body image · eating · eating disorders

Where are the images of orthoxeric men? Or, our culture is so very weird

Scrolling through Facebook, as one might in an airport departure lounge (okay, who am I kidding, as I do everywhere) I burst out laughing when I came across this post from the blog’s Rebecca Kukla:

“Notorious Christina Van Dyke points out (“Eat Y’Self Fitter: Orthorexia, Health, and Gender,” 2018) that if you google image ‘orthorexia,’ the only image you get of a man is of “a very thin, non-standardly-attractive man with painted-black fingernails and tattoos looking anxious and holding an avocado.” This has had me giggling for days. I hereby share the image of troubled tattooed skinny avocado man, who now has been joined, I should note, by troubled tattooed skinny apple man, also here pictured.

Overwhelmingly the images are of ‘pretty’ young white women dressed in white happily drowning in implausibly huge piles of fruits and vegetables. Our culture is SO WEIRD. SO WEIRD PEOPLE.”

Here’s the images:


Here’s Christina Van Dyke’s abstract of her paper:

“Attitudes toward healthy eating and dietary choices are increasingly important components of how people conceive of (and judge) both themselves and others. This chapter examines orthorexia—a condition in which the subject becomes obsessed with identifying and maintaining the ideal diet, rigidly avoiding foods perceived as unhealthy or harmful—and it argues that the condition represents an extreme manifestation of sociocultural norms that people are all being pushed toward. These norms are highly gendered, however, and women and men are thus sometimes portrayed as if they were striving toward radically different goals in the elusive quest for perfect health. Yet what makes orthorexia destructive to both men and women is ultimately a common urge to transcend rather than to embrace the realities of embodiment. In short, orthorexia is best understood as a manifestation of age-old anxieties about human finitude and mortality—anxieties that current dominant sociocultural forces prime people to experience and express in unhealthy attitudes toward healthy eating.”

Because the 80s is my cultural home, here’s The Fall, Eat Y’Self Fitter: