Guest Post: Men’s Body Image

Be happy in your skin, accept your flaws, become the king of the house and a positive role model to society.

Let’s start by being brutally honest; have you ever seen a group of men sit together and talk about their body insecurities? I highly doubt it.

The media’s ideal body image judging by adverts in newspapers and online is any man over 6’2 with a 6-pack. I don’t let images as such bother me because I’m aware they don’t represent the majority of men in society. My issue is the contradiction of the media forcing men to speak up about their mental health but happily accept cheques from companies to promote unrealistic expectations of men on their platform.

Personal Experience

I’ve always been conscious of my looks ever since I suffered acne as a teenager. I experienced a traumatizing few years at high school as I was repeatedly mocked for my severe outbreak of spots. As much as I was teased, I didn’t let insults break me because going through those tough years would lead me to being the strong person I am today.

body image

I don’t need any factual evidence to back up my next point. I know what we experience in school can affect most of us going into adulthood. You never forget the abuse and each time you look into any mirror is a sorrow reminder. You begin to compare your flaws to someone’s beauty.

I joined the gym during my college years and actively started natural bodybuilding. My impressions from people who didn’t know me might have judged me as a cocky looking athlete, but my personality didn’t change. I was still the shy kid behind my new muscle and treated everyone the same.

What I noticed during my first couple of years of training was the admiration and praise from others. I would get questions from men asking how I got so big and other curiosities. They would start comparing their failures to the success of my body and put me on a pedestal when in reality I wasn’t any better of a man than the one standing next to me.

The Root of Men’s Body Image Issues

Social media has forced men’s perceptions of body image to such extremes that we have lost common identity. For example; how many times on Instagram do we see topless male wannabe celebrities soaked in baby oil promoting cheap fake tan or some hideous clothing brand with fabric so tight the veins on their biceps are close to bursting? It’s constantly in our face and damages the confidence in others.

body image

I know these types of products target a specific audience (mainly lad culture) and I respect any model just trying to make a living. My issue is the misrepresentation of how men’s body images is portrayed in the media and the growing rise of mental health disorders. You can’t go through a week without reading the latest victim to overdose on steroids or some other dodgy supplement they bought online after seeing it endorsed by men whom they inspire to be for all the wrong reasons.

Finding Solutions

The real question is where do we go from here and how we do force changes in society to ensure men can feel happy under any layer of skin?

Education is crucial to any form of progression. We need more support networks to encourage men to speak about their insecurities, and it starts with the curriculum system. I also would like to see a more realistic representation of men when it comes to social media influencers because there’s no real balance. It’s the same issue with both genders – stick thin women or beach sculpted men. The average body gets pushed aside and alienates the majority of us.

I know a few readers will misconstrue my words as blaming men with healthier bodies as the culprits even though it was not my underlying message. It’s the comparison to such a small minority which is the problem. The system rewards beauty over the greater good. It would rather smell scent of profits than help men who are struggling in society. An overweight man who suffers from anxiety is equally as important in this world as the one who lives in the gym for most of his life.

We should embrace men to be happy in whatever makes us comfortable because we’re all built in different shapes and sizes. Don’t beat yourself up over the reflection in the mirror; it’s irrelevant. Be happy in your skin, accept your flaws, become the king of the house and a positive role model to society.

Men's Body image

About the Author

Hi all. My name is Joey. I’m the owner of http://concealedvoices.com – a men’s blog to motivate, inspire and educate. My blogging journey started during one of the darkest periods of my life. I openly talk about my battles with mental health along with other aspects of life such as lifestyle and fitness. I encourage you to join me on my journey and I look forward to getting to know more of you. If you’re interested in my work then head over to my blog and follow me on social media. The following post is a discussion about men’s body image. I believe there’s a systematic issue that needs to be changed because many of us are sick and tired with how specific industries in society expect men to look.

