Body Image and The Obsession of Perfection

I watched a story on “The Project” last night about a guy who was so addicted to exercise that it was dangerous. He wanted to stop but couldn’t. Like many things, it started off like a reasonable thing  to increase the exercise, but then it got out of control.

Now, I understand that issues like eating disorders are complex and multilayered, but this story made me think about how the media and society don’t only target women in the looks department, but also men. My opinion is that men and women are marketed to differently. For women, it’s all about getting rid of “flaws” and being “youthful” and “slim”, whereas for men, six packs, buffed arms, etc aren’t only deemed “sexy” but also the epitome of health. Look at the cover of “Men’s Health” magazines and see what I mean.

This attitude towards men is backfiring in more ways than one. Not only is it raising anxiety among young men, medical experts are suspicious that there’s an increase in steroid use which could be a contributing factor to the increase of street violence in the cities, rather than just alcohol which usually gets the blame. (Please take note: I am NOT suggesting that the individuals don’t have responsibility or anything, it’s just what I’ve heard).

Health is important, there’s no way about it, but the so – called “health industry” is going nuts! More diets, more pills, more exercise programs, and yet, we aren’t getting any healthier. All it is doing is increasing anxiety and diminishing our self – worth. 

We all need to be responsible to our own health, and we have to be aware of what is healthy for OURSELVES personally (weight, etc) rather than rely on every “expert” out there. I get it, it’s easier said than done. I often get caught up in the media hype, trying to get slimmer, even probably below my real ideal, healthy weight even though, deep down I know better. I suppose, we all, myself included, need to just be sensible and listen to our bodies, rather than listening constantly to everyone else.

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