Everybody knows that body insecurities are real. They creep in at night or in the shower, they prey on your confidence when you eat ice cream or can't fit into clothes. But one thing I've always thought was weird is that it is perfectly acceptable for women to display their body insecurities, to talk openly about not feeling it or being uncomfortable. This wasn't always the case, and it is just starting to be a social subject, but not for everyone. Men don't have this luxury. Men have to be manly, to display themselves and be confident all the time, to love their bodies and to show that off.
Everyone has insecurities, no matter your gender orientation. So why then, if we all experience the same feelings of doubt and self hate, can we not all talk about them with equal societal attention? I think that is a load of crap, so I asked eight of the bravest men I know to share their weakest sides, their body insecurities. Here's what they said.
I asked each guy three questions.
1) What's your biggest bodily insecurity and Why?
2) Have you always felt that way?
3) Do you feel like you can talk about your insecurities with others?
Their answers are numbered according to the number of the question above.
My Dad has taught me a lot about patience and levelheadedness over the years, and for that I am very grateful. I’ve never really seen my dad as an insecure guy, but everyone has days now and then.
1. My biggest insecurity is probably overall weight and how I look and feel in clothes. Because I have an strong idea of what I can be, and used to be, and they don't match with the current me. And despite knowing I can do it, and have done it, it's tough to work that consistently hard all the time, so I don't always choose to.
2. Most of my life, but as I've aged and matured the lens I see that insecurity through has changed. I don't view it the same as when I was younger. Body image means more to younger people because it's a huge measuring stick for how we are compared to others in our friend group and in society. It's about health as much as vanity at a younger age. But, with age and experience, what matters changes. It becomes about family and mortality and money and career. Body image becomes more of a personal issue than a group issue. You just stop worrying as much about what others think of your look, or what others look like, because you've come to understand it doesn't really matter and it's not worth expending energy on. Then it becomes much more of a individual, personal, genuine overall health issue. That's where I am.
3. Can I talk about my insecurities? Yes, as you can read above.
My Bald Friend.
My bald friend is one of my closest guy friends, I’m forever grateful that he puts up with me. Here’s to many more movies to watch and laughs to be had. If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked if we are dating (which we are not) I could buy him a really fancy toupee.
1. My face. I've always thought my face was the least attractive part of me.
2. yeah I've pretty much always felt that way.
3. I feel comfortable talking about it with a few of my closest friends but not really anyone else.
My Grandaddy is someone I owe my manners, etiquette, and basically my whole life to. He has done so much for me and taught me how to be a functioning and polite, well rounded person. I am so thankful that he has been in my life through everything.
1. I can only think of two insecurity issues with my body. The first would be going through puberty and being self-conscious about changes that were taking place. Especially in the locker room after gym or athletic practices. The second would be the space between my upper front teeth. This continued to get worse as I aged and reached a point where I found myself trying to smile in manner which didn't expose my front teeth. Thus, at the age of 62 I got braces and my smile back. What I remember most after the braces were removed was the wonderful feeling of being free from the burden of self-consciousness.
2. Yes, I think this question is answered above.
3. I’m very comfortable talking with people I trust and who want to listen to my insecurities.
My Pilot Friend.
My pilot friend is always around for a good laugh. He is one of those people that never fails to make you feel better and to just talk to about whatever is nothing you. I really appreciate his openness in all aspects, body insecurities included.
1. Probably my chest with its abnormal shape and scar. Because most boys chests are flat and mine is more shaped in a weird way because of my hewrt surgery.
2. It didnt used to be a big deal but now it is a little more noticeable and strange to me.
3. Yes I feel that anyone can talk about any of their insecurities, it's an important topic that others can talk about with you to boost your self love and hopefully get rid of your insecurities.
My Church Dad.
My Church Dad has been a huge part of my life and has taught me so much about love and growth over the years. Even though we don’t see each other much now, I couldn’t have gotten where I am today if it wasn’t for his guidance and support through my life.
1. I would say that today I do not have really any body insecurities. I guess l now it’s more an awareness of my body health, making sure I am healthy and not overweight etc.
2.I would say that this has changed over the years and especially the more I realize that my body is the body God has given me. When I was a teenager I would say my biggest insecurity was that I did not feel I was muscular enough. It was this feeling that “if I was not muscular enough then I was not going to fit in”, because society told us you had to look a certain way to fit in.
3. I think as I aged that became less and less until I was in the real world I realized it was not body image yet more about who you are as a person in the world, and insecurities are just a part of life.
My Curly Hair Friend.
My Curly Hair Friend is one of those people who are so effortless, no matter how long you spend apart there is always something to laugh about or good times to be had. I can’t wait to connect more over the coming years and chuckle many more times.
1. I'm pretty insecure about how skinny I am. It's really difficult to do anything about because of my metabolism. But like I'm always called "string beans" or other stuff like that. I just wanted to be a little bigger so I wouldn't look so awkward all the time.
2.I think I first started to become self conscious about it my freshman year in high school. It was kind of a weird culture shock, going from middle school to high school where popularity is "more important".
3. I can talk about my insecurities with some people but the more I think about it the more I realize that I confide in people who have the same problem
My Turtle Friend.
I’ve known my Turtle Friend for most of my entire life, and he’s one of the people I respect the most. Of all the time I’ve known him, I can’t recall a time where we talked about body related insecurities. We’ve talked about personality insecurities and life insecurities, but never body.
1. Probably the thing I'm most insecure about body wise is my stomach and chest. Just because I've always felt like I can improve on it, but everything I've done hasn't really ever done much. Like I've felt healthier and lost weight from being more active, but when I look at the more athletic bodies of my brother and younger cousins I can't help but wonder what it is I'm doing wrong.
2. I first started feeling insecure about it around 5th grade. No reason, just looked in the mirror one day and was like "ah sh*t, am I fat?"
3. If anything I'm insecure talking about it because I know people have bigger problems than me. Sort of like how I felt going to therapy. Like are there things I can improve about myself? Absolutely. But at the same time saying that those things make me feel insecure around other people feels a bit insecure at times.
(Also if you're curious why my answer isn't acne. I think it's because that feels more like an annoyance to me than a part of me. Like a bunch of bugs just keep landing on me.)
My Long Hair Cousin.
My Long Hair Cousin Is one of those cousins you just treat like a brother. We’re masters at banding together at family functions and supporting each other, he’s the bomb.
1. I'm very unhappy with my body weight. I feel like I'm overweight and being skinny is the norm.
2. I have felt this way since at least middle school when people started judging others of the way they look.
3. Yes! I can openly talk about because I am now accepting the way I look.
I think the theme I see in all of these is that there is a need to fit society's “hot guy" mold. To have abs and a good chest and a chiseled face, not be too skinny or not skinny enough, and not talk about your insecurities with people outside of your close friends. These men are some of the strongest people I know, not because they hide their insecurities, but because they were willing to share them even when they knew their answers would be documented on the internet. Let's start supporting the insecurities of EVERYONE we meet, let's start making the world a little more uncomfortable.
A HUGE thanks to all the guys that shared their insecurities with me, with the internet, and with themselves. You rock!