Let’s Talk About Male Body Image

Body image issues are quite common. There are so many people who look in the mirror or at a photograph and quickly decide what is right and what is wrong, and what needs to change. In extraordinary cases, negative body image, or body dissatisfaction, can devour your thoughts and commandeer your ability to take part in everyday experiences.

Getting dressed for work, going to an event, choosing food, or deciding on how much exercise to do can be affected by body image issues. Both men and women experience these struggles, but body image issues are spoken about considerably less in relation to the male experience. However, men battle with body image issues as well. Yes, male body image issues exist.

Often, men can feel as though they are not living up to the customarily masculine personality attributes and characteristics, for example, being strong, stoic, a leader, expressing fewer emotions, free and sensible, yet masculine. Men are constantly told how to get a muscular body to become more of a man.

What is Body Image?

Generally, body image involves thoughts, perceptions, and behaviors identified with one’s appearance. Body image must be different from “self-esteem” and “quality of life”, as these latter two concepts envelop not only appearance but one’s relationships, religious views, culture, career, and qualities.

Men body image

How Do Male Body Image Issues Develop?

Some studies suggest that male body image issues begin in childhood, and body image issues are observed even in children as young as 7 years of age. Concerning male body image in young boys, perfectionism can bring about an expanded self-conscious experience around slimness and muscular body goals. Young men may also find out the drive for success, control, and muscularity through participating in sports, particularly those that emphasize on body size or physique, for example, football or wrestling. Perfectionism and body image issues at this young age can make way for early-onset eating disorders affecting men’s health.

Furthermore, young men and boys are regularly exposed to an idealized muscular body type by means of media and advertising that can impact the development of male body image issues. Young boys who play with superhero figures or action figures during their childhood are likely to admire body types that may not be humanly feasible, giving young boys an unrealistic standard to live up to.

Nowadays, “Fitspiration” through social media platforms, for example, Instagram gives a practically unending source of comparison to reach or digitally edited pictures. Research demonstrates that more prominent exposure to muscular body physiques brings about more male body image issues.

Male body image issues may also intensify by family or work pressure, or basic co-happening depression or anxiety. Significant body image issues are regularly seen with regards to an eating disorder, wherein one endeavor to change their body shape size, muscularity or body composition by means of limited eating, cleansing, or over the top exercise. This may largely affect men’s health.

Male Body Image Statistics

-Nearly 15% of Australian men report an overvaluation of weight and shape.

-In the U.S adult men, 9% reported frequent body checking and 5% reported body image avoidance.

-In a sample of French University, more than 85% of the men samples were dissatisfied with their muscularity.

-Nearly 2% of the German male population met diagnostic criteria for body dysmorphic disorder, and more than 2.5% are expected to exhibit clinically significant levels of muscle dysphoria.

How Can Parents Encourage Positive Conversations About Male Body Image With Their Sons?

-Consider Your Attitude Towards Your Body

There are so many parents out there who are loaded up with shame about their own bodies and they are ignorant about the fact that they convey this to their children. Along these lines, it’s critical to look and consider how you feel about yourself.

Review this: If you are a young boy and your father is regularly attempting to achieve or maintain a muscular body, that imparts that your father’s body is not good enough. And sometimes these non-verbal things can contribute to male body image issues at a very young age.

Therefore, the best method to ingrain trust in your sons is to rehearse body positivity yourself first.

-Look For Opportunities

At any point of time, when you see a body displayed that does not go with what bodies that are not photoshopped look like, parents should touch on in a normal way.

Supposedly, you’re strolling past a big billboard, and somebody with a muscular six-pack is on it, ask your sons what they think of the image.

Also Read: 5 Exercises That Helps You Get Good Posture

The media excessively makes unrealistic male body types and there is this assumption that whatever the media puts out is something that can be acquired. So, ensure that you don’t let that happen, point out the variety in men’s’ bodies. It is important.

-Be Sensitive

Do understand that this is a sensitive topic for young men and it is not an easy conversation or discussion to have. It is about speaking through why they view their body in a specific way or what body the want.

Offer this chance to discuss it in a delicate manner and do it such that isn’t shaming- raise the body image issues and hope that it leads onto how they feel about their own bodies. If your child opens up, make sure you approve his sentiments rather than hushing him with “you’re beautiful” or “don’t worry”. More than anything else, be a good and patient listener.

-An Urge to Enroll in Sports

It might be a great idea to encourage young boys to try out sports so they can start to see their bodies as something other than just an aesthetic and see its strength, agility, power, and fitness– all while building confidence, defining objectives, and working with others as a team.

Male Body Image Issues And Mental Health

Body Image is mental and emotion: it is both the mental picture that you have of your body and the way you feel about your body when you look in a mirror.

Healthy Body Image is more than just condoning what you look like or “not hating” yourself. A positive and healthy body image implies that you really acknowledge and like the manner in which you look at any given time, and are not trying hard to change your body to fit the way you think you should look.

It implies perceiving the individual qualities and strengths that cause you to feel great about yourself beyond weight, shape or appearance, and opposing the pressure to make strive toward the myth of the “perfect muscular body” that you see online on social media platforms or around you.

Self-esteem means you know your worth and regard yourself as an individual—the opinion that you have of yourself. Self-esteem impacts how you deal with yourself, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Self-esteem is about the whole self and not simply the body. When you have good self-esteem, you value yourself, and you realize that you deserve great care and respect—from yourself and from others. You celebrate your abilities and your strengths, and you don’t be hard on yourself when you commit a mistake.

How To Take Care of Mental Health?

-Face it in the Real World: Sympathizing with a male friend can help ease the strain to look a particular way. Online gatherings for body positivity are incredible, but on the other hand, it is also important to escape from the social media life and invest time in places with realistic pictures of individuals, like your nearby bistro or restaurant.

-Learn to Embrace Your Body: It doesn’t make a difference if you’re an athlete or absolutely out of shape— try to be content with the way you look. If you are moving forward to a healthier life through exercise or diet,  welcome the journey. Rather than concentrating on what you don’t like, be proud of yourself for trying to bring about a change in what you can control.

Male Body Image Issues are prevalent even today because images on social media or what we call “stereotypes” are not realistic across the globe. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, there’s no significant difference in the prevalence of obesity between men and women. It’s perfectly fine to challenge the pictures you see. You need to learn to gain confidence within yourself and your efforts, and not what other people say.



Tags: Male body image facts, Body image struggles, Male body image issues statistics

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Jim Carson

Jim Carson is the writer for the mental health section of CheapMedicineShop.com. He is certified in clinical mental health counselling and has conducted cognitive behaviour therapy for war veterans struggling with PTSD. Professionally and personally, Jim is an astute observer of human behaviour that reflects well in his work.