Photoshopping Images And How It Impacts Eating Disorders

According to Statista, eleven thousand people in the U.S. were diagnosed with eating disorders in 2008.-2012. Four thousand more people were also diagnosed with bulimia. It was remarkable to note that 266,000 Americans were diagnosed with eating disorders. These disorders are what is causing them. As the Daily Telegraph headline in 2012 shows, “My Anorexia was Fuelled by Celebrity Magazines: Victim Demands Ban on Airbrushed Photographs.” Does Photoshopping really cause all these statistics? Photoshop is not the only factor at fault.

Many articles have been written about eating disorders, pointing out that Photoshop is the reason for the rise of eating disorders. Huffington Post Magazine reported that Kate Winslet’s and Brad Pitt’s announcements that Photoshop was ruining America’s Body Image, according to Vivian Diller. Diller says that while most people have dreams of removing wrinkles and losing weight, more and more people are starting to see Photoshop as dangerous territory. Many women believe that media such as magazines, TV, billboards, weight loss ads, reality TV, and magazines are what makes them unhappy with their bodies or lower self-esteem. It’s as if women are required to conform to those standards in order to be considered “newly beautiful.” (Diller) Does the fact that women say Photoshop and media give them low self-esteem mean it is true? Carrie Arnold was an eating disorder specialist and conducted her own research. She said, “Show Me the Evidence.” What has Photoshop to do? The AMA studies don’t show Photoshop as a cause of diagnosable eating disorders. Arnold stated that 1. DSM-IV is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is used to identify psychiatric diagnoses including anorexia. “Diagnostic and Statistical …”). Arnold likened Arnold’s Photoshop/eating-disorders claim to OCD propaganda. According to the article “Altered Fashion Magazine Photographs Contribute Toward Unrealistic Body Images”, America’s view about beauty will not be affected by Photoshop. Beauty has changed over the years. Photoshop is not going to make women’s bodies look different. However, there are some things that can be done to remove Photoshop from magazines, billboards and photographs. It has been suggested that Photoshop should be stopped from being blamed. Researchers have suggested that warning labels be used. Because warning labels can be used to avoid the information on the labels, they have been proven to reduce product attractiveness. (Counteracting Media Thin Body A Tylenol product might have a warning label that Acetaminophen pills can cause liver problems if consumed excessively. Reactance theory refers to people’s feelings of not wanting something after seeing a warning label. Reactance theory describes when someone feels the need for freedom after reading a warning label. This theory may lead people to ignore warning labels, so it is unnecessary to put one. The label would make people feel restricted and cause them to rebel. Customers would attempt to look more like models if they had warning labels attached to photos. As adolescents enter the developmental stage, this problem is even more prevalent. Warning labels might not work, but may make it worse. (Counteracting Media’s Thin-Body…)

Along with warning labels, another idea was suggested. Information labels may be more useful for adolescents than warning labels. A good example would be nutrition labels. It is easy to read nutrition labels. They are right there, so you can see the points. A picture label with information would show the model’s name and the Photoshopped location. Bushman, in the article “Counteracting Media’s Thin Body …””, states that an informative tag would be better than a caution label since it wouldn’t trigger reactance theories as described before. (Counteracting Media’s Thin-Body…)

Although Photoshop is being blamed for many eating disorders, people don’t have to. An eating disorder that is diagnosable does not appear overnight and disappears after two weeks. What Causes an …”)? A person with a diagnosable eating disorder meets the criteria of anorexia, bulimia and eating disorder not otherwise noted (EDNOS). A person can have body problems without having to meet the DSM-IV criteria. (“Eating Disorders Diagnosed …”) It is possible for a woman to feel insecure about her body. Genetics is a major factor in eating disorders. Genetics can play a huge role in the development of eating disorders. The mutations found in ESRRA/HDAC4 genes were linked to an increased chance of people developing an eating disorder. Research has shown that this is a 95% and 85% chance. Researchers Find Genes An individual with the same genetics as a relative who suffered an eating disorder may develop it. Eating disorders can be passed down from one generation to the next. What Causes Eating Disorders?

It is possible for temperament to be linked to genetics. It is possible for eating disorders to be linked to genetics. These are all common traits in eating disorders. Perfectionism is one of these characteristics. Perfectionism is one of the leading causes of eating disorders. Perfectionism doesn’t mean you want to be perfect. It’s a need to achieve greatness and will do whatever it takes to get there. Perfectionism can be overwhelming and difficult for anyone, especially those with eating disorders. Research shows that perfectionism can be passed on from parents to children. It makes them dependent on their parents’ approval. This makes the child dependent on their parents and makes them want to control their eating habits. (Miller Day. Michelle. Jennifer D. Marks.)

Trauma can also be a major factor in eating disorders. It is a common cause for eating disorders in people who have been subject to emotional, sexual, and physical abuse. “What Causes an …”) Victims with Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) often also have an eating disorder. Bulimia is most commonly linked to trauma. It allows victims to take control of their lives and create a normal cycle. The binge/purge cycle reduces awareness of emotions and thoughts. (“Trauma & Eating Disorders”) Trauma victims often have issues with their bodies, including body dissatisfaction, self-control, shame, guilt, and inability to control themselves. Eating disorders can be used to regain control of a portion of one’s life or their emotions. Trauma victims are also more likely to commit self-harm. According to the Center for Eating Disorders, more than fifty percent of those with eating disorders have experienced trauma. People who suffer from trauma often have trouble coping. People suffering from eating disorders may resort to negative ways of coping, such as restricting their activities, feeling emotional pain in the form of pain, or exercising too much. This can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety and depression, as well as stress. What Causes an …”)?

Photoshop or is it something people blame for blaming? Photoshop can appear like something to be blamed because it’s everywhere. This is something that people might envy, as they may not be able to achieve the same look in their photos. Photoshop is a complex tool that can’t be removed. There are many editors and researchers who try to make it disappear. Genetics, temperament, or trauma are the main causes of eating disorders. These factors can be difficult to control for many people. Therapy and love are the only things that can help eating disorders. It’s easier for us to say that Photoshop can be removed forever. However, our genetics cannot be changed.


  • axellancaster

    Axel Lancaster is a 53-year-old blogger who specializes in education-related topics. He has been blogging for over a decade and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with his readers. Axel is a highly respected authority on the subject of education and is regularly quoted in the media. He is also a sought-after speaker and has given presentations at numerous conferences and events.