Monday, May 02, 2022
Question from Alex - Eating disorders in Tudor England
I have some questions. They're for an assignment I'm doing in history class for school. (I'm in 9th grade) (female). We've been researching about the history of eating disorders in Medieval / Tudor times. I realize that more females than males did, ( and still do ) suffer from eating disorders, but I want to know did some men ,if any, suffer from them as well? For example, Ive read that if Medieval knights got fat / put on too much weight, it would be easier for them to be defeated in battle, and therefore not fit to become or stay knights. Also, if say, King Henry VIII or some other aristocratic gentleman from Tudor times starved himself / refused to eat because he wanted to lose some weight, or was afraid of / obsessed about getting fat, how do you think his courtiers or servants would respond to his behavior around food and his body image? Would they respond the same or differently depending on whether the person was female or male?
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I believe it is totally anachronistic to attempt to impose a modern mental health diagnosis onto a person who lived over 400 years ago unless there is incontrovertible documentary evidence of the existence of the condition. I am exceedingly doubtful that anyone can find documentation of any individual exhibiting symptoms consistent with the modern concept of eating disorder that would have been recognized by contemporaries as non-normative, with the exception of religious ascetics. I would be utterly stunned if you could find solid documentary evidence of even one individual who starved themselves for anything other than religious reasons.
Hey it’s Alex here, again! �� Thanks so much for answering my question in the really informative way you did, I really appreciated it. I took this to my teacher and did what he wanted me to do and he gave me an “A+” for my assignment. Also, can’t wait for summer vacation to start! ��
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