BMI is one of those measurements like IQ. You can know perfectly well that it’s a bullshit metric based on a whole bunch of flawed assumptions, but you still want to know your number. And once you know it, you can’t get away from it. Mine is just over the line where “overweight” turns into “obese”. It’s hard to come out and say that, hard to admit to being one of the people our culture loves to shame and deride as weak and disgusting and horrible. But ya know what, I’ve tried the easy stuff and it hasn’t worked worth a damn, so I’m going to plan B.
I will not get into the things I’ve done out of self-hatred and shame and fear over the past decade or two. I will not repeat the deflections and lies I’ve said to women who’ve told me my body is sexy. You either know most of them already, or you don’t.
Some folks will say I’m not fat enough to be doing this. Others will say I’m too fat to be doing this. Both groups can feel free to go piss up a rope. I’m not doing this for them, I’m doing it for me. And maybe for you.
Taking and processing these photographs has been a very interesting experience for me. I asked one of my lovers to see if she could capture what I really look like naked, naked the way she sees me, not the way I see myself. At the same time, I didn’t want any flattering, fake shots, artificially composed to make me look more like the men on the movie posters.
I honestly think more men should do this. I have found it intensely liberating, taking steps to directly confront my fear and shame about my body. Maybe that’s just me performing masculinity again, “If you have an emotional problem, punch it to death.” On the other hand, punching it to death is helping me, and I am loath to argue with results.
I don’t know how to fix the broken ways our culture talks about bodies. I don’t know how to make people love themselves. I don’t even know how to mend the disconnect between my sense of self and my physical shape. What I do know is how to confront fear and shame and self-hatred, at least for myself, and how you do that is head-on.
I’m Noah Brand. This is what I look like stark naked. You can like it or not, that’s your own business and I respect that. I have wasted too much time being afraid of what other people think, and as of today, I am done.
—Photo credit: Susan Beaver
Hello, men. I just recently completed an art/essay book of similar work: “Love Yourself ~ A Body of Work.” (Check it out at http://shop.kemsoncooper.com) It’s all about SELF-EMPOWERMENT … BEING YOU … LOVING AND ACCEPTING THE BODY. It’s great to see Noah here, baring it all — I think society fears the male body and it’s time that men’s bodies are accepted for their natural beauty. It’s my goal to share this exact same message, to have men feel empowered and unashamed, and to live a full open and honest life. And also to fight body fear/shame/hatred in our culture.… Read more »
Thank you for this. That was cathartic.
Good on you! I’ve actually always preferred this body type in men.
This reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry wakes up on the subway only to realize he’s sitting across from a fat naked man. The man says, “I’m not ashamed of my body.” Jerry says, “That’s the problem—you should be.”
I am ALL for any form of body positivity. <3 So, I find this amazing and wonderful. Keep it up Noah Brand.
All bodies are beautiful!
Thank you for this honest photo-essay. Well done ! Very helpful and encouraging. For most of my young life I had such body-image issues I developed a severe eating disorder. It nearly killed me. Along with the shame of the disorder was the added shame that what I had (bulimia) was then considered mostly a young woman’s issue. Added to that was the fact that I was in a very shaming spiritual community. In short, I was in hell. . My issues with my body now mainly have to do with weight-gain and aging. But my approach to health and… Read more »
I think you look awesome! Strut your stuff. Your pics are very tasteful lets see more!
I think you’re absolutely lovely.
Good on ya, you look terrific. A proper bloke, certainly nothing to ashamed of. I wish more men had your courage.
Thanks for having the courage to be yourself. That is something I need to do more often. Best of luck to you.
BRAVO! I wish more men would celebrate the beauty of the male physique in all it’s shapes. I am a gay man and I love the male body. Big, muscled, furry, smooth, belly, washboards…..BEAUTY. I hope this catches on and more men do the same. This article is EXACTLY why I chose to become a nude male model for the “Bear” gay sub-culture. I’ve spent most of my life feeling shame because of my physical attributes and one day I got sick and tired of being sick and tired and said, “F*#K what people think of how I look. I… Read more »
I applaud your gutsy post. You rock and I’m sure you’ve helped other men (and women) with this post.