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19 thoughts on “Guest Post: Men’s Body Image

    1. Hi Joey! Very strong words you said in this post. I agree with you that men rarely talk about their insecurities. I also agree that education should be responsible for the correction of societal issues concerning physical standards and also social media. They really could do better. But also I think the way men support each other would help. More open in communication and support. Thanks for sharing this post! xo

  1. How wonderful to hear this said from a man’s perspective. We hear a lot (and write a lot) about how women’s bodies are stereotyped and the pressure applied for women to conform to those. But the same pressures and judgements are surely felt by men too – and less acknowledged or discussed. Excellent job bringing this up Joey and every conversation about this hopefully chips a bit off the stereotype.
    Have you seen ads etc for men to buy things like the body shaping contraptions women are exposed to? Stuff like I discussed here: https://smellysocksandgardenpeas.wordpress.com/2020/09/22/modern-corsets. In these days of tailored ads, I’d be interested to hear if there are such things pushed for men too?

  2. Very insightful post! Sometimes, we tend to forget that men can be affected by body image and other feelings that some consider as weakness. Thank you for bringing the light on that subject.

  3. hey Joey,
    so true! an ideal man’s image that the society formed is a perfect body with a six.2/3 and a six pack.
    it is so silly that even in this time, media tries to compare our bodies that are of others.
    thank you so much for shedding light on this important subject.
    awesome post!

  4. I cannot stand up and applaud this loud enough. Yes, yes, and yes! I agree with everything Joey has written, and hope this message gets to everyone who will listen. These are words EVERY man needs to read and hear loud and clear, deep into their own psyche.

    We all know the marketing BS that women get hammered with every day. It’s Photoshopped this, salesy junk, and endless fake ideals that don’t even exist in real life. Just last night, my husband and I were discussing this very topic. Men get beat down with it too and it all needs to stop.

    A real man should never be equated with his paycheck. A real man should never be equated with his weight, height, muscles, or any other superficial quality. A real man should never be condemned because he isn’t afraid to cry, show emotion, and actually be a REAL human being. A real man shouldn’t have to feel pressured by any ‘social norm’ that was constructed only to tear him down. Real men have integrity, honesty, character, and a hope for seeing better days ahead. When real men speak and let their voices be heard, things change.

    One of my favorite lines was this one; “The system rewards beauty over the greater good.” — Amen! This is exactly the truth, and in my humble opinion, WE NEED change! Thank you for this profound truth.

    I loved the honesty and transparency in this article. Truly a gem of a read and author! ♥ Thank you, dearest Hannah, for featuring him!

  5. What a great topic! I feel that body image in men is not as discussed as often as we should. We just don’t talk about it. We assume that men who struggle with body image issues are weak and not strong. Great way to bring this issue to the forefront.

  6. Such a powerful post. It is so important that we realise body image is an issue for everyone. My partner really struggles with it, to the point where he assumes I don’t find him attractive which is so far from the truth!

    Thank you for sharing so honestly x

  7. Wow this post so super powerful!! I suffer with body image issues, so do all of my sisters. It’s amazing that you are able to share this from a different perspective!

    Rosie
    loverosiee.co.uk

  8. Thank you so much for such a powerful and honest post. I can relate to all of this. I am a transgender man and l often feel a ton of pressure to ‘prove’ l am male. If l show the slightest bit of softness, l am Immediately feminised. I have had to do a lot of inner work on this but l am now at a place where l am comfortable with who l am. Yes lm emotional, yes the only six pack l have is a box of eggs in the fridge, but that doesn’t make me any less of a man. Humans have all sorts of personalities and body types and trying to make people fit to such rigid stereotypes does nothing but cause harm. Thank you for speaking up on this incredibly important topic.

    1. I usually don’t comment for my guest authors but I wanted to thank you for your comment. I’m looking for guest posts about transitioning and mental health. Feel free to message me if this is something you would like to do.

  9. This is a really great post! I thoroughly enjoyed getting to think about body image from a man’s perspective. It clearly isn’t discussed enough and I’m sure your post will help bring awareness to this!

  10. I feel like this isn’t talked about enough. I’m glad to see this perspective. BOTH men and women have some unreal beauty standards.

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