Is Anorexia Hot Or Not?

by cmisk1 on February 17, 2014 - 11:54pm

Body: A social dimension topic I was interested in is how the increase of anorexic models and celebrities impact social media today. The article I stumbled upon was titled; “On the link between media coverage of anorexia and pro-anorexic practices on the web” by Elad Yom-Tov and Danah M. Boyd. The main goal of this article was to see if there was a correlation between celebrities' pictures and stories referencing anorexia and an increase in an online public interest in these topics. This article focuses on the online activity involving the issue of anorexia, is it about the eating disorder or is it just a way to boost social media and certain magazines' sales? The author isn't just curious to see if anorexic pictures are viewed more than normal pictures, the author is taking a different approach. The two authors are looking at all of the interactions on the Internet involving this disorder. They examined the Internet activity of 9.2 million users. This is a great worldwide scale of collecting and analyzing online searches I think the fact that this examination was worldwide and didn't discriminate between race, gender, location, or age really supports the results on a universal level. They specifically narrowed their social findings by using twitter and twitter interactions and what was trending. Overall, they found that there was a 33% increase in searches when a celebrity was displayed as anorexic. This shows why the media thrives on these stories; it's hard for people to believe that this beautiful, successful, “perfect” celebrity could now be severely ill and unappealing.

After these results came through you have to wonder why? Why would people specifically look up unhealthy or even gross pictures of a celebrity? There are a few reasons that come to mind: they are simply curious to see how bad this star looks, everyone is talking about it, they have suffered/are suffering from anorexia and can relate, or they stumbled across it. All these different reasons lead to the same impact; it's great for the media. No matter the reason for looking up anorexia involving celebrities, the media doesn't care. They approach the stories and pictures from all angles to appeal all different crowds. Either way their number of viewers is dramatically increasing. So, if one were to think about it, people are looking at these pictures and articles for sick and demented reasons, as opposed to articles regarding a healthy lifestyle, or just something that is intellectually stimulating. In this day and age, media is taking average everyday problems and converting them into something more negative and dramatic than what they truly are. I think since the media has such an impact on women these days and how they are supposed to look and how much they are supposed to weight, that anorexia should be seen more as an illness rather than entertainment. The media thrives on this eating disorder, but in reality this eating disorder has become more popular due to the media’s interpretation on what a women should look like. Ironic much?


References: (Yom-Tov, E., Boyd, D. (2014) On the link between media coverage of anorexia and pro-anorexic practices on the web, Wiley)


Link to Article:


This post shed light on an area in which I believe does not receive enough attention. The publication of images of celebrities who are suffering from an eating disorder and/or are labeled as too thin is at an all-time high. Having an interesting on the impact the media has on young women, I was drawn to this post and was shocked with the results of this study. I agree with your statement concerning the people being fascinated by the negative transformations of celebrities. It is my belief that this is the case for several reasons, the main being that by watching a celebrity failing physically and emotionally, one can feel better about their own personal situation whatever it may be; these images provide them with a unhealthy boost of self-confidence. Secondly, it is my view that there is an ever-growing interest in these images and stories because they are everywhere; on social media websites, television, newspapers, and magazines; who has not seen stories concerning the “downfall” of a celebrity in the checkout line? It is not my opinion that everyone is viewing these images and stories because they are demented; they view them because of temptation. To be aware of the latest celebrity gossip is very important to people of all ages and backgrounds, and to not be up to snuff with the latest stories will make them feel excluded. As you alluded to, because of this, the illness itself becomes a form of entertainment.

When looking at the study itself, I think it is great that researchers examined internet activity worldwide, as opposed to focusing on one area, which would be heavily biased. It would be interesting to know if there are any studies similar to this one that were conducted on a much larger scale. While 9.8 million is a large number of people, compared to the over two billion internet users globally, that number of people seems insignificant. Along the same lines, I wonder if there is any country and/or region in which most of the data for this study came from? If considering future research in this topic area, I would suggest finding studies or polls related to the perception of anorexic models and celebrities; studies which ask for ones opinion on the topic, and if they have shared pictures or purchased magazines with stories about anorexic people, why? I think there would be a great variety of responses.

I agree with your post. I believe that society is incredibly fascinated with girls being thin and most of the time, scary thin. Every single day, the media forces girls to look at pictures of women that are completely unrealistic. Photoshop does wonders for women. It makes you thinner, takes away your curves, gets rid of blemishes, and overall it makes you look completely perfect. These pictures and ads are shown to girls causing them to desire looking perfect and oftentimes they would do anything to make that wish come true. I posted a link below to look at the difference between a woman and the transformation through makeup and what happens to them before they are put on television.

