Anorexia and bulimia are complex disorders that are not exclusively caused by our society, but it certainly plays a role. Our society's emphasis on thinness and beauty often creates unhealthy motivations or social pressures to maintain a certain body size or shape. These motivations or social pressures can come from various sources such as the media, peers, family, and even healthcare providers.
The media, in particular, has a significant influence on the way people perceive their bodies. The constant portrayal of unattainable beauty standards and the use of editing software can make individuals feel inadequate and may trigger disordered eating behaviors. Peers can also inadvertently contribute to these pressures by praising thinness or criticizing those who do not fit the societal norm.
Other cultures exist where the pressure to be thin does not exist, or it is not as prevalent. For example, in some African cultures, a larger body size is seen as a sign of wealth and health, and dieting may be discouraged. However, it is important to note that no culture is immune to the influence of Western beauty standards, and globalization can also contribute to the spread of these harmful ideals.
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