Men and Body Shaming, How Stigmas Around Perfect Body Affect Men

Men and Body Shaming: Even Men are subjected to have body image issues

Belly Fat, facial Hair, height, weight, skin colour, muscle strength etc. We often hear about women getting comments about these physical features of their and are being body shamed. But where society has set standards for a perfect body for women, it can’t be said that it doesn’t define for men, ‘What is a Perfect Body?’. Remember, the times when you called out a guy with less hair, weaker muscles, and small height. If not, then you can definitely recall when Justin Bieber was called out as not being manly enough because he doesn’t have facial hair, or Nick Jonas being called out for his height. With men, the larger idea of making them fit in the shape that is most masculine, men and body shaming is already tagging along.

What is Body Shaming?

The basic definition of Body Shaming can be the practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape, size, or features. Society often has a particular size, shape, and physical feature in our mind that they think is the ideal. Any image, that doesn’t fit in that ideal image is largely subjected to criticism, not because it is really imperfect but because it doesn’t fit the larger definition of the body.

Read more: Feminism and Masculism: How LGBTQI+ are still struggling for their gender identities?

male body shaming

Men are also called out for their weight

“I was 18 or so when perhaps for no particular reason, I started to gain a lot of weight. I belong to a Punjabi family and of course, food is what I love. But while I started to put on weight, there was a different kind of shame I was made to feel, in the college, in family, and elsewhere. Where nobody uses to directly say something like ‘mota ho rha hai, weight kam kar’ or something but they used to sugarcoat the whole thing under the idea making it an issue of health, which it is, but their kind concern has never generally have been my health, but it was my body image” – Ashant Anu. While Ashant Anu’s case is one, several others have been going through similar experiences.

Body Shaming Men and its relation with toxic masculinity

The body image of men is deeply inspired by the masculine figure of a man, the society knows. A man’s image is certainly the one that looks like ‘man enough’, deeply inspired by the macho body, filled with strength and vigour. While this image is an aspect, the imposition of fitting into it is toxic. The act of body-shaming men for how they look is certainly imposing toxic masculinity on men.

Body Image and Identity

Many people make the body image, as the identity. We might have heard people saying ‘voh mota sa ladka’ (that fat guy) or ‘chikna’ (smooth, about men who don’t have much facial hair growth). For a person who is fat, or has low facial growth or any other body type, their identity becomes that. For example – Korean men, who often don’t develop a lot of hair on their body are identified with the same image. They are often thought of as being gay and subjected to homophobic comments.

Body Shaming and Mental Health

Body Shaming has a direct impact on mental health. While many people try to ignore the body-shaming comments or pretend that it doesn’t affect them, the truth is that body image has got a lot to do with mental health. Many people end up being in spells of anxiety and guilt for the way they look. They try to follow strict diets, try to hit the gyms, and feel deeply insecure about the way they look. Many even go for steroids. And this eats them up mentally, in ways it shouldn’t.

Well, the list of tangents around men’s body image can go on and on, and body shaming ain’t certainly a women’s issue only. The best thing one can do is stop defining the right body for anyone. Spread body positivity as all bodies and inculcate self-love for the body.

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Ishika Aggarwal

Can write, shoot, listen, talk and procrastinate. A feminist at heart, Ishika is an avid writer and multimedia person who loves talking about women, realism, and society. When not working she is either seen watching films or making one.
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