This week we’re talking about men’s bodies. Again this is something we don’t see in a lot of mainstream media as we’re more focused on female body issues instead of male body issues. I don’t think this is right and that it’s an issue that should be addressed sooner rather than later. Men, like women, are getting bombarded with images on what the ideal male body type looks like.
We’ve seen the chiseled abs of Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans on the cover of magazines and in movies. I’m not going to lie I appreciate those images to a degree, but I’ve also seen the damage it does to the male self-esteem. I’ve had friends go to the gym two plus times a day because they want to look toned and appealing. These friends have dabbled in steroids and have pushed themselves too hard in the gym. I have had a friend develop an eating disorder because he wanted to fit the ideal so badly. He’s doing better and he caught it early, which definitely helped in his healing process. What I’m getting at is those depictions of what the male body should look like are just as damaging and destructive as the messages that women get.
The thing I find really funny about this is that there is evidence to the contrary over what women (heterosexual women – I did not find any data for other gender relationships) look for in a man physically. Most women prefer the “dad body” look. If that term confuses you then you’re in luck I’ll explain what it means. It means that the man in question has a bit of fat on his frame especially in the stomach region. It’s supposed to signal to the woman that he is fertile and a stable candidate.
Well in movies and literature the male body has a lot of stereotypes that it likes to fulfill. Most literature genres depict the male as being tall, slim, muscular. Within movies you get a few more variations, but those that don’t fit into the muscular category are type cast as the funny character or the pathetic character.
Ways you can turn this around:
- Break the stereotypes.
- Display different body types in your writing.
- Diversify the body types. You don’t have to have just one body type in the story.
- Show male insecurity with their bodies.
- Bring up male body issues such as steroids.
Until next week.