Two news stories claim that women in Japan and India are feeling the pressure.
According to an article by Blaine Harden in today's Washington Post, Japanese women are steadily losing weight:
The trend is most pronounced among women in their 20s. A quarter-century ago, they were twice as likely to be thin as overweight; now they are four times more likely to be thin.
Bollywood actresses have been slimming down as well, according to a piece in the Telegraph. Indian women are buying fitness and yoga videos made by skinny actresses, and one nutritionist and fitness consultant in Mumbai says:
"Maybe about a decade ago you would have had people come to me for post-pregnancy weight loss, or people with health conditions… Now I have more and more of the younger generation who don't really need to lose weight but tell me they need to knock off five kilogrammes (11 pounds)."
Both stories mention images and media from the West as a factor in the desire to be slim. The fashion and glamour in movies and ad campaigns are always accompanied by glamorous, skinny women. But can the US be blamed for thinspiration elsewhere? Japanese psychiatrist Hisako Watanabe, who has been treating women with eating disorders for 34 years, also emphasizes peer pressure: "Japanese women are outstandingly tense and critical of each other. There is a pervasive habit among women to monitor each other with a serious sharp eye to see what kind of slimness they have."