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A ‘Girls’ Illness?' Using Narratives of Eating Disorders in Men and Boys in Healthcare Education and Research

Bartel, Heike


Professor of German Studies and Health Humanities


Kathryn Hinsliff-Smith

Julie McGarry

Parveen Ali


This chapter addresses how arts-based approaches can advance healthcare training, therapy and research in the field of eating disorders. It brings to the forefront the under-researched and under-represented topic of eating disorders in men and boys. Introducing three different sets of material, it proposes to use personal narratives of lived experience by men to consider that males get this perceived ‘female’ illness too, and to reflect more generally upon questions of gender and illness in healthcare. Two sections introduce literary material as a means to promote greater understanding of the topic. The sections present ‘close readings’ that address how men articulate their experiences of living with an eating disorder; their problems in help-seeking; family dynamics; and the topic of a personal ‘eating disorder voice’. A third ‘close reading’ opens the discussion by including narratives that use visual means, and it introduces a book that combines written personal stories with photographs, collages and drawings. Throughout, the chapter provides theoretical underpinnings of the topic interspersed with concrete suggestions of how to work with these narratives by men in healthcare training and therapy.

Online Publication Date Sep 9, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Oct 13, 2022
Publisher Springer International Publishing
Pages 69-84
Book Title Arts Based Health Care Research: A Multidisciplinary Perspective
Chapter Number 6
ISBN 978-3-030-94422-3
Public URL
Publisher URL