Samples Gender Roles Men With Eating Disorders

Men With Eating Disorders

598 words 2 page(s)

The article titled “Men With Eating Disorders Often Ignore Symptoms Because It’s a ‘Female  Problem’” in Health Magazine highlights a very fundamental and often underrepresented issue. While relating to an overwhelming number of underreported cases of male eating disorders, the article underlines the problematic nature of the gender-biased nature of diagnosed eating disorders. According to the views expressed in the article, this is an often overlooked phenomenon that gets pushed to the sphere of “female issues” and, as such, prevents the effective diagnosis and treatment of male-related eating problems.

Indeed, this shorts article bears a more fundamental resonance with the gendered nature of health problems and their perception in society. As such, public opinion tends to marginalize weight and body image related problems that create health risks on individuals to the domain of feminine disorders. The unintended consequences arise in the number of untreated cases of anorexia, bulimia and binge eating that occur in males who are too often unlikely to seek medical help unless an emergency occurs. This is a continuation of the over-publicized “model syndrome” of the late 20th century that forever construed eating disorders as a serious problem faced by young women, most prominently size-zero models who were framed as anorexic and sickly.

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I think that this article shines an important light on the implications of social gender stereotypes that reflect on public health. It is often the case that, regardless of the educational background of medical professionals and the high capabilities of well-trained therapists, men with eating disorders, as well as a range of other health problems conventionally considered to be “feminine” tend to get inadequate health care. As indicated both in the article and other numerous cases, our gender biases are so ingrained in society that it affects the nature of necessary health intervention; resulting in serious health problems experienced by men who lack the information or care required to address their issues.

Coming from a country that adopts prominent gender differences, traditionally in the form of discrimination against women in society, I find this article illuminating and highly relevant for many different communities. It is very much the case that gender discrimination exists in some shape or form in both developed and developing countries, which results in lower quality of life due to lack of adequate education, health care and other crucial services. In my own experience, regarding healthcare matters relevant to the points raised in this article, women are generally denied the necessary information and intervention relating to sexual health and behavior. Due to the taboo nature of sex-related discussions and the stringent social norms restricting sexual behavior and conduct, women’s sexual health usually becomes a neglected—and often deliberately concealed—health matter.

To illustrate, women in many similarly conservative countries tend to suffer most from cases of ovarian cancer, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), unwanted pregnancies, as well as post-traumatic stress disorders and depression due to experiences of sexual violence and rape. Women who often suffer from these conditions tend to either lack the information to diagnose their problems, defer seeking medical help due to fears of being shunned or ostracized by their communities, or are neglected or misdiagnosed by health professionals. This not only excludes women from essential health services, it also serves to augment public health problems.

This article points to a very similar type of gender bias that exists in the form of discrimination against men, which is often overlooked. As such, I find it important to understand that forms of exclusion from adequate health care have many dimensions; an essential argument raised by this article.

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