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Eating Disorders and Fashion Magazines: What can the Fashion Industry do to undo the wrongs of the Past?


There is no doubt that a growing epidemic in western societies today is the rise of eating disorders and fashion magazines how contributed to it. Everywhere you turn young women are bombarded with fashion magazines, most of which cater to the young, the slim and the beautiful. Yes, there are magazines for plus size women, but to the young girl and the culture of youth today, big is out. Big girls can wear beautiful clothes but they still lose out on the dates.

How do you blame young women who want to date and have a normal healthy relationship with young men when all they see are ads with slim women getting all the beautiful guys? No wonder eating disorder and fashion magazines seem to go hand in hand. Fashion magazines portray slim women and men together, never larger women with men. Larger women are portrayed alone, and the message is loud and clear, larger women will remain alone.

The ego of a teenager is already on shaky ground, peer pressure is at the heart of it, but if their friends shun them for not being the right shape, or their inability to wear the right clothes then the illnesses of eating disorders and fashion magazines bombardment culminates into epic proportions. It is estimated that roughly sixty percent of teen girls in the general public are at risk for eating disorder related illnesses and these numbers escalate significantly when young girls subscribe to or read fashion magazines.

Before we go further we must point out that eating disorders and fashion magazines is not solely a woman’s nemesis. It is commonly thought that binge eating, bulimia, and anorexia nervosa affect women only, but men are affected by these eating disorders as well. According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, binge eating which is the most common of the eating disorders affect men and women equally.

In 2007, researchers from Harvard University Medical School released data stating that up to twenty five percent of the over all male population can be affected by eating disorders. The doctors who thought that eating disorders was largely a woman’s issue might have ignored many of these men. It is also common knowledge that many men traditionally did not seek help for these kinds of problems.

Now the issue of men and eating disorders are surfacing more as men are taking more interest in fashion.

The correlation between eating disorders and fashion magazines is significant enough for people in the fashion industry and for editors of fashion magazines to do something about the problem. Promoting a sense of self in young women and men, showing the body as beautiful no matter what shape it might take will help all women, men, young boys and girls who suffer from binge eating, bulimia and anorexia nervosa.