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Tuesday, 10 Dec 2019

Male Body Positivity: Why it's Equally Important for Men as it is to Women

By Dr Becky Spelman
Male Body Positivity and Body Dysmorphia | Private Therapy Clinic

Body positivity is something that has been the preserve of the female world for the major of its existence. The feminine form has been the source of such scrutiny and widespread exploitation by marketing companies that the entire concept of beauty has been hijacked. It is reimagined, repackaged and resold to us with each passing generation. That, is exactly why the movement has been such a necessary measure in the first place. It was to reclaim the body for those who lived with it every day; carried it to work, washed it, fed and occasionally bathed it in the sun if it was deemed worthy enough to be uncovered in public…

There’s no doubt it’s had a significant impact. Beauty is no longer seen as the absolute that it once used to be. Plus-sized models are commonplace, and on the whole, there is a sea-change in our conception of what beauty actually means. But unfortunately, that’s only half the battle… It seems that just as there has been a shift in the attitude towards the hijacking of the female form, the male counterpart has increasingly become the focus of marketability. It’s been subtle, but it’s been on the rise for several years – the manly man sporting his bespoke facial hair and perfectly sculpted body. It’s all fanciful ideal with little grounding in reality.

It’s just as well then that the male body positivity movement has also begun in earnest. Men make up approximately half of the world’s population. And contrary to the belief of males being hardened souls, they’re just as susceptible to all the same emotional trappings as women when it comes to inclusivity and feeling secure in their own body. The status quo that today’s modern man has to measure up to is no less unrealistic than what is presented to women, and it creates exactly the same problems, too.

Body dysmorphia isn’t a gender-specific issue and can affect people from both sexes. If you’re constantly rooted in the mindset of comparing and contrasting to others, it’s inevitably going to lead to poor body image. And where does that lead? Quite often to many lonely hours in the gym, isolated from friends, stuck in restrictive diets and never truly being happy in your own skin no matter how hard you try. The kind of subliminal body shaming that takes place in the media causes those who buy into it to focus all their attention in the wrong place. All those hundreds of hours in the gym that could have been spent learning a new skill, or if not, engaging in some other activity that provides true self-nurture.

The male body positivity movement is needed for several reasons. Chief amongst those is the responsibility it encourages from people who’re fed up being manipulated, and are now willing to be vulnerable on social media platforms. Ten to fifteen years ago, this wouldn’t have happened. It marks a new chapter in what it means to be an emotionally aware and attuned male in the 21st century. It addresses the problem of idealised beauty by providing a real kind of role model; someone who is completely unafraid to be themselves, no matter what the perceived cost to their social value. Being a role model isn’t about being chosen; it’s about taking a stand and showing others the way. It’s about being yourself at all costs. It’s about being authentic.

About the author:

Dr Becky Spelman is a leading UK Psychologist who’s had great success helping her clients manage and overcome a multitude of mental illnesses.

***If you’re struggling with body image issues and think you might benefit from speaking to someone about your situation, we offer a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with one of our specialists to help you find the best way to move forward. You can book yours here.

References

BBC. (30th Mar 2019). The Male Body Positive Instagram Influencer Who Ditched His Six Pack. Retrieved on 16th October, 2019 from, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-47693925

Psychology Today. (15th Oct 2018). Positive Body Image Men. Retrieved on 16th October, 2019 from, https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/mind-your-body/201810/positive-body-image-in-men

Healthline. (2018). Positive Body Image Men. Retrieved on 16th October, 2019 from, https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/male-body-image-problems

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