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Anorexia Nervosa

TOK presentation

Anushka Agrawal

on 14 September 2013

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Transcript of Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa
- Anushka Agrawal
Knowledge Issue
How is our acquisition of knowledge socially determined?
Contemporary issue
Anorexia Nervosa
What is anorexia?
Anorexia is an eating disorder caused by a refusal to eat in order to maintain a minimal body weight.
Connection between society and knowledge
The connection between knowledge and society goes both ways - the society helps shape our knowledge and vice versa.
The knowledge is influenced on the basis of production, encoding, transmission, storage, retrieval etc.
How does media play a part in this situation?
According to the British Medical Association, the obsession with thin models and fashion entities has contributed to the growth of eating disorders. The circulation of pictures and videos all over the media has affected the teenage girls negatively.
Considering the AOK as ethics, this display of thin models has added value to the words "thin", "overweight", "fat" etc. While the words alone just indicate someone's weight, the value behind them indicates how 'thin' is beautiful, and 'overweight' and 'fat' are ugly or lazy. This value here, masks our knowledge of the subject of anorexia, i. e., people's belief as to how anorexics are thin and beautiful (value added by thin.)
What does media do to influence the beliefs of the people?
Media's portrayal of the 'perfect body' through the magazines, TV shows with the help of language and targeting the emotions has led millions of girls on the path of starting their 'diets' - in severe conditions leading to anorexia.
This usage of language, in turn, affects the human perception in normal circumstances too.
Language plays a vital role in our acquisition of knowledge. In this case, the Sapir - Whorf theory states "Language determines our experiences of reality and we can see and think only what language allows us to think."
Similarly, in the presentation of a 'perfect body', media makes clever use of the language to target the emotional trait of women, driving them to take measures like starving.
Some of the catch phrases in the magazines related to perfect figure are:
Get a WOW! body at 20, 30, 40+
Want a perfect figure? Here's your diet plan!
Areas of Knowledge
Human Sciences - Psychology

Isabelle Caro, the face of "No Anorexia", started being anorexic at the age of 13 - eating only two squares of chocolate and 5 cornflakes a day.
This indoctrination of the media with the usage of language influences how people perceive things generally. In simple terms, this makes people close minded about health, i.e., the idea that "seeing is believing".
People with anorexia, often have low self-esteem and suffer from feelings of insufficiency. They are often perfectionists, who are overly critical of themselves and also tend to socially isolate themselves to avoid conflict when possible. This often arises alongside other mental health disorders, including clinical depression, anxiety, and symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Anorexia involves a lot of ethical issues. Since it's a self-driven and controlled 'disorder', the question that arises is, "How ethical is it for the media to continue their practices of the manipulation of the knowledge of the viewers?"
From the eye of the media
From media's point of view, all the weight loss magazines or campaigns, fashion shows etc are a source of revenue as it is BELIEVED that this is what the people would pay for. Therefore, it can be argued that the financial gain detracts from the ability of media to consider the emotional impact of the message that they convey.
Other counter-claims
"Women shouldn't be brainless enough to starve themselves out of existence just because a sinister conglomerate of designers and editors says they should."
"Are women so pathologically stupid that they are unable to distinguish the fantasy of the runway from the reality of their own bodies?"

- Claims by Eating Disorders 2012
Deductive Reasoning - If all models are skinny, all of them are good. Since I want to look like a model, I must be THIN.
Inductive Reasoning - [A model] is pretty. She is thin. Therefore, beauty is defined by the body image.
"To be attractive, I have to look thin."
Media, a symbol of society here, is one of the important contributors in how people think and gain knowledge. In the case of anorexia, Media uses language to coax the people into going on diets and in severe cases, turning anorexic. This however, with the counterclaims is still debatable. I believe that our knowledge and judgement of beauty should not be coloured by media's false ideas. Beauty and aesthetics are two concepts that are relative to an individual.
Norton, C. (n.d.). Media blamed for rise in eating disorders - Health News - Health & Families - The Independent. The Independent | News . Retrieved May 18, 2013, from http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/media-blamed-for-rise-in-eating-disorders-718088.html
The Tragic Life and Death of Anorexic Model-Actress Isabelle Caro. (n.d.). Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 18, 2013, from http://www.aolnews.com/2010/12/30/the-tragic-life-and-death-of-anorexic-model-actress-isabelle-car/
Body Image and Self-Esteem Among Adolescent Girls: Clay, Daniel, Vivian L. Vignoles, and Helga Dittmar. Body Image and Self-Esteem Among. N.p., 2005. Web. 18 May 2013.
Lagemaat, Richard Van De. Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005. Print.
"Isabelle Caro: Anorexia Sufferer Who Appeared in a Global Campaign against the Disorder." The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, n.d. Web. May 18, 2013
"The Collapse Report." BARBIE DOLL PUSHES ANOREXIA IN TEEN GIRLS. N.p., n.d. Web. May 18, 2013
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