Lydia’s Library Books

The Cult of Thinness

According to research from this book, the ratio of males with eating disorders to females with ED is 1:10.

Why is that? Most literature I’ve read styles male EDs as being vocational (ie they’re wrestlers, so they purposefully gain weight, etc.), even while admitting that there has to be more to it. This book devotes a whole section on male body image through a discussion of body builders who simply cannot stop.

That’s all probably good and true. But a conversation with a male friend of mine last night makes me not so sure that that is all there is to it. Maybe males don’t develop EDs as a way to express their lack of control and power- that reinforces/proves the argument that while EDs happen because of a trauma/etc, the reason that they develop as eating disorders instead of ‘female hysteria’ (from the Victorian times) is our culture. But they do have body image issues (they are human!).

We can’t escape the fact that people use their physical, visually seen selves to express their identities. It’s a large part of adolescent development, and it continues through life. Men and women want their bodies to be expressions of their personalities, or at least, what they want other people to think their personalities are. How do we acknowledge this aspect of life without giving certain body types, male and female and of any race, value in a way that can be harmful?


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  1. * Brian says:

    Damn good question.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 10 months ago

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