Where My Insecurities Become the Government’s Business
Over one half of teenage girls use unhealthy behaviors such as skipping meals, taking laxatives and intentional regurgitation to lose weight (Smouse). Over four-hundred public websites serve the purpose of encouraging Bulimia and Anorexia (Laurence). In a five minute google search I was able to find graphic websites that included “thinsporation”, mantras stating “you ARE a fat ass,” and daily challenges promoting eating less than five-hundred calories a day. Websites encouraging bulimic behavior turn the preexisting insecure thoughts of young women into fatal actions. The federal government, which oversees communications, should disband these websites in efforts to combat one of the most common diseases within the teenage population
Anorexia and Bulimia put lives in danger. According to one physiatrics report, “anorexia has the highest mortality rates of any mental illness, with twenty percent of sufferers dying from the disease” (Penberthy). These websites can only increase the death rate, by turning individual feelings into a community of fatal practice. At this point, authorities must step in to help control this mental epidemic. The federal government funds cancer research; reducing the mortality rate of cancer by 1.5 percent from 2003-2012 (CDC Press Release). Removing these websites could potentially have the same effect.
Though much of America agrees that these websites are harmful, there immediate termination has been postponed on the terms of infringing Freedom of Speech. When researching at school, I was able to easily find and access these demeaning websites. Other sites are given federal filters, or shut down, in order to protect children (French). This is already limiting freedom of speech. Shutting down these websites is within reach of the argument already used to ban child pornography sites, and damaging content of the sort (French). The government has the power to shelter students from these sites- particularly in school setting, where eating disorders are often acquired.
In order to fight against the most deadly mental illness, government agencies must shut down these websites. Pro-Anorexia and Bulimia websites are environments where mental illnesses are fed into and nourished. Minimally, authorities could put filters on these sites within schools. When researching in class, with a few of my peers gathered around, we looked at gory pictures of skeletal bodies and read “inspiration” that made me, a girl with a strong sense of self and beaming confidence, question myself for eating that unnecessary, but so damn delicious bar of ice cream. These websites do have an impact. Living with any insecurities is emotionally confining. Young, insecure women should have the freedom to feel confident. Especially at a time in our lives when feeling is so passionate. Disbanding sites that encourage acting on our insecurities, should not be seen as limiting freedom of speech; instead seen as expanding the freedom to love ourselves, and take control of our lives.
"Annual Report to the Nation: Cancer Death Rates Continue to Decline." CDC Press Release. 09
Mar. 2016: n.p. SIRS Government Reporter. Web. 19 Mar. 2016.
French, Rose. "Educators Grapple with Internet Limits." Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 13 Oct.
2014: A.1. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Mar. 2016.
Johnson, Chandra. "Is the Media's Focus on Weight Loss Harmful?." Deseret News. 08 Sep.
2015: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.
Laurance, Jeremy. "Hundreds of Websites Urging Girls to 'Starve for Perfection'." The
Independent. 28 Nov. 2012: 16. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.
Smouse, Becca. "Social Media Stands Up to Bad Body Trends." University Wire. 10 Jul. 2014:
n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Mar. 2016.
Penberthy, David. "Websites That Make You Want to Vomit." Sunday Telegraph (Surry Hills). 04
Sep. 2011: 44. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.