In regards to media, you explained why some people might be interested in seeing the downfall of celebrities. I am not sure I agree with the fact that they are obsessed with the anorexia claims, but rather it is interesting to see celebrities in their real skin. It may make us feel better to see those "perfect" people, at their worst. I believe that this would make it much easier to appreciate ourselves, sadly. I think it would be interesting to see if this same effect happened when celebrities put on a lot of weight. I imagine it would be a similar effect. I agree with you that we are obsessed with being skinny and looking at people who are much thinner than us, but I think there is much more to the story. We may find happiness in seeing the downfall of someone "perfect", because that makes us so much closer to being similar. Anorexia is a tough topic and incredibly sad to discuss. I think the media is one of the leading causes of anorexia. It is scary to think how much of an impact it has. I have these feelings because I am a girl living in this world of anorexia and photoshop, and while it is tough, I find happiness when those same beautiful people are seen in their real skin. My family has taught me strength so I am not especially into looking at anorexia and desiring it. I view it as a serious illness that should be taken care of. I have never been too worried with my appearance so I look more into the aspect of desiring to see people for who they really are. I definitely don't desire anorexia or being that skinny. I desire the people that I see who are comfortable in their own bodies regardless of what they look like.


This post drew me in immediately because this is a topic that hits close to home. I have suffered and continue to suffer from anorexia. It’s a hard topic to talk about, and it affects so many people these days. Many people do not understand the disease and make fun of it or think that it’s absurd how people can do something like that to their bodies. What many people don’t understand is that it is a very hard disease to overcome. It’s not just a physical disease, but a psychological one as well. Many celebrities have the constant pressure of being perfect, and that takes a toll on many, causing anorexia.

I agree completely with the post. Anorexia should not be entertainment and it should not be supported through fashion industries and other areas of entertainment. One thing that could have been included in this post is some examples of celebrities that have suffered from anorexia and their views on the subject. Also, it would have been good to include how hard the illness is to overcome, and what many people go through. There are many hours of therapy, struggling to force yourself to eat, the toll on the family, and so on. This is a great post to put out there because it needs more attention. Women need to stop seeing themselves as overweight, and not to listen to entertainment ads that sport women with visible ribs, protruding cheek bones and hip bones.

Interesting topic that many might be intrigued by. Its a serious issue that many young girls of our generation today go through , to look hot or beautiful you have to stick thin. Where do they get this perspective from ? The media obviously . The media and celebrities have major and powerful impacts on youth in many ways and sometimes it's not in a positive way. Lots of individuals think its a joke but this topic needs to be talked about more, also explained. As you stated there is a 33% increase in views of anorexic celebrities on the internet , that was intriguing and interesting because I had no clue it increased at that rate. I don't understand why people would want to search up sick celebrities who get bashed on about how skinny they are , when in reality they are ill and have to get help. The point that media is using this topic to get views etc , is sickening but its typical of media to engage in this as entertainment. I think it should be stopped and re-evaluated by all types of media because it is drastically effecting individuals.

When I saw the title of this post, I immediately wanted to read more. As someone who has suffered with bulimia, another type of eating disorder for over the past decade, I instantly felt connected. Based on my past experiences, I believe that media really does play a big part of eating disorders as a whole. More so when the media portrays their idea of beauty as unrealistically thin. Like previously stated in other comments, eating disorders are more than physical, they are psychological too. Celebrities who reach such dramatically low weights should not be praised or bullied for their illnesses. Some view eating disorders as a trend but instead, eating disorders should be treated as any other illness. Typically there is never anyone in the tabloids being scrutinized because they have cancer or anything else – why should someone fighting anorexia receive all gossip just because their illness is more physically prominent? After going through countless treatment centers, I have witnessed and experienced all different types of eating disorders. I would not put it past any celebrity to fake anorexic symptoms like extreme weight loss for the press and attention in the media. Just like the article explained people thrive on eating disorders in magazines and I have observed people do just about anything for money and attention.
Overall, I feel torn about this article. Part of me feels as though celebrities more than anyone would be at a higher risk for anorexia or other eating disorders because of the constant public eye and pressure. I also feel as though I do not trust celebrities and that they are always looking for that next wow/shock factor for publicity. Either way an illness is an illness, no one should be put on a pedestal or scrutinized for it.
Magazines should be viewed as nothing more than pure fiction and should not be given a second thought.

