Male Body-Positivity Is Something Largely Ignored, It's An Issue We Need To Address

Male Body-Positivity Is Something Largely Ignored, It's An Issue We Need To Address

In light of women's body-positive movements, it's important to consider how men are impacted by sociocultural images of attractiveness and masculinity, too.


When we hear or think about movements that center around body-positivity, we likely think about empowering women to accept and appreciate their bodies in their healthiest state, even if that state isn't in line with the often unattainable standards of beauty represented in the media.

The commodification of the female body in the western world is a concept that extends as far back as the western world itself, and socioculturally, beauty norms still remain a salient concept ingrained in women's psyche's today.

But what about men, too?

While roughly 70% of women ages 18-30 are dissatisfied with their bodies, almost half of men are in the same boat.

So why aren't we talking about them as much?

So while there exists plenty of rhetoric from women about how they dislike their thighs, want abs, want bigger breasts or a smaller nose, what types of rhetoric might guys spout off?

To be more muscular, to have taller stature or a more chiseled face? Washboard abs? The ability to grow facial hair?

While women are plastered with images of Victoria's Secret Angels as a body goal to aspire to, what might be the comparable body archetype for men?

I went on a brief investigation to survey some of my guy friends and explored which types of male bodies were commodified as the most attractive.

And it seems that the Calvin Klein model fit the criteria.

Calvin Klein has notoriously produced sexy advertisements for decades, and the men the company uses to brand its underwear involves incredibly ripped models and actors.

The level of sex appeal that plays into their advertisements and brand image not only conveys that the model presented meets a high standard of male attractiveness but is also the most attractive to women as well.

So, guys who've been socially conditioned throughout their lives to believe body archetypes such as the Calvin Klein model are the pinnacle to aspire to are likely to be more dissatisfied with their bodies if they don't conform to the standard they feel is set for them.

So what type of behaviors might be observed in guys who wish to attain to that standard?

Working out, specific dieting habits and taking supplements are common behaviors men may engage in order to attain more muscular physiques. On the extreme end, growth hormone supplementation or disordered eating behaviors may also work their way into many men's routines.

It should be noted that working out, eating healthily and taking a multivitamin are all healthy lifestyle factors. Doing these activities to make your body and mind feel good is an integral part of one's personal mental and physical well-being.

However, extreme levels of activity that risk one harming their body are unhealthy behaviors. Further, certain men may feel pressured or forced into certain "healthy" regimes regardless of if they feel healthy since they perceive the end result will improve their appearance.

The "fitspo" rage that's taken social media by storm may play some role in affecting male dietary and gym habits. Messages that one has to work out irrespective of their physical state (such as illness) and that certain diets are "guaranteed" to cut fat can promote a man to engage in habits that might not work for his specific body.

Many social media fitness influencers also promote the use of substances such as pre-workout, additional supplements, teas and specific protein powders meant to increase energy, remove bloat, to "bulk" or burn more calories.

Certain items such as pre-workout, when sourced reputably, and protein powder can provide a boost of energy or recovery to one's workouts. For certain types of pre-workout and supplements, however, it's important to understand the unregulated nature of the supplement market.

The FDA is not required to vet and qualify the claims that supplement manufacturers make about their products, meaning that you're not guaranteed to receive what the supplement tells you, or that it will work.

The loose regulations mean that even supplements that claim they're "scientifically tested" aren't guaranteed to have been studied in a lab or evaluated according to FDA standards of safety. The term "natural" used with supplements is often a term used to attempt to describe holistic products, even if there isn't a set of standards to define what "natural" is and where it can be used.

Worst case scenario, the pressure for men use supplements can lead to potential overuse or exposure to unsafe supplements that could potentially have negative health consequences.

In fact, a few years ago, two soldiers died of heart attacks after consuming supplements prior to a fitness test.

And no guy's life is worth losing over his perceived level of fitness and appearance.

So just how our society is learning to teach women that they have value beyond if their bodies adhere to a notion of beauty, we should be doing the same for men.

Shifting from a culture of extreme beauty habits and instead emphasizing fitness, health and wellness as tools of a healthy body and not aides to one appearance are steps we need to focus on to improving body positivity in both genders. Otherwise, the mental and physical repercussions of each sex trying to attain an ideal not healthy for them can put their lives at risk.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Slavery Still Exists But, I'm Running To End It

Run for something bigger than yourself.


When I was a senior in high school, my youth pastor started talking about a movement called 30 For Freedom. It was started by Brent Silky, who had this amazing inspiration to find 30 friends, run 30 miles, and raise $30,000 for this cause to end sex trafficking and it was all to take place on his birthday. The whole movement exists to end sex trafficking in our lifetime through prevention, rescue operations, and survivor care. All the money raised through 30 For Freedom is given to Venture, Lighthouse Foundation Nepal, and F.R.E.E. International.

Venture is an organization that encourages people to run, hike, walk, bike, and swim to raise money to fund the rescue missions and after survivor care. They don't just participate in ending sex trafficking but also provide meals for the malnourished in SouthEast Asia, provide education, and empower children. Venture works in the Thailand Burma border which is a massive global center for trafficking, sex slavery, child soldiers, extreme poverty, and refugees. It's one of the world's worst human trafficking crises.

Lighthouse Foundation Nepal is a non-profit organization that was built to improve the lives of children in Nepal who are at risk for abuse, trafficking, and neglect. Their main focus is to support abandoned babies, orphans, and children living on the streets. They focus on child development and try to encourage the communities to get involved in helping these children.

Project Rescue exists to rescue and restore victims of sexual slavery through the love and power of Jesus Christ. The organization educates poverty-stricken areas and provides residential care for children and prostituted women. They have medical clinics, night care shelters, and red-light district churches that provide care and supplies that are needed. Project Rescue sets up aftercare safe houses for rescued women and children and provides vocational training to give these victims a chance at life outside trafficking.

F.R.E.E. International has four parts- find, restore, embrace, and empower. F.R.E.E. International partners with different programs to find victims of sex trafficking and provide awareness programs for at-risk communities. They also partner with KlaasKids Search and Rescue to organize community search efforts to find missing children.

During natural disasters, human traffickers are known to go to low-income areas and search out the vulnerable. F.R.E.E. International has dispatch to support vehicles which are stationed in low-income neighborhoods to provide vital programs like legal services and medical help.

F.R.E.E. International provides resources to spread awareness to individual, communities, and survivors. The survivors need people to be aware and provide encouragement and support for them from the things they've had to endure.

You can go to to make a donation through 30 For Freedom, or join me in running, this May, in the 30 For Freedom run. As many as 4.8 million people are trapped in sexual exploitation, that's more than half of New York City's population. Slavery will not end if we keep turning a blind eye to what we know is going on around us. I'm choosing to run for something bigger than myself, will you?


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