Today I have been working on my research methods project proposal. I chose an area to focus on that I am passionate about and interested in, for research methods this is a rarity. I realise the importance of it as an area of study… but knowing this doesn’t make it any more fun! So my chosen topic area was ‘Body Image and Anorexia’, finally a choice on the list that really interests me. So anyway… today I have been writing a proposal based on investigating thoughts and feelings associated with the use of images of low weight anorexics in media articles. Essentially my thoughts seem to echo those of Esther Rich and Ilona Burton in that the use of these images is damaging for individuals who see them and definitely doesn’t promote recovery and raise awareness of these psychological conditions. I wholeheartedly agree with B-eat’s suggestions for a better media guidelines surrounding the publication of stories about eating disorders.
It seems slightly ironic that whilst writing this today my Facebook timeline seems to be full of a lot of rage about a topic that seems to tie in with my work and kind of prove my point. It takes a lot to make me really really cross about something but Samantha Brick’s ridiculous article has managed to propel me into such a high level of rage; at least I could congratulate her on her ability to write the most awful article I think I have ever read.
I saw the article described as ‘attention-seeking drivel-bollocks’ by the wonderful Natasha Devon– co-founder of Body Gossip, Body Image guru and essentially one of my idols! Tash had a really interesting response to the article which is definitely worth a read. That lady is pretty wise!
As a feminist and body image campaigner and activist Brick’s article made me feel cross and disheartened that something like that was published. I agree with Tash that the fact she’s cause so much controversy will ultimately mean she is asked to write again. But I still fundamentally disagree with the fact that an article that promotes such unhealthy habits is allowed to be out their in the human sphere. I’m not a great believer in the age old thoughts that the media is a causal factor in the development of eating disorders, as a psychological condition there is a heck of a lot more to it than that. BUT I don’t think the media is a helpful influence. Brick has basically tried to pass off disordered eating as something women should strive to achieve. In a sense I feel sorry for her that she has such a negative opinion in herself and self esteem that seems to be so reactive to her weight.
The main problem I have is that the Daily Mail have published an article that is basically a form of pro-anorexia ‘thinspiration’ and that makes me sad and cross simultaneously. I want to see articles about real people with healthy lifestyles who are happy in their own skin. How can we expect young people to feel ok about themselves with this kind of rubbish being published by influential media sources. I mean come on… there are media guidelines surrounding suicides that prevent reports to provide intimate details that would allow someone to use them as a guide to take their own lives. Yet this kind of article is allowed to be published and people like Samantha Brick gain a position in the media that they shouldn’t have.
I’d like to see more in the media like this incredible video Dove recently released and more campaigns like those Body Gossip bring to the world. I want to see more about REAL people who don’t have to damage themselves to be ‘accepted’ as beautiful. If that’s what beautiful really is… then I’m pretty happy to not be like it at all.