Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Invisible Boy - Revisioning The Victimization of Male Children & Teens

An interesting research paper and here comes a first, which I do not feature for the numbers (fairly old) but simply for that which I try to usually say with the numbers. You can read the whole document here and it is really worth it. It is about, to quote from the article 
the existence of a double standard in the care and treatment of male victims, and the invisibility and normalization of violence and abuse toward boys and young men in our society.
So we begin.
    Despite the fact that over 300 books and articles on male victims have been published in the last 25 to 30 years, boys and teen males remain on the periphery of the discourse on child abuse. Few workshops about males can be found at most child abuse conferences and there are no specialized training programs for clinicians. Male-centred assessment is all but non-existent and treatment programs are rare. If we are talking about adult males, the problem is even greater. A sad example of this was witnessed recently in Toronto. After a broadcast of The Boys of St. Vincent, a film about the abuse of boys in a church run orphanage, the Kids' Help Phone received over 1,000 calls from distraught adult male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. It is tragic in a way no words can capture that these men had no other place to turn except a children's crisis line.

    The language we use in the current discourse on violence and abuse masks, minimizes, or renders invisible certain realities for male victims. Terms such as "family violence" have become co-terminus with "violence toward women", particularly on the part of husbands, fathers, or other adult male figures. Male teens, boys, male seniors, male victims of sibling-on-sibling violence, and female abusers disappear in this term.

    Canada lags far behind other western democracies in the study of male victims and their male and female abusers. In fact, among the large and growing number of research studies on male victims only a small number are Canadian. Social policy development, public education, treatment programs and research funding, and the evolution of a more inclusive discourse on interpersonal violence that reflects the male experience are all long overdue.
And it is not only Canada. This was written in 1996 and I doubt the situation has changed much in the following 14 years.
    Several large scale Canadian studies about interpersonal violence conducted in the past several years have reported the findings pertaining to only female victims. Many academic papers written about victims of violence purport to be "balanced" yet typically bring only a faint male "voice" to the analysis. From a conceptual standpoint, many also make the mistake of accepting and using, uncritically, a woman-centred-only model of victimization. Male victims also find much of this work dehumanizing and dismissive of their experiences. They feel many writers and thinkers in the field have delineated the boundaries of the discourse on violence and abuse, boundaries that leave males out.
I'd like to add that especially studies about sexual abuse fall in this category (only female victims). When it comes to interpersonal violence there are more studies conducted now, which doesn't mean politicans act on that known numbers (they don't).
    Male victims frequently find that therapists, counsellors, or other types of caregivers trained with female-centred models of victimization are unable to help them. Consequently, they are likely to simply abandon therapy, leaving unexplored many of the issues relating to their victimization experience and to their deeper healing.
    Male victims, like female victims before them, have encountered their share of critics and detractors, people who refuse to believe them, ignore prevalence statistics, minimize the impact of abuse, appropriate and deny males a voice, or dismiss male victimization as a "red herring". When prevalence statistics are given for male victimization it is common to hear the response that the vast majority of abusers of males are other males, a belief which is simply not true. This comment is usually intended to frame male victimization as a "male problem". It is also insensitive and perceived by male survivors as being victim-blaming. While challenges and criticisms to concepts and theories are valid, and an important part of the evolution and development of any field, denial, minimization, and silencing is harmful, abusive, and damaging to any victim.

Ouch, I am thinking of a fair share of feminists right now (pointing out that violnece is a male problem).
    In many respects, male victims are where female victims were 25 years ago. Most of us forget the enormous opposition the women's movement encountered as women began to organize and claim a voice to speak against violence and name their abusers/offenders. The services and supports that exist presently for women were hard won and yet are still constantly at risk of losing their funding. By comparison, there really is no organized male victims "movement" per se. Males, generally, are not socialized to group together the way women do, to be intimate in communication, or to see themselves as caregivers for other males. In short, much of what male victims need to do to organize a "movement" requires them to overcome many common elements of male socialization, all of which work against such a reality ever happening.
And we are not there yet folks. Sadly most men only are interested in male problems, once they have them. To say it with Farrell "The weakness of men is the facade of strength: the strength of women is the facade of weakness.."
    Much of the current thinking and discourse, both public and professional, about abuse and interpersonal violence is based on a woman-centred point of view. This is neither right nor wrong, good nor bad, but rather the result of who has been doing the advocacy. However, as a result of this history, victims have a female face, perpetrators a male face. Because of this image of perpetrators as having a male face, violence in our society has become "masculinized" and is blamed exclusively on "men" and "male socialization". Though there is without question a male gender dimension to many forms of violence, especially sexual violence, simple theories of male socialization are inadequate to explain why the vast majority of males are not violent.

    Violence is even blamed on the male hormone testosterone. The irony in this argument is not lost on male victims. While women have been struggling to get out from under the stigma that they are at the mercy of their hormones, males are being accused of being at the mercy of testosterone.


    Sadly, male victims and their advocates risk a lot to challenge the status quo and experience much pressure to remain silent. It is ironic that the pressure males feel to remain silent replicates, at a social level, the same patterns of silencing, denial, and minimization they experienced at the hands of their offenders. If we do not face the fact that we need to heal the "gendered wounds" of both women and men, then we will compromise the search for gender peace.

    Finally, and perhaps the most important reason to revision our understanding, is because men and teen males are not, in any substantial way, joining women in the struggle to end all forms of interpersonal violence. Part of the reason for this may be because males do not see their own stories reflected in public discussions about violence and abuse. If one were to rely solely on the media to convey the male experience, few stories would be known beyond the more sensational cases involving several church-run orphanages or provincial training schools. It is not uncommon to hear male students express resentment toward high school anti-violence curriculum that presumes them to be abusers, harassers, rapists and sexual assaulters in waiting. Indeed, it is difficult to feel part of a collective social movement against violence when one's own experiences are dismissed, excluded, or minimized. It is evident from even a casual review of this material that much of it contains biased stereotypes and unchallenged assumptions about "male anger", "male aggression", and "male sexuality". All too often, these writers take as a starting point a caricature of the worst imaginable elements of "masculinity" and assume it applies to all male persons.

    As males begin to tread upon the path broken by women, they are summoning the courage to bring their own voices to the public and professional discourse about violence and abuse. If we want males to engage in true dialogue, then we have to be open to hearing their criticisms, their experiences, their pain.
Well said. Still remember Farrells quote from the last paragraph?
Why is it that Canada, a country that prides itself on being a compassionate and just society, lags behind other countries in advocacy for male victims? Why has the media refused to give equal coverage to male victimization issues? Why do we consistently fail to support adult male victims? Why, do we support a double standard when it comes to the care and treatment of male victims? Perhaps the simplest answer to all the above, is the fact that much of what constitutes male victimization is invisible to us all, especially male victims themselves.
And this doesn't only apply to Canada. Uh this will be another wall of text.

The next section talks about studies and differences of males and females. Listen closely.
    If we use only the commonly reported categories of physical abuse, sexual abuse, or psychological maltreatment and neglect, then we obtain one picture. However, if we add corporal punishment, suicide, community and school-based violence, and violence in sports and entertainment, the story becomes more complicated. Still other areas could be added if we unpacked the term "family violence" and explored in more clinical depth commonly used descriptors such as "hard to manage children and youth", "parent-child conflict", "difficult children", "dysfunctional families", "problem teen behaviour", "conduct disorder", "oppositional-defiant disorder", or "attention deficit disorder", to name a few. In general population health surveys, when we use terms such as "sexual contact" or "sexual touching" instead of "sexual assault" or "sexual abuse", the prevalence numbers increase substantially. This is because males often do not see their sexual experiences in strict clinical and legal terms such as "abuse".

    Other categories could be added if we more closely examined the concept of "at-risk". For example, boys in the U.S. are more likely than girls to be diagnosed with behavioural and mental disorders, more likely to be admitted to psychiatric hospitals, twice as likely to suffer from autism, eight times more likely to be diagnosed with hyperactivity, more likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol, and more likely to drop out of high school (Kimbrell, 1995).

    The picture becomes complicated further when we add the everyday lived experiences of male children and youth in care of the state, living in foster homes, group homes, with legal guardians, or in young offender custodial facilities. We could also add male senior abuse, male victimization in sibling-on-sibling violence, abuse of male spouses or other intimate male partners, abuse of same sex male partners, and violence toward males with disabilities including children, teens, and adults. Finally, we would need to add the stories of homeless young people, street kids, and male adolescents using prostitution as a means to survive.


For male victims, the situation is even more precarious. Many cultural and other barriers must be crossed by boys, teen males, the professional community, and the public even to be able to acknowledge male victimization experiences as abuse. For example, gay males have to "come out" to disclose their abuse, and so typically remain silent. Stated simply, if we do not go looking for male victims we will not find them. If we do not explore issues of abuse with males they will not tell us their stories. Consequently, and all too typically, the first time a teen or adult male offender obtains any help with his victimization is when he has come to the attention of the legal system because of his offences (Sepler, 1990).

