Males express body image issues

Body positivity movement is a social movement that encourages people of all sizes, shapes, and colors to embrace their bodies. Both males and females can be a part of this movement, but social media has aimed it towards women. 

“I think the media just kind of strays away from body image when it comes to males,” junior Phillip Todd said. “Obviously like on social media, the whole body positivity movement, which is a really great thing but it is really only magnified to one end of the spectrum for females.”

Todd has struggled with the way his body looks since middle school. He believes others see him as scrawny and weak. Yet society wants men to be big and muscular. 

“The pressure for males is to be big and muscular and ripped and if we don’t look like that we’re told no one will like us and it makes us feel worthless,” Todd said. 

While men are supposed to be big, women are supposed to look slim according to junior Aiden McKinley. 

“Men are pressured to look big and strong, while women are pressured to look perfect and slim,” McKinley said. “They both result in bad habits that lead to poor mental and physical health.”

Men can deal with unwanted body image just like women. The media tends to stray away from this. 

“I’ve been bullied my whole life for my stature and how skinny I am,” Todd said. “I’ve been called chicken legs, noodle arms, scrawny boy, the whole nine. I never really dealt with it until now. It just made me really sad but now I use it as motivation in the gym to better myself.” 

Todd is currently going to the gym almost every day. He started a new diet that consists of four to five meals a day with lots of protein. His goal is to gain more muscle. Some men feel the opposite. 

“I would see myself as overweight,” senior Baylor Baugh said.

Baugh is trying to work out and eat less to change that, but has also expected the fact that he is larger than he wants to be.

“I don’t like that I am fat, but I am, and I can’t make excuses as to why I am this size other than owning up to the fact that I control it,” Baugh said.

According to Baugh, he was never bullied, but his friends and siblings would make fat jokes about him.

“Friends of mine or my brothers will make fat jokes, but I joke with them about stuff like that too, so I wouldn’t say it is bullying,” Baugh said. 

Senior Nathan Womack has dealt with gynecomastia, which is an enlargement of breast tissue in males. This is caused by low male hormones, testosterone, or an increase in female hormones, estrogen. 

“I like that I look big and I have broad shoulders, but my gynecomastia has really negatively affected the way I view myself,” Womack said. 

Although Womack likes that he is big, he would still change the gynecomastia. He is currently working out and eating better to improve his appearance. 

Men struggled with their looks too, just like women. Their struggle is just in a different way. 

“I think that it’s messed up man,” Todd said. “It hurts to feel this way all the time and I know other men feel the same way and I hate that for them. If you’re feeling bad about your body, use that as your fuel and go hit the gym, go eat another meal, you’ll feel better.”