Male body culture hurts just as much as female


Tonight around seven million people will tune-in to watch the BBC’s latest period drama Poldark – with maybe some added shirtless scything for good measure.

Poldark has seen enormous success in its first weeks, and I myself have to say that it is excellent; the acting is ace, and the period is intriguing, but what about Aidan Turney, eh?

Aidan Turney has become the latest entry in the sexy actors list, joining the ranks of Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum, and Jared Leto. His shirtless appearances have had many a-woman swooning at the television, and imagining themselves as Demelza.

It may not only be girls; some gents would admit to have a “man crush” on Mr Turney as well.

Yesterday, the French government announced legislation to introduce a ban on female models being exceptionally underweight, not only to tackle the unhealthy lives some of these women live, but to ensure young people do not feel this is the “normal” shape for a woman to be.

The same problem is felt by young men, but in different ways.

Many of us know that what we see on television, or on stage, is not “normal” – rather, it is “the goal”. Boys and girls across the world see their heroes on the big screen, and many of us want to emulate them. Take Chris Evans – the actor; not the BBC guy – he is my hero. Who doesn’t want to look like Captain America?

These ideas can lead to body confusion in young people, and contribute to depression and eating disorders. Boys who may consider themselves to be overweight might go on a strict diet to lose weight, only to result in them developing anorexia further down the line. 11% of those affected by eating disorders are men, after all.

That, or they decide they can never achieve the body of Taylor Lautner, which can have damaging consequences to their state of happiness.


Of course, young men have a different relationship with their heroes to some younger women. Lots of television stars have fantastic physiques, which may actually encourage young men to get fitter, and start going to the gym.

But even the gym can have its own consequences: self-consciousness, shyness, and they basically end up not doing anything through these problems.

What is encouraging is the number of women online who encourage girls to go to the gym; it is not just a place for guys and bodybuilders!

The message that “you will not got massive if you squat” is getting through to young women, but still the restrictive diet option appears much easier.

When I was dealing with eating issues I had no idea why I was actually doing it, but the continual obsession with food, body image, and weight resulted in me developing a disorder, and that is not okay.

Supporting young women with eating disorders and body image issues is fantastic, but attention must also be given to young men. The fact that a lead actor’s body becomes the focus of newspaper articles, and online discussion is not healthy for our body culture, and some boys need greater support.


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