Issues with body image and disordered eating are commonly thought of as problems that primarily affect women and girls. However, there has been an increase in the prevalence of difficulties with body image and eating disorders among men and boys. There are many important discussions surrounding male body image that should be addressed.
More and more in the media, male characters are portrayed with perfect physiques. This can negatively impact males’ perceptions of body image. It may also lead to misconceptions regarding weight and muscularity. Research has shown that many males believe that a lean, muscular body shape is the ideal body type. Failure to conform to this standard may lead to body dissatisfaction.
Males also take extreme measures to lose weight or obtain an ideal body. The rates of eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa have been increasing among males. Even rates of disordered eating behaviors, like laxative abuse and fasting, are as common among males as they are among females.
Body image difficulties among men are highly stigmatized. There are many reasons for this. First, men are often looked down upon for talking about their concerns regarding their body and body image. Because issues with disordered eating are often viewed as female disorders, men dealing with such problems maybe be labeled as feminine. Additionally, men face backlash for seeking psychological help.