“Thinness equals success” is the notion that many college-aged, upper-middle class, white women looking to become part of professional society hold today. The “Culture of Slenderness” has many ways of exerting its influence and fulfilling its aims effectively (Toro, Cervera, Perez, 1988, pg.136). This message has been exploited by the media and by society’s professional work force. Since the woman’s arrival into professional society, a new norm has been set by white professional men that has begun to affect a new generation of white women leaders. Not only do they feel that it is necessary to maintain an intellectual edge, but also a slim figure to succeed.The Figures
This target group of women are striving to reach often unattainable body images to meet the standards set by the media and the dominant white men in the professional world. Individuals with eating disorders including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are 95% women and 5% men (Toro, Cervera, and Perez, 1988, pg. 132). Of this 95% of women, the target group comprises 90% of these individuals (Hamilton and Waller, 1993, pg. 838). Research has proven that it is not only these women who have turned the idea of “thinness equals success” into a norm, but that society has played a major role.
The sample group of women that this research has been based on are college-aged, high-achieving, white women. Eating disorders are especially prominent in this group because these women are becoming a more prevalent force in professional society. Another reason for this prominence is the fact that within the white man’s culture, it is important for women to possess a body that is desirable for white men. The body type of choice for this group of …
…o Fat? Too Thin?, June 3, 1996.3. Habermas, T.(1992). Possible effects of the popular and medical recognition ofbulimia nervosa, British Journal of Medical Psychology, vol. 65, 59-66.4. Hamilton, K. and Waller, G.(1993). Media influences on body size estimation inanorexia and bulimia, British Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 162, 837-840.5. Silverstein, B., Perdue, L., Peterson, B., Vogel, L., and Fantini, D.A.(1986). PossibleCauses of the thin standard of bodily attractiveness for women, InternationalJournal of Eating Disorders, vol. 5, 907-916.6. Toro, J., Cervera, M. and Perez, P.(1988). Body shape, publicity, and anorexianervosa, Social Psychiatry Psychiatric Epidemiology, vol. 23, 132-136.7. Taub, D.E., and McLorg, P.A. Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia: The Developmentof Deviant Identities, 196-208.