One can see the connection that DV and sexual abuse is seen as a female issue. We are not looking for male victims.

The following about sexual harassment is interesting to, and explains why we have to take a close look at results.
        "In a recent survey done in Ontario high schools, over 80 per cent of girls said they had been sexually harassed. Boys said their harassment was often complimentary or teasing: few of them said they felt unsafe or that the harassment interfered with their lives, unless their harasser was another male." (OSSTF, 1994)

    Most would read this and not give it a second thought. However, what makes this kind of statement worrisome is that it supports biased and harmful stereotypes about males and reinforces a double standard. And, there are other problems.

    First, the overall percentage of males reporting being sexually harassed is not given, so it is difficult to compare anything to the 80% figure reported for girls. Second, when asked, "Are you ever afraid of being sexually harassed?", approximately 70% of the girls and 30% of the male students said "Yes". Between one-quarter and one-third of the males said "Yes" they were afraid of being sexually harassed. This is hardly a small number. But perhaps more importantly, it gives the authors no defensible position to diminish the seriousness of the issue for boys simply because prevalence of harassment toward girls' may be higher.

    Third, the authors also make qualitative judgments about the impact on boys without recognizing that male students are less likely to report harassment, more likely to diminish any negative impact, more likely to withhold expressions of fear, and more likely to normalize the experience since males are socialized to value, and view as being positive, "sexual overtures" from females. We need to ask ourselves if we would accept at face value comments of the young women in the study saying that they took their harassment as a compliment or teasing.

Reminds me of a study I featured the other day where a much larger pecentage of young males reported sex before the age of 13 than females, yet more female report being forced to have sex. There is certainly an overlap. Also the bold part. I can not see that happening.

We continue with a nice deconstruction of feminist theories
Because public awareness of sexual harassment is only just beginning to emerge, it is not uncommon to encounter people who believe that boys cannot be sexually harassed because, as males, they have "power". While it is true that sexual harassment is about power, a definition of "power" using only political or economic terms is too narrow to apply to the lives of children and teens. It is also too limited if we assume that only males have power by virtue of their gender. Physical attractiveness, age, popularity, and even "personality" can be forms of "social power". For example, how serious is a school administrator or a youth's peers likely to take the complaint of a pimply, skinny, or "nerdy" type male who is "rated" or sexually teased and taunted by an attractive and popular female? What if the male in the above example was younger or a visible minority student whose first language was not English and the female student was Caucasian? What if the male student was from a strict religious background that viewed any form of "sexual" talk or contact as inappropriate and offensive? From this perspective, sexual harassment can also be an issue of basic human dignity. It can also be about violation of another person's religious beliefs or cultural norms and values.

To cite Farrell again: "The fundamental feminist false assumption: Female powerlessness meant male power."

A closer look at different kinds of abuse with some numbers.
The sexual abuse of children and youth has dominated much of the research activity, advocacy, and many of the media stories about child abuse published in the past 10 years, despite the fact that it accounts for only about 14% of all forms of indicated or substantiated maltreatment (NCCAN, 1994). In the U.S., neglect accounts for 49% of maltreatment cases, physical abuse 23%, and emotional maltreatment 5%. Medical neglect 3%, other 9%, and unknown 3% constitute the rest. This is particularly significant when one realizes that boys, especially in the younger age categories, tend to be the majority of victims of physical abuse and emotional maltreatment.

    The issue of corporal punishment has just begun to emerge in the child abuse discourse and we are beginning to witness challenges to the appropriateness of certain sections of the Criminal Code that sanction the use of physical force in the discipline or correction of children. The concern is that corporal punishment is part of a continuum with spanking at one end and physical abuse and homicide at the other. It can sometimes be very difficult to assess when a parent or caregiver has crossed the line. However, regardless of whether the force was intended as abuse or discipline or correction, the effect on children is harmful (Yodanis, 1992; Vissing, et al., 1991).

    Corporal punishment is of particular concern to males. In Canada, 70% of the victims of non-sexual assault under the age of 12 are boys (Statistics Canada, 1991). It is evident that boys are physically hit more often than girls (Bryan and Freed, 1982; Gilmartin, 1979; Knutson and Selner, 1994; Maccoby and Jacklin, 1974; Newson and Newson, 1989; and Wauchope and Straus, 1992).

    Studies published in the U.S. show that between 93% - 95% of young adults report being corporally punished during their childhood or teen years (Bryan and Freed, 1982; Graziano and Namaste, 1990). Parent surveys report that approximately 90% of adults use corporal punishment to discipline and correct the behaviour of their children (Wauchope and Straus, 1990; Straus, 1983).
    Community and school-based violence among children and adolescents is a topic that has gained prominence in the media and education circles. A recent newspaper story reported that researchers at the University of New Hampshire using a random sample of children 10 to 16 years of age, found that 1 in 10 boys (10%) in the U.S. suffered a non-sexual genital assault, usually a kick by someone their own age (Globe & Mail, 1995). The rate for girls was 2%. The researchers in this study also reported that 40% of the perpetrators were girls. Boys who wore glasses or had other physical limitations were three times more likely to be kicked. One year after the kicking, one in four boys still suffered depression from the incident.

    In 1990, Statistics Canada conducted a study of patterns of criminal victimization. They found that the risk of personal victimization was highest for persons who are male, young, single, and residents of urban areas. In a study of approximately 1,000 middle level students in Ontario, 29% of grade 6 boys reported being beaten up and 22% robbed while at school compared to 19% and 10% for grade 6 girls. In this same study, overall, boys and girls were found equally likely to be victims or perpetrators of violent acts (Ryan, Mathews, and Banner, 1993). This is not surprising considering that boys and girls up to the age of puberty are roughly the same size. In a Calgary study involving 962 middle and high school students, 47.5% of the males and 26.6% of the females reported being slapped, punched, or kicked while in school during the past year (Smith et al., 1995). In Canada, violence toward young males in the form of gay-bashing at school or in the community, is another rarely discussed problem.

    In the U.S., 72% of juvenile homicide victims were male. Forty per cent of juvenile homicide victims were killed by family members, mostly parents. Fifty-three per cent of boys were killed by their fathers and slightly more than half (51%) of the girls were murdered by their mothers (OJJDP, 1995). Also reported in this study was the fact that Caucasian males comprised 83% of suicides of persons under the age of 20, and that for every two youth aged 0-19 who was murdered in the U.S. in 1991, one youth committed suicide.

In various developing countries, the number of street children is estimated to range between 10 and 100 million, the vast majority are boys (World Health Organization, 1995). In Canada, males and females on the street appear to be equally at risk for physical violence, with most perpetrators being someone the youth considered a friend or someone else they knew on the street (Janus, et al., 1995). In this study, physical abuse was the most frequently given reason why these youth left home. The physical abuse was most often perpetrated by a biological parent, and most often by the mother. In other studies of runaway youth, Powers and Eckenrode (1987) found that 42.3% of males (57.7% of females) were the victims of physical abuse, 37.9% of emotional abuse (62.1% for females), and 47.7% of neglect (52.3% for females). McCormack et al., (1986) found that 73% of female and 38% of male runaways were physically abused.


Sexual abuse is also high among teens involved in prostitution (Mathews, 1989). Thirty per cent of juvenile females and 27.4% of juvenile males involved in prostitution reported an incestuous sexual experience. By the age of 13, 62.8% of the females and 77% of the males reported being sexually experienced, compared to general population samples of 1.7% and 5.4% respectively (Badgley, 1984). Of course, these numbers do not reflect the fact that 100% of males and females under the age of 16 who sell sex to adults are being sexually abused by their customers.
And I'll end this wall of text with the promise to finish it in another post. Good night....

Monday, June 7, 2010

And some more about body image, beauty standards and the media...

