Anorexia and the media Essay

The Connection Between the Rise in Online Media and Anorexia in Young Woman Abstract Today, social media has expanded to many online medias, giving possible rise to anorexia among young women. In order to test this, an experiment testing woman’s likeability to eat food after viewing images of skinny woman, is created. In the experiment, a control group of randomized woman are asked to view a slide show exposing them to images of unrealistically skinny woman, selected from various online websites.

The other group of woman is exposed to images of savory foods from around the world, also found online.

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Both slide shows are shown in the same room, but alternate for each woman that walks in. This is to ensure randomization. In the next room woman are offered food set out on a table while they await a survey they believe will take place in the next room. This experiment will test the likelihood of the women who view the images of the skinny models to eat the food from the waiting room.

As hypothesized, the women who viewed the images of the models opted out of eating the food in the waiting room, while the women who viewed the “food” slide show did not resist the waiting room food.

Eating disorders are growing rampantly in western civilization and are present in four out of ten individuals, of those four, 0. 9% of woman will struggle specifically with anorexia. (Ekern, 2012) Anorexia Nervosa can be defined as the loss of appetite caused by psychological illness. Young women who suffer from anorexia nervosa have a body image disturbance which leads to dangerous dietary routines and a skewed perception of the body. Namely, these young women are taking the saying “you can never be too thin” to dangerous extremes. These negative perceptions can e linked with the exposure to unrealistic portrayals of women in the media. Cox, 1997) Sufferers of anorexia believe that the images present in media, such as magazines and television ads, are the true representation of the ideal woman, and therefore look to embody it. In the Cosmopolitan article, “Do Models Cause Anorexia? ” affected by images of thin models, because they do not possess a critical faculty to read the image or evaluate its meaning. ” (Cox,1997). A study by Burke uses popular Australian woman’s media to explore the source of anorexia. This study confirms the elief that falsified images in the media lead to anorexia.

In the past, images that caused young women to develop a negative self image, were limited to two types of media, print media (news papers, magazines, billboards etc. ) and broadcasted media (television shows and commercials). A study conducted by Ahlers and John Henssen shows that in the past 50 years, a major decline in dependency on newspapers for news has taken place. As a result, newspaper and magazine agencies have “responded by going online themselves to recapture lost revenues and leverage their ability to reach consumers both on and offline. Ahlers,2005) Essentially creating an online market for advertisements that present the same images seen in the traditional mediums. Online media is more easily accessible than traditional media and young women are now privvy to the distorted images portrayed in the media at the push of a few computer keyboard keys. The idea of manipulation through media was the platform for online media advertisements. (Reaves,2001) At first, the images girls would see in the traditional media was brought on by the producers and advertisers that looked to increase lost revenue in traditional media by launching it online.

Thus the traditional magazines and newspapers were transformed to online editorial websites. (Ahlers,2005) The advertisements, on these websites, birthed an array of online medias that reinforce the skewed image of a “perfect body’. (Reaves, 2001) Today, social media has expanded to online magazines, fashion blogs, social networking websites, Online shopping catalogs, websites broadcasting live fashion runway showings and model profiles, plus many more sites giving rise to anorexia among young women. (Cook and Chamberlian,2012) These websites have led to the creation of “pro -anorexia” websites, also known as “Pro-Ana. (Tierney,2006).

Pro-Ana websites have opened new possibilities for blow by blow instructions on achieving the desired weight loss through extreme dieting, and chat rooms specifically designed to promote anorexia. (Tierney,2006). Girls are more exposed to anorexia as a result. Considering the high rate of anorexia of girls who look at media, (Cox, 1997) we see that there’s a rise in social media, (Ahlers,2005) therefore it is reasonable to believe that anorexia will increase because of higher rates of exposure to social media. This paper will explore the rise of online media and its relation to the rowing rate of anorexia among young women.