The title immediately grabbed my attention. Anorexia is a huge problem in the United States. I have never suffered from the disease, however, my best friend did in high school. Anorexia is a very serious disease, and it’s hard to overcome. Before she admitted she had a problem, I noticed that she wouldn’t eat at lunch at school. I asked her about it one day. She made an excuse that she would eat a big breakfast and snack during her one class. At first, I believed her. But when I would go to her house after school, she would skip dinner too. I finally talked to her about it and she admitted she was anorexic. Her mom and I supported her through the whole thing. My friend had to attend therapy sessions twice a week and has a nutritionist. It can be very serious if not treated. Luckily, my friend got the help she needed before her condition got worse.
I agree with this post 100%. Anorexia should not be entertainment. It’s a horrible disease, but many people don’t see it as a big deal. I think in order for people to understand the disease, they need to be closely related to someone with Anorexia, or deal with it personally. The media should not be trying to publicize the disease. The celebrities suffering from the disease who are trying to overcome it don’t need everyone knowing about it and talking about it. It’s a personal issue. Anorexia is nothing to be entertained by.

I agree with the notion of the article’s author making his study be worldwide instead of focusing in on one particular denomination of society. Anorexia is not just affected by one type of person, but by many different races, ethnicities, and even genders. It is sad that to this day, although anorexia has been exposed, many people are still influenced by the unhealthy lifestyle and detrimental effects of this disease.
Maybe another reason why people would look up specifically gross or unhealthy pictures of celebrities is because they are curious to find out how the celebrity looks due to their struggle with anorexia. Recently, one celebrity, Ke$ha, admitted herself into rehab a month ago for a case of anorexia. She said due to her managers and her team, she felt as though she had to be skinnier to look perfect and sell more records. Even multimillionaire pop stars feel insecure about their bodies at times. Anorexia is not the way to go, but it is at least comforting to know that they too have the same issues as regular people.

Now days girls are too obsessed with what other people think of them. Their body type is one of the most important things to them and thats a problem. Your blog has brought up great points about how social media connects with women and their wants of having a perfect body. Some girls will do whatever it takes in order to please other people and thats what makes our generation so messed up. Anorexia is a very serious topic and it should not be taken lightly. Coming from having a friend who used to have a severe case of anorexia, I know how serious this illness can be. Girls should be happy with their bodies no matter what. Our generation is so quick to judge and this is what causes this type of illness to come into effect. Even though anorexia is a terrible thing, its always interesting reading about the facts. The sickness should most definitely not be categorized as entertainment and more as an issue that needs to be put to a stop. Being too thin is not attractive and is not worth putting your health at risk. The celebrities that put their bodies and health in jeopardy don't even realize the precautions that come along with it. Social media has ruined our generation in so many ways and anorexia is a great example of it by posting pictures of all the unhealthy looking girls just because the media thinks our society will find joy out of it. I think that your blog showed great detail of what is going on with our generation and many reasons why specific illnesses like anorexia should not be taken lightly.

This post was very interesting to me because I never thought social media could be using a serious mental issue as a source of entertainment for the public. With this point of view being brought up I found myself angry and upset at the social media. Anorexia and other types of eating disorders should not be used as a form of entertainment, no matter what. This topic and issue sort of hit home for me because one of my former teammates on my dance team is currently suffering from this disorder. And seeing her go through this terrible struggle and knowing that the media doesn’t care about the real issue other than getting more viewers on their site really disgusts me. If there is any information about eating disorders on the internet, it should be more educational about the dangers it can do to the human body and how to easily find treatment for someone who is struggling with the disorder. Also celebrities are idols and are looked up to by many people, and if those people see that their idol is anorexic, it may lead them to follow in their same path. Overall I really liked your post because it provided me with information I was not previously aware of.

This is so ironic as it seems!

I sincerely have to agree with this post; not that it's one of those single positive words other people may say, but I can understand this quite well and feel rather so sentimental to the people suffering from anorexia.

Considering that people are viewing anorexic people as hot just way too much and not look at the stigmatization or trouble with the illness too much, I think there really is a blind eye that by sharing this, we can make it open. To tell you the truth, with the social networks we have, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and even Instagram, it seems we're creating a very negative image of them instead of contributing them to their success. I would pretty much rather tell people with anorexia the truth about their media image and how they need to get help from around them instead of having to share an article about them on their looks and style and give off a negative comment, because then I am being very offensive to them. Social networking moderators can't completely seek out the media trend; the only people who can influence the media response totally are us and not anyone else. For that, I'd rather see a person with anorexia cope with it than just live off in complete sadness.

Either way, good work!

I like the fact that you distinguished beauty and illness. You mentioned that it is difficult to think that a beautiful and successful celebrity can be ill because of anorexia. I recently read a lot and wrote a post on this subject. My post was focussing on eating disorders in the fashion industry. Models with anorexia in this industry are very present because they have to be very beautiful and thin to be chosen. They compare each other every day and this attitude often lead to anorexia and other eating disorders. The article you mentioned in your post seems very interesting because it is not only about girls in one country in particular but about different genders and ethnicities in different parts of the world. The online survey present in your article is a good way to bring together all the informations about anorexia and media. To answer your question, I don't think that anorexia is hot at all.

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