opinion

COLUMN: Picturing the right male body image



The young men and women of our country have many things to deal with in their lives.

But one issue that is affecting both of them is concerns about their 
body image.

Some may be surprised to hear men can suffer from body image issues just like women can.

When The Atlantic reported on the issue, it cited a 2014 study from the Journal of the Medical Association Pediatrics, which found 18 percent of adolescent men were concerned about 
their weight.

The study also reported that men who were worried about their weight had a higher tendency to suffer from symptoms of depression, and were more likely to participate in binge drinking and drug use.

To help these men overcome concerns about their weight we must do more to show them they are not alone, and that other men also struggle with issues about their weight as well.

Male celebrities have revealed they, too, have suffered from teasing and ridicule over their body weight.

According to Buzzfeed, actor Wentworth Miller revealed in a very personal post he wrote on Facebook that in 2010 he rapidly gained weight as a result of his 
depression.

When he went out with a friend, paparazzi photographers took pictures of his new appearance and published them in tabloid magazines, ridiculing his weight gain and making several jokes at his expense.

Miller wrote, “In 2010, fighting for my mental health, it was the last thing I needed.”

Thankfully, Miller survived the vicious bullying and is now an advocate for mental health in general.

But his story could’ve had a far worse outcome, all because of how he was treated by those in the tabloid 
news media.

I think the first step to improving male body image is in the media itself, with as many examples of the diversity of male bodies as possible, so no man has to feel ashamed of their weight and personal appearance.

According to Attitude magazine, retailer American Eagle has taken a new step in changing images of men with a new tagline and series of pictures for their advertising campaign with the slogan, “The real you is beautiful.”

Most of the models featured in the campaign look different than what many people typically think of as model material.

This can be a stereotypical image, usually of a young, white man with a 
six pack.

More often than not he has blonde hair, and looks like he was the model for Prince Charming in old Disney movies.

By featuring men of diverse racial groups and body types, the media can play an role in changing how men view themselves and their bodies, instead of actively perpetuating the same tired stereotypes and body images we’ve already seen before.

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