Fashion magazines can push young women into eating disorders, says Mills

Fashion magazines are providing dangerous “thinspiration” to many dieting teens, says Jennifer Mills, professor in the Psychology Department of York’s Faculty of Arts, reported The Mackenzie Times (Mackenzie, BC) in a May 16 NewsCanada article about research supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Mills is examining how the idealized body images in popular media affect young dieters’ self-esteem in a study funded by SSHRC.

Surprisingly, Mills has found that the airbrushed images of models in fashion magazines don’t make dieters feel depressed. In fact, these photos make them feel better about themselves. “Many young female dieters are showing what I call ‘thinspiration’,” says Mills. “Looking at these images provides a boost in their self-esteem and motivates them to lose more weight.”

In fact, Mills found that some young dieters actually feel thinner after looking at fashion magazines. “There is a fantasy effect,” says Mills. “But, this boost in self-esteem is only temporary, and the consequences – crash dieting and poor eating habits – can be permanent.” Her research shows that these magazines motivate some women to begin a cycle of disordered eating, from chronic dieting to serious eating disorders. And with young women between the ages of 14 and 25 suffering from 90 per cent of all eating disorders, parents should take warning. “Dieters tend to lose a sense of what their body really looks like,” says Mills. “It’s possible for them to feel fat one minute and thin the next. With this unstable body image, they are more susceptible to external pressures.”

Mills’ advice to parents: talk to your daughters about what they’re reading and find out how they feel about the messages in these magazines. “Parents might be pleasantly surprised at their kids’ media savvy, and to know that their kids realize these pictures aren’t what real people look like,” says Mills. “On the other hand, they may find that their daughters are spending a lot of time thinking about thinness or how important it is to look a certain way.”

NFL’s Ravens crow over York football star

Until a few years ago, Ricky Foley had never played on a football team. Now, the York University linebacker has a shot at making it in the NFL, reported the Toronto Star May 25. Foley, 25, has signed a free-agent contract with the Baltimore Ravens after being invited to the team’s two-day training camp earlier this month.

Foley, a 6-foot-2, 255-pound first-round pick by the BC Lions in this year’s CFL draft, was among 12 undrafted NFL rookies and 10 Baltimore draft picks at the Ravens’ training centre in Owings Mills, Md. “The NFL is the highest level, so obviously that’s where you want to be – I want to be here first and foremost, that’s always been my dream,” Foley said from Baltimore, where he is staying until the Ravens’ main training camp begins in mid-July.

Foley impressed Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan with his play at the rookie training camp. “I think Ricky came in here determined to make the most of his time and prove what he can do. We liked the way he ran to the ball, his quickness and the initial instincts he possesses on the field,” Ryan said.

Ryan said the Ravens recognized that Foley was used to a different style of play and competition than those rookies who came from major American university programs. “But he was athletic enough to be drafted fourth overall in the CFL. The kid definitely has something to him. He can run and he really likes to play. He also has got a great head on his shoulders. “Right now he’s raw, but the talent is there and we are going to give him an opportunity to show us what he can be.”

York football coach Tom Gretes believes his former star player has what it takes to make the final cut. “He can hold his own with anybody. If anyone can do it, it’s Ricky Foley – he’s got the desire, the determination, the ability.”

Thakkar’s work explores creation and destruction

To Menaka Thakkar, DLitt (Hon) ‘93, it must seem like old times. In the mid-1970s, after she had relocated to Toronto from India, Thakkar, adjunct professor of dance and York benefactor, paid regular visits to Regina to dance and to teach, reported The Leader-Post (Regina) May 25. This continued through the early 1990s and came to an end, at least temporarily, with a performance here in 1998. This evening marks her return with the Menaka Thakkar Dance Company for a performance at the Conexus Arts Centre on behalf of the India Canada Association and New Dance Horizons.

A native of Bombay, where she was an accomplished soloist, Thakkar had come to Canada in hopes of creating new works and to form her own company. Due to the scarcity of dancers in this discipline, however, before she could choreograph dances, she had to train dancers. She proceeded to do exactly that, from her home base at York University in Toronto, working with second-generation Indians, and discovering in the process that “anatomy and gravity,” as she puts it, govern all forms of dance, not just her own. She also learned that there are common elements between dance forms that originate in her country, and ballet. “I came to understand that it is similar,” she says, “and that it unites us.”

Robinson takes on high-interest lenders in new report

In a column about interest rate hikes in the Toronto Sun May 25, columnist Linda Leatherdale noted the most desperate families end up falling prey to lenders of last resort – like payday operators charging usurious rates of interest of 60 per cent and higher. For years, ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) has been lobbying Ottawa to clamp down. Yesterday ACORN stepped up its protest with a new report by Chris Robinson, professor in York’s Atkinson School of Administrative Studies. What Robinson is proposing is to make payday lending legal by removing the 60-per-cent interest rate limit in the Criminal Code but, in exchange, restrict the fees they can charge, which would save borrowers $194 million a year.

Osgoode grad featured as legal eagle in Post photo

The National Post published a photo of Osgoode alumna and “legal eagle” Erin Chayko May 25, noting she will be articling with Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, one of Toronto’s most innovative and student-friendly firms.

On air

  • Anne Bayefsky, political science professor at York who is currently senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in New York, talked about the United Nations and current world issues on Calgary’s CHQR Talk Radio May 23.