What did Ashley Benson say about eating disorders?
In this blog post, we shall answer the question “what did Ashley Benson say about eating disorders?” and look at the effects of media on the development of eating disorders. We shall also look at the stigma that comes with eating disorders. Finally, we shall look at how we can prevent eating disorders.
What did Ashley Benson say about eating disorders?
Ashley Benson said that allowing people to body shame you can cause the development of an eating disorder. In an interview done by ocean drive magazine, Ashley spoke against the beauty standards placed on the film industry. She mentioned that she is not a stranger to the high standards placed on young actresses regarding their looks.
Who is Ashley Benson?
Ashley Victoria Benson is an American singer, model and actress. She has received various accolades including a People’s Choice Award, two teen choice awards and a nomination for the Capricho award for the best international actress. She was in pretty little liars as Hanna Marin in 2010, has done a photo shoot with Britney Spears for Vogue magazine and is in NLT’s music video, that girl.
Ashley has always been an open person and shares every aspect of her life with her fans and followers. She has always shown people that despite the fame she has for the roles she has played, she is just a regular girl who is not perfect.
She has gone on record to speak about the crazy beauty standards imposed on young actresses and mentioned that she was once body shamed for being a size two. “I was just told I was too fat for a part… I’m a size 2! I cried for 30 minutes, but then you have to let it roll off your shoulders or it could cause a serious eating disorder. A lot of people in this industry hear they need to lose weight more times than they should. It does make you stronger, though. Because if you let that affect you, you can’t be in this industry — you’d go crazy.”
Ashley also pointed out the unrealistic altered pictures of models and actresses that are released to the public to show perfection. “I saw photos from a shoot of myself just the other day and thought, ‘What the hell? That doesn’t even look like me!’ I hate to think that girls are like, ‘She’s so skinny! Her skin is so perfect!’ I have pimples just like they do.”
This is a challenge to other famous celebrities who are idols and role models to young girls and boys. These unrealistic representations cause a lot of negative pressure on young people who can use destructive ways to try and emulate their role models.
The practices are also harmful to the people in the industry as well. They might adopt disordered eating patterns and routines that can lead to the development of eating disorders. We have seen many celebrities who have been diagnosed or talked about their struggles with eating disorders as they try to match the unrealistic beauty standards of society.
We will now use Ashley’s case to look at the contribution of media to the development of eating disorders and also the stigma that comes with eating disorders. We shall then look at the ways we can use to prevent eating disorders.
Reasons celebrities are at a high risk of developing eating disorders
Many celebrities have come out and opened up about their struggles with eating disorders. Though there are some who have not spoken about it, they are speculated to be struggling with eating disorders from their physical appearances and behaviours. Some of the reasons Ashley believes make celebrities prone to developing eating disorders include:
The societal standards of beauty
Many people perceive beautiful women to be petite or skinny. Ashley was once, body shamed for being a size 2 and this made her cry for over thirty minutes.The internet today is filled with beautiful women with petite figures and they represent the standards of beauty today.
The most famous models and those who model for Victoria’s secret are extremely slender and are portrayed as beautiful or “sexy” and this has been accepted as the standard for beauty.
Apart from the unrealistic beauty standards put on girls, Ashley also opened up about her pictures being altered to portray perfection. She was shocked to see them and admitted that they did not show her real self. She did not like the fact that those pictures would make young girls want to be “perfect” like her, which was not true.
Technology today has allowed us to manipulate pictures to our liking. You can be transformed into a glamorous, thin woman by trimming, shaping and enhancing the photo on the computer.
Increased non-invasive surgeries
Ashley had her buddy scrutinized by agents , fans and followers. She had to meet unrealistic beauty standards imposed by the society and this she said was very stressful. Many celebrities have been deluded into getting “perfect” bodies by undergoing surgeries to correct parts of their bodies that they don’t like.
Procedures like liposuction and rib removal surgeries On-screen sexual objectification is in high demand for celebrities to achieve perfect body shapes. This makes other girls, who want to emulate their idols, into looking for ways to alter their bodies to be as perfect as their idols.
Ashley was shamed for being a size two which is pretty much petite. Many celebrities are expected to cut weight drastically for movie parts and this triggers disordered eating. Diet culture is an extreme belief that one’s appearance and body shape is more important than one’s general well-being.
