Friday, May 2, 2008

Why are we so unhappy about our bodies?

It looks like malehealth readers agree with Warwick University psychologist David Giles that men's magazines are damaging male body image. In this month's snap survey, only one respondent in three was happy with his body and only 11% thought that men's mags improved our body image. (The full survey is here.)

I expected men to be less happy with their bodies today than they were 10 or 20 years ago but even so I was surprised that the figure was as high as two men in three. This straw poll certainly suggests to me that an approach to health information that is built around so-called aspirational images of the male body beautiful doesn't improve men's health. I think that speaking frankly and realistically as we do on malehealth is better.

Of course, you'd expect me to say that but there's man talking on malehealth this month, Denis Taylor, who has struggled enormously with his body image. He had his penis amputated following cancer and a new one made using skin from his leg. Reading his account should make anyone who feels a bit down on himself because he hasn't got a six-pack think again. Denis has come back from depression and channelled his anger into art - a much better thing to do with it for some of us than going down the gym, I'd suggest. It's proof indeed that beauty really does come from within the individual (not from within a lad's magazine).

1 comment:

Ernesto said...

As someone who goes to the gym regularly and enjoys weight training a lot (and doesn't have an 8-pack), I thank you for this post.