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Media Influence/Body Image


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I just finished watching Robocop- WHICH I LOVED, but it made me wonder; why don't unrealistic body images in media affect men the way they affect women? This guy's 'suit'-his body-was SO cool! Bigger, stronger, more-chiseled...this is, or should be, the male equivalent of airbrushing a model's thighs thin. Yet I don't know any guys whose own body image would be negatively affected by seeing that. They don't long to look like that-they don't think they can if they starve themselves.

 

Why do you think this is?

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It does. Plenty of dudes have body image problems. But then men probably don't care as much cause they know that they're gonna be able to get women anyways. Where as women seem to be constantly in competition with other women and see hot skinny chicks as a threat.

 

Speaking generically that is.

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I know quite a few guys who are obsessed with body image, they just do it differently than women. They're called gym rats.

 

I would say my husband has some mild body image issues. His mom hates on fat people all the time, and is obsessed with being thin. She will forgo food to keep her calories down. My husband as a result is very picky about what he eats and skips meals if he doesn't feel he has a healthy enough choice. I, on the other hand, will choose the least terrible choice and try to make up for it later. But he weighs less than me and is 7 inches taller, so there you go.

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In general, I think that men receive more pressure to do certain things, while women receive more pressure to look a certain way.

 

If you don't like sports as a man, there's something inherently wrong with you. So even if you really don't care, you have to at least follow somewhat if you want to be able to relate with other men.

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In general, I think that men receive more pressure to do certain things, while women receive more pressure to look a certain way.

I don't think it's all just artificially created and foisted upon us, but from a media/culture influence perspective, I think this nails it.

 

Not that men don't receive pressure on how to look (be tall, be fit, have muscles but not too many, don't lose your hair), but not nearly to the same extent. Not even close. Men also know that even if they aren't model material, they still have several other currencies they can trade in to attract a high-quality mate: ambition and confidence, wealth and success, intelligence and creativity, good conversationalist/listener/sense of humor, etc. Men may admire those traits in a woman, but those traits do less to make her attractive to him than three extra pints of beer will. On the other hand, you see attractive women hanging on dorky (but confident, successful, creative, etc.) men quite regularly.

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I am secure enough to admit (here) that I feel some pressure to maintain an appearance. It's not strictly physical, but even just a demeanor. The physical side is to be fit, be glad I'm not short, and be equally glad I still have hair at age 30. Being tall and having hair takes care of a lot for a guy, at least in regards to physique. In my career, these attributes pay. They want a guy that has "the look", at least for white guys. If the white guy doesn't have that look, they'll go for a woman or minority to fulfill a quota. It's not the main determining factor in being in the field, but it's a lie to say it isn't a significant factor.

 

As Mitth said, show no weakness, don't fail, and play the game. I am surrounded by Protestant Christians, and I have to mind my facial expressions so I don't tip my hand and screw myself professionally. Some Christians will just inherently distrust someone with different beliefs. It just puts you on the outside of a circle. I've heard people described as, "A good Christian", and it does matter.

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It's two things really:

 

1: Women are valued on their looks to a greater degree than men are. A much greater degree. Basically what Pong said above.

 

2: Women tend to receive a much greater degree of sympathy for issues related to their gender than men do, and such issues are much more likely to be framed in gendered terms. It's not like men don't have body image issues, it's that body image is seen as a "woman's issue" and women guard "their issues" very jealously. Any suggestion that men have similar problems (or that men have problems period) will encounter fierce and bitter resistance anywhere on social media (and sometimes even in real life) when such suggestions are made. So there's a tendency to suppress discussion of body image issues for men.

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