zOLD Body Image & Eating Disorders
Hyper-sexualization of young women linked to eating disorders, depression (2007)
Young women are being inundated with commercials, TV shows, toys, and other media encouraging them to be sexy and seductive, according to an American Psychological Association task force. As a consequence, they are dieting to achieve a thin "ideal” body, focusing more on projecting seductiveness, have more sex and less safer sex. This hyper-sexualization of young women is linked to three of their most common mental health complaints: eating disorders, depression, and low self-esteem. The authors believe that the early sexualization of young girls is linked to the same sort of harmful outcomes as young women experience.
TITLE: "Report of the Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.”
AUTHORS: Eileen L. Zurbriggen (Chair), Rebecca L. Collins, Sharon Lamb, Tomi-Ann Roberts, Deborah L.Tolman, L. Monique Ward, and Jeanne Blake
Model and fitness magazines linked to eating disorders and supplement use (2003)

Teenage girls and boys who read health and fitness magazines are less satisfied with their bodies, and are more likely to take supplements and participate in anorexic and bulimic behaviors.Teen girls and boys who compared their bodies to the pictures of models and athletes in health and fitness magazines were more likely to want to be thinner, avoid eating when hungry, vomit after eating, and take laxatives to lose weight. In addition, teenage boys were more likely to take pills or supplements to get bigger muscle. The pictures seemed to be particularly important, because teenagers who read but focused more on the articles were less likely to participate in harmful behaviors, so it's probably comparing themselves to unrealistic body images that creates the body dissatisfaction.

TITLE: "For Your Health? The Relationship between Magazine Reading and Adolescents' Body Image and Eating Disorders.”
AUTHORS: Renée A. Botta.
JOURNAL: Sex Roles. YEAR: 2003.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: SpringerLink, $32.
Natural body development during puberty causes dieting and depression in girls (2000)

As they enter puberty and their bodies develop, they look less like the ideal thin body type, which leaves many girls very depressed. Unlike boys – whose self-esteem improves during puberty as their bodies bulk up – girls’ self-esteem plummets. To combat the natural weight gain of puberty, girls often turn to extreme dieting, and the more they dislike their bodies, the more likely they are to use extreme dieting techniques like fasting, binging and purging.

TITLE: "Body-Image and Eating Disturbance Predict Onset of Depression Among Female Adolescents.”

AUTHORS: Eric Stice, Chris Hayward, Rebecca P. Cameron, Joel D. Killen, C. Barr Taylor

JOURNAL: Journal of Abnormal Psychology YEAR: 2000

DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from PsycNet $11.95

URL: http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2000-05424-009

Action figures increasingly created with unrealistic, impossible muscles and bodies (1999)

Since 1964, GI Joe has been a top selling toy which basically invented the "action figure” category. If the '64 GI Joe had been real, he would have been 5'10” tall with a 31.7-inch waist and biceps 12 inches around – large but not abnormal. He has muscles, but not a lot of definition.
By 1973, the new GI Joe had a 31.7-inch waist, 15-inch biceps, and highly defined muscles. By 1994, GI Joe had ripped abs and chest – and the overall definition of an advanced bodybuilder. His waist had shrunk to 29 inches; his biceps had ballooned to 16 inches. The 1998 GI Joe Extreme Sergeant Savage had a freakish musculature including a 27-inch bicep.
The trend towards impossible, hyper-masculine bodies is echoed in other boys action figures as well. The 1998 Batman would have a 30.3-inch waist, a 57.2-inch chest, and a bicep circumference of 26.8 inches. The 1998 Wolverine action figure would have a 33-inch waist, a 62-inch chest, and an unheard of 32-inch bicep.
The average American man's bicep is 12-13 inches in circumference. The largest ever measured is 28 inches – by a bodybuilder who admitted to heavy steroid use.
TITLE: "Evolving Ideals of Male Body Image as Seen through Action Toys.”
AUTHORS: Harrison G. Pope, Jr., et al.
JOURNAL: International Journal of Eating Disorders. YEAR: 1999.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available free from Spitting Image.

Fashion magazines linked to dieting, weight control and body dissatisfaction (1999)

The body image and dieting practices of girls from 5th grade to 12th grade are directly influenced by pictures in fashion magazines. 69% said that pictures in magazines like Seventeen, Jet, Sassy, and Glamour influence their ideal body shape. While only 29% were actually overweight, fully two-thirds (66%) thought that they needed to lose weight, and 47% wanted to start dieting. Girls who read fashion magazines at least twice a week were up to 3 times more likely to report dieting or exercising to lose weight.
The power of fashion images was so strong that over half (59%) of girls who didn't even read magazines said that the pictures influenced what they thought was the correct, ideal body shape, and 41% admitted that seeing the pictures made them want to lose weight.
TITLE: "Exposure to the Mass Media and Weight Concerns Among Girls.”
AUTHORS: Alison E. Field, Lilian Cheung, Anne M. Wolf, David B. Herzog, Steven L. Gortmaker, and Graham A. Colditz.
JOURNAL: Pediatrics. YEAR: 1999.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available free from Pediatrics.

Two-thirds of third graders are already "very scared” of being fat (1997)

Third graders have already internalized strong stereotypes about weight and gender. Almost two-thirds of girls and boys say that they are already "very scared” of being fat, and about two-thirds are already exercising to lose weight.
Almost every 3rd grader admits to sometimes selecting specific foods to stay thin. A small segment of kids have already started throwing up after meals to maintain their weight. About half of 3rd graders already believe that being thin is important for girls and women.
TITLE: "Fear of Fat, Disregulated Restrained Eating, and Body-Esteem: Prevalence and Gender Differences Among Eight- to Ten-Year-Old Children.”
AUTHORS: Susan Shapiro, Michael Newcomb, and Tamra Burn Loeb.
JOURNAL: Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology. YEAR: 1997.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from InformaWorld, $28.



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