No Country For Men And Unrealistic Standards
Woman have been under constant pressure for numerous years to comply with the changing beauty standards, there was a time when the slim waist corset trend was followed, and now we are in the era of hourglass figures. We often get to see awareness posts on various social media platforms about how we can be carefree and live a life free of constraints. Womxn have started to accept themselves, feel comfortable in their bodies, and let go of societal expectations. But what about men? Usually, unrealistic standards and issues about men do not come to light, and there’s very little information available too.
The 2000s made David Beckham, Ryan Gosling, and Daniel Craig the role models for men. In today’s time, men are most desired with a beard, broad shoulders, 6-pack abs, tattoos, tall height, and professional haircut. Men have to strive hard to achieve these, particularly to be appealing to the opposite sex. Even though men are generally less dissatisfied about bodies as compared to womxn, men are more conscious than ever. Being in good shape doesn’t sound like something to be worried about. Everyone should be healthy; however, physical health is not everything, and neither is public approval the most imperial. When the deemed ‘’perfect’’ body isn’t achieved, negative body image ideas may arise.
Men chase the ‘’ideal’’ type, muscular, v-body, and narrow hips. The negative body image leads to health issues such as eating disorders, psychological distress, and social anxiety. It is vital to know that all bodies are beautiful bodies, and yes, this quote has been a part of many ads aimed towards womxn, but it applies to men as well. Having a very thin physique or having a tummy doesn’t make one less of a man. As a matter of fact, Aaron Flores, a registered dietician nutritionist from Calabasas specializing in male body image, says something about the men’s beauty standard, which is no cap. “These bodies are attainable for a small number of people — maybe half a percent of the male community,” “Yet they’re associated with the idea of masculinity — the notion that as a man, I have to look a certain way, act a certain way.”
Hitting the Gyms
Fitness has definitely seen a rise thanks (or no thanks) to the unrealistic media bodies. A study says 43% of people on Instagram take pictures at the gym. The influence is huge but a little negative too. On asking around a few friends, I learned that these IG stories do not make them feel good. It’s like a race, a competition. Who goes to the gym? Who achieved the goal early? Who’s getting the most likes on shirtless pictures?
All these questions raise, and these are so not healthy. It drops confidence and adds up the pressure. The Snapchat streak trend gets guys to send gym snaps every day, and for people who do not have the time, energy, or the facility of hitting the gyms, it gets hard to see. Building a body has many positive effects on gaining strength or feeling sure-footed, but it should be for self-satisfaction, not for the sole purpose of an Insta feed. It’s okay to show the world your endeavors but asking yourself… is it making me happy? is more important.
The Dark Side
Many people don’t even have the time to grind at the gyms or work out at home. To make good use of the limited time they have, they resort to shortcuts. These shortcuts include the use of steroids and supplements. What are steroids, and what’s so bad about taking them? In simple words, steroids refer to artificial testosterone. Doctors often prescribe small amounts, but large amounts have serious consequences. As it helps with muscle gain, hair growth, and sexual function, people want more of it. Nothing good ever comes for free, does it? Here is a list of harmful effects of injecting large doses of steroids-
- Raises risks of heart diseases and heart attacks
- Makes one act more aggressively
- Body dysmorphia
- Damages liver
- Might cause an increase in fat tissues of the breast if steroid intake is stopped
- Reduces natural testosterone secretion
- Drops fertility
Making way for an unspoken issue which very much exists, it’s the penis size. Men worry more about penis size than women. This worry makes them vulnerable to low self-esteem and extreme self-consciousness. Gay or bisexual men have relatively more body-image issues; however, in heterosexual men, penis size remains one of the top 3 major body concerns besides height and weight. One in five men are dissatisfied with their anatomy pretty much because the idea of a big penis is linked with masculinity and performance in bed; however, this is not true.
I remember watching Polish Drama Sexify, wherein female orgasm is the main theme. A conversation takes place between the leads as to how size doesn’t matter. Even though this was a casual dialogue, statistics say that 85% of womxn are satisfied with their partner’s penis size. Only the exaggerated moans and screams showed as a response to large penises in pornographic films set wrong ideals. Due to such portrayals, the penis pump industry has seen a boost, but health is greatly affected here. It is a precarious process and doesn’t always yield desired results.
As I approach the end, in a nutshell, men, your bodies are beautiful. A note to ourselves, too, as we are uplifting women and helping them feel good about their bodies, we mustn’t disregard men. Steroid addiction, penis dysmorphia, body-image anxiety/depression, and eating disorders are real. They are matters of great concern and need to be talked about more. We don’t have to chase unrealistic standards; we have to chase healthy standards.
Featured graphic: Itti Mahajan