Persuasive Speech about Eating Disorders

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In the modern world, it is of particular concern that the impact of modern media on people of any generation, but in particular on young people. No one disputes that this effect is much more negative than positive. This is confirmed by the existing scientific research and the overall situation in society. There are a lot of waves of violence, unmotivated aggression, the destruction of traditional human values, and so on.

Recently, however, people have begun to argue that mass media could become a catalyst for another problem in society — eating disorders. Numerous photos of skinny girls, photoshopped magazine covers, ideal stars on the red carpet - all this, no matter how hard we try, subconsciously influences both men and women all over the world. However, are social platforms truly responsible for this kind of sociological and clinical problem?

People tend to misunderstand eating disorders as a lifestyle choice, however, in reality, it is a very serious and fatal illness. As the National Institute of Mental Health states, this disorder, in turn, is inherently connected with serious disturbances in eating behavior, and distorted beliefs about nutrition, including extreme concern about weight, figure, body, and food. There are many different kinds of eating disorders with different names, but the result is the same - the possibility of inevitable death. Speaking of eating disorders, it is impossible not to touch the influence of the media. We are seeing a causal relationship between the media and the development of eating disorders everywhere: for example, the recent article by Naomi Wolf or the ban on low-weight models by European governments.

In the book ‘The Beauty Myth’ Naomi presents impressive states and statistics about this ‘killer epidemic’, as she names eating disorders:

magazines such as Vogue and Glamour that once glorified the abnormally thin models on their covers. One of the successful models, Aimee Liu, in her autobiography states that.

Of course, the representation of human bodies in the media is a problem. Photos of thin retouched models and corrected actresses in Photoshop can affect self-perception and expectations of readers/viewers from their own bodies. For some, it becomes a trigger or a major factor in the development of eating disorders. Such images also promote and support fatphobia, discrimination of persons with disabilities, cis-sexism, racism, and other forms of discrimination. In the fight for equality, the media is an important institution for analysis, deconstruction, and change. However, is the media delivering the brunt, or is the media only a consequence of the problem?

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Firstly, eating disorders remain among the least understood in the world, and excessive attention to the media can be dangerous. Secondly, only those who are personally affected by an eating disorder, those who support a loved one, and those who have knowledge in this area, know that this is a complex phenomenon. But for many others, these causal relationships remain central to their knowledge. And finally, many of the narratives, facts, and realities of eating disorders remain unnoticed.

It is worth remembering the fact that eating disorders are a problem of the mental spectrum. It is impossible to offer a universal scheme for the development of eating disorders in a person. Although the media can be a contributing factor or a trigger, this is not necessarily the only condition, and moreover is not a necessary condition at all.

By focusing solely on the media, we simplify eating disorders to a problem with a single dimension. Worse, the media often reproduces the myth that eating disorders are a choice. After all, if the occurrence of eating disorders was associated exclusively with unrealistic images, it would be enough just to get rid of the influence of the media. Parents could prevent the development of these diseases in children by regulating their access to the media. Continuing this logic, one could come to the conclusion that people can overcome an eating disorder simply by choosing how much food they should eat.

I strongly believe that by Blaming only the media, people refuse to be responsible for their daily activities and the influence that they can have on others. At the same time, many of those who suffered from eating disorders in the past faced harassment and other negative interactions or triggers that initiated their illness. For many, certain topics or phrases continue to be potential triggers of relapse.

Although in reality, it does not happen that a particular person is responsible for the development of the disorder, discussions in the media do not eliminate the need to bear responsibility for their actions, which can reinforce the culture of prejudice and full of prejudices. For example, one can greatly harm comments about someone's weight or food habits, even by doing so with obviously good intentions. Close attention to someone's eating habits can also become a trigger.

All in all, the relationship between the media and eating disorders is, of course, valuable, but within a specific context. The steps of some advocates and organizations to support people with eating disorders to create more inclusive and responsible media are commendable. But we should not allow this dialogue to obscure other cases and factors contributing to the development of eating disorders. More importantly, we should not allow it to set the general trend of perception of eating disorders, especially when it erases the real narratives of people who have suffered from this disease.

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Persuasive Speech about Eating Disorders. (2023, December 13). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 20, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/persuasive-speech-about-eating-disorders/
“Persuasive Speech about Eating Disorders.” Edubirdie, 13 Dec. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/persuasive-speech-about-eating-disorders/
Persuasive Speech about Eating Disorders. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/persuasive-speech-about-eating-disorders/> [Accessed 20 May 2024].
Persuasive Speech about Eating Disorders [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Dec 13 [cited 2024 May 20]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/persuasive-speech-about-eating-disorders/
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