By Mervat Nasser
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia are one of the few psychiatric syndromes with a believable socio-cultural version of causation. problems with tradition and slimness tend to be thought of by way of the adventure of the western global, yet there's a turning out to be physique of study suggesting that obstacle with slimness is changing into extra general in non-western cultures.
In Culture and Weight Consciousness, Mervat Nasser brings jointly this examine and appears on the contemporary emergence of consuming issues in cultures that have been formerly freed from such difficulties. She relates the feminist theories which were recommend to give an explanation for the phenomenon of consuming problems within the west to the of recent ladies in lots of non-western cultures and concludes that their place isn't really in any respect that diversified from that in their western opposite numbers. This leads her to handle the present obstacles of the concept that of tradition and draw out the consequences for destiny research.
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Extra info for Culture and Weight Consciousness
A study carried out by Bell (1985) on several hundred Italian female saints of the Catholic church suggests that fasting behaviour is closely related to social perception. These cases of historical self-starvation were accepted in the past as mere religious experiences. There is a tendency nowadays to view them as early accounts of cases of anorexia nervosa, and they are now referred to as ‘holy anorexia’. I describe these historical accounts of vomiting, purging and self-starvation to demonstrate how certain behaviours evolve in the course of time to assume the status of illness.
In one of my articles entitled ‘Prescription of vomiting’, I explained how vomiting and the use of purgatives were historically widely prevalent behaviours (Nasser 1993). They were largely accepted and even prescribed by physicians, in keeping with the prevailing cultural values at the time. The first prescriptions of vomiting can be traced back to the Egyptian Ebers papyrus which was dedicated to the virtues of emesis since ‘all diseases to which men were subject proceed from food itself (Garrison 1929).
Littlewood 1986) EATING DISORDERS—CULTURE BOUND, ETHNIC DISORDER OR REACTIVE TO CULTURE CHANGE? Prince (1983) argued that an eating disorder as described in western literature has all the criteria that makes it a culture-bound syndrome: Culture and weight consciousness 16 As westerners we all experience first hand the powerful anorexic influences that are currently playing upon us, particularly upon the western female. The slim youthful body is beautiful and healthy. The fat person is slovenly, ugly, prone to disease and lacks self discipline.
Culture and Weight Consciousness by Mervat Nasser