Your say: Body image issues a global problem

Letter to the editor from Eloise Rowe, of Tannum Sands: 

WITH eating disorders rampant among pre-teens to young adults, including boys as well as girls with body image distortions, how much have media advertising, talent shows, best model shows, cooking shows and large clothing brands contributed to this epidemic?

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Former ACT Minister Kate Carnell's admission that she was a victim of anorexia, slipping to a very critical 30kg, is a timely reminder that this just won't go away unless open dialogue and intervention become serious social issues discussed without the shame usually attached to eating disorders.

It is a global issue, mainly in the west, and the media is are indicted in projecting the myth of perfection, which drives people to addictions and eating disorders.

Children even as young as six are prone to media indoctrination about body image.

Bullying and access to online internet interaction, Facebook and the like, have greatly exacerbated this problem in our society.

Whereas once, one's social network consisted of a handful of close local peers, now it is a global phenomenon.

People not related in any way can comment online, literally leading to fatal consequences in some cases.

Bodies are the butt of jokes and ridicule, especially in films and regular comedy shows, giving new generations the idea that it is normal and acceptable to laugh at others who don't fit the image.

The new normal is a defined without clear boundaries, flexible, fluent and even adjustable to ethnicity and religious groups normally excluded.

Whereas once children were comfortable in their skins, with parents as peers controlling what they wore and did, now outside peer group pressure, influenced more by the media, seems to dictate the terms of existence.

There is a movement afoot to undermine the power of parents in the lives of their offspring and make children autonomous.

Children learn what they live.

Parents no longer can control the habits and practices of their offspring, due to legislation and fear of litigation.

Children's peers and reference groups become the media.

It is a frightening future prospect, giving so much freedom to those whose minds are not mature enough to know they are being manipulated to their own determent.

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