Archive for October, 2013

NPR ran a story about boys and bulimia. It shared how boys are being affected by the images portrayed in the media. The story spoke of how G.I. Joe dolls have become more muscular over the years and how hard it is for a boy to feel acceptance of his body based on the recent cultural images portrayed. Another area of the concern over the boys who are binging and purging, was how uncomfortable it is for boys to enter into small groups of support and therapy, which were primarily made up of women, it said they felt “like a fish out of water”. It’s my guess that a belief in not fitting in within the community at large was what led these boys into this particular disorder in the first place. Anyone else ever feel that way?

To which I have to ask, is it so terrible to feel uncomfortable? Is it possible that these boys will grow into men who now have the capacity for compassion towards women and humanity in a more general sense? Will they now stand along side those who feel challenged in some way vs. judging them?

These boys may choose to grow into understanding adult men whose own experiences will breed acceptance of others. They may viscerally grasp how hard it is to be a female-a human being-an equal-who has, though misguided reason, been vilified, disregarded and objectified throughout history. Maybe a deeper and innate understanding of just how damaging it has been on the female emotional and mental psyche may not only be shared but garner respect. Binging and purging is one expression for unspoken pain and it’s no longer being limited to the female population.

One aspect of this report that caused me deep consternation however was how they blatantly ignored to speak of the elephant in the room. The objectification of the male physical form is a new phenomenon- little girls along with their female adult counterparts have been suffering due to advertising over the last few centuries and while it’s quite understandable that a young man may think, “ I don’t know what it is, but something about having an eating disorder as a boy and having an eating disorder as a girl makes it very different”, as an adult human being who has lived and experienced life longer, I strongly disagree with this hypothetical conclusion based solely on the basis of our genitals.

My guess is both girls and boys; men and women suffer from feelings of powerlessness, a belief in not being loveable and left with a craving for approval, a sense of belonging and safety. The only thing that makes it “different” for a boy or girl is ones refusal to see that all human beings suffer from the same thoughts and fears-they’re just worded differently.

The questions arise; will the callous indifference towards exploitation by media finally be addressed due to boys and men now being negatively affected? Can what was previously thought of as a “woman’s’ issue”, gain more serious consideration and thought towards remedying the conditions that lead to binging and purging, as its growing appearance in our population can now be referred to as a human concern?