Exploring Socio-Cultural Influences on Anorexic Bodies

Introduction

In this study, a focus on the socio-cultural influence on anorexic bodies is presented. Central issue is identified as anorexia nervosa. This is identified as an eating disorder characterized by an abnormally low body weight. This issue comes with an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of weight. Symptoms include rapid weight loss. This often involves emotional challenges to be faced due to unrealistic body image. An exaggerated fear of gaining weight is seen in affected persons. The objectives of this study are associated with demonstration of systematic and critical evaluation of therotitical and social construction of embodiment. Social media influence on body and the way they are represented have been described. Critical evaluation of healthiest societies and health and illness patterns are discovered. Here, critical appraisal of body, art and media along with social control over people’s body is discussed.

Social, media and cultural aspects of anorexic body and their long-term effects
Aspects of producing and representing anorexic body:

Anorexia nervosa is associated with three core characteristics such as:

Refusal of body weight maintenance

Experiencing intense fear of weight gain

Misinterpretation of the seriousness of weight loss

Emotional and behavioural signs and symptoms include the following:

Frequent skipping of meals and refusal of eating

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Covering up in layers of clothing

Adopting rigid meal and eating rituals such as spitting foods after chewing (Thornberry, and Dawson, 2018)

Flat mood, insomnia and irritability are seen as well

Neurobiology of Anorexia Nervosa

The image is relevant in this study as it gives an idea of body schema that helps in body image distuirbance along with a highlight on socio cultural causes of anorexia. Neurobiological causes that impact on anorexic bodies are also discussed inside image.

As evidence identified from Demello’s book some cinematic roles models are often seen to take control over the common people mind. Theorizing the bodies has ocuured in cinemas called “body horror”, where decaying of human bodies are shown (DeMello, 2014). Now, some youth can consider this idea of linear representation of bodies as a role model. Some cinemas have shown the idea of “the woman is beautiful, the man is fat”. This are the comments that has made people starve and perceive the idea of becoming anorexic with eating disorders in order to look beautiful.

Success worth is often identified in terms of being thin and sometimes peer pressure increases the desire to stay thin specifically among young girls (Pagano et al. 2021). Some patients become out of control and they are having a tendency to self-harm while anorexia is taking over their personalities. The relevance underlies as the age group starting from 15 denies going for a treatment or accepting the fact that they are Anorexic (Leder, 2021).

Literature evidence
Self-starvation process in Anorexic bodies

This image firmly discusses the self-starvation process observed in anorexic bodies. Starvation or malnutrition is identified to be associated with negative enforcement of weight loss. Compulsive weight loss habits involve stress that is affecting Anorexic bodies.

Body image distress is often identified because of eating disorders; there are poorer symptoms noticed sometimes. Younger girls and older women have more tendency to suffer from anorexia and girls in their early 20s are at the most risks. 25 to 39% of patients are having a disease of BDD such as non-weight and having BDD (Leder, 2021). “People with BDD are also preoccupied with their appearance, thinking that they look abnormal, ugly, or deformed, when in fact they look normal.” The similarity between BDD and Anorexia is found out in terms of their characteristics as in both cases they patients want to have a perfect body and shedding all extra kilos. A person with anorexic body might indulge in low self-esteem and be sexually abused.

Focusing on three major issues
Embodies experience of health and illness
A model of Anorexia Nervosa

This image is focused on the model of Anorexia Nervosa as the younger people is going through a lot of stages like fear of eating and food avoidance, They are performing rigid restrictive eating along with limiting consumption of dietary varieties. The way people think or feel can be explained as the complication that this anorexic body’s face is:

Electrolyte abnormalities specifically identified as low blood potassium, sodium and chloride

Loss of muscle and gastrointestinal problems along with bloating and nausea are identified to be serious problems

Decreased testosterone in male and absence of period in female are observed

This may influence their lifestyles choices and eventually allow them to live a life without any rejoicing on food and cutting down the intake of calories totally. As per discussed models of Demello, it has been identified that women are more focused on gaining a body like Barbie and there should not be any fat content in their bodies.

