From Vogue Magazine, Sports Illustrated to Fitness Magazines, the media captures what they define as beauty or attractive. It’s no secret people tend to idolize these people who are shown in the media. We’ve all been there, seen someone attractive and wondered,” Why can’t I look like that?” But there comes a point where one grows up and accepts the skin they’re in. For some people, it’s just not that easy and they continue to deal with poor body image. Although women’s body image issues are typically discussed more often and accepted more than Men. Society’s view of the ideal body is more psychologically and mentally damaging to men than to women.
Women body image has been a controversy that’s been discussed in the media for years. Many people have lost sight on the fact that a lot of men have problems accepting their appearance due to the standards set through the media as well. Body image is the way one see’s and appreciates their body and appearance. Although it is more common, body image issues are not limited to only women, they’re just usually more willing to acknowledge and speak upon it than Men.
Men are usually raised and taught by society, what I like to call the “ Man up factor”, where they hold back on speaking on their emotions and insecurities. Whereas women are taught to be gentle and more in tune with their emotions. One big difference in Body image between the two genders, most women tend to want to be slimmer, where men tend to want more muscles. Young males growing up who are interested in these fitness magazines start developing the mentality that that’s what a man is suppose to look like, this big hunky “superman”. This mentality becomes an obsession, and in tons of cases becomes very dangerous.
Men, just like women try to think of fast ways that help them attain the body they would like. Women usually turning to dieting or binge eating, men turn to steroids. Although Steroids help, many young men are blind to the fact of there numerous side effects, just to name a few; the weakening of bones and ligaments, acne, high blood pressure, Insomnia, and mood swings.
The key to having a positive body image is being happy with yourself. If someone is not happy with themselves, it is scary the types of measures they’ll take in order to get to this unattainable goal they’ve set. Truth is, if someone has Body image issues whether they’re a man or woman, they will never truly be happy until they learn to accept themselves. Now there’s nothing wrong with one wanting to be a healthier version of them, as long as the measures being taken to obtain that goal is healthy also.
Body image issues in males can be more psychologically and mentally damaging than women for a couple of reasons. As included before, many men turn to steroids in hopes to gain more muscle. One big side effect of these drugs is increased aggression and mood swings, as well as insomnia. Taking into consideration those three things, Men who take steroids become and different person, the drugs themselves are a cause of the damaged psyche, causing these men to act erratically and become a risk to not only themselves, but the people around them.
In “ The Truth About Steroids”, Patrick Dixon writes, “Steroids also affect the brain, and high doses can make people feel happy, euphoric, hyped-up, with disturbance of sleep and even serious psychiatric illness such as mania, very aggressive behavior and psychosis (delusions, paranoia, loss of touch with reality). “ Let’s take a look at a more specific example, everyone has heard of the popular wrestling group WWE, well one of their very own members had a horrible outcome because of Steroids. Chris Benoit strangled his wife and son, before hanging himself. After the autopsy, it was clear the wrestler had been using the drug in order to build and maintain his muscle mass.
Another cause as to why this issue effects the male population more is because it honestly goes unnoticed. Many men don’t feel as comfortable as women, when it comes to expressing their dissatisfaction of their bodies. Men are told being a man is to never show a sign of weakness, therefore a lot of me are reserved when speaking on such an emotion filled topic. Women find it easier to seek guidance from a therapist or counselor of some sort, therefore they have a release and/ or eye opener.
When it comes to men, because they find it harder to speak and open up to another person, they’re less likely to gain help on their body image issues. Which results to them taking extreme measure without anyone knowing. Maybe growing our men and women up equally and drilling it into their heads that it is okay to have feelings can make a difference. Especially for our men, it’s essential when raising their own sons to make them aware that the strongest thing they can do is be aware and accepting of themselves and their emotions.
It is likely that some may argue that Body image has affected women to a higher extent than men. Lets take it back in history, in the early 1900’s to mid 1950’s America was more accepting of full figured women, sex symbol Marilyn Monroe was seen as the ideal women and she was far from today’s “perfect body” expectations. In the late 1900’s is when you really started to see the media and the fashion industry showcase the “ thin boyish look” as the new ideal women. More full figured women vanished the runway and magazines, which later resulted in the epidemic of young teenage girls idolizing this look, which is impossible to obtain. Polls from the National Eating Disorder Association show that 42 percents of 1st -3rd grade girls want to lose weight, and 80% of 10 yr olds are afraid of being fat. According to Teen Magazine, “35 percent of girls ages 6 to 12 have been on at least one diet, and 50 to 70 percent of normal-weight girls think they are overweight.” These young girls grow an addiction and obsession with figuring out ways to get the body they want, from dieting and anorexia to plastic surgery.
The first step to getting over any obsession, addiction and even depression is acceptance! When you accept you have a problem it’s easier for you to open up about it and seek help. Try opening up Google and see how many articles come up on women body image issue verse men body image issues. There are most likely 100 to 1 articles, which right there proves my point. These women who have written or have had articles written about them, have realized and or accepted the fact that they have an issue with the way the see themselves. When it comes to men, they’re more reluctant to get medical help. Meaning they continue to deal with these issues in hiding, their anorexia, Bulimia, or Steroid use is going undetected.
Some will counteract my argument with the question “ well how can one help someone who doesn’t want or seek help?” That’s when I say LET THEM KNOW YOU CARE! Let these men know there are other young men out there dealing with the same issues. Let them know that it is okay to seek help. Let them be brave!