Researching and Writing about Male Eating Disorders

Fear. That’s the only word for it. Abject, unadulterated fear. And yet, I feel as if I’m making too big a deal of it. Although it has taken me until this point to realise what was going on. Yes, this is about male eating disorders, but in this case, it is about writing about male eating disorders.

And this is coupled with overwhelm. I have so many things to say, that even I, who teaches others how to tackle academic writing, struggles with the idea of where to start. I don’t have writer’s block. I have the opposite. The Urban Dictionary terms it Reverse Writer’s Block. There is another term that may interest: hypergraphia. This seems ill-fitting here. I am not compulsively and uncontrollably scrawling writing wheresoever I can.

One of the things I struggle with (and I sometimes wonder if my scholarly hero, Susan Bordo ever experienced this earlier in her travails) I have plenty of ideas that are empirically-based and data-founded. These are beyond a mere gestational crumb of a notion, they are big, mapped-out, almost-fully-formed perorations. However, to crowbar them into the narrow-framed mores and structures of scholarly journals is to pillage and beat them into something that loses something of their story.

The other thing is, I have a dreadful fear of investing myself in pieces of writing only to discover, about a week before I am due to hit ‘submit’ that someone else had the same idea as me… and beat me to it. But this is self-defeating. After all, I am destined to be forever beaten to it when it comes to reporting my research on male eating disorders if I don’t at least attempt to report something, no matter how modest that may be.

I don’t have solutions yet, only more questions and more crippling anxieties. But I do know this, if men take part in research, they deserve to have that research be meaningful and readable…