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Picasso Idealizations

by VegasLights

Anorexia Nervosa. Bulimia Nervosa. Orthorexia Nervosa. Binge-eating Disorder.

Those names all have something in common. They are eating disorders. Eating disorders are influenced by many things, and one might even be in the palm of your hand. Social media. Body image isn’t the first thing you think about when you hear social media, but it’s something you see. Apps like Instagram and Snapchat make it possible with a click of a button. And it’s not just social media, it’s magazines, posters, and just about anything that could trigger someone to relapse. Pictures of models in their skin-tight clothes can cause someone to think such thoughts. Recurring images of stick-like ladies can cause girls to think that’s what they are supposed to look like, and they forget that they are perfect just the way they are. The comments that come with those pictures are just as bad as the picture. Beautiful. Wow, I wish I could be you! Outstanding! Those comments make girls and even boys believe that they need to change their body shape. Magazines create an idealization image of beauty, and that can destroy a person. Special characteristics are even given to each gender by the media.

“Girls developed eating disorders when our culture developed a standard of beauty that they couldn’t obtain by being healthy. When unnatural thinness became attractive, girls did unnatural things to be thin.”

-Mary Pipher

Body image & the Media: An Overview states, “Generally, for women, the body image is extremely thin, as depicted by fashion models. There is also an emphasis on large breasts. For men, the physique is tall, slender, but muscular and toned. For both genders, the most valued and appreciated appearance is youthful.” The way the media depicts bodies is unfair to growing boys and girls. We are living in a world where people even filter their photos. Most people will take a selfie, edit it, and then post it. People hide their insecurities with a filter, and that could make others feel worse about their insecurities.

The media also touches up flaws that the model have. Most of the time they will even make the models skinnier than they already are. This provides an unfair image to the models and just about everyone else. You might be thinking, “The models? What?”. While they think they are skinny enough the companies are still editing them to make them even skinnier. That will hurt them even if people envy them. Isn’t it weird that people want to be a model, even though some of the models don’t even like the way they look? That’s what people don’t understand about eating disorders. It isn't glamorous and it sure isn’t something you want.

“Even the models we see in magazines wish they could look like their own images.”

- Cheri K. Erdman

Something needs to be done about this false idealization. 5-10 million young girls are afraid of gaining weight due to the mixed messages they get from commercials. About 1 million boys are having the same reaction as the young girls. In a study, people asked 9 and 10 year-olds if they have tried losing weight. 40% of them have tried losing weight because they were dissatisfied with their image. Those numbers might not seem like much to you, but it will be a major problem as the years go on. The advertisers don’t realize that they are doing this, and we know it isn’t on purpose. Advertisers care what the people have to say about their ads. At times, things need to be said to get a point across to someone. If a number of people come together and show the advertisers how it’s affecting people there is a chance they’ll do something about it. There is a chance they will put more average-looking women and men in the ads.

Another misunderstood concept about eating disorders is men aren’t affected by them. Boys compare themselves to images too. Magazine articles and Instagram post make men look like buff and more attractive. People all around the world are affected by eating disorders. 40% of men have been diagnosed by doctors with binge-eating disorders. Some even go undiagnosed due to being afraid of losing their manliness. So, imagine the numbers if they were all checked by a doctor. The same goes for ladies too. Except they are afraid of being judged by their peers. Men look at pictures with the same thoughts as women. They are different just because they are men, and sometimes we all forget that.

Now, I know there are some people who believe the media only has an influence on girls and boys but doesn’t really affect them. I understand why people would think that. I mean, girls and boys have had eating disorders before the dawn of the media. Eating disorders will snatch anyone they can and it can have nothing to do with the media. Genetics can also be a cause of these ugly disorders. “Eating disorder symptoms themselves also appear to be moderately heritable,” says Dr. Berrettini. The media can ignite the feelings of an eating disorder. After that, things can pile up and make a person believe they need to do something about it. Other times, it’s people wanting to be able to control themselves.

Losing loved ones can even be the case for people. That was the case for Marci Warhaft-Nadler and her brother. At 17, Marci lost her brother and she wanted to figure out how to control herself. After 20 years of her horrid disorder, she wanted to recover from it, and this is where the media comes in. In an article she wrote, she said “The media didn’t give me my eating disorder, but it sure as hell made it hard to recover from it. While my family was telling me that I was too thin, magazines were telling me I wasn’t thin enough.”. She eventually made her recovery, but with a few bumps in the road. She talks about cigarette ads and how they don’t give her cancer after her story. People can see very beautiful girls, and they don’t have to be affected.

