Sunday October 22, 2017

Mannequins promoting ‘dangerously thin’ and unrealistic body ideal, can be dangerous for Young Adults

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Mannequins, Wikimedia

London, May 3, 2017: Don’t go by the body size of fashion store mannequins for they are “too thin” and promote unrealistic body ideals which can be dangerous for young adults, warn researchers.

The study, published in the Journal of Eating Disorders, found that the average female mannequin’s body size was representative of a severely underweight woman.

These ultra-thin models may prompt body image problems and encourage eating disorders in young people, the researchers said.

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“Because ultra-thin ideals encourage the development of body image problems in young people, we need to change the environment and reduce emphasis on the value of extreme thinness,” said Eric Robinson, from the University of Liverpool in Britain.

However, altering the size of high street fashion mannequins alone would not “solve” body image problems.

“What we are instead saying is that presentation of ultra-thin female bodies is likely to reinforce inappropriate and unobtainable body ideals. So as a society we should be taking measures to stop this type of reinforcement,” Robinson said.

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“Given that the prevalence of body image problems and disordered eating in young people is worryingly high, positive action that challenges communication of ultra-thin ideal may be of particular benefit to children, adolescents and young adult females,” he noted.

For the study, the team surveyed national fashion retailers located on the high street of two cities in Britain.

The average male mannequin’s body size was significantly larger in contrast to the average female mannequin’s body size and only a small proportion of male mannequins represented an underweight body size. (IANS)

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It’s Not What it Looks Like! Today’s Teenagers Growing up Slowly

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Teenagers are growing up slowly
Teenagers are growing up slowly. Pixabay

New York, Sep 19, 2017: Contrary to popular perception, today’s teenagers are actually growing up more slowly than their predecessors, with 18-year-olds now behaving like 15-year-olds of yesteryears, suggests new research.

The findings published in the journal Child Development suggest that today’s teenagers are taking longer to engage in adult activities such as drinking alcohol, working, driving, or having sex.

“The developmental trajectory of adolescence has slowed, with teenagers growing up more slowly than they used to,” explained Jean Twenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University in the US and lead author of the study.
“In terms of adult activities, 18-year-olds now look like 15-year-olds once did,” Twenge said. 

The researchers examined how often teenagers engaged in activities that adults do and that children do not, including dating, working for pay, going out without parents, driving and having sex.

They analysed seven large surveys of 8.3 million 13- to 19-year-olds between 1976 and 2016.

The surveys were nationally representative, reflecting the population of US teenagers in terms of gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status and geographic region.

In the surveys, teenagers were asked how they used their time, including their engagement in one or more adult activities, allowing researchers to compare teens in the 2010s to teenagers in the 2000s, 1990s, 1980s and 1970s.

The study found that today’s adolescents are less likely than their predecessors to take part in activities typically undertaken by adults.

The researchers also examined how changes in family size, life expectancy, education and the economy may have influenced the speed at which teenagers take on adult activities.

Also Read: Introducing Adolescents to Alcohol in their Teen Years Can be Risky 

The trend toward engaging in fewer adult activities cannot be explained by time spent on homework or extracurricular activities because time doing those activities decreased among eighth and tenth graders and was steady among twelfth graders and college students, the researchers said.

The decline may be linked to the time teenagers spend online, which increased markedly, the authors noted.

“Our study suggests that teenagers today are taking longer to embrace both adult responsibilities (such as driving and working) and adult pleasures (such as sex and alcohol),” study co-author Heejung Park, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, said. (IANS)


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Can Flourishing Islamic State (ISIS) be Stopped in Afghanistan?

The truth about IS and Afghanistan is definitely no picnic

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Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.
Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016. The rise of IS in Afghanistan has become such a priority that U.S. and Afghan forces sometimes support the Taliban while battling IS, VOA
  • Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
  • Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
  • In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS

June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.

Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.

Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.

Confusion leads to mistakes

All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.

Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.

“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”

Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.

Confusing scenarios

Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.

“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.

In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.

IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.

Families displaced

IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.

Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.

“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.

ALSO READ: Flashback to Terror: 1993 Mumbai Blasts Judgement to Hail on June 27 After 24 Years

Recruiting unemployed youths

IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.

Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.

IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.

Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.

Darzab district

Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.

IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.

Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.

“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.

Hit-and-hide strategy

IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.

Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.

“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)

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Here is Why Mannequins are responsible for the Rise of ‘Body Image’ Issues!

Mannequins are found to have unusual body types that can be matched almost to a severely underweight woman

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Mannequins in clothing stores
Mannequins at display in clothing stores. Pixabay
  • Most of the mannequins occupying the fashion-stores are not only disturbingly thin, and possess quite unusual and chiseled looks
  • It has been revealed that eating disorders, thyroid problems are among the number of issues that are caused due to such shapes
  • Altering the shape and size of the regular mannequins will not resolve the issues and solve the body-image problems in an instant

June 22, 2017: When we walk into a retail shop or a clothing store, we are confronted by mannequins whose shapes are nothing that resemble most of the girls and the women that we know. Most of the mannequins occupying the fashion-stores are not only disturbingly thin, and possess quite unusual and chiseled looks.

Mannequins are found to have unusual body types that can be matched almost to a severely underweight woman. Now, this unrealistic representation of the human body is not only confined to female mannequins; the male counterparts of those life-sized statues are not any different. But the women of the society have been observed to be more affected by this unrealistic representation of the human shape, because body-image issues impact the women more than it does so to the men.

ALSO READ: Science cannot be at the expense of Culture: Here is Why!

Surveys and research all over the world show that multiple diseases and problems are caused by the mannequins with their ‘emaciated’ body shapes. It has been revealed that eating disorders, thyroid problems are among the number of issues that are caused due to such shapes; as women, mostly children and teenagers and the young adults, tend to acquire the unrealistic chiseled shapes like the model mannequins of the store as the fashion clothing on those are appealing to the extreme. Hence, the desire to possess such a body results into eating disorders and multiple other problems including the heavy obsession with surgeries and intake of steroids and such stimulators that affect the muscles and the cells. Failing to do that, one falls prey to depression. It has become a widespread issue around the globe now.

In young girls, the obsession for dolling up and looking perfect like the hugely famous Barbie doll is quite an old issue. The ultra-thin mannequins donning attractive outfits in the fashion stores, take that issue one step further as to leading the young girls into believing that the body shapes flaunted by those mannequins are the standardized representation of a perfect female form. Hence, an overweight kid is often found to be depressed or suffering from inferiority complex, born from the fear of not being accepted into the society.

Absurdly thin mannequins have been an age-old topic of conversation. But, given the rise of body-positivity and abolishing the social stigma of fat-shaming and body-image issues, the unrealistic representation of the female body by the mannequins, is a much-researched concern now.

Altering the shape and size of the regular mannequins will not resolve the issues and solve the body-image problems in an instant. It has to be communicated to the young girls, adolescents, and the young-adult females of the society, that the unattainable body-shape showcased by the mannequins, is not the ideal human form to chase after! Also, the society needs to become more open-minded, less judgmental, and way more accepting in order to lift the curse posed by body-image issues. We still have a long way to go. But the change should begin now, the time has arrived!

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC