My previous posts have been focusing on the representation of female body image in the media. Now I’d like to look at male body image. We are seeing an increase in images of shirtless men, who appear to have no flaws. Generally, this image is of a physically strong, muscular man, who is tanned and toned.
Here is a classic example of this man. I found it extremely difficult to find an alternative to this generic image, and my search was full of glistening sculpted men. It seems that although the media is exploring different shapes in women, men don’t have so much leeway, which could possibly cause pressure for men to look like the men they see in magazines or on billboards. The Australian Psychological Society writes that “it is believed that men’s body image dissatisfaction has tripled in the previous 25 years, from 15 per cent to 45 per cent (of all western men).” As well as this The Better Health Channel published that “around one in four Australian men in the healthy weight range believe themselves to be fat, while 17 per cent of men are on a weight loss diet at any given time. Men also worry about being muscular. A desire to fit the ideal masculine image of lean muscularity means that over-exercising and the use of dangerous and illegal drugs (like steroids) are on the rise.” This is not surprising due the standard today’s media is setting. Images like these send the message than one must adopt a certain appearance in order to appear strong and sexually desirable.