About 1 in 3 people with an eating disorder are male (NEDA).
In an article published in VICE, a young male talks about how stigmatized eating disorders are for men. Males with mental health disorders, including eating disorders, struggle with an increased stigma around mental health because they are held to a higher societal standard of appearing tough and strong; mental illness would make them look weak. (Note: this is based on societal norms. Men and women both face mental health stigma.)
It has become ingrained in our minds that any type of eating disorder is a “female” problem. The author says, ” I couldn’t accept that I suffered from anorexia because I considered it a ‘teenage girl’ problem. That was what society had led me to believe. There’s obviously enormous societal pressure on women to conform to physical ideals, but the outcome is dire for anorexic men, too, because many simply don’t think they can be anorexic.”
The statistics for male eating disorders is likely inaccurate because it is only based on those that are reported to health facilities.
One of the main takeaways from the article is that having the knowledge about what an eating disorder is, how to identify it, and when and how to ask for help is key.
That author concludes, “Clearly, we need a far more open dialogue, expanded education in schools surrounding eating disorders and mental illness across all ages, sexes, and demographics. We need to foster environments where children have the knowledge and confidence to speak up when they’re not feeling well.”
Eating disorders such as anorexia should be treated like any other mental health condition and most importantly, be treated and discussed equally between males and females.
Main ideas and quotes from the article, “Why It’s So Hard to Talk About Male Anorexia” (VICE).
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