent. 28 Nov. 2012: 16. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 06 May. 2014.
Rosen, Meghan. "The Anorexic Brain." Science News. 10 Aug. 2013: 20-24. SIRS Issues
Researcher. Web. 06 May. 2014.
Salter, Jim. "Social Media Fuel Dangerous Weight-Loss Goal." Independence Examiner. 04 Oct.
2013: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 06 May. 2014.
Siegel, Judy. "Photoshop Law Gets Scientific Backing." Jerusalem Post (International). 09 Dec.
2013: 7. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 05 May. 2014.
Wilkin, Georgina. "Former Model: 'What Young Girls Can Learn from My Anorexia'."
Telegraph.co.uk.. 20 Sep. 2013: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 05 May. 2014.