In order to achieve a body like their role model barbie, younger women are starving them to death due to peer pressure of looking good in photos, whichbecomes an eating disorder. There are potential breakdowns observed in many people due to suffering from this mental illness of low consumption of food thanrequired mostly inthe US (Green, and Solomon, 2020). People are not sometimes clarified regarding what they want in their lives. In non-western countries, as well the stress has beenreduced to .46% to 3.2% for the last few years. Women often misunderstand their seriousness of losing weight. Significant criteria that suggest the threat of anorexia nervosa are:

Restriction of energy intake and significantly lowering the body weight

Intensifying the fear of gaining weight while they are categorized as underweight

Denial of the fact that their current body weight is a problem is also seen

Supplements can be taken for management of nutritional deficiencies (Englebert, Follet, and Valentiny, 2018). Hospital treatment might become necessary in some of the cases. Nutritional therapy can be helpful, as the affected person will gain enough information on how to consume good food and maintain good health. A range of social concerns has been raised within the affected people. “Maria Rago, The president of the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD),” thinks that finding out constant support for specialized education of food habits are important in the case of anorexia nervosa.

How anorexic body looks like

Anorexic bodies are in threats of severe mental health and an early diagnosis might help the person in need.Facts state that anorexic body owners simply need to be exposed to healthy lifestyle goals (Dilling and Petersen, 2021). “In order to lose more weight and give the impression to others that they are eating, they often restrict their intake to fluids and low-calorie food choices such as plain lettuce.”. An obsessive thinking influenced by society is associated with intense fear and anxiety and Anorexics are also using laxatives, diet pills that are leaving a potential damage to their internal organs. In case of encountering this mental state at an early stage, it becomes impossible to deal with puberty related concerns.

Representation of bodies in art or media

In social media and art, linear bodies have been presented. Feminine parts of the body are more highlighted, and this influences many people to starve themselves and explore artistic components. Representation of lean and trim bodies has influenced many of the teenagers to engage in such diet plans (Dawson, and Thornberry Jr, 2018). "Although thin models are not the cause of eating disorders, they can be a trigger or a factor in maintaining an eating disorder,"[refer to the appendix]. “Beauty is skin deep”, this phrase is justified as many people consider the art performance as a joke, and this ensures that teenagers go through the process of starving themselves. Cultural factors are affecting the health and illness issues and people are trying to become like their role models in order to become slim. “Feminists, such as Susan Bordo (1993), have also attributed an important role to the media in objectifying women’s bodies and in contributing to body image problems and eating disorders (Petersen, A., 2007)”. The relationship between mind and body is misunderstood often and looking good becomes a main reason that is superimposed by society on a particular person. Thus, cultural, social aspects affect the thinking of anorexic people and they become motivated in restricting food intake. The role of media can be explained as a window to examine the science factors of how natural bodies have changed over the years and aids in the restoration of bodies as per the health and appearance and functioning.

Posts, hashtags and images on Instagram like these promote eating disorders

The tragic life stories of favourite celebrities can be shared in contexts who were once patients of anorexia. Famous celebrity Angelina Jolie has become a patient of Anorexia during school. Her childhood was not as good as other was with her father leaving her at an early age (Nickiswift.com, 2021). All this was done to fit in the society standards of having a linear body. Moreover, “Young people with eating disorders are being triggered by the body-editing apps promoted on Instagram and TikTok”.

Whenever the council of fashion designers of America had redistributed the health-relatedguideline, it was quite clear that eating disorders are becoming a great reason behind the reduced number of healthy people globally. The symptoms have recommended a ban on models younger than 16 years from walking in fashion shows (Ash, 2020). Fashion influence is quite broader than the one that has been stated by the CFDA CEO. In the pre-anorexia forum, more than 70 percent of girls below the age of 18 have been identified as dealing with anorexia symptoms. Magazines and fashion shows are promoting “thinspiration”. In media and art, representation of bodies within the ubiquity of ultra-thin models has been done. According to Dr. Allegra Broft, becoming thin is the ideal and full-blown eating disorders are becoming more common this day. 13-18 years of girls are being influenced with this type of fashion shows starting in TVs.