Well have you ever heard studies telling you how bad women feel about their bodies? Are you surprised that it is not only women feeling that way?
College counseling centers and health services have reported increasing numbers of cases of college men with eating disorders and a sharp rise in the percentage of men who are dissatisfied with their bodies (Morgan, 2002). Evidence shows that more men are presenting to college counseling centers with low self-esteem, appearance concerns, and abnormal eating and exercising behaviors (Morgan, 2002); and research indicates that 95% of college men report dissatisfaction with some aspect of their bodies (Labre, 2002). Moreover, men increasingly are presenting to college counseling centers with manifestations of muscle dysmorphia: low self-esteem, shame, decreased social functioning, and anxiety regarding their appearance. This development, in association with the risk of creatine use and other adverse health behaviors, is creating a growing need for college counselors to better understand the issues facing college men with regard to their body dissatisfaction. - from here
Body image is often measured by asking the subject to rate their current and ideal body shape using a series of depictions. The difference between these two values is the amount of body dissatisfaction. Monteath and McCabe found that 44%[3] of women express negative feelings about both individual body parts and their bodies as a whole. Psychology Today found that 56% of the women and about 40% of the men who responded to their survey in 1997 were dissatisfied with their overall appearance.[4]

The desire to lose weight is highly correlated with poor body image, and more women than men desire to lose weight. Kashubeck-West et al. reported that when considering only men and women who desire to lose weight, sex differences in body image disappear.[5]

Men's body image is a topic of increasing interest in both academic articles and in the popular press. Current research indicates many men wish to become more muscular than they currently perceive themselves to be, often desiring up to 26 pounds of additional muscle mass.[6]

The desire for additional muscle has been linked to many men's concepts about masculinity. A variety of research has indicated a relationship between men's endorsement of traditionally masculine ideas and characteristics, and his desire for additional muscle[7]. Some research has suggested this relationship between muscle and masculinity may begin early in life, as boys' action figures are often depicted as super-muscular, often beyond the actual limits of human physiology. [8] - from here

Men are no more immune to the compelling forces of the media than women have been. Men and boys feel pressured to conform to the lean and chiseled body image stereotypes of Hollywood and Madison Ave; where women and girls strive to achieve thinness, men and boys look for well-developed muscles, sleek abs, sculptured pectorals. Since the 1970's, three times as many men have become dissatisfied with their overall appearance. One study shows that close to half of men between the ages of 50 and 59 were dissatisfied with their overall appearance, as compared with 41 and 48 percent for younger age groups. Related body image conditions include:

* BDD, body dysmorphic disorder (a severe preoccupation with an imagined or slight defect in appearance that can impair daily function and cause severe depression,)
* Steroid use
* And muscle dysmorphia in which men and boys believe their muscles aren't large enough; these individuals spend inordinate amounts of time in the weight room.

The onset of disease in males is typically triggered by a concern with bodybuilding and sport training, an indicator that schools and coaches can have a great deal of influence in determining how a child thinks about himself, his body and his priorities. They also play a significant role in prevention. In fact, one of the chief differences between male and female eating disorders is that disordered men are more likely than women to be involved in sports like biking, wrestling, of diving that require weight control. Other differences include that facts that the average age of onset for men (15-16) is slightly later than that for women. (14-15) In addition, men may purge through self-induced vomiting and exercise more readily than do women because dieting, as a device to manage weight, is not as socially acceptable for men.
from here
I took a closer look at

Muscle dysmorphia can cause people to:

* Constantly examine themselves in a mirror
* Frequently compare themselves with others
* Hate their reflections
* Become distressed if they miss a workout session or one of their many meals a day
* Become distressed if they do not receive enough protein per day in their diet
* Take potentially dangerous anabolic steroids
* Neglect jobs, relationships, or family because of excessive exercising
* Have delusions of being underweight or below average in musculature.
* In extreme cases, inject appendages with fluid (e.g. synthol) - from here


Muscle dysmorphic disorder, unofficially known as "bigorexia," is a disorder that normally affects men rather than women. It is recognized as a subtype of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), which involves preoccupation with the appearance of body parts. Common among bodybuilders, muscle dysmorphic disorder (MDD) is marked by a never-ending drive to get bigger.

Muscle dysmorphic disorder is perhaps easiest to describe in terms of its similarity to anorexia nervosa. Thought patterns, risk-taking behaviors, and avoidance of treatment are areas that look the same to friends and family for both disorders.
Thought Patterns in Muscle Dysmorphic Disorder

In anorexia: "No matter how much I restrict food, exercise, or purge, I can't get thin enough."

In muscle dysmorphic disorder: "No matter how much I work out, how many supplements, steroids, or human growth hormone I take, I can't build enough muscle mass."

To the observer, of course, someone with muscle dysmorphic disorder usually seems to be quite large enough. But that won't stop the workouts; in fact, this person will avoid other enjoyable activities if they would make him miss opportunities to work out.
Risk-Taking in Muscle Dysmorphic Disorder

The person with anorexia will often be aware of many of the risks it creates--osteoporosis, muscle loss, injury (from compulsive exercise), heart arrhythmias, and fatigue, among others, possibly leading to death. Getting thinner and/or staying thin is more important.

Similarly, the individual with muscle dysmorphic disorder may continue to work toward greater muscle mass despite being injured. He will generally not concern himself with the risks of steroid or human growth hormone use.
Avoidance of Treatment in Muscle Dysmorphic Disorder

While those with bulimia receive treatment less often, those with anorexia are perhaps more likely to believe that they do not need treatment. Most live under the illusion that their chosen way of life is the best way out there. They believe that others say it's dangerous because they are envious. The material on this web site might be dismissed by someone with anorexia for this reason.

Muscle dysmorphic disorder produces the same effect. The overriding belief is that even if there are problems with working endlessly to develop muscle, those problems are not as bad as the problems that would come if the person gave it up.
Severity and Risks
A study on the relationship between muscle dysmorphic disorder and other forms of body dysmorphic disorder suggests that among those with BDD symptoms, persons with MDD had poorer quality of life and a higher rate of substance abuse. They were also more likely to attempt suicide.
Getting Help

Muscle dysmorphic disorder's similarity with anorexia nervosa would seem to make it a prime candidate for similar treatment. Given that muscle dysmorphic disorder is more likely to affect men, however, raises an issue: Currently, here are few facilities that specialize in treatment of males. This may make men less likely to receive the treatment they need.- from here

 This article takes a closer look at the media

I ran across a fascinating statistic in an article about male body image. If the original G.I. Joe were made life-size, his biceps would have been 12.2 inches in circumference. But 30 years later, Joe has been transformed: His biceps would now measure 26.8 inches in circumference. To put that in perspective, no bodybuilder has ever achieved biceps of that size. Not one.

But why the shift? Why does G.I. Joe's body need to change to be interesting to young boys? It seems that our criteria for appreciating the male body have moved from function to form.
Changes in Male Body Image

It's common for boys (and men, certainly) to compete with each other physically to see who can do more -- jump higher, run faster, lift more, throw farther and more accurately. You'll even see it on work crews where men are doing physically taxing work. There's a tendency for many men to prove that they can outwork or outlast others.

But this appears to be changing. As men's health and fitness magazines focus on how the body looks, rather than what it does, readers change their priorities as well. The questions men now ask are, "What supplement can I take to help me increase my muscularity?" or "How should I work out to make my biceps bigger?"
Effects of Advertisements on Male Body Image

A study examined advertisements depicting male bodies in a major sports magazine over the course of 30 years, beginning in the mid-1970s. The goal was to examine whether models have increasingly been shown in ways that emphasize the body's appearance over its ability.

While some measures the researchers used showed no clear trends, other variables were more telling. For example, models in today's advertisements are less likely to be shown using the advertised product. Also, body parts that can be considered sexualized (e.g., biceps, chest, back, and the abdominal and pelvic regions) are much more likely to be exposed in the 2000s than they were in the 1970s. Plus, it has generally become harder to determine where a model is looking in advertisements (the researchers hold that models whose eyes are hidden are easier to be seen as objects). These criteria would suggest decreasing focus on the body's ability and greater focus on appearance.
How Male Body Image Issues Can Get Out of Control

This focus on appearance is what makes men's pursuit of greater muscularity similar to the pursuit of thinness in women (anorexia nervosa). Both are pursuing visual ideals that are sometimes impossible to achieve. In some cases, the obsession with gaining muscle mass interferes with life away from the gym. This phenomenon, called muscle dysmorphic disorder (and commonly known as "bigorexia"), can lead men to risk their health by using potentially dangerous substances such as anabolic steroids and human growth hormone (HGH).

Even though visual ideals are generally unattainable, they represent concrete goals. This can be a relief to some men who aren't sure how to embrace their masculinity in other ways, or who believe they aren't successful enough in other areas. In short, adding muscle -- changing appearance, rather than improving ability -- literally helps some feel more "like a man." Unfortunately, many find that no amount of muscle is enough.- from here

 And now let us end this wall of text, with another wall of text.

Although many women have body image issues and participate in weight-control behaviors, only a small percentage meet the full criteria for an eating disorder (Tylka, 2004). Likewise, many men who do not meet all of the diagnostic criteria for muscle dysmorphia may still engage in behaviors that are unhealthy and may be associated with significant distresses and impairments (Chung, 2001). Subclinical behaviors that can be associated with muscle dysmorphia can still lead to "strained relationships, impaired social activities, and occupational dysfunction" (Harvey & Robinson, 2003, p. 297) and can be problematic to manage in a college population. For example, a male student may experience strained social relationships because of his feelings of low self-esteem or inadequacies as a man, avoid social functions that interfere with a strict workout schedule or because his self-esteem and body image are so poor, or be distracted from academic work because of the time devoted to exercising or worrying about his appearance.

