The scariest results of the digital alteration craze are the statistics surrounding eating disorders. Eating disorders are a serious illness, affecting 20 million women and 10 million men at some point in their lifetime, just in the United States. The National Eating Disorders Association, or NEDA recognizes the role media plays in the prevalence of eating disorders in the United States. The rate of development of new cases has been rising since 1950, and the instances of bulimia in 10-39 year old women has tripled between 1988 and 1993.
The most concerning statistics surround children. 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat and 46% of 9-11 year olds “sometimes” or “very often” diet. Related to the media, 69% of elementary school girls in the US who read magazines say “the pictures influence their concept of the ideal body shape” and 47% say the pictures make them want to loose weight.
Images such as the Ralph Lauren one below show just how skewed societies perceptions of normal are. In the eyes of some, even already skinny people aren’t thin enough. When will it be enough, especially when people are dying?