IS THE INFLUENCE OF ROLE MODELS AND CELEBRITIES SOMETHING THAT CAUSES ANOREXIA?”
Remember it’s a Key QUESTION. If the Examiner asks you what it is, don’t write “Anorexia”. “Anorexia” isn’t a question. Questions have question marks at the end and start with a word like “how”.
The exam may ask you to “summarise” your Key Question. This means giving some of the information below.
THE FEATURES OF ANOREXIA NERVOSA
“Features” means facts about your Key Issue – what forms does it takes, what types are there? (You’re not talking any Psychology here. It’s general knowledge really.) Later you can explain the learning theory behind eating disorders like this
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that may affect up to 5% of girls and young women in the UK. It is a form of intentional self-starving that begins as dieting but goes to extremes.
Symptoms of anorexia include:
The average age for onset of the illness is 16, although the age range of anorexia is between 10 and 40. Around 90% of cases are female. Most have no history of being overweight.
Over 25% of anorexics are so weak that they require hospitalisation. This may involve force feeding as well as advice on healthy eating and counselling.
Many doctors believe that once a person's bodyweight has fallen below a certain level, they are no longer capable of making rational decisions.
There has been wide-ranging debate over whether anorexics should be force-fed or whether they have the right to literally starve themselves to death.
Around one third of patients recover fully; another third improve significantly and the last third do not recover.
SIZE ZERO MODELS
Size Zero clothing is designed to fit measurements of chest-stomach-hips 84-64-89 cm. It is the equivalent of UK Size 4; by comparison, the average female clothing size in the UK is Size 16. It is also a term used for extremely thin models popular on fashion catwalks.
Concern about Size Zero models began when, in 2006, the model Luizel Ramos died of a heart attack brought on by anorexia. Madrid Fashion Week banned Size Zero models the following month and the Milan fashion show followed. Fashion houses like Prada, Versace and Victoria Beckham have also banned Size Zero models from representing them.
Nonetheless, even as Western people get fatter, the models used in the media get thinner. Kate Moss famously quipped: “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Katie Green was a shopgirl who won a competition to become the new model for Wonderbra. She quit the campaign when she was expected to drop from Size 12 to Size 10; she went on to found the Say No To Size Zero Campaign.
One reaction to this has been the popularity of Plus Size models who wear UK Size 10-16. A famous example is Sophie Dahl who has appeared on covers for Elle and Vogue.
Plus Size models have also been criticised for setting bad examples in diet and weight management. For example, they often eat too much salt, which helps them retain fluids.
PHOTOSHOP & WOMEN'S BODIES
Photo Manipulation involves altering photographs after they have been taken. This has been made digital photography and software like Photoshop. There is concern that the fashion industry uses photo manipulation to make models and celebrities look thinner than they are.
There are two types of photo manipulation:
Several celebrities have complained about their images being altered on magazine covers, including Brad Pitt, Kate Winslett and Jennifer Laurence. In 2010, Britney Spears agreed to release "un-airbrushed images of herself next to the digitally altered ones" to "highlight the pressure exerted on women to look perfect".
Some companies have turned against photo manipulation, including Dove Soap who launched their “Campaign for Real Beauty”. Other companies have decided to continue with it. The editor of the French magazine Marie Claire stated that their readers are not idiots and that they can tell when a model has been retouched.
A survey by New Look found that 15% of readers thought that cover images represented how the model looked in real life; 33% of women surveyed were aiming for a body image it was impossible for them to achieve.
APPLYING PSYCHOLOGY TO THE KEY QUESTION