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HomeBusinessMale body malformation is a modern epidemic that is getting worse MIGMG...

Male body malformation is a modern epidemic that is getting worse MIGMG News

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IIf you’ve ever been caught up in a conversation about “dream dinner party guests,” you’ll know curious schadenfreude when watching people work out which aspects of their personality they want to display. The last time this happened to me, someone picked Jason Momoa and Channing Tatum for “eye candy,” along – who else? Martin Luther King, Jr. While we may never know Aquaman’s views on the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, the conversation highlighted our society’s continued respect for overly male bodies.

Tatum himself was in the news earlier this year for talking about his fitness, specifically in the Magic Mike movies. Appear in The Kelly Clarkson Show, the actor avoided praising a topless photo from that era, explaining that the routine was “unhealthy” and that it required hunger to achieve his look. Last week, social media was Once again taking possession of Zac Efron’s body As a leaked image of him filming a new role in a wrestling movie. You might remember this guy was open about his struggles with body image and diet and taking a lot of diuretics to get in shape Baywatch (2017) that he fell into “severe depression” and suffered from insomnia. If the tide is finally beginning to turn in how we talk about societal expectations placed on men’s bodies, it is long overdue.

Historically, the stereotype associated with eating disorders and body dysmorphia has been that of a painfully thin young woman — and for good reason. Women’s bodies have been examined, criticized, and idealized by men for thousands of years, a power dynamic that has accelerated over the past century with the advent of television, film, supermodels and Instagram — developments that have led to a series of highly edited and stylized images, framed by and male gaze. It is therefore expected that the data and studies on this topic usually focus on women.

In 2022, this case is difficult to prove. A study last year found that the majority of men (54 percent) showed signs of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), compared to 49 percent of women. If these numbers sound staggering, based on the clarity of case studies and campaigns around body image both online and offline today, one major factor wouldn’t be surprising: Many men simply don’t talk about it. Even worse, in some cases they don’t even realize that their obsessive thoughts about their weight and body image have escalated into a body malfunction.

Sam Thomas, who started a charity in his mid-20s called Eating Disorders in Men Too and has written extensively about mental health and addiction, struggled with body image anxiety and an eating disorder — but not in the order you might imagine. Despite developing bulimia at age 13, as a result of what he called a “shock response” to gay bullying, Thomas says he had “absolutely no real concerns” about his weight or size at the time. It was only years later, while he was recovering in his early twenties, that concerns about his form took hold.

“Many people assume that eating disorders have something to do with body image, but that has not been the case with me,” he explains. “It wasn’t until I left Liverpool to move to Brighton when I was 18 and started making friends for the first time, in the LGBT scene, that I started to realize how upset everyone was about their looks.”

After he developed into an incredibly skinny marathon runner, Thomas began hitting the gym and became “very muscular and defined very quickly.” He found that he could eat whatever he wanted and later burn it in a workout, which proved attractive. But while going to the gym was a positive part of his life now, back then it was an entirely different story. “I kept swinging from one unhealthy coping mechanism to the next,” he says.

One of the main reasons men’s body image issues often go unchecked has to do with the type of male body shapes they are fetishised. The extreme thinness often associated with anorexia and bulimia will attract worrisome inquiries more easily, while someone whose obsession with the gym is fueling a mental health crisis is likely to be praised for their commitment, just as Hollywood stars are.

“There is no one perfect body image for men, while there really has been a perfect model for women – the thinner the better,” says Thomas, acknowledging that things are getting “a bit more complicated now because of the trends in plastic surgery and Instagram.” While men often feel pressure to lose weight to reduce their gut and look good in skinny jeans, simultaneous push-ups are applied to gain weight in order to gain massive biceps popping into a vein. Tatum and Efron also took pains to point out that this photo is a biology-defying aesthetic straight out of a comic book, no more realistic than a woman with a 16-inch waist and a J-shaped bust.

“With guys, there was that big muscular ‘alpha male’ look, but on the other hand you have that skinny but defined look, and not much happened in between. I’d say it’s like trying to walk left and right at the same time,” he adds. “I think a lot of men don’t know what to aspire to.”

Zac Efron (right, with Dwayne Johnson) talked about the “Baywatch” exercise regimen that leads to depression and insomnia


Of course, part of the problem with body dysmorphic disorder is that the way other people perceive objects can sometimes be irrelevant: if someone convinces themselves that they are the “wrong” shape, the area of ​​the body that needs the hardest exercise is often the brain. Knowing what dysphonia means to an individual is essential, says Erin Hadjiwanu, a spokeswoman for the UK Council of Psychotherapy.

“In psychotherapy, you’re working with someone’s subjectivity, so if someone uses the term ‘body malfunction,’ my first thought is to deconstruct what that really means to them,” she says. “Where does that come from? What sustains her? Because what you’re really working with is internalizing negative messages or what’s socially acceptable, and how people carry and embody that.”

Gender differences appear not only between CIS men and CIS women. For both transgender men and women, pressure to conform to a hypersexual body image can be exacerbated by the expectation of “passing by” as male or female in public; Conversely, non-binary or heterosexual people often talk about societal expectations of androgenism—that appearance considered highly masculine or feminine presentation may raise questions about the validity of their identity. It seems inevitable that our bodies may not function the way society would like them to.

Whereas the temptation may be strong to simply tell people to “be yourself” or “to be proud of who you are” – hashtag Mubarak! It is worth remembering that there are great social rewards for people who ignore that advice and instead mimic other people’s idea of ​​physical perfection. If that sounds like a bleak capitalist paradigm of dehumanization imaginable — reducing people to a compilation of Botox and lip fillers that improve your chances of mental well-being and intimacy — well, this is where we are.

“I would describe it more in the ways our bodies are used as currency, in the sense of transactions, particularly in the early stages of a relationship,” Hadjiwanu says. “It really takes away the idea of ​​ourselves as a whole person, if the focus is only on what your profile picture looks like.”

“I think a lot of men don’t know what to aspire to”


What, if anything, can we do to try to combat something that seems so powerful and comprehensive? The likes of Tatum and Efron have talked about how utterly and unhealthily miserable their lives are to “tear them up” for certain roles can help, for sure. Thomas says he also wants to see a variety of male bodies represented, too. “For women, there is an increasingly increased representation of ‘plus-size’ numbers, but no equivalent for men per se. We need to show men who may not feel represented that they are equal in validity,” he says.

Some answers are easier than others. Today, we are all bombarded with mental health campaigns that implore us – especially men – to talk more about our problems. While this is a noble request, perhaps we need to start thinking more about why men feel they cannot speak about these issues; To question why we fail to build a culture in which people of all gender beliefs feel empowered to raise their voice before it is too late.

“It sounds really cheesy, but our first relationship is with ourselves,” Hadjiwanu told me at the end of our conversation. “If that relationship is healthy enough, then we can start extending it outward to include relationships with other people.”

This work involves self-analysis, of course, but it also requires us to continue unpacking the broader values ​​of a system that rewards our slave commitment to monotheism while providing a performing verbal service of individuality. Perhaps we will then begin to teach posterity that “eye candy” should never come at such an amazing price.

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