To understand why the models that are being used in advertising have such a negative effect on young girls, one must take a look at the negative effects that these models cause; eating disorders. The unattainable image of beauty portrayed by advertisements has generated an unhealthy environment for young girls. Young girls see these stereotypical images of what a woman should look like in advertisements and in trying to achieve that look they can develop low self-esteem, depression and eating disorders. While eating disorders affect both men and women, according to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (2003), research shows that more than 90 percent of those who have eating disorders are women between the ages of 12 and 25. Anorexia and bulimia are the two leading eating disorders prevelant in women.
Anorexia is an illness that is very common in young girls. It is common among girls 15-19 years old and has been seen in girls as young as 8. Anorexia is characterized by not eating with the hopes of becoming thin. They begin to loose a lot of weight and at that point they can no longer bear the fact of gaining that weight back so they continue to not eat and loose weight. Anorexia is a result from a distorted body image. As stated from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, bulimia is a serious eating disorder that is distinct by a destructive pattern of binge-eating and frequent inappropriate behavior to control one's weight. A person who has bulimia lacks control of their eating behavior and over eats. They follow these episodes of overeating with laxatives, diuretics, and self induced vomiting to loose weight. Bulimia nervosa typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood. Like anorexia nervosa, bulimia mainly affects females. Studies indicate that about 50 percent of those who begin an eating disorder with anorexia nervosa later become bulimic.
Throughout the past century it is no wonder why eating disorders in women, especially young girls due to the fact they are the most vulnerable, has become such a problem. Young girls have been pushed to stay thin and maintain the images that are presented in the media and through advertisements. No matter where young girls go, what they listen to, and even the images they see, young girls are bombarded with the idea that to be successful and happy, they must be as beautiful and thin as the models presented in advertisements. The portrayal of these models influence the acceptable, but sometimes unattainable standard of beauty in a young girl’s society. With these young girls being exposed to images that are unrealistic they develop self esteem issues and then they become dissastified with their own bodies. With having a low self esteem due to the images in the media young girls develop issues such as depression and anxiety. With these problems at hand it becomes hard for young girls to feel attractive and accepted in our society.