At times, we focus much more on the media than the actual disorders itself. The seriousness of the disorders is not to be covered up by the media. The media does create Picasso idealizations about people. When I say that, I simply mean they create images of people that are distorted, and you can’t tell if it’s real or not. Eating disorders can be caused by the media or influenced. It doesn’t even have to have a factor in eating disorders at all! People have their opinions and beliefs and it truly does matter. It matters because no matter what happens it will have an effect on what people believe. What we all have to remember is we sometimes have to come together to help something even if we don't believe in it.

“Beauty is in the way you hold yourself. It is how you treat people. The way you love. It’s self- acceptance. Beauty is in your soul.”



Ballaro, Beverly and Geraldine Wagner. "Body Image & the Media: An Overview." Points of View: Body Image & the Media, Jan. 2017, p. 1. EBSCOhost,

Rox, Philippa. "Does Social Media Impact on Body Image?" BBC News. BBC, 13 Oct. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2017. <>.

"Home." The Media and Body Image. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2017. <>.

Teen Health and the Media. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2017. <§ion=bodyimage>.

"Why the Media Isn’t to Blame for Eating Disorders." Psych N.p., 16 Mar. 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2017. <>.

"Eating Disorders in Men Is Becoming More Prevalent and Deadly." Eating Disorder Hope. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2017. <>.

"The Media Isn't To Blame For The Ruthlessness Of Eating Disorders." Women You Should Know®. N.p., 04 Feb. 2016. Web. 05 Dec. 2017. <>.

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57 Reviews

Points: 36
Reviews: 57

Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:14 am
IvoryRose wrote a review...

Hello! First off the title you gave the essay is very powerful. Eating disorders can can people to see a distorted version of themselves, much like Picasso’s art. It shows an abstract fictional concept that sadly people try to follow. Great sources and a good amount as well. I’m glad you mentioned men, but I feel you focused on women more. As well as the fact that the media isn’t a demonic power that magically gives someone an eating disorder. It’s a serious mental health problem that has existed for a while and the media only influences it. I suppose maybe explaining the disorders in more detail would have been better. Ten out of ten on the essay and I hope things get better!

User avatar
53 Reviews

Points: 73
Reviews: 53

Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:57 pm
jamgalloway wrote a review...

Hey, there! I decide to come take a look at this as I have an eating disorder myself. I've also written several bomb essays on it because of that; because I know first-hand what it's like. At first I was worried about this, thinking you were going to say that it's *just* the media that causes them, as I've seen that many times, but I'm glad to see that's not the case. The media definitely affects people, especially the youth and people who have already developed an eating disorder, but most of the time I personally don't think it causes them. At least for me and the other communities of people with eating disorders I've talked to(we tend to stick together, lol), it was more like what happened with Marci Warhaft-Nadler. Something in our lives or with ourselves caused us to develop one, and after that, well, you notice everything on the media/television about body size, food, etc.

I was glad to see you mentioned men as well as women, and that you mentioned orthorexia nervosa and binge-eating disorder as well. A lot of times men are forgotten about with eating disorders, and a lot of times people with anything other than anorexia are looked over. You also did good with using your sources, having quotes, and citing your sources too. I personally think it could be a bit longer since it seems like it's pretty short, but hey, I'm not a college professor.

Anyway, that's really all I wanted to mention. But if you plan on doing more writing on this topic or want to add more to it or anything, you are welcome to ask me whatever you'd like since, well, I'll know about it. I'm pretty much an open book about it--online anyway.

Good job on this and I wish you luck continuing! If you want help with anything, want me to review or look over something else, have any questions, just want to talk, whatever, just let me know and I'd be happy to. Have a lovely day!

VegasLights says...

Thanks for the review! If I'm being honest here I have an eating disorder too. So I thought it would be a good idea to bring into the light. If I do have any questions, I will remember to ask.

jamgalloway says...

That's good. Not you having an eating disorder, of course, but bringing it to the light. Also, I forgot to mention that I loved the title of this!

VegasLights says...

Haha, I understand. Thank you! It was kind of a last minute title idea.

— Someone Incredibly Noncommittal