Posts Tagged ‘Body Image’

Making the Invisible Visible: A Q&A with Artist Alex Rudin

Alex Rudin

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Alex Rudin is a multimedia artist based in New York City. Her artwork is narratively focused on the complexities of the human experience through stylized portraiture and anecdotal commentary. Her intent lies in uncovering and expressing the truths of what it is like to be a woman in modern America. Alex is currently creating work surrounding feminist issues, including eating disorders and sexual abuse. In addition, Alex regularly uses her work to speak about political and social justice issues. She has partnered with organizations such as Women for the Win, Article 3, and The Sam & Devorah Foundation, among other female-led orgs. Alex’s writing and artwork have been featured in USA Today Mag, Grit Daily, Yahoo.com, and The Female Lead. She has shown in both solo and group exhibitions in New York, Delaware, and Philadelphia.

In this Q&A, we ask Alex about her artwork and the impact of art on those creating it, those consuming it, and on society at large. She explains how art has benefited her recovery from an eating disorder and body dysmorphic disorder and shares samples from her portfolio.

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This Is Me Eating Hugs

Isabella Gómez Girón

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

By Isabella Gómez Girón

“Okay, okay, just another more, my tongue needs it—my tongue? Not my tongue. Something needs it. I need to keep filling. But not my stomach, not my throat, those are clogged. It’s the heart, it’s the soul, not the body” (This is Me Eating Hugs). 

Have you ever felt like what you’re trying to fill while anxiously eating is more than your stomach? And you want more and more, even though you are not even hungry?

Well, I have been there too, and still am sometimes. My name is Isabella Gómez Girón, and I am a Colombian artist based in NYC. I hold a BFA in Acting and a Minor in Psychology from NYU. I participated in Et Alia Theatre’s online series called This Is Me Eating. . . , an experimental online series where each participant filled in the blank to describe what they were metaphorically eating as a way to explore the relationship between food, our body, and our image. I wrote This Is Me Eating Hugs toward the beginning of the pandemic when one of my fears was that I—being completely alone in NYC—would fall back into bad habits with food, as it would become my only comfort in that period of isolation. I was afraid my desire for overeating and my negative thoughts about my body image would start to control me. Writing this short experimental film helped me to channel those feelings out of my brain, allowing me to trust that I loved myself enough to not overeat all the time as a way to solve all my emotional turmoil.

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Muscle Dysmorphia, Sports, and Eating Disorders in Males

A person standing beside a weight rack at a gym

There’s a question that has swirled around the eating disorder field for decades: Where are all the males?

Our understanding of eating disorders in males is limited because the field has historically focused on females. Research has centered on females, diagnoses were organized around them, and screening tools and assessments have been normed to them.

We don’t have research that establishes what it means to have an eating disorder if you are male. We can approximate the population of males with eating disorders as 1/3 of the total number of people with eating disorders—but then the question arises: Why? Why would so many fewer males than females be affected?

It is unlikely that having two XX chromosomes instead of one X and one Y is the reason. Therefore, we must search for other factors to help us understand and explain the significantly lower rate in males. Are we missing the males with eating disorders?

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Episode 47: Body Image in Adolescents with Charlotte Markey

Dr. Charlotte Markey

Episode description: 

Charlotte Markey, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology and Health Sciences at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. She has researched body image and eating behaviors for nearly 25 years, and is the author of The Body Image Book for Girls: Love Yourself and Grow Up Fearless.

Charlotte joins us in this episode of Peace Meal to discuss adolescent body image. Offering research and practical insight into the multifaceted topic, she notes that body image encompasses far more than whether we like our bodies. She touches on its various dimensions and implications in the everyday lives of adolescents and teens.

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It’s Not Just Girls: Body Image in Boys and Men

A young boy sitting on a man's shoulders

Charlotte Markey, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology and a founding director of the Health Sciences Center at Rutgers University (Camden). She is the author of The Body Image Book for Girls, as well as a forthcoming companion book for boys.

While body image has typically been regarded as a female issue, body image concerns can affect people of all genders. Here, we chat with body image researcher, Charlotte Markey, Ph.D., about body image in boys and men.

Describe your interest in body image. 

My interest in body image dates back to my childhood experiences as a ballet dancer. The intense focus on your body when you are a dancer is unfortunate and really fueled my own body dissatisfaction.

It wasn’t until I was an undergraduate psychology major that I started to look at the scars from my years as a dancer. Intellectualizing these issues was (and is!) a great coping mechanism for me. I began doing research on body image and eating attitudes during my undergraduate years and continued to do so when I completed my Ph.D. in psychology. I love doing research and teaching as a professor, but I also really love to make the research accessible to more diverse, public audiences. This has led to my work on book projects, including my recent The Body Image Book for Girls and the forthcoming companion book for boys.

Why has body image traditionally been thought of as a “women’s issue”? 

Diet culture and the beauty industry have targeted women for decades. It has long been commonplace for girls and women to want to change their appearance—in terms of both their bodies and their faces. This is not the only reason, but it is one of the primary reasons why body dissatisfaction is normative and festers among girls and women. In contrast, “manly” men have historically been conceptualized as natural, unadorned, and uninterested in fashion or beauty.   

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Body Checking and Body Avoidance

A person checks appearance in the mirror

Eating disorders are often tied to a preoccupation with shape and weight. This preoccupation commonly manifests itself in distorted thoughts and beliefs, as well as in unusual behaviors around food and eating. Rigid food rules, denying hunger, hiding or stockpiling food, and eating in secret are among the key behavioral signs that may indicate the presence of an eating disorder.

Less-discussed behavioral signs are body checking and body avoidance. While these behaviors are not unique to eating disorders—and not experienced by everyone with an eating disorder—they are common in people with these illnesses. Checking involves the repeated checking of one’s shape or weight, and the other involves the complete avoidance of that behavior.

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