If you scan the last of cultures that have a thin ideal for woman, you will be stuck by something fascinating. All thin ideal cultures also have eating disorders. They also have roughly twice as much depression in woman as in man. (Woman diet twice as much as man . The best estimate is that 30% of adult men and twenty five percent of adult women are now on a diet.) The cultures without the thin ideal have not eating disorders, and the amount of depression in women and men in these cultures is the same. This suggests that around the world, the thin ideal and dieting not only cause eating disorders but also cause woman to be more depressed than man.
The problem of fat consciousness and depression starts shortly before puberty. Earlier, boys have at least as much depression as girls. When puberty starts, boys go from flabby to muscular, but girls, whose weight gain is primarily fat, go from lean to voluptuous. Boys move towards their ideal body, but girls move away from it. Soon after puberty, girls are twice as depressed as boys, and the girls who are most depressed are the ones most upset about their body.
In a culture that glorifies being thin and young, many of us who are neither are discontents, vulnerable to continual messages that we are failures. It is just a few short steps from constantly feeling like a failure to becoming a depressed patient.

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