Even though the behaviors associated with muscle dysmorphia have been identified, research about the possible causes of the disorder is still lacking. In a study of college men in Canada, T. G. Morrison, Morrison, and Hopkins (2003) found that male students attributed the desire for muscularity to social benefits, health benefits, sociocultural pressures, and masculinity. However, this study only examined the desire to be muscular, not the unhealthy drive for muscularity found in muscle dysmorphia. Olivardia, Pope, and Hudson (2000) stated that, "like eating disorders, muscle dysmorphia may be stimulated by sociocultural influences" (p. 1295).

It is possible that this emergence of muscle dysmorphia among college men is due, in part, to changing cultural trends. Specifically, the new ideal male physique is a muscular mesomorphic build, which is characterized by significant muscular definition in the upper body and a slim waist and lower body (T. G. Morrison et al., 2003). Furthermore, researchers are now suggesting that the ideal body portrayed by the mass media influences men's perceptions of what is attractive and lead them to view their bodies as objects or a constellation of different muscular parts (T. G. Morrison et al., 2003).

It is widely believed that the increase in eating disorders among women may have been linked to the images of women in the popular media. Several recent studies have examined how images of men in the media have changed. Pope, Olivardia, Gruber, and Borowiecki (1999) examined the waist, chest, and biceps of male action figures over the past 30 years and found that they have become more muscular and currently exceed the proportions of even the largest bodybuilders. Leit, Pope, and Gray (2001) examined Playgirl centerfolds from 1973 to 1997 and, based on perceived body mass index and fat free mass index, found that the models have become increasingly lean and muscular throughout the past decade and suggested that some men may see themselves as inadequate in comparison with these male models. A related study found that the number of advertisements appearing in women's magazines containing men who are undressed or advertising something unrelated to their bodies have increased dramatically over the past 40 years (Pope, Olivardia, Borowiecki, & Cohane, 2001), whereas Leit, Gray, and Pope (2002) found that college men were more dissatisfied with their own bodies after viewing advertisements that highlight muscular men as compared with a control group who viewed neutral advertisements. Also, Botta (2003) found that men who read sports magazines showed few signs of body dissatisfaction because they were typically reading for the sports information; however, men who read health magazines reported more body dissatisfaction because they were more likely to compare themselves with the men pictured in these magazines.

There is evidence that college men are at a developmental stage that could put them at risk for having an unhealthy obsession with body image issues. Spitzer, Henderson, and Zivian (1999) reported that an inclination toward a lean and muscular body begins at 6 or 7 years of age, continues throughout adolescence, and reaches a pinnacle in the emerging adulthood time period. Furthermore, Olivardia et al. (2000) found that the average age for the onset of muscle dysmorphia was 19.4 years.

Because the identification of muscle dysmorphia is relatively new, few studies about this disorder have been published. Some of the first studies involved male weight lifters because they seemed the most at-risk group for the disorder. Olivardia et al. (2000) conducted a case-control study of weight lifters and then conducted a comparison study of college students. The two populations were found to have similar incidences of body dissatisfaction, eating disorder behaviors, and drive to become more muscular. A study by Pope, Gruber, et al. (2000) compared the perceptions college men in Austria, France, and the United States have about their own body, the ideal male body image, and the male body that they believed women prefer. The men from all three countries similarly perceived their bodies as less than ideal and misidentified what women prefer by grossly overestimating the kilograms of muscle women desire in an ideal male body. Olivardia, Pope, Borowiecki, and Cohane (2004) replicated this study with college students in the United States and arrived at the same conclusion with regard to how college men perceive their own bodies and the body shape that women are believed to desire.

Several efforts have been made to develop instruments to measure muscle dysmorphia. Some studies have used the Somatomorphic Matrix to have men view computerized male body images and add or subtract muscle and fat in order to identify their current images, the ideal image, and the image that women want (Olivardia ct al., 2000; Olivardia et al., 2004; Pope, Gruber, et al., 2000). These studies and others have validated the Somatomorphic Matrix as an effective tool to measure muscle dysmorphia. Mayville, Williamson, White, Netemeyer, and Drab (2002) created the Muscle Appearance Satisfaction Scale as a self-report measure for the cognitive, affective, and behavior dimensions of muscle dysmorphia. This instrument was found to be a valid measure of muscle dysmorphia in men but not women. McCreary, Sasse, Saucier, and Dorsch (2004) determined that the Drive for Muscularity Scale (DMS; McCreary & Sasse, 2000) creates a valid overall score for both men and women; however, the DMS Attitude and Behavior subscales are valid only for men. Cafri and Thompson (2004) reviewed the available assessment instruments and concluded that the DMS, the Somatomorphic Matrix, and a modified version of the Somatomorphic Matrix were the most effective methods for measuring the psychological and behavioral factors of muscle dysmorphia.

Creatine Use: An Added Complication for College Men

In the case of eating disorders among college women, a defining feature is the drive to be thinner. Correspondingly, women with these concerns engage in problematic compensatory and weight management behavior, such as inappropriate purging through vomiting and laxative use. Likewise, a defining feature of the muscle dysmorphia syndrome is the drive for increased muscle mass. Correspondingly, men may engage in problematic behaviors that involve the use of muscle-enhancing substances, such as creatine. Ricciardelli and McCabe (2004) reported that extreme methods to build muscle mass include the use of anabolic steroids and that less extreme methods include the use of food supplements, protein powders, and particular forms of exercise. Although the risks of using anabolic steroids are well known, the use of the legal substance creatine is a new concern because it may lead to steroid use if the desired results are not achieved (Kanayama, Gruber, Pope, Borowiecki, & Hudson, 2001; Metzl, Small, Levine, & Gershel, 2001). Morgan (2002) reported that "a subculture of drug abuse and risky self-medication" (p. A53) is growing on college campuses because drugs like ephedrine and creatine are readily available. Given this environment, college counselors should become informed about the potential dangers of such a subculture and the possibility that it will lead students to the use of illegal substances.

Creatine is a substance found in food that has been shown to increase weight without increasing fat, but no studies on its long-term effects have been reported (Pope, Phillips, & Olivardia, 2000). L. J. Morrison, Gizis, and Shorter (2004) found that 41% of the 113 participants in their study, ages 18 to 30 years and attending a commercial gym, had taken creatine. Furthermore, creatine is currently the most popular supplement used by male high school and college athletes (McGuine, Sullivan, & Bernhardt, 2001). Of further concern is the fact that creatine is not a regulated substance, and persons of any age can purchase it (Congeni & Miller, 2002). - from here
Still 59 unpublished blogposts

Men and eating disorders

A collection of links

NEW ORLEANS -- Eating disorders in men are much more prominent than is generally appreciated, Dr. Arnold Andersen said at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.


The pressure of maintaining a proper body image--to which men are as subject as women--is an important trigger in initiating and sustaining eating disorders. In men, altering body shape--to be thinner, more muscular, and to increase the chest-waist ratio--is likely to be the concern that drives abnormal eating behavior. Weight manipulation appears to be only a means to achieve the ideal shape.

The prevalence of full-blown eating disorders, however, is substantially greater in women than men: 4:1 for anorexia, and 11.4:1 for bulimia nervosa. Partial syndromes--for example, chronic concern about diet and weight maintenance--are more evenly divided: 1.5:1 for anorexia and 1.8:1 for bulimia, Dr. Anderson said.

That the prevalence of eating disorders among homosexual men is about fourfold higher compared with heterosexual men is believed to reflect possible social influence.

Other groups subjected to an unusual degree of pressure, such as high school wrestlers, also are greatly overrepresented, he commented.

Among the factors that make eating disorders difficult to detect in men are clinician ignorance and patient shame. The association of these disorders with homosexuality and women drives many men to conceal any symptoms of the disorder that they may have as well as any associated distress. Binge eating disorder in particular is often overlooked because of the embarrassment and ignorance surrounding reverse anorexia," Dr. Andersen said.

"We're not asking the right questions" to detect pathology in men, he said. Patients who make any of the statements listed below, may be affected or at risk:

* "I want to be taller."

* "I'm too thin."

* "I want more muscle."

* "I want to gain weight as muscle, not fat."

Most tests applied to eating disorders are skewed toward women and are based on characteristically female presentations and body image distortions.

There are gender-specific obstacles to treatment, too. Many programs have a bias against men, and the larger ones typically refuse to accept them, Dr. Andersen said.- from here
Same old story, males are victim of othering, science is not taking them serious.

February 6, 2004 (AXcess News) Philadelphia - The Renfrew Center released the results of a study on eating disorders Friday which outlined those research findings. The Center, based in Philadelphia, specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and related mental health issues.

Traditionally, eating disorders were thought to have only been associated with young, privileged, white women. However, today anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating are not discriminating - they are affecting people of all ages, gender and ethnic backgrounds.- from here

Eating disorders
, such as anorexia, binge-eating, and bulimia, are characterized by an individual displaying extreme behaviors and attitudes about their weight and food issues.

