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In an ongoing battle between what is seen and what is real, actuality and fabrication, pressure continues to build on mainstream media and the fashion industry over growing concerns of eating disorders. Eating disorders do not discriminate and affect men and women across a range of ages, both nationally and internationally.
As discussed in our blog last week about the Evolution of Body Image, exposure to thin ideals in the media are being presented as a significant contributor to body dissatisfaction and eating disorders. Individuals worldwide are subjected to thin ideals in various forms, whether through a magazine, films, television commercials, or billboard ads. Many cannot escape this artificial reality, even if desired, due to the level of saturation with mainstream media venues.
There are those who would aim to fight back, to fervently fend for those who are vulnerable or suffering in the throes of an eating disorder. Step by step, small measures are being taken, but their effect immeasurable. Spreading like wildfire, those who are taking a stand for real beauty and away from trends that instigate eating disordered behaviors are encouraging others to do the same.
Recently, French fashion industry representatives signed a pledge not to encourage eating disorders and to promote healthy body images, fully backed by the Health Ministry. This charter requested signatories to promote “a diversity of body representations” and “not to show images of people that could help promote a model of extreme thinness.” Groups that supported this document included the Union of Modeling Agencies and the French Couture Federation.
While France has not seen guidelines to regulate French modeling agencies since the 1980s, concerns about eating disorders have grown, prompting the establishment of measures to promote a healthier body image. The French may soon see additional changes, with another bill proposed to fine websites or fashion ads that promote anorexia, with penalties of up to two years in prison and 30,000 euro in fines.
These measures from France came on the heels of a new Israeli “photoshop law”, stipulating that computer generated changes to make models appear thinner be noted along with the image. These campaigns against the distorted body image perception highly promoted by the fashion industry are paving the way for change….and change is happening.
Perhaps the most significant changes to be made are those that come from within…a self-determined resolve to press on towards freedom and victory over an eating disorder. In strengthening yourself, you are creating a perpetuating light for others who may be struggling with an eating disorder, even in the bleakest circumstances. Hope for a better tomorrow can begin with you, the foundations of a new beginning.