Men speak out against body-image pressure

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Cultural ideals set unrealistic standards for men, as well

When it comes to body image for women, celebrities such as model Ashley Graham, comedian Amy Schumer and athlete Serena Williams have helped redefine the stereotype. However, the ideal body image for men seems to remain the same: tall, tight abs and big biceps.

Growing up, boys are exposed to this stereotype at a young age through action figures such as G.I. Joe and superheroes Superman, Green Lantern and Captain America. These physiques are rare and almost unrealistic, yet they are praised throughout media.

Elliot Choe, junior kinesiology major and member of the cross country team, said he realizes the stereotype that comes with the sport.

“For cross country, most athletes can be expected to be very thin and have little to practically no muscle,” Choe said. “It doesn’t always end up like that though. Whether they have a lot of muscle or have a certain amount of fat on them, they can still really run.”

Vincent Zavala, freshman biology major, said there should be a variety of figures accepted for men.

“There should not be only one image or form that a guy’s body should look like,” Zavala said. “We are all born in different shapes and sizes, and we shouldn’t feel the need to change it.”

Logan McGown, senior civil engineering major, said the pressure men undergo is often overlooked in comparison to women, although both are
important.

“The issue of male stereotypes and body image is one that is not noted in today’s society,” McGown said. “As there are body-image pressures for women, there are also pressures for men. Images of the ideal man are noticeable in film, social media and all of society.”

A negative body image has the potential to take a toll on a person’s confidence. Joseph Smallwood, freshman graphic design and digital media major, sees comparison as a core issue when it comes to low
self-esteem.

“There are some guys who are super confident and don’t feel the need to succumb to the standard of being strong, while others always see the positives in other peoples’ body types,” Smallwood said. “Skinnier people always want to be bigger and bigger people always want to be skinnier, so it becomes hard to look at ourselves and see the positives.”

About Olivia Quebe

Asst. News Editor

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