It gives the idea that controlling what you eat and how much you eat is normal. Examples of diet culture include:
- Having guilt or shame for eating
- Feelings of unworthiness due to your physical appearance
- Suppressing appetite with caffeine, nicotine, water, etc.
- Labelling food as good or bad
Most of the time, women and sometimes men on-screen are seen as sex objects than cognitive and emotional beings. People tend to focus on the parts of their bodies. Influencers, musicians and actors/ actresses are criticized for how they look, their physical appearances and their body shapes.
Sexually objectifying women in media can lead to self-objectification, body dissatisfaction, sexist beliefs and increased tolerance of violence against women.
Demand from their jobs
Most celebrities have demanding jobs that leave them little or no time to relax and engage in healthy eating habits. Most of them get used to having fast foods or snacks in between their busy schedules. Those in the film industry are forced to cut weight overnight so as to fit certain roles and these factors can be triggers for eating disorders.
Ashley lost a part because she was told that she was fat for being a size 2. These demands are among the many reasons that people in the creative and film industry end up developing disordered eating and exercising that trigger eating disorders, depression and anxiety.
Ways of preventing eating disorders
Ashley has joined many celebrities trying to sensitize people about the realities of eating disorders. She shared some tips about preventing eating disorders and how to take of oneself during her interviews. These tips include:
You are more than what your body looks like
Get rid of the notion that a certain body weight, shape or diet will lead to happiness and fulfilment. Ashley reminded her fans that no one is perfect and they should embrace their flaws.
Educate yourself about eating disorders
Being aware of eating disorders will help you avoid myths about eating disorders and avoid negative judgement and attitudes about certain foods and body sizes. It will also help you identify symptoms of ED you or your loved one is presenting with and seek help before it becomes full-blown.
Challenge negative thoughts and ideas
Make the choice to avoid beliefs that losing weight and being skinny is healthy while adding weight is unhealthy and an indication of laziness and unworthiness. If you find yourself having these negative thoughts, seek therapy to find the root causes of the thoughts.
Avoid categorizing foods
A well-balanced diet includes whole foods but also allows room to enjoy all kinds of food in moderation. Avoid labelling food as bad, dangerous, good and safe.
Do not judge others based on body weight
Just like Ashley, judging people by their weight can cause distress and shame that can trigger disordered eating or depression. A person’s weight is not an indicator of their health, personality, or character. Avoid judging people from how they look and if you find yourself constantly judging people from how they look, then look for a professional therapist and address those issues.
Mute the media
Ashley advises her fans not to be obsessed with how perfect celebrities look in pictures. She confesses that her pictures are sometimes altered in a way that she also doesn’t recognize herself. Avoid letting what you see in the media influence how you behave and what you eat.
Know how to filter information from the media that is not important or that is harmful to you. You also have a right to report material that you feel is making you feel bad about your body or stigmatize. You can also show support for programs that promote healthy living and acceptance of our bodies.
Value yourself based on achievements and success
How you look should not determine your value and affect your normal routine. Value yourself based on your goals, accomplishments, talents, and character. Focus on what your body can do and not what it looks like.
Express concerns gently to those you feel have or might be in danger of developing eating disorders
Be careful when expressing concerns regarding one’s eating habits. Be gentle but firm enough for the person to seek treatment. Be careful not to use insensitive words or label the person as fat or thin.
If you have an eating disorder, do not let it control your life anymore. Call the nearest health provider and enquire about the treatment programs available for treating eating disorders.
In this article, we talked about Ashley Benson’s eating disorder. We also discussed eating disorders, their causes, risk factors, and symptoms. In addition, we also talked about how you can prevent eating disorders.
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.
Frequently asked questions: What did Ashley Benson say about eating disorders?
What does Ashley Benson eat?
Ashley likes to make a salad for lunch but she also enjoys making soups and stews
What do you say to someone with anorexia?
Let them know they have your support.
What are two ways you could help a friend who has an eating disorder?
Encourage them to seek professional help and not criticise their appearance.
American Psychiatric Association, (2013). Eating disorders in Diagnostic and statistical manual for mental disorders (5th edition). American Psychiatric Association.
Single care team. (February, 15, 2022). Eating disorder statistics 2022. The check up by single care. Retrieved from https://www.singlecare.com/blog/news/eating-disorder-statistics/
THR staff. (January 4, 2016). Ashley Benson Was Told She Was “Too Fat” for a Role. the Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved from: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/general-news/ashley-benson-was-told-she-852040/
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