Many feel that eating disorders are common in young girls who have developed these issues through their pubescent years. This, however, is incorrect thinking.

The fact is eating disorders do not discriminate and can be developed by both males and females, as well as those of all ages and races. According to the National Institute of Mental Health
, approximately 5-15% of individuals that have been diagnosed with an eating disorder and approximately 35% of those diagnosed with binge-eating disorder are male. - from here
And another one that adds some facts here and there
Research into male eating disorders
A large US study of adolescents reported in 1995 does show that significant numbers of young males experiencing problem weight control behavior.

  • 2%-3% of males diet all the time or more than ten times a year

  • 5%-14% of males deliberately vomit after eating

  • 12%-21% had a history of binge eating

  • A study published in the April 2001 American Journal of Psychiatry found many psychological similarities between men and women with eating disorders, with both groups experiencing similar symptoms.

    Doctors fail to recognize male eating disorders
    To date the evidence suggests that the gender bias of clinicians mean that diagnosing either bulimia or anorexia in men is less likely despite identical behavior. Men are more likely to be diagnosed as suffering depression with associated appetite changes than receive a primary diagnosis of an eating disorder. - from here
    Here is an approach I really liked (and I really would like to see a similar approach when it comes to DV). From a website about eating disorders.

    Okay, so we all want to hear how Calvin Klein is the culprit and that the emaciated waif look has caused women to tale-spin into the world of Eating Disorders. While the images of child-like women has obviously contributed to an increased obsession to be thin, and we can't deny the media influence on eating disorders, there's a lot more to it than that. With approximately six billion people in the world, and a mere ten million of them suffering with some type of disordered eating (.18% of the overall population -- less than a ¼ of 1%), the media obviously doesn't cause everyone to develop Anorexia, Bulimia or Compulsive Overeating. (Current statistics indicated that approximately one in every one hundred teenage girls may develop an Eating Disorder).

    It is a lot more complex than blaming the media.
    The media most certainly contributes to dieting and size discrimination
    but Eating Disorders are NOT Diets!


    While all of these images, advertisements, and messages may be counterproductive to a good self-image, and society's overall acceptance of each person's different size and shape, they are NOT the reason so many men and women develop an Eating Disorder. These images may not help, and for those already open to the possibility of negative coping mechanisms and/or mental illness, the media may play a small contributing role -- but ultimately, if a young man or woman's life situation, environment, and/or genetics leave them open to an Eating Disorder (or alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, OCD, etc.), they will still end up in the same place regardless of television or magazines. Ultimately it's important to know that Anorexia, Bulimia and Compulsive Overeating are NOT about weight and food. Rather they are complex disorders where each sufferer is plagued with low self-esteem, an inability to cope with their own emotions and stress, and many underlying issues that have lead them to their disordered eating. - from here

    "This Child" can be anyone from someone with Compulsive Overeating to Anorexia or Bulimic. It can be your husband or wife, your sister or brother, your son or daughter, your lover or friend, a parent or grandparent, an aunt or uncle, a niece, a nephew, a cousin. They might be male or female, any age, and come from any race or religious background. It is me, it is you or it is someone you love or know.

    To have an Eating Disorder is to have a disease of the self-esteem, and to have a broken coping mechanism. Eating Disorders are about being addicted to a behavior that makes it easy to temporarily forget problems and feelings of depression and self hate, stress and anxiety, guilt and pressure. Just like alcohol is a symptom of alcoholism, food is a symptom of Anorexia, Bulimia or Compulsive Overeating. The real issues are hidden away in each sufferers heart and mind. - from here

    People with Eating Disorders are only "young, white and female".

    ANYONE can suffer from Anorexia or Bulimia. Regardless of previously held beliefs, it is not only young, middle-class white teenagers or college students who can suffer. African-American, Hispanic, Asian, or white, women or men, rich to poor, from their teen years well into their fifties, there are sufferers from every age-bracket, class and culture. Don't rely on the "written statistics" - they are based on reports made to government agencies and if a country, state, or province doesn't require that doctors report the cases, the statistics will not be accurate. Keep in mind as well, the more shame a sufferer feels, the less likely that they will come forward and say they have an Eating Disorder... so if we keep perpetuating the idea that only "young white women" suffer, less and less of them that don't fit this ideal will not come forward, be acknowledged, and get the help they deserve.


    Doctors should know. If the doctor says there's nothing to worry about, then there isn't.

    Doctors do not know everything. Unfortunately, in most places, unless a doctor has taken additional courses in Eating Disorder training or has specialized in the field, they know very little about them. A great number of doctors are not aware of all the warning signs or will begin testing for other possible physical problems because of the stigma society has attached to Eating Disorders. A lot of times, doctors wait for the patient to say "hey doc, I have an Eating Disorder" and considering the low-self esteem and nature of the illness, more often than not this is unlikely to happen early on. Also, the human body learns to adapt to starvation and malnutrition, so unless blood tests are specifically geared towards Eating Disorders, average blood tests of a physical will show little detrimental information. I cannot stress enough how important it is to find a way to tell your doctor you have an Eating Disorder... and I will add if any doctor ever treats your poorly or ignores your plea for help, find another doctor!


    An Eating Disorder is a woman's illness.

    Absolutely Not. Only recently has the media begun to address the "hidden population" of men with Eating Disorders. Many men suffer but because of the old wive's tale that Eating Disorders were just illnesses of woman, the men suffering have feared telling of their problems, or even facing it themselves. It is calculated that 1 in 10 Eating Disorders currently are men, and expected that the number is much higher. - from here
    According to Arnold Andersen and the research he did for his book Males with Eating Disorders, while women who develop Eating Disorders feel fat before the onset of their disordered eating behaviors, typically they are near average weight. Men are more typically overweight medically before the development of the disorder. In addition, men who are binge eaters or compulsive overeaters may go undiagnosed more than women because of society's willingness to accept an overeating and/or overweight man more-so than an overeating or overweight woman.

    Though it is more common for homosexual men to suffer from Eating Disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia (because of the tendency in the male gay community to place a high level of importance on success and appearance), there are still many heterosexual men out there who suffer. This contributes back into the shameful feelings a heterosexual male sufferer has -- he may be afraid that people will think he is gay -- or that a homosexual and heterosexual male can feel -- that the illness is considered to be a "female's problem". I have often received e-mail from men who are suffering in silence because of these two issues.

    In addition, there may often be shrouds of secrecy because of the lack of therapy groups and treatment centers offering groups specifically designed for men. They may feel very alone at the thought of having to sit in a group of women, to be part of a program designed for women, and even at the prospect that a treatment facility will turn them down because of their sex.

    Men who participate in low-weight oriented sports such as jockeys, wrestlers and runners are at an increased risk of developing an Eating Disorder such as Anorexia or Bulimia. The pressure to succeed, to be the best, to be competitive and to win at all costs, combined with any non-athletic pressures in their lives (relationship issues, family problems, abuse, etc.) can help to contribute the onset of their disordered eating.

    It is not uncommon for men suffering with an Eating Disorder to also suffer with alcoholism and/or drug abuse simultaneously (though many women also suffer both disordered eating and substance abuse problems combined). This may be due to the addictive nature of their psychological health combined with the strong images put out by society of men's overindulgence in alcohol. In addition, men suffering with Anorexia and Bulimia seem to have more sexual anxiety. There may also be a link between ADHD, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, with male sufferers of Anorexia and Bulimia and self-injury. More research needs to be done in this area. For all those who suffer, men and women, there are many possible co-existing psychological illnesses that can be present, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, self-injury behavior and substance abuse, obsessive compulsive disorder, and borderline personality disorder and multiple personality syndrome.

    The most important thing, overall, to remember is that most of the underlying psychological factors that lead to an Eating Disorder are the same for both men and women. Low self-esteem, a need to be accepted, depression, anxiety or other existing psychological illness, and an inability to cope with emotions and personal issues. All of the physical dangers and complications associated with being the sufferer of an Eating Disorder are the same. A great number of the causes are the same or very similar (family problems, relationship issues, alcoholic/addictive parent, abuse, societal pressure). Most of all, all people with eating disorders deserve to find recovery and the happiness and self-love on the other side. - from here

    The one in 10 seems to be the number when it comes to eating disorders. It seems though there could be more:
    The number of men with symptoms of eating disorders has doubled in past decade. New research out of the University of Toronto shows that 1 of every 6 people who qualified for a full or partial diagnosis of anorexia was male - substantially more than the 1 in 10 usually reported. Largely under recognized and underreported in men and boys, males are more likely to blame unnatural weight loss on physical rather than psychological problems. In addition, it remains taboo in our society for men to care about how they look, so there is a greater motivation to keep body image obsessions a secret.

    The issues of eating disorders for men are for the most part, similar to those of women who suffer from the same disease.

