Two sad and fascinating stories on men and body image came across this Feminist Philosopher’s screen this morning:
Pediatricians are starting to sound alarm bells about boys who take unhealthy measures to try to achieve Charles Atlas bodies that only genetics can truly confer. Whether it is long hours in the gym, allowances blown on expensive supplements or even risky experiments with illegal steroids, the price American boys are willing to pay for the perfect body appears to be on the rise.
In a study to be published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics, more than 40 percent of boys in middle school and high school said they regularly exercised with the goal of increasing muscle mass. Thirty-eight percent said they used protein supplements, and nearly 6 percent said they had experimented with steroids.
Thanks to an FP reader for emailing us this story.
In my day job, I work at a state wildlife department. It’s a manly, bearded, and flannel-clad kind of place. Although I’m a public relations person, interacting with people and writing press releases, I work with game wardens, biologists, and other outdoorsy types. In such an environment, it is not unusual to hear someone called a “fat fuck” or a “goddamn prick.” It’s not meant to be personal when men insult one another. If you have red hair, they might call you red or if you’re bald, they might call you baldy (in a fit of originality). For me, I sometimes hear fat ass, fat fuck, or chubby. Among men, these kinds of insults are normal, even expected. If someone isn’t cruel to you regularly, it probably means you are not well liked. Ironically, the more other men like you, the more often they might hurl a “fat bastard” your way.
From the terrific online magazine Role/Reboot which focuses on culture and gender roles.
In my dreams of equality I want women to enjoy the bodily freedom that men have traditionally enjoyed but sadly it looks as if we are getting equality by leveling down: pressure, anxiety, and fear all round.