QUESTION: Cultural Obsessions With Thinness

October 7, 2010

This blog discussion is based on chapter 7 of the book Seeing Ourselves, the article ‘CULTURAL OBSESSIONS WITH THINNESS: AFRICAN AMERICAN, LATINA, AND WHITE WOMEN by BECKY W. THOMPSON’

Answer and discuss the following questions: Compare and contrast the three theoretical models used to explain and treat eating disorders. Discuss the relationship between sexual abuse and eating disorders. Explain how racism and class standing can contribute to eating disorders.

The students who are assigned to answer these questions are asked to do an original posts and comment on the posts of another student. Other students may comment on these posts. The instruction for making original post will be emailed to all students.



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2 Comments Add your own

  •    Melanie Rowe  |  October 31st, 2010 at 3:26 pm     Reply

    According to the text in the book “Seeing Ourselves”, “7 million women and 1 million men ages ten to early twenties suffer from eating disorders and 1000 women are expected to die from anorexia each year.” There are three theoretical models that attempt to explain this phenomena including the biomedical model, the psychological model and the thinness model. The biomedical model Is made up of research that offers up some possible causes of eating disorders and the dangers of starvation and purging, however this model leaves out cultural influences that may have an impact on these disorders which the psychological model includes. The psychological method includes biological, psychological factors and cultural aspects of eating disorders however overlooks women of color, lesbians, and working class women which the thinness model includes as the key reason why eating disorders occur. The thinness model suggests that eating disorders are culturally, socially, and economically influenced requirements for being beautiful. Eating disorders effect millions of women around the world including African American and Latina women. Due to the fact that many people think of eating disorders as being a “white American” disorder, when it occurs in women in other parts of the world it generally goes undiagnosed and untreated. There are many different reasons for anorexia are vast and vary from society to society. For example anorexia in African women often stems from oppression and the stress of being undervalued or from past battled with racism during childhood years. More recently some researchers believe that eating disorders may be a way for women to cope with an underlying trauma from their past such as physical or sexual abuse. Purging helped these victims deaden the pain and anxiety that they were battling with. Another influence on easting disorders is poverty among women. Whether it be inaccessibility to food that contributes to eating disorders, or a way to feel in control with the daily stresses of being in an uncontrollable situation, many people in impoverish conditions turn to bulimia as a way to cope. But perhaps one of the most frequent reason that eating disorders occur is due to pressures by the media for women to look a certain way. Through magazines and commercials and advertisements the media influences the way women think and feel about themselves. A persons image has become completely focused around the way they look instead of who they are as a person, resulting in unnecessary eating disorders worldwide.

  •    Serene Durham  |  September 26th, 2011 at 4:19 pm     Reply

    I think you did a very good job comparing and contrasting the three theoretical models used for explaining eating disorders. I also liked the way you mentioned that race can contribute to these eating disorders, and they can develop in any society. I think you could have added more about the relationship between sexual abuse and eating disorders but overall, I agree with everything you wrote about social media influencing the way women in society view themselves.

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