Body Image Issues among Boys
PATRICIA WESTMORELAND CORSON
ARNOLD E. ANDERSEN
There are many indications that body dissatisfaction in boys and men is becoming an increasingly common source of much suffering. Citing trends from three Psychology Today surveys over the last three decades on male body dissatisfaction, Pope and colleagues provide a rationale for heightened concern about male preoccupation with physical appearance. Although interpreting these epidemiological data is complicated (see Cash's chapter in this volume, there is no question that male body image problems across all age ranges demand increased attention by researchers.
A heightening awareness of male eating disorders is also occurring. Historically, shame and fear of public humiliation drove men with body image dissatisfaction and eating disorders "underground." Clearly, however, women are no longer alone in succumbing to the seduction of the gods of thinness and sacrificing their emotional well-being and productivity in the process.
In this brief review, we elucidate factors contributing to male body image development, distortion, and dissatisfaction. We also explore historical and social perspectives on this burgeoning cultural phenomenon and attempt to provide useful suggestions for identifying and treating male eating disorders and body image problems.