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Men Have Body Issues, Too!

Men Have Body Issues, Too!

I wrote last week about how women are plagued on a daily basis with body image issues. And the fact is, women have been judged extremely harshly for decades about their appearance whereas, until very recently, men weren’t nearly as scrutinized. But all of that is now changing.

And it’s no wonder with Hollywood hunks like Channing Tatum, Ryan Gosling and Zac Ephron strutting around without a shirt on showing off their six pack abs every other day. Now, as a healthy heterosexual woman, I can’t say as I hate catching glimpses of said hunks on the cover of magazines without their shirts on while I wait in line to buy my groceries, but I can COMPLETELY understand how these images can make other men feel pressure to look like that. That’s what we women have been dealing with for what seems like ever. Maybe not six pack abs but size D breasts, a 24 inch waist and a booty like Jennifer Lopez – not a short order, you will admit.

Last week the TODAY/AOL Body Image survey was released and it found that men are now worrying about their looks more than their career, family, health or relationships. In fact, 53% of the guys who answered the survey said they feel unsure about their appearance at least once a week. The only thing men thought more about than their appearance was finances, with 59% of men worrying about money once a week.

Here are some other really telling stats from the survey:

  • 63% of men said they “always feel like (they) could lose weight”
  • 53% don’t like having their picture taken (hugging all of you who said this)
  • 41% said they worry about people judging their appearance
  • 44% feel uncomfortable wearing swim trunks (oh, Dear Lord, can I relate gentleman!)

“Guys are just a couple of decades behind women of going down this really awful road,” said David LaPorte, a psychologist at Indiana University of Pennsylvania who has studied body image and social media.

It is very interesting because you can see the evolution of expectations of what men’s bodies are supposed to look like through the past few decades. Apparently in 1964, the G.I. Joe action figure had a 32-inch waist and 12-inch biceps. By 1991, Joe had, you guessed it, six-pack abs and a 29-inch waist, and his biceps became 16 ½-inches. Like Barbie dolls, these dimensions are absolutely impossible to obtain on a real human body, but they are supposed to represent the “perfect” man.

The saddest part of this whole phenomenon is that so many men are feeling really bad about their appearance but they don’t really know what to do with their feelings. You’re not going to see a group of men at a bar all complaining about how much they hate their biceps or that they wish they had bigger calf muscles.

It would be easy for us women to take the attitude of, “Hah! How do you like it, not so fun, huh?” But that attitude and conduct would hurt our soul image. We can do better.

Ladies, let’s reach out to the men in our lives and remind them of how beautiful they are. Let’s remember that they have emotions equal to our own, but often aren’t comfortable talking about them. Let’s be kind and gentle and loving.

Guys – as I told the ladies last week, don’t focus on whether or not you have six-pack abs, four-pack abs or no-pack abs, or whether your biceps bulge enough. Focus on how your body feels. Is it healthy? Are you able to go for a walk with your dog, chase your kids around the park, and dance with the partner you fell in love with? If so, you are incredibly lucky, so focus on that instead!

Get out there and dance, life is way too short to worry about your no-pack abs! We love our guys and this guy was one of my favorites growing up.  I dedicate this post to the late, charming, sexy heart throb Patrick Swayze.

Never take a moment of this glorious life for granted,

With love & gratitude,

Prudence

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