Recently, an online exhibit entitled Body Language: (re)Translating Our Images hosted by Xhibit P featured a poignant essay comparing gender perceptions of body image by Philadelphia-based pop culture writer Drew Shane.
He writes, “For many years studies have been conducted dissecting women but men are just as body conscious. We want to have the chiseled body. We want to look younger. We want that ideal healthy lifestyle. Hell, we want the Weight Watchers commercial belching Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” in front of a green screen too…wait that just might be me. Nevertheless, we only hear about women and the effects that the media has on them. Somehow their counterparts are forgotten.”
I’ve met numerous men that are obsessed with protein shakes, gaining weight, and sculpting perfect muscles. It’s quite possible that men might be equally obsessed with body image compared to women. Just look at what’s considered masculine and sexy in pop culture: men are being fed unrealistic images too. Not every man is going to have the weight and body of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, or even be as tall as many beloved actors. While I’d argue that the desire to “look younger” is shared between genders, perhaps we should discuss men’s body issues just as often as their gender counterparts.