Effect of media messages on your eating disorder recovery
- Category: Culture and Media
Can you turn off media messages about your shape and size? Can you use health and vitality as your criteria for what you eat and how you look?
A recent Hubpages blog raised the question: Does advertising affect eating disorders? In my opinion, much of current advertising promotes both tiny size fashion in clothes and huge portion size in food. It's an impossible combination many people strive to integrate.
Cashing in on Symptoms of Illness
A person vulnerable to eating disorders strives to come up with a solution to this dilemma that allows her (or him!) to fit into tiny clothes and eat huge portions of food at the same time. She can become ensnared by an eating disorder. But something worse exists.
Advertising that pushes people to be small and eat large supports eating disorder thinking and behavior. The continual onslaught of glorified emaciation, body surgery, and diet publicity can convince people, maybe you, that the "be small and eat a lot" lifestyle being portrayed is normal.
If you're convinced then you can feel validated or justified if you starve, cut or engage in binge and purge cycles.
If you believe the myth and validate your eating disorder behavior this kind of advertising can help delay recovery work.
If you have an eating disorder and you are subjected to a barrage of images and messages celebrating the symptoms of your illness, you may believe you are living wisely and well. You won't seek treatment.
This is a tragic cultural phenomenon. It contributes to people taking pride in their illness, proselytizing eating disorders, destroying their health, ruining relationships and, in far too many cases, shortening their lives.
I often ask myself, what would be the economic repercussions in this country if all eating disorders vanished? If everyone with an eating disorder suddenly became healthy what would happen to dollars?
For example, diet books, diet programs, unhealthy life styles, size zero clothes, various magazines, commercials, diet foods, junk foods, binge foods, fast foods and all their supportive staff and structure (models, photographers, accountants, designers, advertisers) would be out of business.
I think the stock market would plunge and the economy would reel.
Mighty forces are in place that cater to eating disorders. You need strength, courage, support and deep personal commitment to rise through these forces to honor your recovery work.
What kind of influence does advertising and media portrayal of fashion, beauty and diet have on you? I welcome your thoughts and feelings.