Aussies me­dia- made

Townsville Bulletin - - Life Health -

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’.’’

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