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Eating disorders associated with beauty canon

Eating disorders associated with beauty canon

July 19, 2024

Throughout the history of the western world, different changes have taken place to the value attributed to food and, therefore, to the body dimensions. Closely linked to this, we find the variations in the concept of beauty that have been produced in different periods . Thus, for example, in developed cities, where food is not a limited good, thinness is considered the aesthetic ideal, while on the contrary in places where food is scarce, body roundness is the most aesthetically desirable.

Do not forget that beauty is a subjective aesthetic value of the human being, and has no universality , since it is influenced by various cultural, economic factors ... what for a society can be beautiful, at the same time it may not be for another.


That is why social phenomena affect both the way we perceive beauty and the way in which we value ourselves. In certain contexts, this It can give way to eating disorders.

  • Maybe you're interested: "The 10 most common eating disorders"

Canons of beauty and their influence on eating disorders

Symmetry, like human health, has been considered as an indicator of beauty , along with it other elements such as big eyes, long legs and youth. Nowadays we have studies that show that these traits are good indicators of attraction.

In addition, the symmetry of the potential partner is a sign of internal health, and the evolution would have been selecting the most symmetrical in order to rule out diseases or malformations that generate disadvantages in offspring and thus achieve the future of the species.


It is difficult to achieve a definition of beauty due to that subjective character, but we can speak of beauty canon referring to the set of characteristics that an object or person should have. so that the society in which he lives considers his attractiveness .

This concept varies according to the times and from one culture to another. During much of prehistory there was a beauty canon that corresponded to a woman with a large belly, voluptuous breasts and wide hips since the main objective was the survival and reproduction of the species. This concept evolved to reach the present, stage in which the extreme thinness fills the catwalks .

This type of social stereotypes associated with body beauty are causing an enhancing effect of different eating disorders . The main ones are the following.


1. Anorexia nervosa

It is the most important eating disorder because of the severity that some cases can reach. The literal translation of anorexia nervosa is "nervous loss of appetite" and is a disorder by food intake deficit . The subject who suffers from this disorder has a relentless need for weight loss caused by a phobic fear of obesity, so they follow a strict diet and continue to starve and in many cases to death.

The symptoms include severe food restriction and consequent malnutrition, distortion of body image, food avoidance behavior , and different physical repercussions such as menstrual irregularity and later amenorrhea or impotence in the case of men.

  • You may be interested: "Main eating disorders: anorexia and bulimia"

2. Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating and purging . Like anorexia, the person is obsessed with their "ideal weight" (distorted as the vision of their body image) and is afraid of obesity, looking above all for their thinness.

The person begins to feel an urgent need to eat food at all costs and without self-control . After these episodes of overeating or commonly called "bingeing" the subject is invaded by negative feelings of guilt that he tries to correct through induced vomiting, the use of purgatives and laxatives or the consumption of amphetamines.

This circular behavior (need to eat - feeling of guilt - elimination of such feelings) occurs again and again constantly perpetuating the bulimic picture. The influence of the media and publicity , the professional demands in some cases and the own need for social integration, can be factors that predispose the person to suffer this type of disorders.

The most affected ages are those that include adolescence , where self-esteem has its greatest instability and social and group acceptance is the number one priority, but anyone can be vulnerable.

No one is perfect, but we are perfect imperfections. Knowing oneself, loving oneself and surpassing oneself day by day in all aspects they must be the fundamental pillars for personal development and achieve a psychological well-being that accompanies the corporal well-being.

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