The Media and Eating Disorders
The general public seems to have an unhealthy obsession with celebrities - their lifestyles, relationships, and particularly their weight and body shape, which is only perpetuated (some may say even caused), by the media.
The media is constantly bombarding us with images of celebrities who have slim, and sometimes very thin, bodies. Models, actors, singers, presenters, socialites and reality television stars often appear in magazines and on television looking thin, and sometimes even verging on emaciated.
Celebrities Putting on Weight
Celebrities are scrutinised when they put on a few pounds as well as when they lose them. For some reason it is interesting to watch those who appear to 'have it all' put on weight and see how long it takes for them to lose it.
For example, a particularly hot present day topic seems to be celebrities having babies. After a celebrity gives birth, the paparazzi usually follows her everywhere ready to snap her, so the whole world (which appears to be waiting with baited breath) can see how long it takes for her to lose her baby weight and emerge super-slim with all evidence of having had a baby banished.
Some celebrities appear to give in to this pressure, and are seen in public only a few weeks after giving birth looking enviably gorgeous and impossibly slim. This sets an unrealistic level of expectation for 'normal' mothers, who don't have an army of nannies in tow to look after their newborn while they focus on their strict diet and exercise regime.
Celebrities and Physical Perfection
Having babies aside, in the celebrity world nothing less than perfect is acceptable for the catwalk or red carpet. Celebrities face intense scrutiny and every small imperfection is noted and brought to the world's attention. The celebrity must go to great lengths to look as good as good as possible in order to be noticed for the 'right' reasons.
Fortunately for them, they have the means to do this. Personal chefs, trainers, assistants, plastic surgery, beauty treatments, you name it; they have everything they need at their disposal to whip them into their desired size and shape.
The resulting image of physical perfection that celebrities project is unobtainable for the majority of people, many of whom are secretly wishing they too could look like this. Perhaps this contributes to women's (and men's) feelings of dissatisfaction about their own bodies, and encourages them to make unhealthy diet or exercise choices. Dieting is one of the contributory factors in the onset of eating disorders.
Media Pressure and Eating Disorders
In summary, celebrities endeavour to look the way they do because of the immense pressure they face from the media to look good, and it is the media that bombards the general public with their images.
So is the media responsible for eating disorders? It would be foolish to answer this question with a 'yes' as it is known eating disorders arise from a number of interrelated, complex issues. However, the media certainly has an important role to play in the messages impressionable, young people receive about the cultural ideal of physical perfection.