Bil posted Gossip vocalist Beth Ditto's statement on body image this morning, and it got me thinking abuot the prevalence of eating disorders among gay and bi men. According ot a study published in International Journal of Eating Disorders, 15% of gay or bi men have at one point in their lives had an eating disorder, as opposed to about 8% of heterosexual women. This doesn't surprise me - the pressure that comes from gaystream media of what's hot is an image that could pretty much be the same hairless, bulked up white guy in every ad, every photo, every magazine cover. The amount of repetition of this image makes me wonder why these ad agencies don't just take one picture of one guy and use that photo over and over again.
The perfect body, which is unattainable for the majority of men, is enough to have impressed upon me, and I'm sure many other gay men, the idea that we're just not worth as much as those people who do maintain that body. I remember back in my youth (haha), my attitude on what I had to do before going out completely depended on whether or not I was going to possibly run into other gay men. I knew that I was going to be judged and exactly what sort of body I was going to be compared to, and depending on how I felt about my body at the time, I knew that I either wasn't going to measure up or that I was going to completely flop. I know I'm not the only gay man to have stayed home because he thought he was fat that evening or his hair wasn't right or whatever was the insecurity of the day.
This post was originally going to be a response to Ditto's comments, but honestly I don't even know if we'd be on a level playing field here. I mean, she says that only gay men are responsible for women's negative body image, and then says that Paris Hilton and Victoria Beckham are part of the problem. She said that women are the only victims, but as studies clearly indicate, there are numerous men who have eating disorders.