Women's Center

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Eating Disorders/Body Image

Abercrombie and Fitch has told us that beauty is limited to sizes 0-8, popular magazines continued to show us that the ideal body is an airbrushed, light skinned supermodel, and the concept of maintaining a gap between your thighs is recognized as a new standard for beauty.  With messages like these staring women in the face on a daily basis, how could we not internalize negative thoughts about our own bodies?

With an estimated 11 million Americans suffering from eating disorders and $40 billion spent annually on dieting and diet-related products, eating disorders and poor body image are issues many girls, women, and people across the gender spectrum struggle with at some point in their lives. Body image can be defined as an individual’s perception of their body: how you view yourself in terms of height, weight, shape, size, skin tone, etc. In addition, racial and ethnic diversity are both protective factors and an additional layer of oppression for people of color. Those who have a negative sense about their body may feel ashamed or uncomfortable and have a greater chance of developing an eating disorder.

Though the majority of individuals who suffer from eating disorders are female, people across the gender spectrum  may also develop eating disorders. Eating disorders, as defined by numerous medical centers, are a broad group of serious conditions in which an individual becomes increasingly preoccupied with food and weight to the extent that this becomes their primary focus. Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions that require medical attention. If you or someone you know exhibits characteristics of an eating disorder, seek help immediately.

For more information, please visit the following websites:

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/default.asp

http://now.org/now-foundation/love-your-body/