Too many times women are looked too as the primary surveyor for our standard of beauty in society. But we often fail to point out that although there are so many pressures of society on women’s beauty, men are also often extremely critical of their appearance.
In a recent article on CNN.com, Michael Addis, a professor of psychology at Clark University, describes men’s ideals of being well-oiled machines,
“Men are still taught as boys that the body is something that is designed to be a perfectly performing machine, not something to be cared for and nurtured. But men base self-esteem on body image and weight.”
He goes on to note, “As women gain more financial power in society, men are expected to bring more to the table. In addition to being financially successful, they need to be well-groomed, in good shape, emotionally skilled in relationships and the emphasis on looking good is just part of the bigger package — the stakes have been raised.”
It’s possible that women are simply more vocal abut their weight, than we care to admit. But men struggle with issues of body image, just as much, if not more so, than women.
Do you know any men who have struggled with their weight or body image?
History has shown a strong correlation between Black men and the importance of having a superior body. During slavery Black men relied heavily on their bodies. They had to be strong enough to withstand the unwarranted beatings and even be able to perform on the “job.” Productivity was a reflection of their bodies—even though the effects were caused from the strenuous labor. Today we still have the same motivation. We want to look cut and ripped too. I know personally, I’ve taken a liking to the gym (after seeing some results). So, yes we do too!
Men always are looking at other men. We say different things like “I bet he has girls” or “he’s the man”
I agree that men struggle with body image and I think they struggle more and more as time goes on. But I think something is missing from this account. I don’t think they are becoming more concerned because ““As women gain more financial power in society, men are expected to bring more to the table.” I don’t think this is about some kind of exchange between men and women. Instead it’s about a larger sphere of commerce. Men are targeted by advertisers in the same way now that women have been targeted for a long time. There are umpteen more gyms and fitness centers than there were 20 years ago. Somebody’s got to pay to keep those businesses open. This is not about “women gaining more financial power” — as if! This is about the average person of any gender having less and less actual power and being asked to accept as a substitute muscle power. As Byron Hurt notes in Beyond Beats and Rhymes the men with the real power don’t need muscles.