PHYSICALITY – Immune to The Vanity Virus (Mister Mischief)
It’s not just the female 30 Dates writers with opinions on Body Image and Body Confidence. And so MisterMischief takes the stage and writes the first male post as part of #BodyConfidenceWeek.
And he wouldn’t be true Mischief without a couple of controversial comments …. ! 😉
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx
On the whole I think guys get less peer pressure to have a certain look.
Whilst for women there is a specific ‘look’ perpetuated by the media, and deeply ingrained into most of western society, the same isn’t so true for men. Even today, women are still more often objectified, and as such the idea of a perfect object is presented. Unfortunately some people take this as an aspirational goal.
Men are not placed on any such pedestal, a reality which goes as far back in time as we know. There was never a god of male beauty in any ancient civilisation. Ok so nowadays there might be, in the form of David Beckham! Metrosexuality and preening came in, and were considered the thing to do; and now the fad is hipsters with beards.
I don’t read GQ, I don’t read vanity fair and I have only a faint idea of what is in vogue for men. My life does not revolve around these things, I couldn’t care less.
I don’t know what kind of indoctrination, teasing and brainwashing girls get over the years, nor am I certain if it’s all psychosomatic. However in general women seem to have a far greater desire to look a certain way and I think it’s all prescribed by the media and probably self propagated amongst some of the female populus.
This is not so for men.
Amongst all my male friends we never really judge by or talk about appearance. If anything you get judged or teased based on your skill, knowledge and character.
Being rubbish at playing sports, being bad at maths, not knowing anything about the English Premier League or the German Bundus Liga. Not being able to attract pretty girls. Being the guy who always speaks before he thinks. Not knowing how to assemble a skateboard or a computer.
These are things a man is judged on!
Sure if you’re tubby, lanky, tall, short, black or ginger you will get teased mercilessly, but most guys take that on the chin. Some make an effort to change if they can, others are bitter, wont do anything about it but don’t show signs of being affected by their peers unless you have a one to one chat with them.
It was only in sixth form and university that the idea of having a nice physique appeared on my radar but even then it wasn’t “you have to be stick thin or look like an Abercrombie and Fitch model”.
It was more – you might want to get a bit “pumped”/ “stacked” so you can assert your manliness and laud it over lesser mortals. Plus you will look good with your top off and you might make the second rugby team. That’s if you care at all, if not not, be cool and carry on.
And even if you took up the mantle, it becomes a hobby, a talking point.
“How much do you bench / can you do one arm pressups?”,
“Have you heard of the latest workout routine for muscle gain?”,
“Do you take whey or do you just do natural protein like chicken, tuna and eggs?”.
Building up a routine for yourself can empower you.
It can make you feel more confident, give you something to look forward to, and create a goal to achieve.
The non-serious mocking nature of it even percolates into the memes of the modern online-media –
Do you even lift?
Unless you are uninitiated into the world of memes and gags you would have probably seen a funny picture with a guy trying to do something barely stenuous with the caption – Do you even lift? The funniest one (In my humble opinion) is the picture where this guy who looks like a jock (American for sporty not English for Scottish) is shown to be fireman-carrying a rather large girl – the caption says “He deffinitely lifts!!” Which just goes to show the bonhomie & relaxed attitude associated with the obsession of some males regarding weight lifiting and “getting in shape”.
(Miss Twenty-Nine editing – And surely goes back to Society’s negative messages about female weight????!!)
So unlike women or girls who feel like they need to throw off the shackles of a prescribed idea of beauty, for guys it’s more a case of
Will you take on the challenge of reaching the pinnacle, to look like the alabaster sculptures of antiquity, to have the body that inspired the breastplates of ancient armies, to be buff/ripped?
(This is primarily the view of gym fiends though and not a universal goal for all guys. Since not all are afflicted by the vanity (body image) virus)
It would seem therefore that the vanity virus is primarily contracted by women, and they take a while to cure themseleves of it through introspection or guidance, in order to discover for themselves what true beauty is.
And even though guys can catch it, far fewer seem to suffer in the same way that some girls do.
Sure I go to the gym, and yes, it’s because I am mildly peturbed / incensed by the fact that I have a belly and don’t have abs. But I won’t lose sleep over it.
What does bother me a bit is that most women in the Western World probably won’t leave the house without some form of makeup on, and that others will put themselves through eating disorders and all kinds of Hell just to be something that they believe is perfection. An idea of perfection not everyone scares. What bothers me most, is that one day I know my own niece will suffer from the same worries and influence.
What does body confidence mean for me?
To be happy in your own skin and I guess I am.
Hope that goes for you too.
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