Eating Disorders In The Developing Woman

3648 words - 15 pages

In recent history, the idea and overall concept of feminine beauty has been slowly sinking toward a far less healthy, overly thin model. When humans first evolved over 25,000 years ago, women with large, ample breasts and hips were seen by society as very sexually appealing symbols of fertility. Fertile women were considered to be the ideal for any man. Thin women were not considered beautiful because they did not appear healthy enough to raise and provide nourishment for their family. Slim women were also often times considered poor because in the eyes of society, they could not afford enough food to keep their body full and healthy. During the Renaissance era, beautiful, elaborate paintings from world famous artists, Micheangelo among them, featured full-figured women in the nude. Full figures continued to be "en vogue" throughout the Mannerism and Baroque periods, which continued up through the 1730's. In the mid-1700's, women's figures started to change, and with that change, society's view of the ideal woman became forever warped. The women began wearing girdles, squeezing and pinching up their waists to exaggerate their curves and slim their waistlines. The girdles were painful, but women wanted to get their waists as small as they could in order to fit the physical standard that society had wrongly set for them. In the 1900's, waistlines began getting even smaller. The 1920's brought drastic changes to women and their bodies. Young girls called "flappers" became popular. They wore their hair short and tom-boyish, they wore their stockings rolled down, and short, baggy dresses which revealed their arms and legs were in style. These girls were labeled rebellious by society, and the older generation was embarrassed by the way they acted and dressed. They refused to be "lady-like," and they were not afraid of letting loose and having fun. A woman called "Twiggy" by the press was one of the most popular fashion models in the 1960's. Twiggy was a very appropriate title for her, considering her stick-thin body. She slowly began exposing more and more of her skeletion-esque stature to the camera, and to the world, no doubt inspiring young girls to become like her, because she was in style, yet she was strikingly different; but perhaps most importantly: She was "beautiful." The ultra-skinny image, although not a healthy one, is still consistently portrayed today in the media. While researching articles for this paper, I came across a magazine headline that read, You Can Never Be To Thin, in bold, capital letters. Unfortunately, some women actually began believing that statement, and a great deal of them have since suffered from Anorexia nervosa and some have even died of starvation. Can you imagine starving yourself to death? It is terrifying to me that young minds are so easily driven to take drastic measures when they are told that they will be accepted and loved by society as soon as they are thin. Teenagers are directly targeted because, being...

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