With each fashion week, there is a trend of becoming size zero. Influential components have been identified in terms of creating space for models with small size other than the ones with a bigger size (Alldred, and Fox, 2017). On the contrary, some of the shows are conducted using plus size models for creating awareness that women always do not need to change themselves for becoming a great fit for the preconceived notions of beauty. Social pressure should not decide the shape and size of a person's body and they do not even need to starve themselves to death. “Around 16 million people worldwide were thought to suffer from eating disorders in 2017 which is 1 in every 500 people in the global population. It also refers to the 1 in every 770 males and 1 in every 345 females”.

It has been observed that fat shaming and body shaming has increased exponentially and requires a complete improvement of the issues. However, as per the global statistics, every 1 out of 4 adults are suffering from obesity and these are fought unconditionally (Richardson, and Locks, 2014). However, there are more subjects observed that were tried to lose weight and became anorexic. The self-love obsession has become so influential that transformations are done from being overweight to underweight. For most of the adults, BMI is identified as 18.5 to 24.9 that give a healthy mark. 25 to 29.9 gives a mark of being overweight. Moreover, 30 to 30.9 give a mark obese people. In the case of 40 or above severely obesity is seen. Now for anorexic people they do not fit in any of the categories. This development criterion of body thinning has also encouraged several musculoskeletal disorders (Howson, 2013). Weight loss is self-induced in this case by avoidance of fattening foods. Body image distortion is identified as a specific psychopathology where a person becomes body conscious.

Forms of regulation or social control of bodies

Regulatory norms are increased upon structure improvisation of “Anti bullying laws”. This might help several people to completely come out of their fear of losing social positions (DeMello, 2014). Some probable policies can be undertaken as a part of regulating the control of anorexic bodies and these are:

Insurance companies providing reimburse for people with eating disorders.

It should be illegal to refuse a person from hiring due to that individual’s body weight.

Schools should conduct studies on height and weight management to provide general information on them.

Magazines that are targeting people below 18 years as reader should be prohibited from displaying any weight loss product.

As per research data it is observed that "School-based health curriculum should include content to address eating disorders” is supported by (37%) of the participants conducted with a study of 100 people (Cregan, 2012). California became one of the major example setters by designing a program called “Casa palmera” for the healing of mind and body for the people associated with this process. “The perfect body: A potential pathway of anorexic symptom development in women” and this concept requires to be mitigated.

It is observed that social control is associated with body modifications. Social standards of perfect fat free body are met by crash dieting, starving and taking medications. It is important to indulge in a complete management of modern women’s body with known threats of anorexia. The social controls are making women starve to till they become anorexic for achieving a perfect body as it is displayed over television (Richardson, and Locks, 2014). However, the people are becoming anorexic instead of gaining their desired body and becoming patient of malnutrition. Showing body parts are considered to a trend in fashion and most of the people are falling prey of this social trap of looking good without the fat. The people find it shameful to look fat or become fat and they search ideas to become thin and lean, which potentially leads to anorexia most of the times.

The social control can be explained in terms of real life stories that enhanced eating disorders. Here, a story of Bethan can be shared, this is identified as the real life incident where the patient has absolutely no control over the behavior of not eating appropriately (Childline.org.uk, 2021). Socially a fat body is considered to be shameful and people like Bethan began to control eating at an early age of 14 and try to fulfill society standards. While the younger women tried to fit in socially constructed beauty standards, they starved themselves to death. "I SAW ANOREXIA FOR WHAT IT REALLY WAS: AN ILLNESS" was the comment made by Bethan. This person faced anorexic body as he was looking like a ghost. Skin had become pale and purple rings were seen around the eyes. Initially it started with maintaining weight as gaining weight is considered a shameful one. After having a conversation with people, and taking good care has literally saved this patients life. Recovery has been correctly done and a life free from anorexia was received in this case.

