General Question

poisonedantidote's avatar

Calling all jellies: Can you help me mount a debate against anorexia in the fashion industry?

Asked by poisonedantidote (21638points) April 2nd, 2013

Hi everyone, I need a favor.

My girlfriend is taking debate at university, and her finals are coming up. She has to put together another, final, 10 minute argument against a topic.

She has chosen anorexia in the fashion industry, based on the teachers criteria, that it has to be controversial, and meet other criteria to qualify as a valid topic.

We need some help, in sourcing arguments, statistics, studies and general sources for her to mount her debate.

I want to make clear, no one is doing her homework for her. I help her out with her debates all the time, because she also works full time as well as going to university, and does not have much free time.

To help her out, I research things for her, and send her a big file full of data, but she always puts together her own argument in her own words, on her own chosen topic. All I am doing is providing a summary of all the search results and sources, so she can just focus on writing up her argument, instead of searching 20 minutes for a graph or chart she needs.

Can you please help by providing some opinions or arguments, on why anorexia in the fashion industry is a bad thing, link to sources or studies, or provide any info you can?

Arguments in favor of anorexia in the fashion industry also welcome on the rare chance that you are in to that.

Thanks a million.

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9 Answers

Coloma's avatar

The only argument, aside from the unrealistic body models is the simple, indisputable fact, that extremely low body weight is unhealthy and can lead to death from cardiac arrest as the heart muscle is depleted from gross deterioration from starvation.
Also the underlying psychological factors involving perfectionism, control and poor self image.
As always, with many things, the Anorexia itself is only a symptom of deeper psychological issues.
Anorexia is a dis-ease of the mind and psyche and starvation is the manifestation of the unwell mind.

CWOTUS's avatar

I don’t see how arguing against anorexia can be considered controversial. If I had to debate, I’d prefer to take the pro-anorexia side of this.

With obesity such a prevalent problem in the US and other Western societies, it seems to me that promotion of “thin is in” to normal people (most of whom do not have and will not have eating disorders, contrary to some wild popular opinion that “we’re teaching our children to starve themselves!”) might actually help people to decide to put down that Super-Gulp soft drink and that bag of chips and take a walk once in awhile.

But what do I know? I’m always on the unpopular side of most arguments here.

gambitking's avatar

Hey there I was on the high school debate team, lettered as an officer in debate my senior year and joined the Baylor debate team in college, for what it’s worth. Here’s my thing:

First: It depends on whether this is just a “speech class” debate or an actual Debate class debate. if it is actual debate, is it Lincoln-Douglas or Cross Examination debate? They’re two very different things.

Secondly, your explanation of the topic is really vague. If this is a real debate, there has to be a ‘resolution’, a statement that the two opposing sides will use. Such as “A program should be established to significantly reduce anorexia in the fashion industry”. But the two sides don’t debate the topic specifically.

Instead, the “Affirmative” side supports the resolution and develops a plan to accomplish it, while the Negative side basically says “we don’t need the program” or , “the resolution is bad”, or “The affirmative side’s plan is bad”. Or all three.

This is why if you’re taking up the negative side of the issue, and you’re debating against another person (not just against an idea), then you have to have tons of answers ready and choose the most effective ones that fit the situation. The negative side can be tough for this reason, but they don’t have the burden of proof of that the Affirmative team has.

Thirdly, what you’re asking is very much a lot of homework. The research involved for a good debate presentation is intensive, time consuming and by far the most work of any facet of debate. So it’s tough to ask that of the communities online, plus it’s best if you know all that evidence you collect yourself.

Finally, if none of the above sounds like the type of assignment your friend has, and she’s just being tasked with arguing one side of a topic she chose, then this isn’t a debate, it is a Persuasive Speaking exercise and I am sorry for the wall of text.

Inspired_2write's avatar

I happened to view a documentary on TV a few nights ago ( Ukrain/or Russian recruiters)?
About how young girls 10Yrs – 13 yrs old were being recruited for the fashion industry.
How Modelling agencies ( international) fudged their records and added a few years onto their files ( example: girl was 13 yrs old they put in her file that she was 15 yrs old to get the approval of the industry standards etc).
Also they interviewed a former model who is a recruiter who stated that some of these starving girls ( no money to live on) ended on supplementing there incomes by becoming Prosittutes!
When these girls became distraught enough to quit and go back home…they ended up with a $22000.00 bill…to there parents!
One girl ended up going back into the industry after her parents in the Ukraine could not afford to not only pay for there families upkeep ( food etc) but could not pay the $22000.00 bill either.
These girls became “slaves” to the modelling industry.
IF more people stopped purchasing outfits that clearly is not for the normal typical person of the general public,,,,then perhaps the design modelling dustry will topple or be forced to change.
Money or in this case lack of income, will force this industry to become more responsible in representing and actually carring for these girls. Hopefully.
Also in the end of this documentary..the recruiter had discovered a tumor growing dangerously in her stomach…a telling sign of her stress gone inward , affecting her body.
I cannot remember the documentary film name etc

Sunny2's avatar

I recall fashion shots in Vogue where the models all looked like zombies, with dark shadows around their eyes, skeleton like bodies and sad faces. I couldn’t understand why anyone would find that attractive. I still can’t. Wouldn’t healthy looking people sell more clothes than models who looked they’d returned from the grave?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

The phenomenon finds its roots in the unrealistic standards of beauty promoted by the media, the fitness and diet industry, and the fashion industry. Dangerously low body weights, anorexia and bulimia are the result of models efforts to reach the highest paid echelon in their career by doing whatever it takes to meet these unrealistic and dangerous demands. When will they ever learn? Perhaps when consumers refuse to support these industries and the havoc they wreak on young women.

