Eating, (or the lack of it), is something that is frequently discussed in our modern society – especially when it comes to the habits of models and celebrities. Since everybody with an Instagram account became a gym-obsessed selfie whore, we’ve seen an obvious rise in people determined to flaunt their impressive bodies. But, while this is something that’s hardly shocking when it comes to women, are we now facing a wave of men that are just as determined to look like their more famous idols?
When the Size 0 fad moved from celebrity culture to everyday society, a huge increase in the number of women (and men) with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating appeared. Now, with the new hashtagging #mirin’ – which is short for admiring – we’re seeing a dark underbelly of the gruelling workouts, strict diet and extreme measures that men are going through to get a perfectly shredded physique.
It’s being reported [Metro] that the strenuous lengths men are willing to go through include starvation, excessive exercise, throwing up after meals, steroids and laxatives to fulfil their body dysmorphia. The article stated that many men are craving a big muscle mass, but little body fat physique, while others are now susceptible to bigorexia; a feeling that they’re not progressing in the gym, or are smaller than they actually are.
It’s not something that is new in the world of gym training/body building, but it is something that is now beginning to make its way into social media – much like the ‘thinspiration’ forums that were once (and perhaps still are) so prevalent among young girls.
As somebody that suffered with bulimia for five years – and when I say “suffered”, I mean it – I can understand the obsession with wanting to look perfect. Because we’re somehow misguided into believing that beauty = happiness. But the reality of something like this, is that frequently you’re not. Don’t get me wrong, being attractive certainly helps your levels of happiness – but when it begins to take over your life and interfere with aspects of daily life, it’s hard to ever really feel content, or confident.
Thankfully I was lucky enough to be part of an experimental group therapy trial and have fully recovered from something that I couldn’t ever see ending at one stage. The thing to remember about body dysmorphia is that while you believe you’re on a determined path to a better you – most of time other people think you’re starting to look worse. Yes, you know when you’re in a club and you think “that brother is just too fucking hench“, he is probably someone with bigorexia. The same way when I was chucking up my dinner for years, I thought I looked totally fierce, while my friends were telling me that I was Nicole Richie (2006).
A common opinion on conditions such a body dysmorphia is that, why should we care if some muscle Mary wants to get crazy big, and look like genetically modified gammon joint? Well, quite simply, it can be dangerous – just like other eating disorders. So if that queen with the perky tits and varicose veins is your friend – perhaps you should just assess how happy they really are with such a punishing lifestyle.
If you or somebody you know is suffering from an eating disorder, you can contact Beat.