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Body Image is Hating on Men’s Happy

5 comments | January 11th, 2012

(submitted by OOC via Blisstree.com)

Here's a bit of gender equality that can't make anyone happy – even if misery does love company.  Men are increasingly and rapidly becoming ever more dissatisfied with their own bodies and body image.  The original article points to this most recent data out of the U.K. based on a survey of 400 men:

  • 80.7% of men use language that promotes anxiety about their body image (i.e. referring to physical flaws), compared with 75% of women.
  • 38% of men would sacrifice at least a year of their life in exchange for a perfect body.
  • 80.7% talked about their own or others’ appearance in ways that draw attention to weight, lack of hair or slim frame.
  • 23% said concerns about their appearance had deterred them from going to the gym.

The author of the Blistree.com piece (read it here) offers the following thoughts: "the study is fairly narrow, so to be honest, I wouldn’t take most of those numbers at face value. But the study just confirms something we’ve known for awhile: That both men and women are increasingly unhappy with their bodies, in part because, well, everyone’s getting fat, and in part because we’re still getting warped messages from the media about what we ought to look like."

Ah yes.  Warped messages from the media, we;ve talked about that some here.  What's your reaction to this data?  Why do you think men (and this is as much a US issue as it is a British one) are increasingly dissatisfied with their bodies?  What messages (warped or otherwise) do you think are being sent?

And we'd be remiss if we didn't invite you to sign and show your support for The Self-Esteem Act here.
 

5 comments

  • Sad Mom

    Posted on January 11, 2012

    You’re right, this isn’t the type of gender equality anyone wants to see. I shudder as I hear my 12 year-old son talking about wanting to be “ripped”. I would prefer he just be healthy.

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  • Elsie Ramho

    Posted on January 13, 2012

    Aren’t we all susceptible to the same images and the same media consumption? It makes sense we’d all feel badly about ourselves.

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    • KE

      Posted on January 18, 2012

      I agree. I think. I mean we are all part of the same audience generally speaking, sure. Doesn’t this give too much credit to the media for shaping how we think and feel? Or is it really credit they deserve becuase they do shape how we think and feel? I dunno.

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      • OOC

        Posted on January 18, 2012

        Well, KE…our take (here @OOC HQ) is the media deserves a lot of “credit” and should take a lot of responsibility. So too, however, should you and I a nd us,. and parents and school and, well, each of us and all of us. We all contribute to the whole and some of us take more cues form one thing than another. The shifting portrayal of men in culture, the increase in the number of beauty products catering to men…all add up to the numbers you see here. Sad truth.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted on March 2, 2012

    This is so sad! what I’ve always admired and liked in men is that they always seem so carefree about these sort of issues. As a woman, knowing the pain and suffering that body image problems can bring, I really don’t wish them on anyone, especially not on men. As women, it’s normal to talk about these things, but in men I feel society still thinks it’s taboo for them to talk about these concerns. That’s so unfair. Men are wonderful just as they are, I really think the “generic hot guy” image that the media pushes is both unrealistic and boring. This really makes me sad :(

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