The portrayal of the female body in the media, what is considered sexy and feminine, has had loads of backlash as of late. Campaigns of “real bodies” are cropping up within the biggest brands and self-love and acceptance have become buzzwords for motivation. This is fantastic; this is a brilliant move of feminism and is bolstering for the female community. However, what about men? Not in a terrible “meninist” sort of way, but let us delve into how men feel about how men are portrayed in the media.
There are muscled, tanned bodies, filling in their underwear and dominating the office space. Piercing eyes and perfect stubble stacked atop abs that never seem to end. The majority of men do not look like this. As a general male population, we are meant not to care about this portrayal. It is this stigma of men not caring that has hindered a backlash of how men are represented by the media.
Real Men Care
Most men do not want to spend the majority of their time at the gym, they would rather spend time with friends and loved ones. It essentially comes down to this: men are people. Just like how women are people. Women do not want to be shamed for being themselves and, not shockingly, neither do men.
We are slammed with “perfect” faces and bodies every day, from advertisements to magazine covers to films and television shows. This pulls at our self-esteem, whispering terrible nothings in our ears: “too fat,” “too thin,” “not enough muscle,” “ugly.” While the media is quite often called out for causing eating disorders in young girls, this is also common with boys – but no one talks about it. Within the last six years, according to the National Health Service of England, eating disorders have risen within both the female and the male populations by 70%.
Self-love and acceptance should be adopted by the male community. Yet the stereotype of masculinity hurts this. From a young age, we were largely taught that boys wear blue and girls wear pink, girls are delicate like flowers, boys are tough and daring.
This stigma that boys must be these strong “alpha male” types while declining, has only bolstered the media’s standard male portrayal. As humans, our goals in life should be health and happiness, whatever that may mean to each of us. Exercising for our health, practicing our favorite hobbies, and doing work that fulfills us.
We should not be judged for our looks, and we should never be shamed for how we look. However, sometimes, we may have a flaw that we cannot be comfortable with, and changing how we look – for our personal benefit – is acceptable as well. Let us stop the stigma and support individuality.
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Photo: Getty Images