How Magazines for Young Women Present Profiles of Anorexics

Hill, Jessica
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The media’s portrayal of health issues can have significant effects on the population it is targeting. This paper will evaluate how magazines that target young women portray profiles of people with Anorexia Nervosa. While there has been research on how media negatively influences people with or at risk for an eating disorder, there has been less research on how the magazines are actually presenting the disorders. This is significant because if magazines are inaccurately portraying specific aspects of the disorder, correcting these misrepresentations could lead to fewer barriers to help for anorexics. In this study, articles that profile a patient with anorexia were chosen from magazines with a large audience and an audience of primarily young women. These articles were then coded using a checklist that searches for specific aspects of describing the disorder. These results were compared to evidence already known about the reality of the disorder to see if any aspects of the disorder are misrepresented. As suspected, magazine portrayal of anorexia is inconsistent with the reality of the disorder. In the future, hopefully health care professions will learn the specific inconsistencies between the magazine representation and the reality of anorexia and counteract this misinformation for at-risk or anorexic patients.