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Eating Disorders

The purpose of this research is to examine eating disorders and the effects that mass media have on the culture, both male and female within it, that may lead to such disorders. The plan of the research will be to set forth in general terms the social and cultural context for consideration of eating disorders and the philosophical theory of Susan Bordo on the subject, and then to discuss how Bordo interprets the phenomenon of eating disorders as a cultural artifact of the modern period.

In the background of discourse on eating disorders is the discourse of the body, particularly the image of the ideal female body, that dominates the enterprise and perceptual experience of Western popular culture. This ideal is so familiar as to elude explanation, but its relevance consists in the fact that the vast majority of women in the world have simply never been able to attain it. The artificiality of the ideal can be concisely described with reference to the fact that few women engaged or affected by popular culture have a hope of looking like either Audrey Hepburn (who came by her looks and long and elegant neck naturally) or the long-neck women of Thailand (who do not). Yet that ideal, which is artificial inasmuch as it so rarely occurs in nature and which is desirable not least because it is so difficult for most human beings to achieve, is precisely the image of physical female beauty that dominates the mass media in the contemporary period. What makes the ideal desirable--its difficulty of achievement--is also what connects it to eating disorders, chiefly though not solely among women. The larger importance of the issue of eating disorders lies in the fact that both clinical and anecdotal evidence exists that shows their destructive physical effects and that points toward and beyond an important role of body-image psychology in the onset of the disorders.

Some seven million diagnoses of eating disorders have been made, of which some 7...

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Eating Disorders. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 19:21, May 25, 2020, from