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Eating problems among women have been associated with a feminine obsession with thinness. However, Thompson, in the article, “A Way Outa No Way: Eating Problems among African-American, Latina, and White Women,” challenges this assumption. This analytical treatise attempts to explicitly expound on Thompson’s suggestions on the causes of eating problems. Besides, the treatise reviews the role of the media in supporting attitudes and behaviors related to eating disorders.
Causes of eating problems
Thompson’s findings reveal that most of the eating problems among her sample population are associated with different traumas such as sexual abuse, racism, poverty, acculturation, physical and emotional abuse, and heterosexism among others. In her findings, Thomson reveals that victims of sexual abuse may resort to binge or excessive dieting to deal with the psychological effects of any form of sexual abuse. Almost 61% of the respondents stated that binging was their coping mechanism for dealing with psychological consequences as a result of a series of sexual abuse.
Another issue identified by Thompson as a major cause of eating problem among women is poverty. Thomson discusses poverty as a trauma which her respondents had to deal with through binging. For instance, Yolanda started binging to cope up with the challenges of raising small children within a budget $539 in a month. For such women, binging offers them solace. Through compulsive eating, the victim develops an involuntary pattern of coping with daily financial problems.
Also, Thompson identifies racism and class injuries as a cause of eating disorders among women she interviewed. For instance, the past experiences of Joselyn in the hand of a racist family motivated her to reduce her food intake to the point of starvation to survive the pressure of losing weight. Joselyn had to meet the social standards set by her father to survive in the white neighborhood where every woman is ‘thin.’
In summary, Thompson’s position on the causes of eating disorders among women is the need to survive. Specifically, Thompson identifies different traumas affecting women and the need to cope with them through developing unpredictable eating habits. Even when thinness culture inspires eating disorders, Thompson notes that bulimia, anorexia, and binging are largely associated with the need to cope with different traumas.
How media influences eating disorder attitudes and behaviors
The media is a very significant factor influencing the development of eating disorders in younger women. For instance, in the video, “Dying to be thin,” a slim body is presented as a powerful figurative form, a ground on which the central hierarchies function, and a metaphysical commitment to a culture that is strengthened through the visible body. For instance, the ladies in black dresses in the video are thin and continue to maintain this state through a series of exercises.
The focus on the ‘smallness’ of women’s bodies has significantly increased in the media creation of a woman’s figure. For instance, in the film, “Kill us softly,” the media have created an obsession with thinness. The image of the model in a white dress is presented as an ideal feminine body. This obsession has resulted in poor eating habits since no woman wants to be fat. The models in the film are not only slim but also thin. As a result, most women would love to compare themselves to models.
The media also alludes that slim figured women get decent clothes to wear than those who are overweight. To fit in the thinness culture, young women are under pressure and may end up developing eating disorders.