Posted by: kierstin1220 | April 6, 2009

Do I Look Fat?

A common question boyfriends, husbands and men in general tend to cringe at when asked by the woman in their lives. There never seems to be a right answer -say yes and she thinks that you’re lying to her; say no, and well, you know what might happen.

But this commonly uttered phrase is also a name of a documentary made by Travis Matthews -and no, it’s not about a woman’s quest for perfection. It’s about when men obsess over this question themselves.

Do I Look Fat? is a documentary about gay men, body image and eating disorders, according to the documentary’s Web site. Below is the synopsis of the documentary:

This “big meaning” [of the word “fat”] is explored with a careful lens turned toward the gay community itself. From the personal stories of seven diverse men who have struggled, or continue to struggle, with eating disorders and body image issues, Do I Look Fat? uncovers reoccurring and interconnecting themes that support this “self-esteem disorder.” Themes such as childhood wounding, internalized homophobia, the effects of HIV/AIDS on the body and the prevalence of substance abuse histories are among a few that underscore the film. Perhaps most importantly, the film doesn’t shy away from asking why these common histories have, until now, been left in the proverbial closet at a community level. Do I Look Fat? Web site

I have been focusing so much on women and the effects the media has their body image, I completely forgot about the other side of the equation: men. I knew that there are plenty of images out there that suggest to men that they should be toned and muscular, like the body builders on the covers of magazines. However, while doing research for other blog posts I discovered that while women desire themselves to be thinner -usually too thin- men want to be heavier. I didn’t really see this as that detrimental to their health.

That was until I stumbled across this documentary.  Many more serious factors contribute to poor body image for homosexual men than my blog covers, however, I think it should still be discussed. On the Web site are autobiographies by the men in the documentary and they chronicle the events that led to their eating disorders and how they have dealt with them.

And this documentary has been recognized by the American Psychiatric Association Conference and the National Eating Disorders Association Conference for Matthews’ look into eating disorders with the gay and lesbian community.

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Responses

  1. Wow! Powerful stuff. I’m going to check this out some more.


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