I’m trying to do the same thing with my website for women.
I know it’s a long shot, but I’d love to have a guest post from you someday…
All the best,
Wow Noah, well done, how brave of you to step through your fear like that. I am sure it was an empowering exercise for you which has produced great results. There was a period, long time ago where I wouldn’t be with a man overweight because I’m into health and fitness. I’m still into health and fitness however I have realized since is that I was missing out by not seeing the man for who he truly is, for what is shining deep within. To me that’s the biggest turn on, without a doubt. Blessings to you.
Hey, I LOVE your body type! I’d do ya 🙂
I don’t like photos of myself much. I saw a pic of me recently and it’s weird to see, I’ve lost a lot of weight but I am still pretty big. 6’6, 320lbs, but then even as I lose weight I notice the skin being loose. I’m getting lap band fill next week n hopefully I’ll lose more weight for better health, but I am dreading the loose skin. I weight a shirt usually when I go swimming because of manboobs but I am trying to ignore this now and just be more comfy with my body, it’s a tough… Read more »
Well done Noah. I wrote about this subject, specifically regarding penises, on your site a while back: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/lets-talk-about-penises-shall-we/. Writing about it is one thing, you’ve taken it to a whole other level by exposing yourself in this way. That takes a vulnerability I wish I could say I have, but I don’t at this point. I am slowly getting there, and this just inspires me to continue my journey. Thank you.
Brilliant. I have just written a very similar piece. However, my bravery was just in putting an actual photo of the fat me on the internet… am not quite ready to go birthday suit yet…
Here it is.
I think you´re beautiful. Great photos!
Noah~ I wish you could see you as your lovers do too. My own Dear Hubby is a manly man, with hair on his body and an imperfect weight, and you know what I see? Beauty. Studliness. Curves. RAWR! I see a man with passion in his eyes, a killer wit and an ass to die for! Hope you start seeing those things in yourself soon.
I applaud you for your bravery. For what it’s worth, you have the exact configuration that I am attracted to – body hair, belly, and all. To me it’s that exact combination that is sexy, manly, sensual, comfortable, primal, and feels safe. Call me?? 😛
Back hair on a man always looks odd to me. But, it’s only because we see a lot of naked or half naked women and we so seldom see the naked backs of men in comparison. A half-nude woman is fairly commonplace these days. But people still feel shocked at seeing a nude man (even if it’s just his butt). You look fine in your photos. But, I was more drawn by what you had written and what you have done, the things that make you who you are. I’ve been a fat woman a long time. It still makes… Read more »
I had an artist flatmate many years ago. She had stuck some of her drawings from life class up in the hall. We had a short discussion; I remember she said, “Most people actually look better naked, because most people don’t know how to wear clothes.”
i was feeling good until i saw the blatantly sexist american apparel ad 1/2 way down the ms. page of a girl who look underage in a skin tight body stocking with her butt and legs exposed and her back arched as if she is inviting a man to mount her from behind. i guess Ill go elsewhere so I dont have to look at underage looking girls who are almost naked or in tight clothes posing for a for a company that is supposed to be advirtisiing clothes and not skinny perfect stereotypical girls who look underage, and whose… Read more »
You look at ads?
Oh for pete’s sake, don’t blame the GMP for the ads, blame Google. Unless you have modified your browser settings and disabled all cookies, the ads are based on what your browsing history is.
Bravo. Beautifully conceived, written and executed piece. From my point of view both men and women are heartily shamed about our bodies by a culture that promotes profit above physical and emotional wellbeing.
If we aren’t insecure they can’t continue to sell us the pills, potions, lotions and garments that are the booby prize for buying into the cult of you’re never enough.
Thanks for speaking out naked.
Maureen AKA Moe The Pro
Beautifully stated, Maureen!! It reminds me of a quotation I read:
“If we have only trash and trivialities to sell, we must produce trashy and trivial personalities to serve as consumers”
~~ Lewis Mumford (1895 – 1990) – From “The Condition of Man” (1944)
Let’s step away from PC BS mind control and move back into re-empowering ourselves!! 🙂
This is absolutely beautiful. You are absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for doing this; being the change in the world. I admire this and you.