    * Men suffer from with self-esteem and perfectionism.
    * They seek to gain control of their lives by controlling their bodies.
    * They often suffer from depression, anxiety, alcohol or drug abuse or other psychiatric conditions as well.
    * Most have distorted image of body, seeing obesity where others see skin and bones.
    * They are at risk to suffer cardiac irregularities, electrolyte imbalances that could lead to death, and osteoporosis, to name a few physical side effects.
    * Hormone (testosterone) levels plummet and sexual desire vanishes. - from here
    Another one about the similarities between men and women.

    Eating disorders are more common in men than was previously thought, yet men are not as likely to seek treatment for eating disorders, according to a study published in the April 2001 American Journal of Psychiatry. The researchers found many psychological similarities between men and women with eating disorders, with both groups experiencing similar symptoms.

    The authors compared 62 men who met all or most of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria for eating disorders with 212 women who had similar eating disorders, and 3,769 men who had no eating disorders who had a wide variety of medical histories.

    "Men are generally very similar to women in terms of comparing psychopathology," said lead author D. Blake Woodside, M.D., of the Department of Psychiatry at Toronto Hospital. "The illnesses are much more equivalent in prevalence than was previously thought. We have to think about why men wouldn't come for treatment."

    One possible explanation is that men are reluctant to come for help because they feel eating disorders fall under the category of "woman's diseases." This is linked to the second possible reason, which is that men may not recognize the symptoms because it doesn't occur to them to do so, because eating disorders have long been assumed to plague women only.

    "Men with symptoms should get help, as women do. This is where public education comes in," Woodside said, adding that public education efforts should do more to identify and treat men with eating disorders.

    Woodside also said that the differences that are observed between men with eating disorders and men in the general population could result from side effects of the disorders.

    ["Comparisons of Men with Full or Partial Eating Disorders, Men Without Eating Disorders, and Women with Eating Disorders in the Community," by D. Blake Woodside, M.D., et al., p. 570, American Journal of Psychiatry, April 2001.]- from here
    Well that is the end of the wall of text. You can stop reading here. Yes yes...

    Unobtainable beauty standards

    A nice article. I'll start with the usual double standard.
    While female models are criticised for fuelling the rise in eating disorders by looking underweight, their male counterparts have largely escaped such adverse scrutiny. By and large, we have collectively assumed that those rippling abs represent the result of the kind of gym-dedication and healthy living that can only be admired. Behind the abs, though, is a far from wholesome reality.
    The truth seems to differ a bit as a male model tells us what he has to do to look that way.
    For days at a time he restricts fluid intake so severely that the resulting dehydration causes headaches, haziness and overwhelming fatigue. Having trained for weeks like an Olympian with high-intensity circuits, running and weightlifting, he then cuts out exercise for 48 hours and opens a bottle of red wine to drink alone. A six-day carbohydrate-depletion diet, in which he eats little more than chicken and broccoli, leaves his muscles weak and his brain so starved of glycogen, its source of fuel, that he feels dizzy and disorientated when he stands up. He can barely walk, let alone hit the gym. [...] Two days before a photoshoot, he says, he begins to dehydrate by restricting the intake of water and other fluids to a minimum. After almost a week of carbohydrate avoidance, he also begins to “carbo-load” by eating pasta and sweet potatoes for 48 hours. “That forces the muscles to fill up with glycogen so they look bigger,” he says. “Being dehydrated makes your skin shrink and become taut so that it sticks to the muscles and gives a dry, vascular appearance, making your veins stick out, which is what the magazines want.” Many male models drink alcohol — brandy and gin are favourites — to speed dehydration. “I open a bottle of red wine the night before, and on the morning of a photoshoot I have another glass of wine and some wine gums,” Martin says. “The sugar in the sweets and the alcohol draw more water from the skin, leaving you looking as lean as possible.” Among models and many others in the industry, Martin says, there is an unspoken acknowledgement that the pre-shoot regimen is standard. “There is definitely a sense that magazines expect you to turn up dehydrated and dizzy,” he says. “I’ve been on castings for fitness magazines where there are six or seven models who are so groggy and out of it that they need to grab a chair to sit down and literally can’t speak.”
    What makes this thing ironic is that such a regiment is needed to get on the cover of Men's Health. Health, as in not oh my.

    Also funny
    Fricker says that tricks are sometimes used to create an unrealistic illusion of abdominal perfection. Last year, one publication featured him in an article entitled “Scrawny to Brawny” in which it was insinuated that readers could transform their bodies into something resembling his rock-hard physique in eight weeks. “But the ‘before’ picture they showed of me was one from five years ago, not two months previously, so it was misleading,” he says. “Quite often, ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures are taken on the same day. Models are asked to slump their shoulders and un-tense their abs in the ‘before’ shots, then art directors use lighting, better posture and Photoshop to get the ‘after’ effect they want.”
    And finally
    But the pursuit of that perfect six-pack shows no sign of slowing. Recent research by the Harley Medical Group, the largest cosmetic surgery chain in the UK, revealed that the number of men aged 35 and over choosing to have a tummy tuck has risen by 55 per cent so far this year, compared with 2009. And a University of Florida study suggested that changing perceptions of the ideal male physique have triggered a wave of body-image problems among men striving to achieve a muscular look. Professor Heather Hausenblas, the exercise psychologist who carried out the research, said: “If you look back at the ideal male body, 50 years ago it wasn’t this hyper-muscular physique that we see now,” she says.

    “We have seen a significant rise in the number of men who are dissatisfied with the way the look and want to be more muscular.”
    As long as we continue to buy into the dream that such bodies are attainable, cover models will flaunt their ripped midsections on magazines proffering the irresistible notion that chiselled abs are up for grabs. “But it’s impossible to look like that seven days a week, despite what the magazines try to tell you,” says Martin. “We can’t achieve that look. Nobody can.”

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    Misandry in the media

    Good article....the highlights:

    It has also been studied by academicians Dr. Katherine Young and Paul Nathanson in their book, Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture. Young and Nathanson argue that in addition to being portrayed as generally unintelligent, men are ridiculed, rejected, and physically abused in the media. Such behavior, they suggest, "would never be acceptable if directed at women." Evidence of this pattern is found in a 2001 survey of 1,000 adults conducted by the Advertising Standards Association in Great Britain, which found that 2/3 of respondents thought that women featured in advertisements were "intelligent, assertive, and caring," while the men were "pathetic and silly." The number of respondents who thought men were depicted as "intelligent" was a paltry 14%. (While these figures apply to the United Kingdom, comparable advertisements air in the U.S.) 


    According to Gender Issues in Advertising Language, television portrayals that help create or reinforce negative stereotypes can lead to problems with self-image, self-concept, and personal aspirations. Young men learn that they are expected to screw up, that women will have the brains to their brawn, and that childcare is over their heads. And it isn't just men who suffer from this constant parade of dumb men on tv. Children Now reports a new study that found that 2/3 of children they surveyed describe men on tv as angry and only 1/3 report ever seeing a man on television performing domestic chores, such as cooking or cleaning. There are far too few positive role models for young boys on television.
    Moreover, stereotypical male-bashing portrayals undermine the core belief of the feminist movement: equality. Just think. What if the butt of all the jokes took on another identity? Consider the following fictional exchanges:
    "It is so hard to get decent employees."
    "That's because you keep hiring blacks."
    "I just don't understand this project at all."
    "Well, a woman explained it to you, so what did you expect?"

    "I can't believe he is going out again tonight."
    "Oh please, all Hispanics care about is sex."
    All of these statements are offensive, and would rightfully be objected to by advocates of fair representation in the media. However, put the word "man" or "men" in place of "blacks," "woman," and "Hispanics" in the above sentences and they're deemed humorous. Are men who ask to be treated civilly overly sensitive or are we as justified in our objections as members of NOW, the NAACP, GLAAD, and other groups which protest demeaning television portrayals, whether those portrayals are on sitcoms, dramas, advertisements, or moronic tv like The Man Show.

    HIV/AIDS Is A Woman's Disease

    Found on feministing. I cite

    So it is official: The face of HIV/AIDS is a woman’s face.
    Although it was former United Nations’ Secretary General Kofi Annan who made that famous statement a few years ago, the World Health Organization (WHO), confirmed the metaphor last week when HIV/AIDS was identified as the leading cause of death and disease amongst women worldwide. AIDS is officially a woman’s disease.

    A WHO, yes, yes, yes. I was not very surprised and tried to answer to that, but sadly there were no comments allowed. So after this posts was floating around in my drafts for quite some time, here it is:

    There is an error in that posting. HIV/AIDS is not  the leading cause of death and disease amongst women worldwide it is the leading cause of death and disease for women in their reproductive years (15–44). That is a big difference (life expectancy is in most countries higher than 44). Here is a list of the leading causes of death for women by the WHO

    Even in low income countries HIV/AIDS is the 6th reason of death for women.