Stop buying the magazines that promote these looks; boycott designers that produce clothing for the “starvefests” and refuse to buy into unhealthy goals in weight management and “fitness.” That would be a start. It is primarily a women’s issue and it is women consumers who must start changing the support for companies who promote illness both physical and mental. As long as the profit motive supports these companies, why would they want or need to change?

gambitking's avatar

I see a lot of people lamenting the blight that is Anorexia. Guys I don’t think anyone would support Anorexia. It’s not something that’s debatable -even in terms of controversy (which would require staunch support on both sides).

Anorexia is a disease. It is a pathology rooted in psychological disturbance that manifests in physiological maladies. The fact that the disease is prevalent in the fashion industry should not even be a consideration in debating whether Anorexia is good or bad.

Does anyone debate whether Methamphetamine addiction is good or bad? It’s prominent among truck drivers, as it helps them stay awake on long drives. Does it matter? No, because that disease (and consequently, the drug), destroys people.

As I said before, this topic as it is won’t stand as a debate topic. There has to be a resolution involved.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Great answers everyone, thanks a lot, keep em coming. :)

Earthgirl's avatar

Even the enlightened people in the fashion industry are concerned about and doing things to stop the unrealistic body standards being pushed on models and the negative influence they have on society. You can see a few articles in the links below which demonstrate that.
I did a quick perusal based on summaries of articles but she will have to read and skim the articles and links herself of course. If the links don’t work at least you have the web addresses. For the articles from The Lancet she may have to join but once she registers the articles I linked to are free of charge.

Pro-anorexia websites pose public health challenge
http://download.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140673612600488.pdf?id=a02f57d1811fcb77:524f7ce2:13dcc40cf0b:-2191364934828359

Is it time for a public-health approach to eating disorders?
http://download.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140673607605376.pdf?id=a02f57d1811fcb77:524f7ce2:13dcc40cf0b:-2191364934828359

Eating disorders
Christopher G Fairburn, Paul J Harrison
Eating disorders are an important cause of physical and psychosocial morbidity in adolescent girls and young adult women. They are much less frequent in men. Eating disorders are divided into three diagnostic categories: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and the atypical eating disorders. However, the disorders have many features in common and patients frequently move between them, so for the purposes of this Seminar we have adopted a transdiagnostic perspective. The cause of eating disorders is complex and badly understood. There is a genetic predisposition, and certain specific environmental risk factors have been implicated. Research into treatment has focused on bulimia nervosa, and evidence-based management of this disorder is possible. A specific form of cognitive behaviour therapy is the most effective treatment, although few patients seem to receive it in practice. Treatment of anorexia nervosa and atypical eating disorders has received remarkably little research attention.

http://download.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140673603123781.pdf?id=a02f57d1811fcb77:524f7ce2:13dcc40cf0b:-2191364934828359

The Lancet, Volume 361, Issue 9368, Page 1490, 3 May 2003

doi:10.1016/S0140–6736(03)13221–7Cite or Link Using DOI
Death in anorexia nervosa
Robert L Palmer a
Anorexia nervosa provokes widely different attitudes. It may be thought of as something akin to the commonplace slimming fads of adolescent girls or as a rare and exotic disorder destroying the lives of the young and often picking out gifted girls. Neither view is accurate. Those who work with patients with anorexia nervosa like to emphasise both the seriousness and the ordinariness of the disorder. Anorexia nervosa is not uncommon. And although most patients eventually recover, the disease can blight young lives and distort development. Furthermore, some people do die of the disorder. Those who might trivialise the disease are reminded that anorexia nervosa has one of the highest death rates of any psychiatric disorder. “Shroud waving” is an inelegant term but something of the sort may be required when a serious disorder is not taken seriously.

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(03)13221-7/fulltext

Healthier Standards – An Op-Ed by CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg and Director of The Harris Center Dr.David Herzog
http://www.cfda.com/the-latest/healthier-standards-an-op-ed-by-cfda-president-diane-von-furstenberg-and-director-of-the-harris-center-dr-david-herzog

What the U.S. Can—and Can’t—LearnFrom Israel’s Ban on Ultra-Thin Models
TALYA MINSBERG
MAY 9 2012, 7:01 AM ET

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/05/what-the-us-can-and-cant-learn-from-israels-ban-on-ultra-thin-models/256891/

Good list of many media articles on Anorexia from the Harris Center:
Since its inception in 1994, the Harris Center (formerly the Harvard Eating Disorders Center) has been dedicated to expanding knowledge about eating disorders, their detection, treatment and prevention. Founded and directed by David B. Herzog, MD, until his retirement in 2013, and currently directed by Kamryn T. Eddy, Ph.D., the Center is uniquely positioned to bring together experts to generate, share and creatively disseminate this knowledge to caregivers, patients, their families and the community. At the heart of the Center is a commitment to promote the healthy development of children, women, and all at risk for eating disorders.

http://www2.massgeneral.org/harriscenter/news_inthenews.asp

List of articles from the New York Times Health section:
http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/anorexia-nervosa/news-and-features.html

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