Being self conscious about one’s body has no gender role. Many people struggle with their image from a young age all the way to their adulthood. One of the most common topics people speak about is the pressure for many young girl’s and women’s desire to look like the woman in the magazine cover, but people often forget to speak about the young men and boys who also feel uncomfortable in their own body.
It’s hard to be happy with all of the things that we label as flaws in our own heads such as height, weight, skin, and facial features. With all of the self negative comments we create, it’s difficult to truly love yourself. A person who can truly say that they wouldn’t change a single thing is extremely rare.
So where do boys and men fit in the category of being comfortable in their image?
According to DoSomething.org, more than 40% of boys in middle school and high school regularly exercise with the goal of increasing muscle mass and 38% of boys in middle school and high school reported using protein supplements and nearly 6% admitted to experimenting with steroids. While some boys are trying to get bigger, others are trying to get smaller. According to anad.org, 1 in 10 cases of eating disorders involve males. Although smaller than women, the 10% of males need to be taken with the same seriousness and the same awareness.
Enough with the statistics, let’s ask the boy who is sitting next to me, Kevin Torres, how comfortable he is in his own body.
“50% comfortable,” Torres said. “I’d like to slim down and lose more weight and gain more muscle.”
To achieve his ideal image Torres follows a strict work out plan, and a stricter diet.
“I go to the gym 6 days a week and work out at least two body parts at a time each day,at most,” Torres said. ” I eat lots of protein with very little carbs.”
Training and food intake isn’t the only thing that influences Kevin Torres’s image, his group of friends is also a huge influence.
“I feel best when I am bigger than the others but strive to have the same image as my best friend,(aka, his gym partner)” Torres said.
I asked Bryan Dominguez, a sophomore in the class, the same questions about body image, body confidence, and healthy habits..
“I am 70% comfortable in my own body although I do wish I was a bit taller and a little more light skinned,” Dominguez said. “I usually exercise and try to stay committed to it while maintaining to eat healthy.
Dominguez might not be super confident but he knows who he is.
“Not extremely comfortable but at the same time comfortable as an individual because I know that I’m my own person,” Dominguez said.
The same questions were asked a third time to junior Angel Silva.
“I feel really comfortable in my own body and I don’t really mind the way that I look physically,” Silva said.
He might not care about his body but he cares about his hair.
“The only thing that I do is just take care of my hair as which is really my only concern,” Silva said.
Angel ends by saying, “I feel comfortable around my friends and don’t really struggle with my image.”
So while many men and boys do struggle with their image,there are many who feel comfortable with who they are. Self love is something that can be expressed by any gender and is extremely important. We should always remember not only to help out young girls to express self love but to always include men as well.