    Also to call AIDS a women`s disease when about half (15.3 million men and 15.5 million women) of all people infected with that disease are men is a bit far out there as well. (page 43)

    This finally gives us an answer

    as well as the wiki entry

    More than 64% of all people living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa, as are more than three quarters of all women living with HIV.

    So one could say in sub-Saharan Africa AIDS is a women's disease (if one wants to other HIV infected men there). Everywhere else it seems to be a men's disease though (if one follows that way of thinking).
    Still 65 drafts left. Expect more walls of text....muhahahahaha....bwahahahahahaha (it is so very late here).

    As a reminder, this is why father's rights activist are not too happy with feminist groups

    Parental Alienation Syndrom edition:

    The National Organization for Women has learned about our efforts and is concerned about them. They have now sent out an Action Alert to counter our campaign. According to NOW's Tracy Simmons:
    I am writing you, the leaders of various groups that represent battered women, for your help in one of the most important matters we will address this year. The American Psychiatric Association is considering adding Parental Alienation to the Diagnosticians book, which would legitimize this legal tactic into a real disorder.
    Parental Alienation Syndrome has now morphed into Parental Alienation Disorder thanks to the fathers' rights organizations who are wildly pushing this through, and why wouldn't they? It benefits the abuser and discriminates against the victims of abuse, which are overwhelmingly women.
    This gender specific, abuse excuse, junk science can not be allowed to enter into the scientific community as there is nothing scientific about a syndrome/disorder whose only symptoms are a uterus, divorce papers, and bruises. I ask that you all to take action against legitimizing this outrageous theory by e-mailing the APA and asking your groups to do the same.
    This quote from Someone on reddit is fitting:

    nothing in the above quote is true in regards to Parental Alienation Disorder. It is not gender specific, it is not an excuse for abuse, it is not junk science, and the symptoms do not include a uterus, divorce papers, and bruises.

    The FRA position sounds very rational compared to that

    A group of 50 mental health experts from 10 countries are part of an effort to add Parental Alienation Disorder to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V), the American Psychiatric Association's "bible" of diagnoses. This scientific coalition is led by psychiatrist William Bernet, who explains that adding PAD to DSM "would spur insurance coverage, stimulate more systematic research, lend credence to a charge of parental alienation in court, and raise the odds that children would get timely treatment."

    The DSM must consider whether Parental Alienation Disorder fits their scientific criteria for inclusion. Experts will say that they do not want this process politicized, and we agree. We are not seeking to influence the Task Force's view of the scientific aspects of PAD, nor are we asking the Task Force to include Parental Alienation Disorder due to pressure politics or our campaign. Our purpose is simply to ensure that the DSM Task Force is aware that Parental Alienation is a common problem in divorce/child custody, and to take a serious look at whether PAD meets their scientific criteria.

    Testosterone and aggression

    The common stereotype linking aggression and testosterone...some data on that connection.

    We start with a web paper by a student in 2004 that concludes:

    we do not know for sure whether or not testosterone leads to aggression. Therefore, any assertion of a causal relationship between the two is instantly problematic. Instead, we must continue to learn and to discuss the various possibilities with an open mind, in order to come to a better understanding of the role that testosterone and other hormones play in aggressive behavior.

    We are not sure. Well in 2009 people apparently know a bit more. New study.

    New scientific evidence refutes the preconception that testosterone causes aggressive, egocentric, and risky behavior. A study at the Universities of Zurich and Royal Holloway London with more than 120 experimental subjects has shown that the sexual hormone with the poor reputation can encourage fair behaviors if this serves to ensure one's own status.


    For the study, published in the renowned journal Nature, some 120 test subjects took part in a behavioral experiment where the distribution of a real amount of money was decided. The rules allowed both fair and unfair offers. The negotiating partner could subsequently accept or decline the offer. The fairer the offer, the less probable a refusal by the negotiating partner. If no agreement was reached, neither party earned anything.

    Before the game the test subjects were administered either a dose of 0.5 mg testosterone or a corresponding placebo. "If one were to believe the common opinion, we would expect subjects who received testosterone to adopt aggressive, egocentric, and risky strategies - regardless of the possibly negative consequences on the negotiation process," Eisenegger elucidates.

    Fairer with testosterone
    The study's results, however, contradict this view sharply. Test subjects with an artificially enhanced testosterone level generally made better, fairer offers than those who received placebos, thus reducing the risk of a rejection of their offer to a minimum. "The preconception that testosterone only causes aggressive or egoistic behavior in humans is thus clearly refuted," sums up Eisenegger. Instead, the findings suggest that the hormone increases the sensitivity for status. For animal species with relatively simple social systems, an increased awareness for status may express itself in aggressiveness. "In the socially complex human environment, pro-social behavior secures status, and not aggression," surmises study co-author Michael Naef from Royal Holloway London. "The interplay between testosterone and the socially differentiated environment of humans, and not testosterone itself, probably causes fair or aggressive behavior".

    Moreover the study shows that the popular wisdom that the hormone causes aggression is apparently deeply entrenched: those test subjects who believed they had received the testosterone compound and not the placebo stood out with their conspicuously unfair offers. It is possible that these persons exploited the popular wisdom to legitimate their unfair actions. Economist Michael Naef states: "It appears that it is not testosterone itself that induces aggressiveness, but rather the myth surrounding the hormone. In a society where qualities and manners of behavior are increasingly traced to biological causes and thereby partly legitimated, this should make us sit up and take notice." The study clearly demonstrates the influence of both social as well as biological factors on human behavior.
    Interesting to keep in mind once the "testosterone-fueled-men did this or that" articles arise again.

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Female perpetrators of Sexual violence

    A German source so it is translation time again. It lists a bunch of studies which gives the percentage of female perpetrators of sexual violence. Here are the numbers:

    Wetzels (1997) - German Study - 10%
    Raupp & Eggers (1993) - German Study - 25%
    Risin & Koss (1987) - American Study - 47% / surprised by that finding, they narrowed down the definitions and still got 35% (Enders 2008)

    I mentioned a 33-35% number here as well and guess it will be about a third.

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    A short note on maternal gatekeeping...

    Let us keep this scientific...
    The study of 1,023 couples from 20 large cities in the USA found mothers were protective of their caregiving and educational engagement with the child but were less so for playtime activities that "were not considered threats to the mother's caregiving identity," the paper says.

    Other gatekeeping research co-written by Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, an assistant professor of child development at Ohio State University in Columbus, is significant because it studied actual behaviors rather than just beliefs, and of the 97 couples participating, fathers were more involved in daily care of infants when they received active encouragement from the wife or partner. 

    "This study provides perhaps the best evidence to date that the phenomenon of maternal gatekeeping exists and that, under some conditions, it may have the potential to affect fathering behavior," says the study, published last year in the Journal of Family Psychology.

    Blind men like big boobs

    What a headline. An interesting study which might indicate where the body image of the hourglass figure comes it biological? Is it society? An interesting take
    The study involved men who had been sightless from birth. The idea was that the bombardment of visual media — of models on billboards and actresses on television and porn stars online — which may be so powerful and even dominant in molding desire, couldn’t have had any direct effect on these men, who emerged from the womb into a congenital dark. Would their tastes in women’s bodies match those of men who could see? How would their preferences reflect on the roles of nature and nurture, on the influence of evolution and the impact of experience, in forming our psyches?

    Over the past two decades, researchers have been looking at whether cinched yet sumptuous female body shapes, corresponding to low waist-to-hip ratios, are preferred by men across societies and have been favored across time, the idea being that if the answer is yes, evolutionary factors would seem to outweigh culture in determining at least this one aspect of lust. And frequently when scientists have shown simple line drawings of women to men around the world, from Germany to Japan to Guinea-Bissau, the answer has in fact been yes; ratios of 0.7, or sometimes lower, have been rated the most attractive, no matter whether more or less overall flesh is the cultural ideal. A study of Miss Americas from the 1920s to the ’80s and of Playboy centerfolds from the ’50s to 1990 came up with the same result; the chosen women became thinner over the decades, but their proportions stayed constant, right around 0.7. The evolutionary explanations for these findings share the logic that lower ratios somehow signaled ancestral men that a woman would produce more or fitter offspring, and the argument of one recent study, built on data from several thousand women and children, is that mothers with lower ratios tend to produce smarter kids, because, the researchers suggest after controlling for other factors, certain fatty acids in a woman’s hip padding, delivered in the womb and through breast-feeding, are beneficial to the development of a baby’s brain, while belly fat is detrimental. 

    with some statistically insignificant variation, the scores of the blind matched those of the sighted. Both groups preferred the more pronounced sweep from waist to hip.
    It is not as clear cut as the copied parts of this article seem to suggest. Oh and, it was about hip to waist ratio not boob size....and I still won't change the headline.

