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Eating Behaviours

9) Evolutionary explanations for Bulimia Nervosa

The sexual competition hypothesis

Abed suggests that bulimia nervosa is a result of an evolved need to compete with other females in order to attract a mate, so women obsess over dieting and weight loss in order to attract a mate.

Evolution of nubility – Ridley claims that over time we have evolved to believe the ‘hour-glass’ figure of a slim waist and larger hips is the most attractive shape for a women, possibly because it is the most successful shape in terms of reproduction. So this can explain why being slim could be seen as important to women from an evolutionary perspective.

Evaluation of evolutionary explanations

One strength of this explanations is that it fits with the statistics. For example younger women are more likely to suffer bulimia than older women, which fits with the theory.

The sexual competition hypothesis states that bulimia is a result of an innate desire to look a certain way, however in other cultures apart from western cultures bulimia rates a much lower, which questions whether bulimia is caused by biological factors or more by cultural factors.

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About Sam Cook

A blog set up to help A Level students revise Sociology

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