Body image is an increasingly spoken of subject, but how often is it spoken of in terms of men?
It really isn’t, but it should be.
Go to the cinema, turn on the TV, open a magazine, peek at social media and what do you see, by and large, what you see are well-toned, tall, handsome men and if there is a guy without a perfect face and physique it’s usually as the comic character.
It’s like society watched The Goonies and though any guy that wasn’t perfect could truffle shuffle their way through lives as the sidekick instead.
This is really bad for men, like really, really bad, and it’s time we as men started talking about body image.
We’re force-fed this diet of what the idea of a man is, the shaving advert chiselled jaw, the influencers, the pop stars, Mr Muscle even got on the protein and weights, though again, he used to be portrayed as worthless as he was weak and small.
The male gender isn’t full of granite carved into Spartans, there are so many other sizes and types of men, and unless we have the charisma of Nathan Lane in The Birdcage or adorkable oddity of McDuff in Superbad then we don’t fit.
It’s so damaging to young men in particular, the concept of perfection being beamed at them every waking second is painful. I remember in my mid 20’s I’d risen to over 15 stone and I may as well have not existed, then I lost 5 of those stones on Atkins, basically starving myself, suddenly I was much more visible, I felt like death to not feel like I was dead to people.
I stopped Atkins, piled all the weight back on and felt like I was Homer disappearing back into that hedge.
The portrayal of body diversity is hugely important, to not have it is damaging, it’s painful and it affects lives. We learn this absurd notion of masculinity from a young age, I hear it in the words of the kids hanging around the town centre, I see it in the kid that used to get bullied and now sits downstairs on the bus.
It’s hate that is learned from the media, entertainment and each other, we do this to ourselves, perhaps that might be the worst bit about it, small changes could so easily change how many feel about themselves.
We need to rebel against the status quo, I know for a long time I avoided posting pics of myself because of this, well no more, I often place myself as someone who is bold enough to say the things I need to say, but I’ve been living a hypocrisy with this, I’ve bought into the bullshit. I’m going to unashamedly start posting more pics of myself, I’m going to start making those little video discussions I’ve been worried about making because of body image, I’m going to be the change I want to see.
The rebellion starts here and now.