Aussies media- made
WHEN Mitchell Doyle was in primary school, the cool kids he idolised picked on him for being chubby.
‘‘ I still had my baby fat – I hadn’t shot up yet. I was getting bullied every day for my weight and I took a turn for the worst,’’ he recalls.
At the age of 11, Mitchell became anorexic. He recovered, but relapsed at 17.
He now says he was a victim of the media’s push for perfection.
‘‘ The media is a big force, and every day seeing these chiselled people, these toned people – it’s intimidating, especially for people who have selfimage issues,’’ he said.
Mitchell’s not alone. About 75 per cent of men and women surveyed in January for the Dove Men+ Care survey feel advertising has got it wrong about the ideal image of the Aussie bloke, with 82 per cent of those blaming it on the use of male bodies that are ‘‘ too perfect’’.
At 20, Mitchell’s bad years are now behind him. He’s tall and fit, and describes himself as ‘‘ thin’’, but in a good way.
But what distinguishes him from the macho, buff stereotype, he says, is that he’s not doing it for anyone other than himself – and that it’s not about how he looks but how he feels about himself.
‘‘ Being happy in your own skin is what disconnects me from them. I don’t need to go to the gym to pump iron five days a week to make myself feel happy.’’
How did his distorted self-image change? He recalls ‘‘ suddenly looking at other people and I realised we’re all different and that we should embrace who we are’’.
‘‘ Just looking in the mirror and smiling was a big turning point.’’
The i mmaculate i mage of t he hunky Adonis peddled in the media, that would appear to focus on the look rather than the man, is not just at odds with how the market views the Aussie man, but it puts people off.
Sixty five per cent of women surveyed by Dove are turned off by guys seeking physical perfection.
Although one in four men view a muscular tanned physique as desirable, women prefer a man with a warm inner glow to hot looks.
A convincing 99 per cent of women would in fact prefer a funny guy with good manners to the perfect paragon. Mitchell agrees. ‘‘ My idea of the Australian guy is a bit rough around the edges, at a barbecue with his mates, very nonchalant about their looks; caring about what they look like, but not being obsessive about it.
‘‘ You can still be fun and flirty and vivacious in a photo without having someone with their shirt off and their undies halfway down, saying ’ look at me’.’’