“If a man KNOWS he is physically unattractive we focus other qualities instead of beating up our self-esteem.”

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  1. If a man KNOWS he is physically unattractive, and many of us DO know it, we will focus our attention on some other quality we possess from the above list. We don’t keep beating our self-esteems against the wall by trying to live up to what society says we should look like. We accept that we don’t, and either do our best to make changes, or accept that we don’t and never will, and focus on one of the other desirable qualities in a man.

    Sounds like good advice unfortunately I think declarations like this are precisely why men who do beat their self esteems against the wall are told that their experiences aren’t real or that they don’t matter as much as women that do similar.

    I know that when talking about my own body image issues (and the havoc is wrecked on my esteem) the “advice” wasn’t “That may be true but you have other qualities going for you, work with those.” but instead was “So what? Your physical appearence isn’t as all important to you as is it is to women.” In short those other qualities weren’t being offered as a solution to a problem (because yes men that don’t have ideal bodies do have it held against them) they were being offered as some sort of proof that the problem does not exist, simply because I’m a guy.

  2. Some people would suggest this is why a guy would hone a sense of humor…

  3. You express quite well the way many men avoid, or seemingly avoid the self esteem pit many women fall into. Given that you felt you had other options to maintain your self esteem, it’s healthy of you to look to those qualities as “boosters”, and your advice that we all focus on similar qualities in women along with their looks is excellent. In fact, most women aren’t conventionally beautiful to most men, and vise versa, and so most of us feel an attachment to those other attributes. Men and women do need to talk more and more openly about those non physical qualities we admire in women.

    Some of the apparent difference between men and women in this regard is exactly that, apparent. What a man looks like matters socially and professionally. Men are supposed to keep a stiff upper lip, or a stiff something in the face of disappointment though. We aren’t supposed to complain, and when we do, the complaint and the attitude behind it are often blamed for any problems we have with our looks. This silences many men who might calmly describe their struggles to feel good about themselves, and the men who do complain are often so deperately unhappy that their complaints sound bitter and hostile and are easily dismissed. This further poisins the well of support men might draw from.

  4. I think most would agree that men have selfesteem issues relative to attaining the specific standards of expectation masculinity/attractability. Why isn’t that fact discussed side by side with what women face since they are related issues?Women,under some circumstances welcome and encourage sexual objectification… usually,only when they complete control over the context.I had women wear a short red miniskirt with heels and no stockings to work.She was my boss and she knew my girlfriend?! Some of this false piety is a joke.

  5. Basically, I think this comes down to self-esteem coping mechanisms, and I think men are just much better internally equipped in that regard, on average.

    That is not entirely true. We have a social narrative that men are not supposed to care about those things, yet we also have a host of images suggesting that women prefer chiseled, hairless muscle men over the average-looking guy. Boys and men are not blind, so that kind of imagery will have an effect. It is more likely that boys and men with body image issues learn to keep it to themselves and either do nothing about it or try some means of changing their appear.

    We believe we stand a good chance to attract a mate if we are any of the following: tall, handsome, hung, rich, talented, funny, have great hair, or are intelligent.

    One usually needs more than two of those qualities, and quite often it is only the first two and the fourth that matter on a social level. Again, I think it is simply that men learn very early on not to voice their opinions about how they look and how it affects their dating prospects. If they do not learn it then, they will certainly learn it if they decide to share that online.

  6. Well,men are,I think, infinitely better off, not making the same issue of sexual objectification that women do. Women sexually objectify men in culturally acceptable ways as a matter of course,individually and collectively.Why else do we have the Chippendales-aren’t they horses- and Magic Mike and the Thunder Down Under and top ten sexiest men in the world list? It makes little sense to me that I should develop eating disorders and other extreme selfesteem issues because I don’t look like Brad Pitt.In my view,a person who behaves this way is already ill.Most cultures in human history and every modern culture has idealized visions of what men AND women should look like. There is good and bad associated with this function of culture.I suspect that for women part of the problem has to do with feelings that never get discussed in this context,ego and power.As much as women complain of feeling inadequate asthetically,I think they also don’t feel as otherwise powerful. Goodlooking women have power and they,especially in today’s internet world-can you say Kardashian or Paris Hilton etc. etc. -can merchandise sexual objectification. Why would anyone want to avail themselves of this insanity?You look how you look,deal with it.There are folks in the world who have real problems.

    • Some people with “real problems” put an inordinate focus on their appearance. In fact, an inordinate focus on appearance is their “real problem”. People can’t, in the short term, do much about what they feel. They can choose how they deal with their feelings, and one choice I made is to write about my feelings here.

      While I believe that your comments are primarily meant to offer an alternative way to view things based on what you believe works for you, I didn’t hear them that way. What I heard was a tired old saw about “dealing with it”, as if that isn’t exactly what I’m doing, although in a different way from you. Or did you intend to undermine men who were admitting to feeling squeamish about their bodies relative to ideal or more nearly ideal forms?

  7. “There are folks in the world who have real problems.”

    Crushing loneliness and the feeling being unwanted are real problems.

  8. If a man is physically unattricatactive he still has some optiops open. If he has a ‘Large Wallet’ he still acctractive to MANY women’ If he’s ‘Well Hung’ he definitatley got a following.

  9. While I do agree that men have better coping mechanisms, I also see that men have their own fair share of neuroses and insecurities when it comes to body image. With body role models like the Situation, more men are hitting the gym for purely vain reasons creating a generation of men with body dysmorphia. A lot of men that I have worked with often feel that they are not good enough, not smart enough, not hung enough. All of it can lead to some pretty big feelings of self-hatred. In the last few decades, superheros have gotten more muscly as supermodels have slimmed down to deathly proportions. All of it leads to some very unhealthy body images.

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