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Eating Disorders

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Article 1 ‘Reflections of my former self’ by Katharine Wealthall is written in the first person because she tells the reader about going through anorexia nervosa. In her first paragraph she explores the stereotypical view that most people assume about the disorder, and mentions how the media influences it. The second paragraph is small but tells us how anorexia nervosa takes over your life and how recovering from the disease is just as hard as the disorder itself. The style of this article is very personal and written so that other readers who have anorexia nervosa can identify with the reader and inspire them to beat the disease.

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Article 2 ‘Anorexic, bulimic and online’ by Beverly Kemp looks at how eating disorders are posted on the internet and offer ideas to ‘pro-ana/mia’ people instead of supporting those recovering. In the first paragraph she identifies the most common victims of the disease are women from their early teens to late 30’s. She also adds that the people on these websites see having an eating disorder or wanting an eating disorder to be acceptable and even a desirable lifestyle however it is a life-threatening disease which further on in the article points out the number of deaths as a result of eating disorders.

The figures show that eating disorders and the physiological effects of it such as pneumonia and heart failure account for 10% of deaths. 27% of deaths are caused by suicide which suggests that eating disorders may affect the sufferer psychologically more than physically.

Article 1 is different from Article 2 from the obvious point that article 1 has been written from a person suffering herself whilst article 2 highlights ways in which the disorder is hidden and figures. They are also from different sources; article 1 is from The Observer whereas article 2 is from Zest magazine therefore the audience is going to be different. Article 1’s audience is likely to be older because it is a newspaper article and mainly read by business people or possibly a higher social class for that reason it may have a deeper impact on the reader than say statistics of the disease in article 2 because they may already be aware of the figures but not the reasoning behind it.

Article 1 therefore does give reasons for having eating disorders such as ‘a feeling of failure’, the death of someone close (human or animal) and how that affects you as well as feeling undeserving of food. Article 2 does not go into this detail but merely gives quotes from online users on hints and tips to lose more weight such as ‘eat ice cubes during cravings’, ‘stay cold’, and ‘never eat anything bigger than your fist’. This difference shows readers how eating disorders are viewed by different people, some wish to know how to get better at losing weight whilst others like Katharine Wealthall wish to escape it. The quotes from article 2 suggest that living with an eating disorder is easy and you need only simple ideas and tips to be successfully thin, implying that having an eating disorder is an achievement.

Another difference is that in article 1 Katharine Wealthall seems to keep her disorder to herself which is a common sign of having an eating disorder for example lying about eating meals or asking to eat meals out of view of people watching. She therefore did not receive any kind of treatment until 1999 or open up to her family about what she was going through. Article 2 in comparison tells us how women go online to websites because the kind of support that is needed ‘can only be provided by others with the same condition’. This suggests that engaging in conversation with others who are thinking and/or feeling the same way is easier that talking to family or friends who cannot identify with them because of their ‘normal’ eating way.

The similarities in the two articles tell us that anorexia nervosa or an eating disorder is a disease which can kill you. This is shown from that statistics in paragraph 5 of article 2 and in paragraph 8 of article 1 where Katharine Wealthall says that ‘I was physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted- and scared. I was certain that, if I did not receive real help, it would kill me’. Another thing that is mentioned in both articles is how much eating disorders take over your life so that you barely remember the person you were or wanted to be consequently emphasizing the psychological effects. The two articles (although already mentioned) talk about the lies and secrecy that came with the disease.

Article 2 contains suggestions from online users of ways of fooling people into thinking you are eating normally. One girl writes about ‘vomiting in the shower, so her parents wont hear’. Article 1 talks about having a fixed routine regarding food but it also says that whilst at home she would eat ‘normally’ to stop anyone asking questions which is suggested on the website. ‘Hang out in the kitchen so people will think you are eating’. The two articles suggest that the lies and secrecy involved in an eating disorder are almost necessary to maintain control; the irony is that person is not in fact in control but only thinks they are.

Article 1 contains no images for one main reason, it is written in such a way that there is little need for an image because it is a personal account and Katharine gives a detailed account of living with anorexia nervosa therefore an image would offer very little more to the article. There is an image in article 2 which shows a young girl looking in a mirror at herself and the computer displaying the website ‘Anorexic Goddess’, the article says that this website receives 400 hits every week. I think the image is needed because the article is not very personal as well as the people in the article for example the owner of ‘Anorexic Goddess’ and those who have suffered from the disease say very little about what goes on in their head to lead them to having or wanting an eating disorder. Article 2 does not give the same personalized depth that article 1 offers.

The layout of the two articles is different mainly because they come from two different sources, a magazine and newspaper therefore each one attracts a different audience for separate reasons. Article 1 does not have a very large title and therefore a reader might not automatically notice it and consequently fail to read the rest of the article. The text is split into paragraphs of topic or even time scale e.g. when she was a teenager and now that she is 30 however it is not broken up to the extent that article 2 is. From reading article 1 you think you are reading a lot more than 1127 words because it is in continuous prose in contrast article 2 has more words (1500) but because it is sub-divided it does not feel like you are reading as much.

The two articles show a different in not only layout, audience and style but their perspective on eating disorders as a whole. They both highlight the dangers of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa but article 2 shows that people still want to look like their favourite Hollywood stars and will do anything in the pursuit of size 8 jeans or the famous size 0 that the media have picked up on. Article 1 tells us little of any media influence which suggests that having an eating disorder can come about in various ways and possibly draws attention to the fact that this may be a biological disorder rather than a social learning one.

Article 1 gives a deeper understanding of living with anorexia and what are the triggers behind it. This article towards the end has an optimistic view because she has gotten help and is recovering. She writes strategies to stay well such as having a structure to the day or thinking more positive thoughts whereas article 2 does not offer any ways to get better or ways in which ‘pro-ana/mia’ sufferers can receive help because it goes too far. The last line in both articles also offers a positive or negative slant on eating disorders. Article 1 says ‘I have anorexia nervosa, I am anorexic, but that is not all I am’.

This is quite a encouraging ending because Katharine Wealthall shows that she is anorexic but she is more than that. Article 2 finishes by saying ‘What they’re actually doing is advocating a slow suicide’. This ending is very negative because it is condemning those who want or have an eating disorder and suggests that people have a choice when often this is not the case. Many people with the disease have little real control over the disorder and only perceived control. I don’t think article 2 has the same amount of impact that article 1 has on the reader because it is things many people have heard before but rarely head a person’s own story of living with anorexia nervosa.

Cite this Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders. (2017, Dec 17). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/eating-disorders/

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