How Body Image Affects Men

We all are aware of the struggle that many women face in the fashion world. However, how often have you heard discussions about men and their body image? This problem is avoided all too often but it is a very real issue for men as well as women. Today we will focus on men and their body image and how it can be addressed more openly.

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Where is the focus?

Each body type is different, but that doesn’t stop the media from portraying a perfect image of what a “man” should look like. The perfect man would most likely be described with traits such as a lean, strong, and muscular physique. Not all men are born to be athletes, so we should not put such a high expectation on all men to reach that ideal. A lot of box office movies in recent years have centered around superheroes with characters like Captain America, Thor, Aquaman, and Superman that are in the best physical shape imaginable. These movies all portray the idea that men have to bulk up in order to be considered masculine. 

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Try not to compare yourself to the extremes

Body image for men goes deeper than just weight. The number of Instagram fitness influencers has increased significantly in the past few years. Many people are posting their work out videos showing themselves at the gym. The constant influx of these kinds of posts is very intimidating to men almost to the point where some may start to feel ashamed. Big muscles do play a big factor but it is not the only underlying impact of a man’s negative body image. Don’t get us wrong, weight training can be a great way to channel your insecurities to improve yourself. However, that is not the only way to feel better about yourself. 

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Don't feel you have to train to achieve "Big Muscles"

 

Hair loss is also something that affects men’s self-esteem. Men with thinning hair face the prevalent stigma that they are unattractive. Height is another thing that plays into a man’s self-esteem. Often times people associate characteristics such as charisma, leadership qualities, and higher levels of intelligence or success with someone’s height. No one has full control over how tall they will end up so this is a stigma that is utterly wrong to begin with. 

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What Affects your self image?

Since the issue of men’s body image is largely ignored, what can we do to make it better? For starters, you can follow people on social media who encourage positivity and don’t solely focus on how they look. You should accept your body for what it is and not get hung up on trying to “fix it” by feeling pressured to go to the gym or follow the latest fad diet. It also helps to talk to someone else about it. Feelings are not easy to express but we are sure that you have other men in your life that have similar feelings about their body image as you do. Healing starts by expressing the things that you feel and sharing your experiences about your body image. Everyone has feelings, so it is good to get those out in the open sooner than later. 

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Talk with someone you trust

Another thing you can do is embrace yourself for who you are and focus on the positive changes you are making in your life. Obsessing about things you can’t control will not help you in the long run. If you want to make some changes to improve your body image, be kind to yourself in the process. Get rid of the image that the media portrays because the way they show an “ideal man” is not always attainable. It all comes down to perception. If you don’t like the way you look, those insecurities will eventually start to show in some way or another. Keep in mind that what you look like is not nearly as important as who you are as a person. You have to dig deep to truly find who you are and what really makes you happy. Being physically fit or having the best hair can improve your body image, but these are superficial fixes to someone’s body image.

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Be mindful of who you are

It may feel silly or vain to talk openly about your body image, but it is something that should be discussed more often. How we think about ourselves is important to a certain extent. If we can’t feel confident or happy in our own body then that is an issue. We hope to see positive changes regarding the topic of men’s body image, but it has to start somewhere. Be unafraid to talk about your feelings about body image to those you trust so that you can be an influence for good in the world.