Beauty standards and society's idea of a "perfect woman" are a problem for women everywhere, and there is a sort of revolutionary fight happening right now to contest them. However, what isn't talked about nearly as much within the fight for self-love and acceptance are the standards that are put on men. While there is an absurd amount of pressure on us to be skinny and naturally pretty and whathaveyou, the idea that women are the only people who struggle and are allowed to struggle with body image is absurd. Boys, on the other end of the spectrum, this is what women want you to know about your bodies.
You don't have to have massive muscles or crazy washboard abs for girls to like you. We really, honestly don't care as much as you think we do if you hit the gym every day. I don't want to go as far as the viral Dad-Bod article and say that we think it's sexy when you don't take care of yourself and binge on beer and pizza nonstop...but we know what the typical college guy is going to look like, and it's really not bad. If you're just working out to try to look more attractive to women and not for yourself, don't even worry about it. Of course, if that makes you feel good, go for it, my man.
It's OK if you can't grow a full beard or any facial hair at all. It's okay to not have chest hair or even to have too much. You don't have to be over 6 feet tall or defend your height in your Tinder bio. You don't have to be athletic or athletically built. You don't have to have certain-sized assets. You can be skinny or have love handles. We know that cellulite isn't a problem only women face. We know you can't control these things.
Despite everything: whether you work out or not, whether you have a certain body type or not, whether you have great hair or your genes are just less in your favor than you'd like, there are going to be women who find you attractive. And you should find you attractive, too.
Most of men's body standards revolve around the idea of being manly, and men's attractiveness seems to have to coincide with how masculine they are. Let me tell you: that's bullshit. I could write an entire series of articles on the problems that fragile masculinity creates. But to stick to the point, past the physical features I just debunked, as a girl, we want you to know that you're allowed to not be manly. You're allowed to show affection, you're allowed to show sadness, you're allowed to be vulnerable. You can have feelings. You can be the little spoon sometimes. If naturally you're more of the traditional man's man, then cool; if not, also cool. Go have a spa day. Relax. Treat yo'self. (If you've never had a spa day, do it. Shut up about being too manly for it and just go; you'll thank me later.)
There is no mold that you have to fit into. Of course, as long as you realize that not all women are skinny-but-curvy objects that drink beer and know things about cars and are gonna be cool with being sexualized (OK, let me stop my rant here...), we can also respect that not all men are 6 foot 4 with massive muscles and the skills to fix whatever we break or change our tires. Women and men come in all shapes and sizes. Humans come in all shapes and sizes.
Smile, keep your head up, and be genuine about yourself. Don't be an asshole. That's all we really need.