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The Highland Echo

Not just a girl thing: Males struggle with body image issues as well

Like+females%2C+males+aim+for+the+%E2%80%9Cperfect+body%22.+Photo+Courtesy%3A+youtube.com.
Like females, males aim for the “perfect body

Like females, males aim for the “perfect body". Photo Courtesy: youtube.com.

Like females, males aim for the “perfect body". Photo Courtesy: youtube.com.

Shana Bigley, Out and About Editor

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Similar to how girls worry about their weight — weighing themselves to see if they are skinny enough, for instance–boys sometimes cope with body image struggles in another manner. Instead of trying to lose weight, many men do the exact opposite. Some men try to improve their bodies by going to the gym to gain muscle. According to Huffingtonpost.com, insecurities within boys can start early on in childhood.
A six-year-old boy, according to his mom, became obsessive with recording his weight to see if he had gotten bigger. In fact, he would weigh himself everyday. His mother recalls that he would desperately ask her, “Why am I less? … Why am I getting smaller?” (huffingtonpost.com). He claims to have been the smallest kid in his class. Luckily, this child did not report being bullied, but his situation shows that his insecurity was an internal conflict. By comparing himself to others, he developed a body image issue.
“The Highland Echo” asked a male student, “Do you feel as though your obsession with working out or bulking up affects your mental health?” He replied, “Working out is an antidepressant and lets you get stress off in a positive way that shows in the mirror.” Although this may be true, others react differently. Instead of this obsession being a positive outlet, it can quickly become harmful — just as women may feel they are healthily losing weight, but find themselves with an eating disorder. People may have good intentions of either losing a few pounds or gaining more muscle, but these intentions could easily go in the wrong direction. When this student was asked whether or not this obsession stemmed from an insecurity, he confirmed that it was. The student also referenced this issue as he was asked if it was a part of a larger competition to look better than others. He stressed that the ability to lift heavier weights equaled more dominance. With this, he is implying that males, such as himself, not only work out to have physical results, but also to have mental results as in obtaining a social status, if you will.
It is more common to hear of female body image issues — they are more publicized and spoken about — but people seem to forget that many male individuals face the same problem. People want to acquire others’ traits over their own. Those who are at a tender age who have impressionable minds especially have a tendency to want to be like or look like others. Studies show that about 1 in 10 eating disorders occur in males. Although, according to Raymond Lemberg, a clinical psychologist, newer research suggests that the true ratio is probably closer to 1 in 4 (huffingtonpost.com). This obsession with bulking up is known as “reverse anorexia”.
Overall, women are not the only ones who may struggle with body image. Although male body image issues are less talked about, they are quite present, despite the lack of awareness.

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The student news site of West Milford Township High School
Not just a girl thing: Males struggle with body image issues as well