Care of the Self, Somaesthetics and Men Affected by Eating Disorders: Rethinking the Focus on Men’s Beauty Ideals


  • Henri Hyvönen University of Helsinki



This article focuses on men affected by eating disorders by examining the autobiographical narratives of six men from the perspective of the concept of care of the self. Recent studies of men’s eating disorders have focused on men’s endeavors to comply with gendered beauty ideals in relation to which men feel themselves to be inadequate and stigmatized. I argue that for the participants, eating disorders were processes through which they affirmed self-stylizations that conformed to the norms of social taste groups in multiple localities such as in the work and school. In their discussions of these encounters, the men described the identity work and positive self-understandings achieved through behaviors attached to eating disorders. This article challenges research on men’s eating disorders to focus its analytical gaze on men’s agency and the usefulness to them of a wide variety of disordered eating behaviors in different social contexts.