"Men are being bombarded with images of the perfect physique"

Tonight at work we were even more dead than we normally are on a Tuesday night in the bar, so I found myself pretty bored after cleaning everything twice and decided to chill for a while and read our local newspaper. I don't often read the newspaper anymore simply because some of the things in it trigger me badly and because some of the other things, like today's event, just irritate me to no end.

Flicking through the first few pages of depressing news and junk advertisements, I found myself faced with the huge bolded title "Buck the trend, guys" which then read in larger letters underneath: "Men are being bombarded with images of the perfect physique, causing the same pressure to conform that women have long been used to, and bringing similar harm". Intrigued I read on... "Men spent 50,000 years advancing from bare skins and bearskins to the impeccably tailored suit... Twentieth century bloke had every reason to hope that personality and brains (or failing that, a fat wallet) would count for more in his sophisticated modern world than a caveman physique. But in the past 20 years civilisation has crashed into reverse gear". By this time, all I could think was boo effing hoo, guys. But I read on... "Not only has the modern girl become ludicrously intolerant of her mans flabby physique, and far more vocal about expressing her impertinent displeasure, but men also find themselves confronted at every turn by images of other men... godlike hunks. What has that done to the male self esteem, already reeling from the relentless advance of women in society?”

That, right there, made me actually throw the newspaper right across the room.

There are so many things in that paragraph that just anger me. Starting with the obvious, that the author is obviously a male, very sexist, and let’s be honest, probably not one of these "godlike hunks" of his. But also, the fact that he refers to men all the way through the article as men, or blokes etc and to women as girls. That says a lot right there on its own.

I want to say something before I really get into this, and that is that I do not like that either Women OR Men are faced with these images of the stereotypical perfect body, perfect Woman/Man. However, this article is not just about male body image issues at all. It is about men being faced with their bodies being used in the same manner as the female body has been for years. And no, not every Woman is just “used to it” by now, and just because we have grown up with these body types shoved in our faces for years, does not mean that it is somehow okay. No Woman, or Man, should feel less than a person because of an air brushed naked body in a magazine or on a poster, and the fact that anyone does really sucks. But I think the issue here is that men are starting to see these things, starting to realise that they too can be used for advertising, they too can be ogled at and degraded and picked apart for how much they weigh, and how tanned their thighs are. And they don’t like it. But what strikes me when I come across this stuff is that this is somehow put on the backs of women. Because Women are the consumers, because women have gained some more places in the advertising world, this means that women are responsible for what men are feeling? Give me a break. If men are uncomfortable with their bodies because they see an advertisement with a half naked man on it, then I think it is probably a good thing. How did they think we felt, all these years? No one likes that feeling, male or female. Maybe they will start to get that. Maybe once the realisation kicks in that it is damn hard to be that body on the television they will look around and see that women are more than just a body. And that not all of us aim to be that body, and some of us even won’t get used to seeing that body, ever, because we don’t like it. So guys, maybe its time to take a good look around don’t you think?