CELEBRATING BODY POSITIVITY REGARDLESS OF GENDER
Both men and women are held to unrealistic standards when it comes to their bodies. Everyone’s body is different, and it isn’t fair or reasonable to expect everyone to conform to the same model image.
The problem with women’s standards of how their bodies should look is that it changes frequently. In the ‘90s, women were expected to be extremely thin, but today in 2020 women are expected to have slim waists and thick thighs, another standard that is incredibly hard to meet. Who knows how these standards will be in the future.
There is also an issue with women being insulted for how they look regardless of if they do reach this standard. It’s hard to grow up as a woman when you’re constantly being told how you need to look and then being shamed for your appearance. It is a double-edged sword: if you don’t fit this standard you will constantly be judged for it, and if you do fit the standard you will be over sexualized and still judged.
Though it is not talked about as often, men also go through these same pressures within society, just for different reasons. While women are expected to be “dainty” and “small,” men are under constant pressure to appear “big and strong.” They are often shamed for looking too skinny or being too short. There have been studies that have concluded that most men are unhappy with the way their bodies look, but they are less likely to seek treatment for these poor self-images.
Even in body positivity movements, we rarely see body positivity represented in men. The fashion industry is just beginning to scratch the surface of plus size models, but the majority of the ones that exist are women. The first plus size male model was just scouted in 2016. There are almost no diverse representations for men’s bodies, and even male celebrities are subject to the same level of body shaming.
Last year, there was a discussion on male body shaming after comments shamed Jason Momoa for showing off a “dad bod” in pictures taken by paparazzi while he was on vacation. After consistently being sexualized by middle-aged women for his role as Aquaman, suddenly the attitude for him changed when he didn’t fit the appearance of their fantasies.
It’s time for all of us to break free of the standards that we have put on ourselves, and start loving our bodies for what they are. Body positivity should be promoted among men and women equally, and there needs to be more representation for more than just one kind of body.