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MenEatingDisorders75 karma

Yes, the protagonists often told that they had nobody to relate to or didn't acknowledge it in the first place because of the stigma 'an eating disorder is for girls' and at the treatment centres they only saw women. This created a lot of shame too, which of course doesn't help in a process where it is important to learn to talk about about your emotions.

Your last question is a bit broad for me, but most of the doctors or mental health professionals did treat them equally, apart from some exceptions.

MenEatingDisorders47 karma

Yes, understandable reaction. That's also what I asked them in the beginning of this project. The thing is that the protagonists often extensively sported, but on top of that their anxiety to gain weight overpowered the rational voice to eat a healthy amount of food. So slowly they continuously started to eat less and less, while this anxiety, focus and compulsion grew stronger and stronger.

MenEatingDisorders42 karma

So this is about the triggers, not the underlying problems: I would say that the trigger for almost all the protagonists with anorexia in our project was wanting to be very muscular, like male bodies they saw on commercials, on social media, while the protagonist with binge eating disorder in our project actually wanted to look ‘unattractive’, because he didn’t feel comfortable with his body shapes and the associations with it (he was physically born as a girl).

MenEatingDisorders33 karma

You are absolutely right, it is definitely not! We should rather define anorexia by the behaviors and thinking-patterns, rather than the BMI or effects on body. You can have anorexia and still have a healthy BMI, while the eating disorder does influence your life immensely. It’s mostly about thinking about restraining patterns obsessively, having an intense fear to gain weight, using it for ‘control’, using it as a coping mechanism for underlying problems and this often occupied the protagonists everyday life drastically. These kind of patterns are way more important to focus on by defining anorexia.

MenEatingDisorders28 karma

Good question. We took some measures for that. Just as this post, the first page of the book consists of a trigger warning. Mafalda also display this trigger warning in exhibitions. We also do not display any BMI and weight numbers in the book, since this can trigger others to also wanting to achieve this number. However, after a lot of discussing, we did make some choices to show three photo’s of very thin bodies of the the protagonists in the book. Because we did also want to show how serious eating disorders can be and how serious we should take these issues as a society.