Eating Disorders

College women (and with increased regularity, college men) struggle with eating disorders finding their roots in society’s messages about what it means to be female or male. A great deal of pressure is experienced by college students to BE a certain way; ACT a certain way and LOOK certain way. The messages can be so strong, we find ourselves controlling the only thing we can – our eating habits!

Eating Disorders

See for Yourself:
What do Clothing stores Teach Us About Size?

Go to a local department store. First, examine the layout. Are different-sized clothes featured in different departments? Are there special departments for “petites” or for larger women? Where are these departments located? What do they look like?
If departments are divided by size, what do they call large women? What do they call small women? What sizes are included in each of these designations, and how do these sizes conform to the real distribution of sizes in the populations? (The average American woman weighs about 140 lbs.)
Construct a basic wardrobe for 3 women:
One wears size 6, one wears size 123, and one wears size 20. Is it hard to find certain styles and fabrics in larger sizes? What assumptions do clothing designers seem to make about the tastes and activities (and clothing budget) of larger women?
Try the exercise in another clothing store that is more upscale or downscale than the first.
Try the exercise again using different mail-order catalogs.

*(courtesy of Virginia Saprio in Women in America Society page 197).

The American Psychological Society reinforces a lot of thinking we already endorse with respect to the origins and manifestations of eating disorders. See if these words ring true for you:

“In a society that continues to prize thinness even as Americans become heavier than ever before, almost everyone worries about their weight at least occasionally. People with eating disorders take such concerns to extremes, developing abnormal eating habits that threaten their well-being and even their lives.”




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