    And my 20,001st post about Domestic Violence

    Apparently the DoJ is not that much interested in collecting data about male dv victims:

    For years, the DOJ has explicitly refused to fund studies that investigate domestic violence against men. According to specialists in this field, the DOJ recently agreed to cover this problem -- as long as researchers give equal time to addressing violence against women.

    More good info from the same article

    While survey-based studies have found that men and women commit domestic violence in equal numbers, crime-based studies show that women are far more likely to be victimized. This inconsistency begins to make sense when one considers that man-on-woman violence tends to be seen through a criminal lens, while woman-on-man violence is viewed more benignly.

    A recent 32-nation study revealed that more than 51% of men and 52% of women felt that there were times when it was appropriate for a wife to slap her husband. By comparison, only 26% of men and 21% of women felt that there were times when it was appropriate for a husband to slap his wife. Murray Straus, creator of the Conflict Tactics Scale and one of the authors of the study, explained this discrepancy: "We don't perceive men as victims. We see women as being more vulnerable than men."
    The mainstream perception of domestic violence also impacts the resources that are available to battered men. For example, the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women, the only national toll-free hot line that specializes in helping male victims of domestic violence, has faced numerous roadblocks in its search for funding. In Maine, where the helpline is based, the surest route to funding is through membership in the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence.
    But, according to Helpline director Jan Brown, the Coalition refused to even issue the program an application for membership, effectively denying it access to funding. Today, 45 Helpline volunteers field 550 calls per month, 80% of which are from men or people who are looking for help on behalf of a man. Operating with a yearly budget of less than $15,000, it provides intensive training to its workers and offers victims housing, food, bus tickets and a host of other services.

    The Helpline's sheltering services are informal and ad hoc, largely because its lack of access to funding makes a shelter financially impossible. In fact, of the estimated 1,200 to 1,800 shelters in the U.S., only one -- the Valley Oasis shelter in Antelope Valley, Calif. -- provides a full range of shelter services to men. And, on average, less than 10% of OVW funds allocated to fight domestic violence are used to help men.

    The next step is to admit that domestic violence is not a male or female problem, but rather a human problem, and that a lasting solution must address the cruelty -- and suffering -- of both sexes.
    No wall of text this time...hoooraaaaah!

    My 20,000th post about the wage gap.... seems. With a reminder why you (yes you) should read the Male Matters blog
    The claim that American women as a group face systemic wage discrimination is groundless.
    There are by now many reputable studies that refute the assertion that women are being cheated out of a fair salary by unscrupulous employers. In January 2009, the Labor Department posted a study prepared by the CONSAD Research Corporation, “An Analysis of the Reasons for the Disparity in Wages Between Men and Women." It analyzed more than 50 peer-reviewed papers. Labor Department official Charles E. James Sr. summed up the results in his foreword:

    This study leads to the unambiguous conclusion that the differences in the compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and that the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. [See, for example: "For many years, wage discrimination claims brought under Title VII have not been prevalent. In fiscal 2009, only 1% of charges filed with the EEOC included an Equal Pay Act claim."] The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.

    Studies summarized in the CONSAD report show that when the proper controls are in place, the unexplained wage gap is somewhere between 4.8 and 7.1 cents and no one can say how much of it is discrimination and how much is owed to subtle differences between the sexes that are hard to measure.  


    According to a 2009 Pew survey, “A strong majority of all working mothers (62%) say they would prefer to work part time.... An overwhelming majority [of working fathers] (79%) say they prefer full-time work. Only one-in-five say they would choose part-time work.” To close the wage gap, women’s groups are going to have to find a way to change women’s preferences and life choices

    Equal pay day, why not have...

    Mark Perry has suggested we designate October 11, 2020, Equal Occupational Fatality Day. That is how far into the future women will have to work to experience the same number of work-related deaths that men experienced in 2008 alone.

    Another source and more data
    In 2003, the U.S. General Accounting Office observed, “Of the many factors that account for differences in earnings between men and women, our model indicated that work patterns are key.

    “Specifically, women have fewer years of work experience, work fewer hours per year, are less likely to work a full-time schedule, and leave the labor force for longer periods of time than men.”

    The GAO cautioned that it could not “determine whether this remaining difference is due to discrimination or other factors.”

    For example, some experts said that some women trade off career advancement or higher earnings for a job that offers flexibility to manage work and family responsibilities.

    In short, more women than men may seek out lower-paying jobs with flexible hours in order to spend time with their families.

    If so, when you take two checklists, one of women’s and one of men’s full-time jobs, and go to the exact middle of each, the median, women’s wages will naturally be less than men’s.

    But what about comparable full-time jobs? What could account for a wage gap there? Consider just two possibilities.

    First, the definition of full-time employment: Most surveys define it as 35-plus or 40 hours a week. But a tremendous difference exists between an employee who clocks 40 hours and one who works 60.

    For the same reasons women would seek flexible hours, they also are likely to work fewer hours in a full-time job. Raises, bonuses, and promotions more naturally flow toward employees who work longer hours.

    Indeed, when you factor out variables like having children, the wage gap virtually disappears.

    In their book “Women’s Figures” (1999), economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth and Christine Stolba meticulously compared data on the earnings of childless men and women aged 27 to 33. They found that the wage gap shrank to 98 cents.


    Female directors in corporate America earned median compensation of $120,000, based on the most recently available pay data, compared with $104,375 for male board members, research group The Corporate Library said in its annual director pay report on Wednesday.
    At the same time, the study said, women in corporate boardrooms are outnumbered eight to one.
    About the gender gap in buisness

    The research, by Marianne Bertrand, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and two Harvard economics professors, Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz, provides a statistical explanation: women with children fall behind because they work less, the study says.

    Women executives who do not have children follow career paths that closely replicate those of their male peers. Successful M.B.A. couples have similar work patterns, said Dr. Bertrand. “Women without children married to high-earning spouses are just as likely to work and accumulate post-M.B.A. work experience at an almost identical rate,” she said. “Call a woman without a child a man.”
    Until the first child arrives, M.B.A. couples act as mutual drivers, encouraging each other to work more, Dr. Bertrand said. But with the arrival of motherhood, the picture changes. When women executives return to the office, after several months of absence, they typically start to work shorter hours, the study shows: 52 hours per week, compared with an average 58 hours for their male peers, as they adapt to their new double task. “They try to have both pieces,” Dr. Bertrand said.

    About a decade after completion of the M.B.A. course, the gap in hours worked adds up to the cumulative equivalent of a six-month difference in job experience between men and women, and the difference is a costly one, the report says.
    The relative earnings of female executives start to decline in the first two years after the first child is born, and the rate of decline accelerates thereafter. “Earnings decline linearly with hours worked in the first two years after the first birth, but hourly wage penalties, associated with career interruptions, become evident for M.B.A. women three years after the birth.

    Because top executive jobs are hard to fit with motherhood, high-flying women may quit the corporate rat race for self-employed consulting, and then cut back even further on working time: 10 years after completing an M.B.A., 62 percent of self-employed women in the survey sample had made that decision. “They want to be excellent professionally, but they want to be excellent mothers, too,” Dr. Bertrand said.
    Another one gets it
    All told, women are more than twice as likely to work part-time as men and over the course of their lifetimes, work outside the home for 40% fewer years than men. That accounts for a significant chunk of the pay gap. Then there is a more subtle factor. Despite the many advances the women's movement has brought the U.S., what it hasn't done, thank heavens, is make men and women the same. The simple fact is - and there is nothing nasty or conspiratorial about it - the sexes continue to choose different avenues of study and different types of jobs.

    Here's an illustrative example. The college majors with the top starting salaries, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, are: chemical engineering (almost $60,000), computer engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering. Men make up about 80% of engineering majors. Women predominate among liberal arts majors - whose salaries start at a little more than $30,000. Putting it all together, O¹Neill figures that these differences - in choice of work, years in the workforce, and hours of work - could account for as much as 97.5% of the differences in pay between men and women. "The unadjusted gender gap," she concludes, "can be explained to a large extent by non-discriminatory factors."

    If more women than men want to become social workers, knowing full well that this is not a high-paying job - well, so be it. If they want to be paid as well as parole officers, then they should become parole officers.

    Discrimination occurs when people are barred from professions for which they are qualified, or paid less for doing the same job. It is not discrimination to freely make a choice that has an undeniable economic consequence. Call me an oversensitive female, but I detect a large dollop of patronization here. The theory behind the Fair Pay Act is that the labor market intentionally sets wages in a way that is unfair to women - and apparently we are so stupid that we fall right into this trap, repeatedly making non-rational choices (not just different ones).

    Again, the facts suggest otherwise. Since 1979, as more women have entered and stayed in the labor force for longer periods, the pay gap has narrowed, from 63% then to 81% now. Over the same period, according to the BLS, women's earnings have grown much faster than those of men. Women who work part-time actually make more than men who work part-time; and never-married women make almost exactly as much (96.7%) as never-married men.
     What a wall of text....and some nice numbers. Feeeeeeeck out.....