Body acceptance and self-esteem in men

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puddingmouse
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22 Jul 2013, 12:23 pm

I'm starting to be more and more aware of this as an issue. I had a boyfriend who had always struggled with his weight but got bigger over time. His body acceptance was zero and it interfered with his sexual appetite (and consequently ended the relationship.) Looking back and seeing it for what it is, this makes me sad. I'm not saying that being obese is good for health, but that everyone, male or female, should like their body.

I see men are under a lot of pressure to have a certain body now more than they did 15 years ago. It's good if men want to work out to be healthy, but I see some unhealthy attitudes and practices developing. The way their self-esteem is affected upsets the way they go about relationships too.

Thinking of the kind of men I'm attracted to: I like all sorts of body types. I like skinny rockstars and 'bears' just as much (although I'm not a gay man, I can see what gay men see in bears.) I also like athletic people like runners and cyclists. I even like a geeky computer guys with a 24 BMI and little man boobies (this is probably because I would probably look like this if I was a guy and was back down to my normal weight) :lol:

Men are so insecure and try to bravado it away with 'bro' culture and if they're fat, laughing it off and being 'comedic' fat guys. It's much more acceptable to call a man a 'fat bastard' than it is to say a woman is fat. Their are tonnes of body acceptance blogs and sites for women but not for men. There's this idea that a woman can be hot if she's big, because she can be a BBW and have curves, but big men are just gross unless they have an unhealthily low body fat % and turn all the bulk into muscle.

This affects women, as well because women have relationships with these insecure guys. Also, I see body acceptance as a societal thing that men and women need to do together or not at all.

I think women (or men) should never:

1. Call a man a 'fat bastard'.
2. Sing the 'who ate all the pies' song at a man (this is a popular British song used to make fun of fat people, it's nearly always sung at men.)
3. Make fun of ectomorph men who take their top off and reveal a skinny chest and arms.
4. Make fun of endomorph men who don't have the societally required muscle definition to take their top off.
5. Refer to thin men as 'Skeletor' or a 'bag of bones'.

And I'm sure there are a few others. Who's with me?


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monsterland
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22 Jul 2013, 1:36 pm

The obesity phenomena is quite interesting to me. Growing up in USSR where nobody had a car, we didn't have entertainment foods like burgers, fries and Coca Cola, and everyone either walked or used public transportation... we had very few fat people. And no morbidly obese people.



trollcatman
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22 Jul 2013, 3:08 pm

Interesting that you said "a geeky computer guys with a 24 BMI and little man boobies" because most geeky nerd people I know are skinny (I consider myself one of those people). I actually looked it up on wikipedia, and 24 is in the normal range.
I think how people look is largely influenced by their social groups. When I was at university many people were the stick figure geek type of people with barely enough muscle to lug around their Tolkien collection. Today I cycled though a less privileged neighbourhood and there were two types of men: the overweight beer belly kind, and the muscle weightlifter guys.

I think background is one of the most important factors in this. The East Asian people (Indonesian, Chinese, Vietnamese) are usually slim, and the Turks and native Dutch are often overweight. They are probably on a different diet.
I've never really felt pressured to work out or anything like that. I haven't done any real exercise for 10 years. I think that type of pressure depends on your peer group. Many of the people I know are somewhat geeky couch potatoes, so I fit in. Things might be different if most of my peers were into sports and health.



puddingmouse
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22 Jul 2013, 3:53 pm

trollcatman wrote:
Interesting that you said "a geeky computer guys with a 24 BMI and little man boobies" because most geeky nerd people I know are skinny (I consider myself one of those people). I actually looked it up on wikipedia, and 24 is in the normal range.


Haha, that bit was actually like a male version of me rather than a stereotype. I have a BMI like that normally (I put on a lot of weight due to medication, but I'm getting back to normal now.) I wonder how many girls picture themselves as a male version of themselves? If they did, they might be more understanding of men's body image issues.


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anotherswede
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22 Jul 2013, 5:56 pm

puddingmouse wrote:
I'm starting to be more and more aware of this as an issue. I had a boyfriend who had always struggled with his weight but got bigger over time. His body acceptance was zero and it interfered with his sexual appetite (and consequently ended the relationship.) Looking back and seeing it for what it is, this makes me sad. I'm not saying that being obese is good for health, but that everyone, male or female, should like their body.

I see men are under a lot of pressure to have a certain body now more than they did 15 years ago. It's good if men want to work out to be healthy, but I see some unhealthy attitudes and practices developing. The way their self-esteem is affected upsets the way they go about relationships too.
To me there seems to be a trend in media, movies, TV, to feature more muscular men than in the nineties. The "ideal" man seems to have grown in muscle mass.

The trend amongst the general public seems to be that people are getting fatter. The number of people having the normal body type (that most everyone had before) men generally had doing manual labour seems to me to be rapidly declining. This pressure you speak of may reflect that, and when most everyone had the normal body type there would be no need for such pressure.

What seems to be strongly trending where I live is the fitness culture amongst most between 16 and 30, or somewhere there about. A seriously large number of girls now hit the gym and it wasn't like that 5 or 10 years ago. Number of gyms have doubled in 2 years and what a 20 year old girl considers a desirable body is way off what it was 10 years ago. This has nothing to do with being overweight but about being "tight", or what they call it... This could be a worrying trend if a normal slim teenage girls feels she doesn't have the muscle tone that is becoming the norm or trend.
puddingmouse wrote:
of the kind of men I'm attracted to: I like all sorts of body types. I like skinny rockstars and 'bears' just as much (although I'm not a gay man, I can see what gay men see in bears.) I also like athletic people like runners and cyclists. I even like a geeky computer guys with a 24 BMI and little man boobies (this is probably because I would probably look like this if I was a guy and was back down to my normal weight)

A BMI of 23-24 seems to be what is generally considered desirable for men, with a BMI on the lower end being desirable for women, like 19-21.

