It has long been assumed that stress about weight predominantly affect females. However, did you know that men are also negatively affected by media images, eating disorders, and body weight worries? It’s true. In fact, 35 percent of Canadian men are currently dieting. While diets don’t necessarily indicate eating disorders, they can certainly lead to them.
How is the media negatively affecting men? It is presenting images to them that are unrealistic. Unfortunately, these images often pressure them to look androgynous, unreasonably thin, and “stylish.”
“Male models are now facing increasing pressure to slim down and appear androgynous.”
The New York Times published an article in 2008 on this very subject. The article commented on the fact that the ideal male model had changed from a 6 foot man who is “buff,” to an “urchin, a wraith, or an underfed runt.” Other choice words the New York Times used to describe the current, stylish male model were “undernourished,” “chicken-chested,” and “hollow-cheeked.”
What should the the “ideal” male model look like, according to people in the modeling industry?
The “ideal” male model should have a 28 or 30 inch waist, a chest not measuring more than 35.5 inches, and “narrow shoulders, pencil thighs, and a long neck.”
Does this description sound attractive to you? Whether it does or does not, it is the image men are encouraged to attain. Can you see how this image set forth by the modeling industry and the media is encouraging eating disorders in men?
If an average sized, fairly tall man tried to “shrink” down to “ideal” dimensions, he could easily end up with an unhealthy weight as well as an eating disorder.
The National Eating Disorder Information Centre recognizes the effect eating disorders are having upon men in Canada. NEDIC is trying to raise awareness of this issue and has designed a poster titled Men with Eating Disorders: Its Not the Name of a Band. The poster features “normal looking” men, indicating that average men deal with the ravages of media images and eating disorders. To see this poster, visit http://www.nedic.ca/.
For a long time, females have been pressured to be unnaturally thin. Now it seems that men are being encouraged to do the same.
We encourage you to consult with your doctor about your ideal body weight and then strive not to let your weight fall beneath that number.
If you need help with an eating disorder, please visit http://www.nedic.ca/ or http://www.cmha.ca/mental-health/understanding-mental-illness/eating-disorders/?cid=3-98.
*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority. Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.
Let’s Talk About It
To our male readers:
Have you felt increased media and societal pressure to be thin? How has it affected you?
Do you think today’s male clothing is designed for extremely thin body types?