“The Church says: The body is a sin.
Science says: The body is a machine.
Advertising says: The body is a business.
The Body says: I am a fiesta.”
― Eduardo Galeano, Walking Words
The massive objectification of women in the media has given birth to superfluous ideals related to physical appearance that are adversely affecting social norms. Unfortunately, both the young and the old are blindly internalizing such ideals popularized by cinema and the ad world without realizing the repercussions. One such norm is women possessing thin bodies.
General public tend to develop body-focused anxiety due to exposure to thin models. On the other hand, models and actors working in this field develop a range of psychiatric disorders and other diseases due to constant pressure to conform to a particular body shape. In the end, both groups feel disappointed with their bodies.
Though the World Health Organization (WHO) categorizes a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5 as “underweight,” a large proportion of models tends to flaunt a BMI less than 18.5. Instead of achieving a normal body weight through exercise and other measures, a number of models indulge in dangerous weight control measures, like fasts, detox, diet pills, vomiting, substance abuse, etc., to meet the unavoidable demands of agencies.
Besides triggering problems like anorexia, such unhealthy measures are responsible for causing low blood pressure, bodily dysfunctions, heart-related complications, electrolyte imbalances, etc. Apparently, the failure to meet weight loss demands leads to loss of work and lack of opportunities, leading to joblessness, mental disorders, and a life of oblivion.
Eating disorders can give rise to other complications
Elaborating on such issues, Laura Brioschi, a 28-year-old Body-Positive model, highlighted her struggle with body size during her initial days of working with popular brands and fashion advertisers. While still exploring the rough terrains of the fashion world, Brioschi was pressured to lose weight by a brand that reduced the sample hip sizes of their jeans from 42.5 in to 40.9 in. In order to retain her job, she tried all means to lose weight. However, she witnessed no miraculous changes.
Being constantly worried about losing weight, she joined a gym and visited it two times a day. One major repercussions of this was the development of eating disorders, prompting harmful eating behaviors like skipping meals, binge eating and then force vomiting. Though she started losing weight at an incredible rate after implementing such unhealthy weight control measures, she was asked to put on 2 cm around her waist before a catwalk.
However, the personal turmoil of Brioschi was not just limited to her professional life. With the acceptance of underweight women by the society as an ideal example of beauty, many men also prefer skinner women to those with curves. Even Brioschi experienced this stereotypical approach by the men in her life. When showered with compliments on her skinny appearance, including by her new boyfriend, she was convinced that this was the way to carry on. However, it soon started taking a toll on her physical and mental health. She went through a harrowing time when she started experiencing the painful symptoms of bulimia, stomachache, constant weakness, etc.
People suffering from eating disorders witness a range of physical and psychological problems. Such diseases lead to drastic changes in complexion and skin, converting them from a healthy pink to a sickly grey and dry. It is an uphill task to beat eating disorders. Instead of making a person feel beautiful and confident, such unhealthy weight loss measures can lower his or her esteem and affect the overall well-being.
Standardization of health essential for fashion industry
The need of the hour is to implement the same standards of health as identified by the public health agencies across the fashion and entertainment industry. This will play a crucial role in including models in safe prototypes of care and rights. One can beat the obsession with a thin body through consistent efforts and campaigns. With eating disorders affecting as many as 30 million people of all age groups, it is essential that treatment for the mental disorder is sought at the earliest.
If you or your loved one is suffering from eating disorders, contact the Sovereign Health for information related to the state-of-the-art eating disorder treatment centers. At Sovereign Health, one can undergo an effective eating disorder treatment module that ensures holistic recovery. For more information about our evidence-based treatment programs, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with our representatives.