The picture of the geek is more like being way heavier than 24, like obese, or on the low to end of the scale.

puddingmouse wrote:
Men are so insecure and try to bravado it away with 'bro' culture and if they're fat, laughing it off and being 'comedic' fat guys. It's much more acceptable to call a man a 'fat bastard' than it is to say a woman is fat. Their are tonnes of body acceptance blogs and sites for women but not for men. There's this idea that a woman can be hot if she's big, because she can be a BBW and have curves, but big men are just gross unless they have an unhealthily low body fat % and turn all the bulk into muscle.

This affects women, as well because women have relationships with these insecure guys. Also, I see body acceptance as a societal thing that men and women need to do together or not at all.

Depending on where you live, but being fat isn't something few are. In the US 64% were overweight, obese or pre-obese, 10 years ago. Likely significantly higher now and about a third being obese now. Most of western Europe isn't that far behind. With every second or so guy being a bit overweight it can't possibly have the same stigma attached to it as being an aspie, being gay, deaf, etc.

People get the weirdest ideas. This advocacy of being big could be dangerous to some degree. Even losing a little could have positive effect on health. Everyone knows being obese negatively effects health, and advocating the likes of obesity, smoking, drugs, alcohol, speeding, etc., probably shouldn't be done. This may be stretching what you were meaning, and I'm sorry about that, but after watching a few programmes about BBWs, acceptance and such, it did seem a strange culture. Either way society's pressure should not be making people feel bad and get depressed because they don't conform and have trouble shedding their weight. One is what one is and you have to be happy about that and accept yourself.



puddingmouse
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22 Jul 2013, 6:02 pm

^ Body acceptance isn't about promoting unhealthy weights, but about improving people's self esteem. I'm currently overweight but I have lot quite a lot of weight and am continuing to lose it. Hating myself isn't going to help me one jot in getting healthy.

It's a movement to promote mental health rather than one to promote physical ill health.


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auntblabby
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22 Jul 2013, 7:37 pm

watching the perfect physiques in porn has sort of given me a bit of an inferiority complex. even when I was young and fit I wasn't as fit as these video supermen. :oops:



puddingmouse
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22 Jul 2013, 7:50 pm

auntblabby wrote:
watching the perfect physiques in porn has sort of given me a bit of an inferiority complex. even when I was young and fit I wasn't as fit as these video supermen. :oops:


You are beautiful. I couldn't get wet for one of those hulks in porn films.


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22 Jul 2013, 8:23 pm

It's hard enough being accepted by others as a person without having them reject me for having a less-than-perfect body.



auntblabby
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22 Jul 2013, 8:41 pm

puddingmouse wrote:
auntblabby wrote:
watching the perfect physiques in porn has sort of given me a bit of an inferiority complex. even when I was young and fit I wasn't as fit as these video supermen. :oops:


You are beautiful. I couldn't get wet for one of those hulks in porn films.

why thank you :D you are sweet and deserving of far better.



auntblabby
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22 Jul 2013, 8:42 pm

Fnord wrote:
It's hard enough being accepted by others as a person without having them reject me for having a less-than-perfect body.

the people who would totallty reject you for exterior things are not all that they are made out to be.



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22 Jul 2013, 9:02 pm

Eh, I feel there should be moderation for accepting the body completely. There is a very unhealthy culture of accepting unhealthy lifestyles etc, "thin privilege" and all that.

I had health and self-esteem issues in the past, I am at least proud of my 100lbs weight loss. My sense of being now feels pretty good. It is a shame that there are people that accept their unhealthy bodies as fate and that everyone else is wrong, I wouldn't be surprised this type of inflamed attitude is killing people.

Balance, moderation and promoting general good health is key. From experiences, Take full self-confidence within yourself but also take responsibility of health.


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puddingmouse
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22 Jul 2013, 10:38 pm

Everyone I know in the body acceptance movement is at least trying to be a healthy weight. And I don't just propose it be for overweight people, but for everyone., If you read my OP, I mention all kinds of body types that fall outside of the media ideal.


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auntblabby
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22 Jul 2013, 10:49 pm

puddingmouse wrote:
Everyone I know in the body acceptance movement is at least trying to be a healthy weight. And I don't just propose it be for overweight people, but for everyone., If you read my OP, I mention all kinds of body types that fall outside of the media ideal.

by healthy weight, do you mean lower than 25 BMI?



puddingmouse
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22 Jul 2013, 10:54 pm

auntblabby wrote:
puddingmouse wrote:
Everyone I know in the body acceptance movement is at least trying to be a healthy weight. And I don't just propose it be for overweight people, but for everyone., If you read my OP, I mention all kinds of body types that fall outside of the media ideal.

by healthy weight, do you mean lower than 25 BMI?


If they physically can (taking things like thyroid issues and PCOS into account) then I guess, yes in some cases (certainly in mine.) There are some that assert that you can be healthy and be obese, but I don't think that's true. You can however, be obese and be healthier than slim people who drink and smoke a lot.


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