Rippled Action Figure Dudes Make Little Boys Feel Fat

action figuresFirst of all, let me say that I am in no way, shape or form suggesting that male anorexia doesn't exist. It does, I've seen it firsthand, and, as with anorexia in general, it's a terrible disease. That said, do I think that action figures are somehow to blame for recently increased rates of anorexia in boys? No. Nope, definitely not. No more so than I believe Barbie is responsible for eating disorders in girls -- and even less so, to tell you the truth.

It's a familiar argument -- that action figures with "really cut abs and really big shoulders" are exposing little boys to the same "unrealistic body images" little girls have been pelted with for decades (in the form of impossibly tiny-waisted, big-boobed Barbie).

But Barbie represented an "unrealistic body image" way back when she first appeared on stores shelves in 1959, and eating disorder rates didn't spike overnight. (Granted, she's a bit MORE unrealistic nowadays, but still.) Likewise, little boys have been staging epic battles with plastic muscle-bound Hulks and He-Men for generations. Why now?

Plus, while girls might look at a doll and think, "I wish I had sparkly plastic shoes like that" or "I wish my hair was yellow and all grew out of one spot in the middle of my head," I can tell you from watching my 6-year-old son and his buddies play with action figures that little boys don't even blink if some superhero's leg or head pops off. Sure, Spiderman's suit is cool, but they're more impressed by the whole can he swing from a thread thing.

Do we need to figure out why more and more boys are developing anorexia? Of course. No question. But let's approach this very serious problem with a little bit of common sense.

Do you think action figures are to blame for rising rates of anorexia in boys?


Image via Joelk75/Flickr

boys, kid health, in the news, toys


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MMbales MMbales

No, but I don't think Barbie is to blame for eating disorders in girls. I think parental attitudes and thoughtless comments have a lot more to do with how children perceive themselves. 



nonmember avatar zizzler

Yeah...because starving yourself is totally going to give you big muscles and broad shoulders? What? I can see the link between anorexia and tiny-waisted barbies, but anorexia and The Hulk? Uh...not so much.

alisa... alisabethjaimes

I never understood the big deal with Barbie and how she causes poor body image. I loved my barbies and I never wanted to be skinny and blond and have a perky nose because that's what my dolls looked like.

nonmember avatar Sharon

I remember vividly stuffing my shirt and tying string around my waist trying desperately to look more like Barbie when I was 6. My Barbie would drive her car over the ugly Ginny dolls my mom bought me.

I doubt action figures causes anorexia in men but I suspect the increasing consumption of steriods could be attributed.

suziejax suziejax

lol no way o my gosh

EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

I don't believe this for a second. And i think that an unfair image was cast on barbie. I adored my barbies when i was young, but i never wanted to look like her. mainly because she looked straight out of california and i'm a ghostly pale, vertically challenged irish girl. was literally never going to happe....

FBomb... FBombMoms

I don't think my son sees himself as a "superhero" they are more ideals than ideas to him.

It's interesting that Barbie has such  an impact, but she's more "life like" than a ripped superhero maybe??

Bluel... Blueliner

I guess my husband should stop working out... he might give our son a complex??? Sorry hunny, you're just too buff, it sends a bad message to the kids!

Ethyl920 Ethyl920

My son has been anorexic for over 5 years. He never was into the action figures. His father was anorexic when he was younger. I believe in this case, there was a genetic predisposition along with what was studied in health classes in elementary school. He started reading all of the package lables after a class assignment along with calorie counting. Sometimes the well meaning efforts of others can have the opposite effect. My other son started doing the same things after the health classes. Questioning everything we were eating. He eats like there is no tomorrow though and is still skinny as a rail. 

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