Body Positivity...but for Men?

I’ve had my fair share of insecurities when it comes to body image, as the bar is set incredibly high when it comes to how females should act and look, but I’ve seen hypocrisy when it comes to people who claim to be a part of the body positivity movement.

A prime example of this was when photos of Jason Momoa at the pool went viral and comments stated that he had a “dad bod,” was “fat” and “not attractive anymore.” There were some comments that came to his defense, but the fact that many of these comments came from women who had liked or made posts about body acceptance made me think, why is this subject different for men?

Recently Zac Efron has also been publicly degraded online for having a “dad bod” and not being as attractive as “he used to be.” This happened even after an interview he had where he discussed not wanting the body he had for a previous movie role due to it being difficult to maintain and not realistic.

According to a Bradley University study, “men tend to be quieter about their body negativity, seeking treatment less frequently or holding off on treatment longer than women due to shame.”

The reality is that many people have this mentality that men are mentally and emotionally stronger than women and thus cannot be affected by subjects like body dysmorphia, eating disorders, and so on.

The same study at Bradley University revealed that “95% of college age men are dissatisfied with their bodies on some level,” and just as women tend to be pressured to lose weight, men are pressured to gain weight in muscle.

So what can people do to include men in the body positivity movement?

For starters, I think it is time to retire terms like “dad bod” to refer to someone who does not fit the idea of what a man “should” look like. Plus size clothing for men should also have a spotlight in the body positivity movement, as plus size men have low representation, if any. Also, normalizing discussions about men’s mental health is a key step to preventing eating disorders and other unhealthy habits. 

Here are some helpful resources if you are struggling with body insecurities, eating disorders and so on.  

National Eating Disorders Association: (800) 931-2237

National Association of Anorexia: (630) 577-1330

Massachusetts Eating Disorder Association: (617) 558-1881