In the article “Losing Bodies” by Susie Orbach media’s influence on women’s perception of weight is examined. In this article it is shown that most women retain the meaning of what it is to be “normal sized” by the visuals of “normal” that media gives us (Orbach 390). This “normal” is classified by certain body measurements, looks, makeup, etc. that is created by the fashion industry (Orbach 390). Trying to live up to being “normal” is causing women to have weight issues, social anxiety, get plastic surgery, and develop anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Women’s anxiety about gaining weight and not fitting in with society is having an effect not only on other women, but on younger generations. Women’s social anxiety about striving to be that perfect “normal” is causing their children to develop weight issues younger and younger because of how society judges us (Orbach 393). An example is children seeing their mom whiten her teeth, or eat only certain foods, or over exercise to maintain the “normalized look” (Orbach 393-394). The way children see their parents trying to fit in is causing children to develop social anxiety and more importantly weight issues. Another example of media causing a negative affect on how women view weight is when popular TV shows from the U.S. came to Fiji. The women in Fiji, after watching shows such as Friends, were affected so heavily in regards to how they view their bodies that 11.9% of Fijian adolescent girls developed bulimia, when it had not existed there before (Orbach 388).
These affects on weight that media is causing is creating a weight issue, that had ceased to exist prior to media. Media is overall causing women to have social anxiety, develop eating disorders earlier on, causing younger children to develop eating disorders sooner, and essentially “lose their bodies” because of the extreme measure they go to to maintain a certain weight that media deems acceptable (Orbach 390-394). The meaning of “normal” in today’s society is substantially different from previous times. “Normal” is not the average sized woman anymore, but the one who is thin and has the makeup and visual looks society sees to be “normal” (Orbach 393).
In regards to how convincing this article is, I would say there were several key points that were convincing and that people could identify with. I thought the article was very persuasive in conveying the affect that media’s view on weight is having, by the examples they used such as children looking up to mothers who have social anxiety due to weight. I also thought it was important that they clarified definitions of normal and fitting in in regards to society. Some points that I thought were not as strong is that they didn’t clarify which type of media had the greatest impact. For example, whether it was TVs, magazines, movies, newspapers, etc. that had the biggest influence in how women view weight. Also, they mentioned the example of the TV show Friends and how it caused the eating disorder bulimia, but it failed to include other examples of media besides just the TV and not only that, but what genre of specific types of shows influenced women in regards to social anxiety and weight.
Orbach, Susie. “Losing Bodies.” Social Research 78.2 (2011): 387-394. Academic Search Premier. Web. 20 Sept. 2013.