Glamorizing Eating Disorders

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A bit more than a week ago, Peaches Geldof’s death was announced but the cause of death remained inconclusive. Although I never really considered myself a fan of hers, I remembered her as someone who I could relate to in terms of her body type. There weren’t many curvy women presented in the media and she was someone who made me feel a bit more confident. When media sites reported how happy she seemed on Instagram before her death, I decided to take a look at her pictures.

Instead of seeing the Peaches Geldof that I remembered from my early teenage years, I saw an incredibly thin woman who did not resemble the image of Peaches Geldof that I once related to. She had openly talked about her body insecurities and discussed the influence that the media had on her body image:  “Sometimes it’s hard. If you open any high-fashion magazine, the girls in it are stick-thin and then they’ve been air-brushed down to the point where it’s just like, ludicrousness. I have days when I wake up and think ‘I’m so fat.’”

Despite the fact that it was evident that her body had changed drastically and there were hints that she may have an eating disorder, it was very difficult to find reports that discussed anorexia as a possible factor in her death.The “a” word was nowhere to be found.  It was not until a few days after her death that celebrity gossip sites began to post statements from family friends saying that they believed Peaches may have been anorexic, just like her late mother, Paula Yates.

The fact that Peaches may have died due to an eating disorder hit home for me because I had an eating disorder from the age of 11 to 14. It was a huge struggle to feel comfortable with my body and it still is. The media has taught me that my body is not deemed attractive because I don’t wear a size 0, 2, or 4. Actresses such as Amber Heard and America Ferrera feel forced to lose weight in order to gain popularity and be deemed acceptable. What this tells me is that I will never be accepted unless I find a way to lose weight- whether it’s in an unhealthy way or not.

As a person who is constantly struggling with body image and who has to endure conversations with her parents, where they ask “Are you still thin? Did you get fat again?,” it is easy to feel like I will never be successful if I am not thin. There’s plenty of worse things than being fat but society has taught me that being fat is something to be ashamed of and something that I need to change immediately. It has been almost a decade since I had an eating disorder and, although I still struggle a lot with my body image, I realized that it’s better to be healthy and “fat” rather than starving myself for something so shallow.

Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from some sort of eating disorder. Women, in particular, receive the most criticism by the media and are often introduced to diets from an early age.The media teaches women that their appearance is valued more than their health.Nobody should die trying to follow the body image standard. It is time to try to put a stop on the importance of being thin and focus on being healthy instead.

Update: Although Peaches Geldoff died of a heroin overdose, it’s still worth noting the fact that things weren’t going as perfectly in her life as the media reported it to be prior to her death. She showed obvious signs of having an eating disorder and feeling insecure about herself, to the point where she starved herself. She is someone who was constantly criticized in the media for her body and family life and it’s easy to see how something like that can take a toll on someone, causing extreme health risks and drug use.

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2 thoughts on “Glamorizing Eating Disorders

  1. It’s so unfortunate that the media can penetrate young women’s minds this deeply. This is the reality that needs to become history. Not only does the media tell us that only one body type is beautiful, it also tells us that the most important thing for a woman to be is beautiful. It’s harmful to women on a deep psychological level.

  2. Pingback: Glamorizing Eating Disorders | The Women in Media Project

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