Male Body Image Worries
We’re all looking for a place to fit in right? to find people who are similar to us, look like us, make us feel like we belong. Now imagine never being able to find that place, or the location of said place being so obscure it’s straight out of an OS map
That's how I felt for so much of my life. Looking a little bit different, being a bit chubbier, have a few extra scars and loving men all made me an outcast - now I’m not saying being an outcast is bad. I relish in my outcast-ness these days. But when I was a teenager, growing up was hard. Everywhere I looked I saw image after image of perfectly sculpted men. Each with immaculate abs, flawless jawlines and that V shape (I’m still trying to figure out why that's desirable? to me it just looks like an arrow pointing straight at your penis. Then again I guess that's a good thing)
The problem is that its the only image of ‘beauty’ that we see. Men are always displayed in exactly the same light. With the same abs, the same jawlines - but how does that affect me? Well when all we see if one definition of beauty shown again and again, plastered on every bill board and shown in every magazine it reinforced the idea that everyone that doesn’t look that way, is wrong. For me growing up I saw no one in the media that looked the way I did, I had no safe place to turn to that made me feel like i belonged and that my body was exactly how it’s supposed to be. Instead I saw perfect images of men with no body hair, no stretch marks looking like something Michelangelo sculpted.
As a kid seeing these images I thought that's the way men are supposed to look. I did everything within my power to make myself look the way those men looked. As you can see, that didn't happen. Instead of transforming my body into societies definition of beauty, I transformed my mind into such a negative space. A space filled with self loathing and hatred toward every inch of my body. I couldn’t grasp why it was impossible for me to look like them. Why couldn’t I have perfectly smooth skin? Why was it impossible to rid myself of my stretch marks? and why after so many years was my body still covered in surgical scars? The answer is because of two reasons. Firstly its because those images that we see every day, on our TV and in the paper aren’t real. Yes people do have those bodies - I’m not denying that. What I’m denying is the fact that those images haven't been manipulated to fill our heads with self hatred. To ultimately give us the motivation to buy into another fitness craze or weight loss shake.
The second reason I can’t look the same as those guys I tried so hard to look like, is because I’m me. I look like me. That isn’t going to change. Yes I might gain a few pounds, I might loose them. I might grow my hair, or cut it or dye it purple but ultimately I will still look like me. I am exactly how I’m supposed to me. Perfectly imperfect and after to many years of self-hate I finally see the beauty in my body and the beauty in yours too. We aren’t all supposed to look the same, we aren’t all going to have perfect skin and sculpted bodies and that's OK. Beauty doesn’t come in one form. Beauty is in all of us, in our differences.
The reason we see this idea of beauty and not any other is because it serves a purpose. That purpose is profit. The beauty industry is profiting off of our insecurities. Its profiting off of our self-hate and its profiting off of all those hours spent in front of the mirror wishing away your so called imperfections. It’s time to boycott the beauty industry. Burn those beauty magazines, throw away those fit teas and cancel your membership to whichever dieting club you’re a part of. Beauty is in all of us, don’t try to fit into a box which was designed without you in mind. Be you unapologetically