Internal and External Pressures to be Thin among Men

Running head: INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL PRESSURES TO BE THIN AMONG MEN Internal and External Pressures to be Thin among Men Insert Insert Affiliation
Abstract
The stress that the media, family, and possibly just low self esteem on individual body image often times leads to severe eating disorders. What history has not fully exposed throughout the decades is the fact that these various disorders affect men just as traumatically as they do women. In fact, men might even have a more difficult time because help is not readily available for them as it is for women. This literature will depict how men fight to have the ideal body image and fall into the trap of eating disorders just as readily as women do.
Internal and External Pressures to be Thin among Men
History has often shown various types of women, in all different walks of life that suffer from eating disorders in order to be thin. Ironically, there is not as much emphasis on men and whether or not they suffer from the same external and internal pressures to be thin and have the perfect body. However, there is not more of an acknowledgement of how men do indeed have many similar characteristics within the overwhelming drive to be thin, the same as women do. The difference is that men do not outwardly express any sort of problem but rather try and cope with their issues of being thin and the disorders that come with it, all on their own. When it comes to men and picturing them as having a form of an eating disorder, looks can be very deceiving, but now it is realized that bulimia, and anorexia, as well as other eating disorders are not just women’s disease’s (Using: Caring On Line 2005).
The common food choices that are associated with the disorder of bulimia are often found to be the same types of foods men with this eating problem choose as well. Richard Dickinson, a past sufferer of bulimia admits that when he use to go grocery shopping his food choices didn’t consist of nutritious foods full of powerful vitamins and antioxidants but rather foods like: cookies, pumpkin pie, chocolate ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate syrup, and potato chips (Using: Caring On Line 2005). These are classic food choices of bulimics and this goes to show men are no different than women in the similarities of eating they replicate with an emotional disorder such as bulimia or any other eating disorder. The main symptoms of bulimia are gorging on an excess of junk food and then repeatedly purging or taking laxatives in order to not gain weight but have the ability to eat whatever the person wants. On average, just as many men as women portray the exact same characteristics of the disorder. The main external reasons for this type of behavior is associated with a low self esteem because of outward appearance, or a lack of control for the individual to be able to have personal power over the own emotional states (Using: Something Fishy 2005).
Furthermore, there are times were men feel that there are issues in their lives that they are to blame for and they simply fall into the vicious cycle of using food as a punishment onto themselves. Anorexia, on the other hand is a totally different type of disorder but the reasons in behind its occurrence are pretty much the same as any other eating disorder. Also, as was mentioned earlier in this literature the majority of past research has been done on women with these types of disorders but facts show that approximately 1 million men struggle with these various disorders as well (Using: EdReferral.Com 2005). It is the same heavy pressures the media and cultural identities exhume that drive men into becoming obsessed on achieving the ‘ideal body’ the very same way as females do. Also, astonishingly, men who are involved in athletic activities have been found to be at an even higher risk of developing eating disorders than those that aren’t. A lot of this has to do with the strict guidelines of staying within the correct body weight and maintaining muscle tone by athletes (Using: EdReferral.Com 2005). The signs of anorexia in men could be: food rituals, compulsive exercise, and intense fear of gaining weight, lying about eating, depression, and many other consistent issues associative with this type of eating disorder.
In conclusion, it should be well recognized that eating disorders do not just involve the female sex. there is no discrimination within these various illnesses. Men exhibit the same signs and symptoms and require the same form of professional help if they are going to recover from these forms of disease. They have the same infatuation with their bodies and the size that they should be which is so characteristic of women. In order to correct the problem of eating disorders among both genders, there needs to be comprehensive plans set up to develop a better awareness of individuality and to impress the idea of healthy eating rather than starvation or binging and purging. Acceptance of all body sizes needs to be the main focal points in health food programs. Also, correct diet and exercise should be well educated among people so that a reduction in these eating disorders can be efficient, more than it has been in the past.
References
Caring On Line (2005) To Bring Hope and Save Futures and Lives Retrieved on 3 January, 2006, from: http://www.caringonline.com/eatdis/topics/males.htm
Ed Referral (2005) International Eating Disorder Referral Organization Retrieved on 3 January, 2006 from: http://www.edreferral.com/males_eating_disorders.htm
Something Fishy (2005) Website on Eating Disorders Retrieved on 4 January, 2006 from: http://www.something-fishy.org/whatarethey/bulemia.php