Tonight, BBC One’s Panorama will be looking into the subject of eating disorders and mental health among men. According to the BBC, an estimated 400,000 men and boys are affected by eating disorders including international rugby referee Nigel Owens.
In the show, Nigel Owens meets men, boys and their families across the UK to hear their accounts of the impacts of anorexia and bulimia as he sets out to discover why more people are being diagnosed.
Speaking in advance of the episode titled ‘Men, Boys and Eating Disorders‘ Marciel Hopkins, who campaigns for body positivism said, “I’m very glad that Panorama is highlighting the point that boys and young men are just as vulnerable to the psychological impact of social media as girls and young women.
“We are mainly focusing on women and young girls when it comes to eating disorders, but we forget about the pressure society puts on men and boys to look a certain way. Women are expected to be small and petite, but men should be big, strong and muscular to be seen as a “real man”. It’s such a distorted picture that we are being fed by social media, because there is no wrong way to be a man or to have a certain body type.
“Some men may not restrict themselves from eating, but they might be obsessed about training and growing bigger all the time, which is a disorder in itself. We might not see many anorexic men walking around, but the truth is, so many eating disorders can’t be seen with the bare eye and are simply glossed over.
“I think there is a big need for men to have platforms where they can voice their feelings and opinions about the pressure society puts on them to look a certain way. I think it’s so important for women to hear this as well, as it will help us to have more compassion for one another.”
As well as a body-positive activist Marciel Hopkins is also a life coach, motivational speaker and plus-size model for London-based MOT Models ‘Curves’ division. Marciel also has an Instagram following of 51,300 fans. She uses the platform to campaign for positive body image, especially in young women.