MAN IN THE MIRROR Do men suffer the same insecurities as women? The answer is a simple Yes.
It would be glib and easy to go straight to the penis jokes but I won’t. Nor will I get into the topic without acknowledging that women face a greater daily degree of body insecurity than men do. That said, the gap is closing. Once upon a time, most men believed they’re just a few weeks of sit ups away from a Zac Efron six-pack, but those days have gone the way of fax machines – go ask your mum – and Hotmail addresses. Men may joke about their beer guts being “investments” or “the balcony over the tool shed”, but inside, we are hurting. The bravado is almost as hollow as a Kardashian-Humphries marriage.
I could throw a bunch of statistics at you about the increasing prevalence of men showing up at hospitals with eating disorders, but this one yells the loudest: A 2015 Australian study found that the largest group of new drug injectors presenting at needle exchanges were not on heroin, but rather, performance- and image-enhancing drugs. It’s a category growing so rapidly that they now have their own nifty acronym (PIEDs), and the illicit steroid trade is a multi-billion dollar industry. So, what do men worry about physically? Let’s just start with the head, shall we? Do those hair at the bottom of the shower mean baldness is on the horizon? Wouldn’t it be great if our noses were just a touch more aquiline? And is that first hint of chin a double or one and a half? And we haven’t even started on weight (not to mention the dreaded man boobs). There’s a male equivalent of does-my-bum-look-big-in-this, and you could see it in the way we suck in even a healthy stomach when trying on a new shirt or catching a glimpse of ourselves sans chemise in the mirror. Head to any gym from Langkawi to Lombok, go straight to the free weights section, and you’ll see a phalanx of men Can you imagine that Robert Pattinson has body image issues? He’s reportedly said: “I don’t have a six pack and I hate going to the gym.” pumping away their insecurities. Sure, there’s a valid pretext of good health at play, but as someone with a lifetime of discarded fitness memberships, trust me when I say it’s 90 per cent vanity – in other words, the feeling that who I was and am was never quite enough.
It’s the gnawing chorus familiar to so many of both genders. You see, instead of becoming that little bit more forgiving of our own and others’ so-called “imperfections”, we now live in an era of equal-opportunity body shaming. Raking in over 6 million views, this BuzzFeed video went viral when it tackled the issue of men’s bodies being photoshopped to the ideal shape. Going from the loveable bumbling Andy in Parks and Recreation, Chris Pratt basically morphed into a sculpted God in Guardians Of The Galaxy in 2014.
“I need to get rid of that butt chin!”