"Oh, my, God. Becky, look at her butt."

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psych1001.jpgMany of us know this famous song lyric from the intro of Sir-Mix-A-Lot's Baby Got Back (or in part of Drake's The Motto). But, have we ever noticed that we make these kind of judgements all the time? As mentioned in our psych textbook, we all have been guilty of people-watching at least once in life, you know, to pass the time while we're sitting around.1 And we conjure up statements like "Wow, look at that guy's hair," or, "Dang, that girl has some cellulite!" Most of the time we get pretty mean (admit it) because we know that the passerby will never hear us, but, do we ever consider that these people know that they are being judged? That their self esteems have been dropping, causing them to take high-measures to fight battles against the views of their peers — and sometimes only creating new battles for themselves? For example, many struggle with weight gain and obesity and at times can lead themselves down the path to bulimia nervosa (bingeing and purging to lose weight) or anorexia nervosa (excessive weight loss and irrational perception that one is overweight).2 Some research has shown that these disorders of extreme weight loss and weight gain can be blamed on genetics, but is that really the case? Other research states that we are highly influenced by the media, looking at images of insanely thin celebrities or looking at websites that provide "Thinspiration."3 So who are we to blame? Our genes? The media? Both? Neither?
Ready, set, discuss.

(1) Lilienfeld, Scott. "Chapter 11: Emotion and Motivation." Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding. 2nd ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2011. 433. Print.
(2) Lilienfeld, Scott. 436.
(3) Lilienfeld, Scott. 434-437.


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I suppose you can be genetically more likely to have an eating disorder but I will agree that it is largely our society and media that plays a huge part. You were right on when you mentioned how harsh people are when talking about others, and that can really wear on someone's self esteem. It is really no surprise that even if there is no genetic past to eating disorders that one would do everything they could to not be made fun of. People should really think about what they are saying about others, and how they would feel if someone was pointing out all their flaws. That is much easier said then done, however.

I believe that it the self consciousness alongside with the eating disorders is caused by a variety of different things. Perhaps the media does play a large role in it,but I also agree that the people making rude comments can also be part of the reason. It is wishful thinking to hope that perhaps if everyone just stopped judging and making rude comments, all would be OK. Yet, this is highly unlikely to ever happen. So instead, the individual should just ignore the comments and be confident in themselves. The problem, is that it is also very unlikely to just expect everyone to be able to do this.

The blame has to be place on society for sure. They put so much emphasis on looking attractive and that makes us who are no where near perfect still to whisper behind someones back and call them fat. Its a terrible thing that everyone has done and something that cant really be stopped? People dont understand the history of the person so judging them without knowing this wrong. One thing I would like to point out is how weak people have become. A common phrase when were like 8 is "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." Sometimes people just have to learn that they are great no matter what other people say about them. Find a group of friends that will be able to support you, that will benefit the person in the long run.

In my personal opinion, the media is the main reason for people's low self-esteem. Without the media's portrayals, our ideas of who, or what, looks "perfect" could be completely different. When the media discusses that a popular celebrity gained thirty pounds, or when they mention how someone dressed really poorly, both of these media topics make your "average" man or woman feel subconscious about themselves. I'm sure people notice their own flaws to a certain point, but I do believe that the media only makes everyone feel worse about their flaws.

I find this blog very fitting for the problems that many American women have today. I'm currently doing a research paper on influences of body image, and discovered that over 40% of women with eating disorders are over the age of 30, and on any given day 50% of American women are dieting. I personally believe that the media does not handle this situation appropriately, since they only focus on outer beauty. Or society should really be concerned about the health and nutrition of women and focus on promoting healthy lifestyles instead of crash dieting.

I think the biggest factor in low self-esteem and eating disorders is the influence of the media. Images of the "perfect" woman are everywhere from on TV, in magazines, on billboards, written about in books, and heard on the radio. Our society is obsessed with the fact that women need to look perfect: tall, tan, skinny, big breasts, toned, perfect smile etc. I think that certain women may be born with some of these eating disorders or may be influenced by their parents but I believe that the media is the biggest influence of them all and the people we should be pointing fingers at.

I would have to say that that both the media, and the people around us are the ones who have the most influence on those who have eating disorders. The media plays a huge role in portraying one's body as abnormally thin and out of proportion, and therefore, girls who see this think that it is the thing to do or the look to go for. The sad thing is that almost all of the pictures girls see in ads and magazines are fake, completely photoshopped and re-worked, to make the models appear "thinner" or "better looking." Many girls look up to the models or the famous people in these pictures and aspire to be more like them which scan lead them to develop such eating disorders and bad habits. Not only are the models encouraging girls to mistreat their body like this, but one's peers also have a huge influence. Once one girl develops bad eating habits or a obsession of working out and looking thin, it becomes a trend and all girls want to join in. This is a huge problem that girls struggle with in today's society and I think that the media plays a big role in promoting it.

Maybe if you people watched a bit more quietly these poor passerbys wouldn't know they were being judged. Im just curious as to whether the amount of "you should be like this" messages are passive or active. As in "Get skinny and lose weight on thermo-maxy-shredloss" or just casually placing stereotypically attractive people into advertisements, somewhat subliminally directing people what to look like. Which type is more effective in influencing consumers perceptions?

I believe that the media plays a big role in what is considered attractive, but I also think that many of us are somewhat disgusted by the high fashion stick figures that are deemed models because of the fact that they are 6' 5" tall and 95 lbs. The Fashion industry is taking advantage of the exaggerated extremes of the human body to make their garments look appealing and artistic. However, if we saw these same women on the street, they would look like freaks and hardly attractive. I think that the use of very thin women in the media has to be translated into the real world so that the normal consumer can see that they look like skeletons in real like and are not as attractive at they seem on the runway. So maybe the media is to blame for our self consciousness or body image or maybe it is just human nature. Who knows?

I like how your blog has made me stop and think about all the times I have casted completely harsh judgements upon people, solely due to their appearance. It is horrible, but yet almost everyone in society does it; whether they verbally express these thoughts or not. Most people realize they are in the wrong for doing this, but why then do we continue? I think that in reality, it is a way to boost our own personal confidence. The media has set such high standards to what an attractive human should look like, that a large bulk of society can't help but to obsess over this image and strive to emulate it. Due to this, people are constantly comparing themselves to both people they see on the streets, and the models that appear in advertisements.

I believe that there are several factors that cause an eating disorder. It is very hard to pin point the exact causes when cases vary from person to person. However, I feel that the media, as well as the level of one's self-confidence plays the largest role. It seems that most people with eating disorders have a similar "lack of self-confidence", therefore causing themselves to go through drastic measures to maintain the body image they want. They simply are not happy with what they see in the mirror. It is very hard to tell whether this is genetic or influential.

This is a very touchy subject for many Americans. With the youth becoming more and more valuable to eating disorders, these problems seem to be coming up more and more often, they cannot just be over looked as they were for so long. The causes of these eating disorders could result for multiple things including genetics, media, and peer pressure. I do not think it is just one of these three that push today's youth to purge though. I feel that it mostly likely a combination of a few of all of them. Genetics could be a predisposition that is sparked by media and fueled by peer pressure. It is tough to say what the cause is, but something needs to be done to make our youth more confident about their bodies, no matter their size, shape, or look.

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This page contains a single entry by beerg007 published on April 1, 2012 8:25 PM.

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