Date of Award

Summer 5-5-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)



First Advisor

Chrisitie Hartley


In this paper, I trace our modern conceptions of anorexia and sexuality to the Victorian Era, and discuss how they have grown into the modern phenomenon we know today. Next I provide a conceptual background for the medicalization of mental disorders and locate the origin of our modern conception of health. This allows for a discussion of what separates anorexia as a phenomenon from other mental health issues and what can be done to move discussions of anorexia forward. I then consider data concerning eating disorders primarily among gay and bisexual men as they compare with each other and their female counterparts. With this data in mind, I am able to rule out many competing claims as to the cause of anorexia by looking at the different outcomes between men and women as well as between gay, bisexual and heterosexual men. I then use this data to posit a commonality between the groups that I suggest may be the underlying cause of anorexia as a social phenomenon.