Will Gay Men Fall Victim to Body Image Issues?

I read a blog post entitled ‘Why The Gays Hate Their Bodies.’ The post was centered around, in the bloggers opinion, of why he didn’t like his body and by extension why gay men in general don’t like their bodies. He listed reasons like advertising; men being more visual in their attractions; those who we encounter at the gym, bar and other public places.

I found the piece to be rather shallow and geographically slanted–the author lives in West Hollywood, California; land of the beautiful people (I suspect there are some average Joes live there as well). Regardless, the piece got me thinking about where we may be headed as a culture. If, as we gain more acceptance and more visibility, that direction may be one of body image issues.

Why we may not
Gay men have formed niche groups for their attractions. We are all aware of the daddy and anyone who isn’t aware of a bears must be in hibernation. These are two segments of the gay male population that don’t fit into the Adonis image. Bears specifically are a group that formed because they did not fit in the image of perfectly sculpted man of David.

Gay men form their own subgroups. Like bears, the gay community has always come up with ways for men to meet other similar men. Whether that would be those who are interested in sports, fine wine, cars, leather, etc. We have managed to create an environment where those who didn’t fit one mold had the chance to sculpt their own. I expect that this will continue as time goes on, and that advertisers and mainstream folks will be smart enough to cater to them.

Why we may
Media tends to be a one size fits all. Though you may not identify with a particular mold, advertisers know that having something pretty to look at helps sell. As we gain more acceptance and become more mainstream ourselves those who come behind us growing-up-gay may be influenced by this. Not having the knowledge that you can form your own enclave of “likeness”, as we have had to do for so long, they may believe that this is what I should look like. In order to be loved, accepted, noticed; I have to be one of the beautiful people as well.

What do you think?

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One Response to Will Gay Men Fall Victim to Body Image Issues?

  1. gaynspunk says:

    I think that what you have written is very true, especially with the media and the ‘one size fits all’. Gay men are stereotyped to either be the effeminate, skinny, young and pretty boy, or the very handsome and muscular man (think of barbie doll Ken). Either way, they are very handsome/pretty. But the point is, these stereotypes have been spurred by media portrayals of gay men, but the porn industry is also to blame with their ‘fantasy’ gay men.
    You can also check out my blog at http://www.gaynspunk.wordpress.com

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