One of the less discussed topics regarding body positivity is that of male body image.
The Body Project, developed by the Women’s Studies Program at Bradley University noted on their website that, “So far, research has shown that male and female body images share many of the same features. Women and men, boys and girls, may share body image risk factors and consequences of negative body image, though studies do point toward males being affected a little less severely than females.” This was in regards to a study conducted by Psychology professors Duane A. Hargreaves and Marika Tiggemann.
According to The Body Project;
“Male body image also tends to be more misunderstood than female body image. Men are presumed to be mainly concerned with a ‘perceived lack of muscle,’ when in fact male body image can be much more complex.”
One study by professors in the Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy of Osnabrück University in Germany tracked 45 weight-training men, while showing them photographs of men with normal, muscular and hyper-muscular body builds.
The study read that, “Among the 3 other bodies, the attractive body parts of the muscular body drew the most visual attention. Results confirm and extend recent findings on the relevance of muscularity for male body image. At the same time, they indicate a prominent role of drive for thinness for body-related attentional biases assumed to perpetuate body dissatisfaction even in men.”
To get the opinion of a real-life male, I sat down with my friend Wold Recht in the lawn in front of the Kennedy Library on the Cal Poly campus. As he picked apart the blades of grass in front of him, I picked apart his brain and asked him for his views of male body image.
“Within my own personal sphere, I don’t regard it as healthy to allow yourself to be influenced by what is effectively just a consumerist approach to what the body’s image should be.” —Wolf Recht
While Recht understands that he is surrounded by social pressures that affect many people’s body image, he chooses not to pay them much attention in his day to day life.
I guess this just shows that many people will feel differently when it comes to body image, especially because it is such a personal subject. It’s fascinating to open up conversations about self love or body image, particularly with people who have a different perspectives than you do; they will always teach you something new.