Have We Overlooked Men When Talking About Body Shaming?

According to a new study in the UK, the answer is, absolutely.

Body image affects half of men’s mental health, new study shows

As the article points out, there are plenty of images in the media, and on social media of ripped, tone, male bodies that do not look anything like most men. It’s not all that different to the same issues we talk about with women, and whether the photoshopped bodies in photos are creating an unrealistic expectation. As this quote points out, we don’t see a lot of male voices in this area:

“Women face these issues everyday too, and that’s why it has been so great to witness the rise of the body positivity movement over the past few years,” says Jamie Laing.

“You scroll through hashtags like #bodypositivity and #selflove on Instagram and you see so many women sharing experiences of body changes during lockdown, advice for self-care and motivational messages to support their community.

“It’s hard to ignore the fact that there is a stark gender divide here, and men are often missing from the conversation.”

I’ve been lucky enough to see a couple of men talk about eating disorders, and body image, but I’ll be the first to admit, if you asked me, based on what I see and hear, if these were mostly women’s issues, I’d probably say yes. But that’s wrong. These are very much men’s issues and trans issues as well. We make jokes about dad bods and assume it’s no big deal because it’s men, and they don’t have the same problems, and hang ups, but we do. There are far more people in the world struggling with their body, and disordered eating, who aren’t included in the conversation because we assume it’s a young women’s issue.

How do we create space enough that everyone can be part of the conversation?

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