Petite and slim. Tall and muscular. I’m sure you’ve automatically associated those two descriptions with two genders. Body expectations, stereotypes or whatever you want to call it are still a thing. Yes, in 2019. We are still teaching men that they should be big and muscular and women should be small and delicate.
Women’s bodies have definitely come a long way in terms of embracing all kinds of shapes and sizes. Curvy, petite, tall, and many more. As a woman that fits somewhere closer to the curvy size, I still often feel as though my body isn’t up to society’s standards. There almost feels as though there is a need to seek approval for our bodies through Instagram posts and so on.
Whilst us females are increasingly standing our ground and embracing every bit of ourselves and our bodies, it seems that males are still under the rule of remaining silent. The consensus of having to ‘man up’ is being broken down slowly, but are we doing enough work on the physical side?
Over the last 25 years, negative association with body image amongst Western men has tripled. The Psych Professionals stated that men are also less likely “to ask for help” as body image dissatisfaction is often connected with females. As with any human being, such stresses and pressures can lead to “anxiety and mood disorders”.
A sad truth is that I’ve come across many males who don’t feel as though they fit into a certain mould created by body expectations. As a society, we tend to overlook men and the strenuous body expectations we place on them. It seems more acceptable to tell a man he needs to work out more so than a woman. But, why? Surely both are equally as wrong to imply?
Whilst Instagram is flooded with images of beautiful women of all shapes and sizes, it’s hard to say the same for men. The stereotypical image of a male on Instagram tends to be tanned, toned and hairless. It’s hard to find an image that doesn’t represent this same idea of body shape/ size. An unrealistic expectation for any man. This is what continues to frustrate me. There is certainly an increased amount of pressure on men to have the ‘perfect’ body.
Encouraging one to look at one’s own flaws is the only way for many businesses to ensure they thrive, unfortunately. Of course, these companies target all genders. Put simply, nobody should be shamed for THEIR body. It’s mentally destructive in so many ways.
Unsurprisingly, the media has a large influence on the ways body image is developed. “Male body image suffers when men are exposed to images of unrealistic male bodies”, as described fairly accurately by Mirror Mirror on how such pressures can affect men.
So please do keep in mind that every gender has emotions. Every one of us can fall victim to low self-esteem and overall negative views of ourselves. Always think before making a comment on what somebody is eating or isn’t eating, is doing or isn’t doing. Be nice. And that goes for yourself too.
An interesting article to read on the matter is an article by Huffington Post.
“Whatever your gender, we are not safe from low self-esteem and poor body image caused by much of our society and our media.”
Ciao for now x