Why does the public believe only women are victims of body image and eating disorders? Males are dangerously preoccupied with the appearance of their bodies just as women. Society has taught men that they should not be concerned about how they look. But countless numbers of men are sacrificing important aspects of their lives to working out compulsively. This leads to distorted body images, which ties together with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Within the last decade, the media has portrayed the male physique as being very toned and muscular, well defined, with the physical characteristics of a runway model. These physical characteristics were once only targeted towards women, but currently put pressure on men to appear physically perfect. The negative results of these images, such as eating disorders which was once considered a predominantly female disorder, is now heavily affecting men. According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, two out of every one hundred men have an eating disorder . Today it is said that there is one male for every four females suffering from eating disorders such as, Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa, and more recently, Muscle dysmorphia. In this paper, I intend to discuss the affect the media has on males developing eating disorders, other factors outside the media that contribute to men developing such disorders, and the specific types of eating disorders males, like females, suffer from.
What Type of Males are Affected by Eating Disorders?
Men with eating disorders tend to have dependent, avoidant, and passive-aggressive personality styles, and to have experienced negative reactions to their bodies from their peers while growing up. They tend to be closer to their mothers than their fathers. It is concluded that "in our culture, muscular build, overt physical aggression, competence at athletics, competitiveness, and independence generally are regarded as desirable for males, whereas dependency, passivity, inhibition of physical aggression, smallness, and neatness are seen as more appropriate for females. Boys who later develop eating disorders do not conform to the cultural expectations for masculinity; they tend to be more dependent, passive, and non-athletic, traits which may lead to feelings of isolation and disparagement of body."
What Eating Disorders do Males Suffer From?
The typical eating disordered male has a strong need to be accepted, perfect, and beautiful. So, many of them push themselves in order to achieve their desires . Because of the extreme pushing, these males develop eating disorders. Like females, men too suffer from both anorexia and bulimia. More recently, a new type of disorder was developed, particularly for men. This disorder is called Muscle Disphormia.
Anorexia Nervosa can be defined as a psycho physiological disorder usually occurring in young women that is characterized by an abnormal fear of becoming obese, a distorted self-image, a persistent unwillingness to eat, and severe weight loss. Self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, malnutrition, amenorrhea, and other physiological changes often accompany it . The American Heritage Dictionary gives a very accurate definition of anorexia nervosa, but like many other sources, they purposely exclude males from it. This is a huge problem because men everyday suffer from such eating disorders. The typical anorexic male is usually active and has anxiety about sex. They are also more preoccupied with food and weight, are perfectionists, and have more discrepancies with their physical appearance . They may also suffer from medical conditions such as anemia, chronic liver damage, hypokalemic alkalosis as a result of induced vomiting, and impotence . Because males weigh more on average than women, anorexia has the potential to be more dangerous if a males' body weight drops too low. One of the largest problems facing male anorexics is the ability...
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