Seed | Eating Disorder Support Service

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No Body is Perfect

Men do worry about what they look like, but some of their concerns differ from those of women. Baldness is something which affects more men than women and many men want to look muscular and strong. Although many men may believe that it is better to be appreciated for character rather than appearance, they may well worry about what their appearance says about them.

The stereotype for men is a muscular lean body. Those men who don't fit this societal norm tend to feel inadequate. Some men who are not muscular feel inadequate and try to build themselves up. Few men meet the ideals of the role models presented by the media. By striving for the perfect body, they may drive themselves beyond normal fitness into compulsive exercise. Exercise can become addictive. It then ceases to be a choice. It becomes something people have to do, even though it may be ruining their health.

For some people, the concept of male sexuality is linked to appearance. Often the first information we perceive about a person is about the shape of a their body and how they dress. From that we often make assumptions about their fitness and health, values, lifestyle, behaviour and sense of self. Body piercing, tattoos, hair and clothes are all ways in which a man can make a statement about who he is. However, looks can deceive.

What you see is often not what you find when you take the trouble to really get to know someone.

There is prejudice against larger men, which can result in bullying and teasing, which will erode self esteem. Weight is not just about self control. It is influenced by other factors including genetic make up and lifestyle.

Many people confuse weight with fatness. If a man wants to be in better shape, "dieting" is not the answer. None of the "diets" work. "Dieting" makes you fat.

Men who engage in sports that demand thinness or have weight categories and men with careers that demand thinness or conformity to a physical ideal, for example, male models or dancers, may be more at risk of developing an eating disorder than those who do not. The prevalence of eating disorders in the gay community is significantly higher than in the general population.