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Conclusion

This study has highly concentrated on the eating disorders and anorexic bodies are associated with becoming educated and getting medical help. Praising and giving compliments to the people who are comfortable in their own skin is associated with overall development of anorexic body issues. Finding out medical help for the anorexic and creating a support infrastructure for the persons to practice good eating habits should be practiced. Teenagers specifically should be given advice not starving themselves in a lean possibility of looking like the models on tv.This study is also helpful in terms of picking up theories of illness and managed execution of components against anorexia.

References

Alldred, P. and Fox, N.J. (2017) Young bodies, power, and resistance: a new materialist perspective. Journal of youth studies, 20(9), pp.1161-1175.

Ash, J. (2020) The discursive construction of Christ’s body in the later Middle Ages: resistance and autonomy. In • Feminine• Masculine and Representation (pp. 75-105). Routledge.

Cregan, K.(2012) Key concepts in body and society. Sage.

Dawson, N. and Thornberry Jr, T. (2018) The perfect body: A potential pathway of anorexic symptom development in women. Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, 23(1), pp.28-39.

DeMello, M. (2014) Body studies: an introduction. Abingdon: Routledge.

Dilling, J. and Petersen, A.(2021) Embodying the culture of achievement: Culture between illness and perfection is a ‘thin line’–obtaining the ideal female body as an act of achievement. Culture & Psychology, p.1354067X211004085.

Englebert, J., Follet, V. and Valentiny, C. (2018) Anorexia Nervosa and First-Person Perspective: Altruism, Family System, and Body Experience. Psychopathology, 51(1), pp.24-30.

Green, E. and Solomon, M. (2020) The Body Responds. Ata: Journal of Psychotherapy Aotearoa New Zealand, 24(1), pp.29-42.

Howson, A. (2013) The body in society: an introduction. 2nd edn. Cambridge: Polity.

Leder, D. (2021) Anorexia: That Body I Am-With. Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, 28(1), pp.59-61.

Pagano, A.L.A., Araújo, G.B., Freitas, G.S., Lopes, R.G., Azevedo, R.G., Borges, R.D., Ramirez, A.V.G., Zotarelli Filho, I.J. and Ribas Filho, D. (2021) Body Perception and Anorexic Behavior in Medical School Students: A Cross-Sectional Observational Study. MedNEXT Journal of Medical and Health Sciences, pp.66-72.

Petersen, A., 2007. The body in question: A socio-cultural approach. Routledge.

Richardson, N. and Locks, A. (2014) Body studies: the basics. London: Routledge.

Thornberry, T.S. and Dawson, N. (2018) The Perfect Body: A Potential Pathway of Anorexic Symptom Development in Women.

Webistes

Childline.org.uk, 2021. Available at: [Accessed on 10/05/2021]

Nickiswift.com, 2021. Available at: [Accessed on 10/05/2021]

Appendices
Appendix 1:The anorexic body and social influences and fashion show

The National Institute of Health estimates the lifetime prevalence of anorexia and bulimia is 0.6 percent of the U.S. adult population, but among 13- to 18-year-olds, it is 2.7 percent. There are numerous risk factors, including being female, age (eating disorders are most common in the teens and early 20s), family history and influence, as well as the presence of additional mental health issues. “Although thin models are not the cause of eating disorders, they can be a trigger or a factor in maintaining an eating disorder," she said. "In other words, if a woman has a predisposition for an eating disorder and spends a lot of time looking at fashion magazines, this can be one of the factors that trigger feeling bad about her body, which she then turns into eating disorder behaviour, like excessive dieting." For further reading, follow this link evidence:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/fashion-eating-disorders-industry-responsibility_n_955497

Appendix 2: Evidence

Childline.org.uk, 2021. Available at: [Accessed on 10/05/2021]

Appendix 3: Evidence

Nickiswift.com, 2021. Available at: [Accessed on 10/05/2021]


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