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The Blame Game

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  1. Introduction
  2. The potentially fatal disorders
  3. Food consumption in the United States
    1. Eating disorders like Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa
    2. Women within American culture
  4. The power of the media
  5. The most dooming explanation of eating disorders
    1. The biological explanation of eating disorders
  6. Conclusion
  7. Works cited

In modern times, and namely in Western culture, identity has become a wholly introverted principle. People strive to define themselves solely as individuals; identity is thought of as exclusively self-contained. American culture, for example, celebrates above all else the ?individual;? he (or she) who stands out from the masses is reputed. It is within this celebration of ?original identity,? however, where one of American culture's deepest ironies lies. While on the surface a person's autonomy may seem salient, if he or she does not conform to certain pre-disposed social constraints, he or she may be in danger of being viewed by others (and by him/herself) as ?valueless.? Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the eating disorders of Americans. Disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa affect millions, and kill thousands of Americans every year; yet they are kept in the shadows of the culture's collective consciousness.

[...] On the most basic level, Anorexia Nervosa involves a person refusing to maintain his/her normal body weight for age and height. Bulimia Nervosa is similar to Anorexia, but bulimic persons often indulge in eating; which leads to ?purging.? These eating disorders are most likely to occur in female adolescents. It is estimated that more than of female adolescents have either Anorexia or Bulimia Nervosa in the United States today. Around 1,000 women die of complications relating to Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa each year, but the actual number may be much higher. [...]

[...] If society is, in fact, to blame for the creation of Anorexia or Bulimia Nervosa, then it is the individual who chooses to develop the disorder. The most dooming explanation of eating disorders like Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa is that they are biological. Recently, Anorexia Nervosa has been effectively linked to people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Moreover, current research has shown that ?genetic factors predispose some people to anxiety, perfectionism, and obsessive-compulsive disorder? ( 1). The fact that eating disorders go hand-in-hand with obsessive compulsive disorder and the fact that OCD has been determined to be, at least partially, genetically predisposed, creates a strong argument for those who believe Anorexia Nervosa is a biological ailment. [...]

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