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The Man In The Mirror | The Male Struggle With Body Image

The Man In The Mirror | The Male Struggle With Body Image
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Every single human being on this earth that is alive lives in a body.  Therefore body image is a topic that applies to EVERY one.  Some people struggle with it more than others.  Some have stronger sense of confidence and self esteem.  However, the challenge of loving oneself is something that is not dependent on gender, race, or socioeconomic status.  It is one of those things that we all have in common.  So why is it that not many people have knowledge or concern about the male struggle with body image? We read blog posts, watch video interviews and even participate in discussions all the time about female body image.  Yet, it can be quite rare to find information about the male body image.

As a body image expert and The Body Relationship Coach™, I invest a great deal of time and energy into learning and understanding the human experience with body image.  One thing I have that I have noticed is that there is a need for more information and concern about the male struggle with body image.  I know, I know, you may be thinking that with all the sexism, oppression and harassment that women endure in this society, why should we focus at all on men?  Because, the men in our lives matter. Our fathers, brothers, sons, husbands, male friends and lovers all matter to us.  The overall health and well being of those who are close to use, does impact our life journey.  When the men in our lives are stressed, unhappy, or ill over something in their own lives, it has a ripple effect.  It impacts how they parent with us, how they engage intimately with us, and even how empowered they are to support us.  The truth is that we are all in this together.  The more we learn about the challenges that we each face, the better we can connect and eradicate body hate together.  So here is some enlightening information, to help you know and understand the male struggle with body image a little better.

  1. It’s Not Just A Weight Thing– Although men are pressured from society, like women, to lose weight, they also experience added body image challenges.  Men are under the added pressure to be muscular and “bulked up”.  For men it is not just a weight thing, because lean men can be considered “scrawny” or weak. They feel the pressure to look “strong”. This often leads to steroid abuse or even excessive weight lifting.
  2. It’s Not A Small Thing– Male body image concerns are increasing at an alarmingly exponential rate.  The National Eating Disorders Association explains that over the past three decades male issues with body image have increased from 10% to 43%  of men being displeased with their bodies.
  3. Women Are Not Alone–  Although eating disorders are definitely more prevalent among females,  of all the people with anorexia or bulimia 10-15% of them are males.  It is not just a women’s illness.
  4.  Yes, It Counts– A lot of times it can be more acceptable for men to “binge eat” than women.  Binge eating is compulsive overeating without purging.  In a 2011 study on male binge eating, it was found that 37.1% of males who binge eat experienced depression, compared to only 12.6% of males who did not binge.
  5. They Suffer In Silence– Men with any type of eating disorder are less likely to acknowledge it or seek help.  In comparison with women, the number of men who get any form of support or treatment is well below that of women.

Although these are just a few statistics and facts, it is clear that body hate and self hate being experienced by men too.  I would love to hear comments and feedback about this post.  How has this information changed your perspective on the male body image experience?  Also,  if you are a male who is experiencing struggle with body image or know a male who does, I offer assistance.   I invite you to schedule a no cost consultation with me to see if my Body Relationship Coaching can help you find a healthy, loving relationship with your body and self.  



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Ivy Cooper, The Body Relationship Coach™ is a professional health coach and body image expert. She offers education, empowerment, and encouragement to help people build health, loving relationships with their body and self.

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  • http://marctagon.com/ Marc A.

    You brought up some really valid points here, especially the part about how our struggles have a ripple effect. I hadn’t even thought of it that way but it’s true. Great use of statistics here as well; those concrete number show that it’s real.

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