“Gay Men Don’t Get Fat” is the title of an as-of-yet published book by Barneys New York creative ambassador Simon Doonan. The author calls it “a stylishly slimming discourse that proves gay men really ARE French women: prone to disdain, favoring cheeky underwear, convinced of their own artistic brilliance, and (of course) calorie-obsessed.”
The French women reference, and title of his book, are both presumably a reference to the popular diet book “French Women Don’t Get Fat,” which espoused emulating French culinary culture to slim down.
Before we go any further, if Doonan wasn’t himself gay, I think he’d be treading on thin ice, you know, with the whole stereotyping thing. Gays and lesbians, like everyone else in the world, come in all shapes and sizes.
While I’ve had gay friends over the years, it’s difficult for me to speak with any authority about whether or not they are on average less fat than everyone else.
However, there is an undeniable sub-culture in the gay community that obsesses over their physique, which is the focus in “Gay Men Don’t Get Fat.”
What ultimately matters is have there been any scientific studies to back the idea of gay men being thinner than their hetero counterparts?
Last year, a study led by Kerith Conron, an associate research scientist at Northeastern University and a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, came to the conclusion that, in fact, gay men are slimmer than heterosexual men. The same held true, flipped, for lesbians. That is, lesbians are on average heavier than their heterosexual counterparts. The researchers determined that gay men are 50 percent less likely to be obese.
Gawker columnist Brian Moylan suggests that gay men stay thin largely as part of a gay culture that includes fear of being “alone for the rest of their lives.” He also goes on to luridly state that gay men also tend to have open relationships, even if they get married.
The twist that I find interesting is that it seems logical that there may be an issue with eating disorders with gay men who may struggle with being shunned or outcast by the more conservative elements of our mainstream culture. However, according to a study from the University of South Australia, only 20 percent of all men who struggle with eating disorders are gay.
Since details of Simon Doonan’s book are few and far between, we’ll see what angle he takes. Most likely, it will be a little more light-hearted than some of the speculation.
June 16th, 2011