Saturday, November 15, 2008

Men also hate their bodies. Awesome.

By Chloe Angyal

A psychologist at Flinders University in Australia has released the findings of her study on male body image and - surprise, surprise - like women, men experience insecurity and dissatisfaction with their bodies as a result of exposure to the media's narrow depictions of male beauty. Topping the list of concerns were penis size (duh), shoulder hair, hair loss and "excess" fat.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

"Clearly it is not a small sub-group of pathologically narcissistic men who experience dissatisfaction with these body parts, but a substantial proportion," said Professor Tiggemann, whose study of 200 young heterosexual men found two-thirds wished they had less back or buttock hair and a bigger penis, while 82 per cent wished they were more muscular.

It had become so common for men to worry about their biceps, pectorals and six-pack that such concerns could now be considered normal - just as virtually all women worried about their weight, Professor Tiggemann said. But like women who risk eating disorders from extreme dieting, men's muscle concerns could also lead to serious health problems, such as steroid abuse or injury.

So men are affected by this crap, too. Ugh, this is not the kind of gender equality I was hoping for.

When asked what might have caused this widespread increase in poor body image in men, and the recent "arrival of men's salons and skin products and a reported increase in men undergoing cosmetic surgery," Professor Tiggemann said, and this in turn might be attributable to social change. In the past, she said, it could have been that appearance "didn't matter very much because what mattered was the amount of money you made, the job you had … Some of this is a function of the male role being less clear." A beefy body might be "a way of asserting [masculinity] again".

Dammit, Women's Movement! Must you ruin everything?


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