Method 1000 Woman of all ages and physiques participated in this study. Woman range from the ages 14 to 30. 20 random malls were selected out of 50 malls across the united states, 50 from each mall participate in order to get a mixed population and thus better results. The malls were selected by means of the national mall database and the use of a random number generator. The selected women ranged in all different types of socio economic scales and multiple ethnicities, including Caucasian, Latino, Asian, European, and African American, Native American.

Each condition will have 500 woman participants, that are randomly assigned to each group. Measures In order to investigate the possibility that images of woman found in online media determine the ideal body image for young woman and ultimately lead to anorexia, two groups of participants will be exposed to a variety of different images, and will be asked to go to the next room where food will be present. Independent variable is the images that are presented. Dependent variable is the amount of food each participant chooses to eat.

Half the participants are exposed to the images of holesome and mouthwatering foods, while the other participants are exposed to images of skinny models. The manipulation is done through the images (‘V) to see which group of participants will eat more of the food presented in the next room. The dependent variable, food, is measured by how much food each participant ate. This will be measured by only putting out 10 chocolate chip cookies, 30 little pretzels, 20 strawberries, 5 plain bagels with plain cream cheese, 1 apple, a pack of Doritos chips (aprox 20 chips).

Each amount of food is looked at to see how much the participant te. The rooms used to show the images are the same exact room. The images are shown on a slide show on a computer, each slide show being different for the control group. The room holding the food is the same room, and the food is exactly the same. Procedure This is a quasistatistical between subjects experimental design. The conditions were randomly assigned to the experiment rooms, causing for nonequivalent groups. The room included one computer that would alternate between the “foods” and “models” slide shows to ensure randomization.

All the woman did not get to choose which lide show they saw, further making it random. 1000 woman were selected. One group will be exposed to images of thin, beautiful, “happy’ looking woman, while the other group will be exposed to pictures of savory foods from around the world. Both groups will then have to go to a “waiting room” and told that the “real experiment” will take place in the next room. In the waiting room a table with an array of different foods will be made available for the participants to indulge in.

Each woman is told that she will look at some images on a slide show and will be asked questions about the images in the next room. After each woman finished viewing the slide show, she was escorted to the next room which was referred to as the “waiting room” until they can enter the next room to answer questions about the slide. This room includes a two way mirror that reveals whether the woman indulges in the food on the table or keeps away. A couch is made available to the woman to sit on, right next to the food. The woman are left in the waiting room for a total of 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, the debriefing takes process. In which the women are told that the experiment tested had were answered as part of the debriefing. Discussion By the end of this 3 week study, the woman who were exposed to the images of skinny models chose not to eat the food in the waiting room, while most of the woman exposed to the images of food, chose to eat. The woman who were exposed to the images of food, not only ate the food, but did so within the first five minutes. The experimental group (exposed to images of models) did as predicted, and did not touch the food.

Further showing that images of skinny woman in the media lead to the rise in anorexia. Society can learn from this by lessening the exposure of such images to young girls. These images create a loss of appetite. Limitations This experiment is limited by the inexperience of the researcher. This is the first research conducted by the team. No prior background information was done over the women participants, this may have exposed a preexisting eating disorder that could have changed the results of this experiment.

Alternative images could have also been shown, it is possible that woman who viewed the images of food only became hungry because of the food and not their attitude towards being skinny. Although a statistically significant difference was observed within the two conditions, the three- eek time period of this study isn’t long enough to show the lasting impacts exposing woman to images of skinny unrealistic woman. Future Research It would be interesting to further explore these unrealistic images that effect individuals.

In the next research, further research on the effect on men would be In the further research on men, one could set up the same experiment, only this time creating a slide show of pictures of men who look muscley. This of course would promote exercise, which may seem healthy but it may lead men to over exercise and turn to steroids. Another interesting subject to further research would be to test lder woman, and see how they are effected by the same images the woman in this experiment viewed. Does this create the same effect on older woman?

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