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From Head to Toe: The Silent Struggle Between Men and Body Image

I’m sure us guys have all shared some type of insecurity when it comes to the way we look. But, these days it's more than just worrying about weight and muscle tone. Guys are dealing with other issues of body image, but there is good news: there are ways to deal with it.

Men have always been pushed to be strong, both physically and mentally (for more on that refer to this article). It almost seems as though guys can’t be stressed about what they eat or how they look, just as long as their physique is desirable. But desirable to whom? Who sets this standard? Well just look around you!

Advertisements, commercials, magazine covers, etc., the “ideal standard” of what a man should look like’ is everywhere and stands as a constant reminder for most men, that they are not ‘ideal.’ It is a tough battle, especially when we are comparing ourselves to deities of men. Because the bar is set so high when it comes to the ideal standard, men tend to struggle in silence with the expectations placed upon them.

So, Where Do Men Struggle?

You name the body part, and I’m sure there are more than a handful of guys who are worried about it. From head to toe, guys wish we could be better. And for most areas, it is something we can’t change overnight. Here are some examples:

  • Hair: 1 in 4 men will struggle with hair loss in their 20s. Who wants to lose their beautiful mane this early!?

    • Today, the hair loss industry is estimated to be worth close to $2 billion. Because of this stigma, men with thinning/no hair face the stereotype that they’re less attractive than those with hair. Studies have also found that men struggling with some form of hair loss share feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, stress, and,unfortunately, depression.

  • Shape: This is an obvious one because of how closely it is associated with body image. 2 out of 5 men age 18 or older are overweight, and that doesn’t even include the numbers of men who are also unhappy with their body..

    • Especially with the summer coming, everyone is so worried about a beach/summer bod. I can’t begin to describe how many times I’ve heard someone voice their struggle thinking they aren’t ‘beach-ready’. We are in a time where the six-pack is the epitome of looking good. And it is now a reality that millions of men spend countless hours striving to change their lives in order to come one step closer to attaining something, but this often comes at the risk of their physical and mental health. Unfortunately, due to this trend, there is a rise in male eating disorders. With the misconception that women are the only ones associated with eating disorders, many cases go unnoticed. Recent data has shown that men account for 10% of eating disorder cases.

  • Height: This is one of the tougher battles, because this is all genetic and much can’t be done about this. 67% of men are 5’10” or shorter.

    • There is a running joke that men lie about our height, which is lowkey a front for a very common insecurity. Just as there are toxic standards for women in dating, height has become the “be-of-it-all” for single men. When one doesn’t meet the expectation, their confidence can suffer, leaving them feeling inadequate.

  • Manhood: Porn has created so many negative expectations for your size down under. The average size for a guy sits at about 5.2 inches in length and 4.5 inches in girth. You don’t have to be carrying a baton down there, champ!

    • Another sensitive area of judgment is emphasized in the bedroom. A study reported that dick size is one of the top three body image concerns for straight men, along with weight and height. although we don’t speak about it much, the way we act and perform in the bedroom says alot about how much of a man we really are–or so we think. Other research shows that most men feel like their dicks are below average. These negative feelings about size can lead to low self-esteem, shame, and embarrassment when it comes to sex.

    • ANYTHING: As I said before, you name a body part, I’m sure most men wish they could change it! From hand size, feet, legs, arms, eye color, body hair, ears, nose, anything!

So What Do We Do About It?

Step 1. LOVE YOURSELF! I know, I know! As corny as it sounds, it is a gigantic first step. First of all, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be in shape or taking care of yourself. If anything, it should be encouraged. But for what can’t control certain things. Accept your body for what it is, it is beautiful. This idea of ‘perfection’ and ‘ideal standards’ doesn’t exist–it’s bullshit. You are perfect in your own way!

(From Surge UK-Body Positivity Campaign 2018)

Step 2. Remind yourself that it is normal to feel some insecurity about the way you look. We are critical creatures by nature. So make sure you understand that there are some things you can’t change. Accept that! And do your best just to focus on what you can control.

Step 3. Spread the love! Once, you get through the first two steps, you will be able to appreciate those who do love you for who you are. On top of it, your confidence will become a beacon for others who struggle with being comfortable. Make it so that they don’t have to! Some people need that love support! Go out and be kind!

Keep Your Heads Up Lads. We Are All Kings Of Our Own Realms.


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