Researchers have found that girls who think they are fat are more suicidal.
Scientists from Georgia State University in Atlanta have found that the perception of being overweight raises the probability of suicidal thoughts among girls by 5%. The chance of a suicide attempt goes up by 3%. Where are they getting the idea that they're fat? Well, as filmmaker Jesse Epstein pointed out in a video on the New York Times site, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of girls report that images of models in magazines influence their definition if a perfect female body. In addition, a University of Missouri study found that looking at women's magazines from one to three minutes had a negative impact on women's self esteem.
Of course, very few of the images in the magazines are real, and the physiques are not generally attainable for the average woman. Deborah Kotz writes for U.S. News & World Report's blog:
My friend Chrissi pointed out this YouTube video to me yesterday showing just how much Photoshop can do to turn an unattractive, obese woman into a size-4 stunner. Trouble is, most of us don't see our bodies digitally doctored and spend way too much time staring at our real selves in the mirror, comparing how we look to those "perfect" bodies that grace magazine covers. As a result, far too many of us punish ourselves with brutal diets or self-loathing thoughts. In fact, 1 in 10 of us partakes in behaviors-bingeing and overexercising, skipping meals, abusing laxatives-that are indicative of an eating disorder.
It's one thing to actually be overweight in an unhealthy way. It's another to merely think you're fat because you're bombarded with superskinny images in magazines and advertising. And as I saw in the documentary America The Beautiful, even slender models are told that they are not thin enough.
The question is, what do we do about girls — and women — with negative body image? Do we blame Photoshop? Blame magazine editors? Blame the women who keep the magazines in business? Or instead if blame, do we concentrate on spreading critical thinking and deconstruction of images?
Girls Who Think They're Fat, More Suicidal [UPI]
Negative Body Image? Blame Photoshop [U.S. News & World Report]
Earlier: The Times Calls Out Photoshopping Magazines
America The Beautiful Reveals Ugly Truths