Male & Female Body Image


What is “body image” and who is it more of a problem for - Men or Women?

What is “body image” and who is it more of a problem for - Men or Women? Can it be a problem in the dating world?

*a subjective picture of one's own physical appearance established both by self-observation and by noting the reactions of others.

For the longest time female body image has been publicized relentlessly. It is not a wonder that so many women have self esteem issues relating to how they look. Anorexia is still alive & “not well” with many people today. It is not going away anytime soon & it is discussed more today than ever before due to all the social media outlets available. Companies like Dove & Plus size Modelling Agencies are fighting back. Recently “The Guardian” a British newspaper, ran this story :

L'Oréal has been forced to pull ad campaigns featuring Pretty Woman star Julia Roberts and supermodel Christy Turlington, after the advertising watchdog upheld complaints by Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson that the images were overly airbrushed.”

How does body image affect men?

*According to
“The global male market for beauty products has exploded; the global take in 2009 was $19.7 billion USD and it’s expected to grow to almost $85 billion within five years. Advertising agencies have played a major part in the increased attention on male body image and grooming, coining terminology such as “metrosexual.”

Men have much more pressure on them now with all the metrosexual marketing & products available. Botox is now a popular cosmetic procedure for many, especially those men who are regularly in the lime light. It is not uncommon to see men sitting beside a woman having a pedicure & manicure. Manscaping (removing excess hair below the waist) is almost as popular as waxing the bikini line for women. The female Brazilian now has a male version called the Boyzilian.

Photos of (heart throb) Gerard Butler were taken last year when he was vacationing on a beach. He had apparently lost that 'six pack' all his lady fans admired and the paparazzi took advantage of it to share with the world. He looked like an average guy but magazines made this a featured article due to his celebrity status. Vince Vaughn also had his share of scrutinizing about his weight while he was dating Jennifer Aniston. When you are a leading man or sex symbol you will “take the body image heat,” much more than if you are someone like Drew Carrey or Seth Rogan who are known for their humour first. Interestingly enough, both of these actors have recently whittled down a few sizes & are now entering a different category ~ Sexy!

There is so much pressure when you are in the public eye. People like Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Courtney Love, Tori Spelling, Lindsay Lohan & Oprah are constantly dissected about how they look! They are either too skinny or overweight. No one leaves them alone for a minute. It is often said that if you are in the public eye, you are fair game to criticism. (Who made up that rule?)

Everyone has feelings & the old expression “names will never hurt you” has been revised to ~ Bullying.

One of the most popular TV reality shows is The Biggest Loser. It is surprising how many men watch it. The times have changed where men also have a reputation & body image to uphold just as women always have, especially in the singles market. Both sexes are feeling the pressure to look good and are affected about body image at all ages. This show consists of people who are not celebrities but “real” everyday people with a weight issue. People who have struggled with over eating can relate to this & enjoy seeing the end results the show provides. It gives hope & a happy ending.

There are so many overweight children now due to the inactivity of their lives. (Much of our body image is derived from our childhood.) Computer games & technology has made our kids lazy. Parents need to keep them active & get them involved in sports. This helps with social acceptance which also helps with self esteem. Pressure to fit in at school with all the clothing trends is overwhelming for many teens. (It was easier back in the day of only having two choices of Lee or Levi in the closet!)

Teenage girls are now getting breast implants for graduation gifts from their parents or they are working two jobs to pay for it themselves. Many other plastic surgeries are happening younger & younger now. (Botox is injected before the age of 30!) It would be wonderful to say that we are on our way to a less body conscious world, but the statistics are not showing the changes & now men have joined the ranks. It’s not going away unfortunately but with bringing constant awareness to this ongoing issue is at least addressing the problem. Many companies are starting to take action & help bring self esteem back to all body types. We are all beautiful & there is someone for everyone. Always believe you are worthy of love & happiness because “Confidence” is the best beauty mark you can ever wear.

Message: ~Compliment someone everyday for the rest of your life~

*American Psychological Association (APA):body image. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary. Retrieved July 27, 2011, from website: image

Susan McCord @