Media promotes female dieting obsession

Jessica Seftel

Dieting is not just a trend in American society, it is an epidemic. Many American women are obsessed with losing weight and this is encouraged and promoted by the media and advertising companies. Dieting to lose weight is being pushed on young women instead of encouraging healthy eating habits and daily exercise. It seems that no woman is satisfied with her appearance and body type.

Unfortunately, this dissatisfaction can lead to eating disorders and depression. According to SMU fitness center supervisor Dolores Henry, “dieting as a means of losing weight is the primary reason most women come to the gym.” Nowadays, we are shown that beauty is attainable in size 0 or 2 pants. The mainstream media constantly markets dieting pills, meal plans, and surgeries to sell this idea, and pushes this beauty myth onto younger and younger women. According to the U.S. Department of Health, “Almost half of American children between first and third grade want to be thinner. Half of nine and 10-year-old girls are dieting to feel better about themselves.” This is threatening to the well being, mentally and physically, of American girls.

The fitness industry continues to watch their business rise at the expense of a women’s obsession with her image. “Americans spend over $40 billion a year on dieting products and services,” says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It’s becoming very dangerous as new dieting plans are made, which look more like a starvation plan such as the orange juice diet, soup diet, and popcorn diet. These distorted body images and low self issues are only going to get worse with all the marketing tactics and advertisements.

All women can think of an occasion when an idea or mental image has popped into their head about self image and eating habits without warning. These might be completely senseless, or it might become an unhealthy obsession. Instead of the media trying to persuade woman that dieting will boost their self esteem, the focus should be on exercising daily and eating healthy. Image has to do with perception. How you see yourself is vital because this will affect your behavior, your thinking and how you relate to others. People respond either positively or negatively according to the level of confidence. The confidence within about your body depends on the image of yourself.

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