Gay men’s body image: An insidious distraction.

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Prof., May 5, 2010.

  1. Prof. macrumors 601

    Prof.

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    #1
    It's a long, but interesting read and I agree wholeheartedly; I've been saying this ever since I came out.

    Article link.
     
  2. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #2
    This is just a gay take on a persistent problem between "sex sells" and a realistic body image. Women have been commenting on this for a very long time, and even straight guys are starting to see increases in eating disorders associated with poor body image due to the overwhelming media presence of "perfect" body types.
     
  3. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

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    #3
    Can't say I ever saw one… but then again haven't seen many — if any — average-looking or built blokes featured in mags for straight guys either.
    When was the last time you saw an average looking woman on any magazine cover?

    As mactastic points out, this is the gay take on an age old problem. Women have been suffering it for far longer. My god. Ever look at women's shoes? Yikes!

    Anyway. I blame Tom of Finland. :p ;)
     
  4. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #4
    So its just like it is for women, where 80% - 90% of women are unhappy with their bodies. (source)
     
  5. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #5
    But what I've always found strange about this is that this country is more obese than ever. If people were indeed obsessed with body image, then we'd be a nation of extremely fit people- at least one would think.

    I will confess that I think I have a good body, and I do like the attention. Are you kidding me? Of course I do. And I do it because it's how I want to look, not because I expect it from other people. I also like being active and athletic. I always have been. But I'm not the type I usually go for. I have a wide range of body types I find attractive. Mostly, it just depends on the person.
     
  6. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

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    #6
    ^^^^^
    As ever, words to listen to.

    I myself am at an age (46*gasp*) where I am very happy to still be in good shape. But it's for health more than image these days. Any appreciative looks I may get are a bonus. ;)
     
  7. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #7
    Obviously not everyone is affected. But there is a significant portion of the population that is affected to the point where it affects their self-esteem and their view of their own self-worth.

    I assume at some point you've known someone with an eating disorder, right? If so, you know how bad things can get.

    It's not an issue of being in shape, it that unrealistic image of the perfect body constantly being thrust upon us. Plenty of people are in shape but don't have a 6-pack set of abs. Plenty of people see themselves as "thin but could be thinner". It's when these images drive people to do destructive things that it becomes a problem for them.
     
  8. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #8
    This is true. I've never really been friends with someone with an eating disorder, but I've seen people at the gym who obviously have them. They're like the walking dead- skeletal. Eventually, the gym has to cancel their memberships as they could be held liable.


    I wonder what changing the imagery would really do. I still think we'd have lots of eating disorders happening. This country has a history of bad relations with food.
     
  9. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #9
    I suspect some people just give up as they can never look as good as an airbrushed underwear model (and who can - not even the underwear models themselves :p)

    This is true.
     
  10. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #10
    It's not that simple. Over-sized portions, boredom eating and comfort eating are all problems. Many times, people will be stressed about their body image only to eat to try and comfort themselves. It's a horrible cycle.
     
  11. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #11
    Since I work in advertising, I can tell you that the guys pretty much do look like what you see.

    True enough.
     
  12. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #12
    I've known more than a couple. It's a horrible thing to have to live with.

    I don't have a good answer. Despite the obvious damage, I can't countenance restrictions on advertising to address the issue. I won't tell MTV what their beach party hosts (and guests) can and can't look like. Product manufacturers are not responsible to try to provide realistic body image context to our lives.

    Yet that imagery saturates our society to the point where it is unavoidable. And because it works, marketers continue to use it. It's a viscous circle. Personally I'd be happy if everyone ignored advertising based on sexualized imagery, but I realize that's not going to happen anytime soon.

    Like I said, I don't have a good answer. Take responsibility for yourself, yet realize there will always be people for whom body image is a serious problem. These people need help.
     
  13. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #13
    Not to mention the effect poverty has on obesity. When you can get more kcals/dollar with processed junk food than you can in the produce department, it becomes apparent why poor people are obese in higher numbers than more well-off people are.
     
  14. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #14
    True, and I personally feel it goes deeper than that in that poor people can afford few of the indulgences that others can, save junk food. In a society where they're reminded of that position and the constant need to indulge with their wallet, fatty food is the easy way to go.
     
  15. Queso macrumors G4

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    #15
    I don't got for the stereotypes. My partner is possibly the hairiest man I've ever met, which I have to confess went a long way towards us hooking up in the first place :D

    More on topic the gay media in the USA is almost aggressively masculine, compared to here in Europe where the dominant image trend is towards handsome rather than butch. On your side of the Pond it's all about the muscles and the six pack. There's some of that here too, but it's mixed up with other stuff.
     
  16. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #16
    Well there are all kinds of things going on here. It's pretty mixed up, I would say. There's bears and leather daddies, twinks and muscle men- all kinds of things.
     
  17. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #17
    Don't forget the furries!
     
  18. Queso macrumors G4

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    #18
    Yeah, they're quite fun. They make a Pride parade seem like Disneyland :D
     
  19. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #19
    The furries are fun, but you know who really freaks me out? I don't know what they're called, but the leather people who wear leather masks made to look like animals. It's creepy and very Eyes Wide Shut. :)
     

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  20. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #20
    ^^ I think I'm pretty laid back, but that is weird.
     
  21. Queso macrumors G4

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    #21
    There's loads of straights into that puppy play thing too.

    Yes, I know. I spend far too much time in leather bars :D
     
  22. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #22
    The ones that look like rabbits are the ones that really freak me out.
     
  23. Queso macrumors G4

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    #23
    Not seen one of those I have to say. Not a trend that's "hopped" across the Pond yet :)
     
  24. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #24
    How's this?
     

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  25. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #25
    See- the Donnie Darko bunny is just not right. :)
     

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