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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Tue 14 Apr , 2009 5:30 pm 
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What I find interesting is that the Dachau look we see in female supermodels isn't pushed by men at all- it's *women* (and gay men) who largely drive the fashion industry and its expectations. The average American male is far more attracted to the zaftig (if supermammary) curves of an Anna Nicole Smith or Marilyn Monroe than the stick figures on the runway.

Of course, part of the issue is economic, one of, face it, snobbery. A century ago women prided themselves on their pallor, showing that they were leisured and didn't have to toil in the fields. By midcentury it was suddenly the deep tan- the money and leisure to spend hours at pool and tennis court. Today of course it's the personal trainer, and leisure to spend hours in the gym (or money at the plastic surgeon's).

So is the reverse true? Do women actually value the pumped-up Conan look, or is Hollywood/fashion pushing an image based on either (a) *male* expectations of masculinity, and/or (b) economic winnowing?

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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Tue 14 Apr , 2009 7:16 pm 
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solicitr wrote:
Of course, part of the issue is economic, one of, face it, snobbery. A century ago women prided themselves on their pallor, showing that they were leisured and didn't have to toil in the fields. By midcentury it was suddenly the deep tan- the money and leisure to spend hours at pool and tennis court. Today of course it's the personal trainer, and leisure to spend hours in the gym (or money at the plastic surgeon's).


I agree.

Quote:
So is the reverse true? Do women actually value the pumped-up Conan look ...


Goodness, I certainly don't. :)

Men come in all shapes and sizes and I can be attracted to many different types of men. :cool:

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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Tue 14 Apr , 2009 7:19 pm 
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I prefer men who look like they could pass a pee test. :P

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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Tue 14 Apr , 2009 8:23 pm 
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I've never personally felt pressure from the muscleman images I've encountered; I've always parsed them as cartoonish exaggeration as opposed to something one could aspire to in reality. Videogames are a major source of these images; incidentally. See any of id's first-person shooters or World of Warcraft, for example. And it isn't limited to muscles--these characters tend to exaggerate all of the physical and personality traits that are influenced by testosterone.


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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Tue 14 Apr , 2009 8:59 pm 
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solicitr wrote:
What I find interesting is that the Dachau look we see in female supermodels isn't pushed by men at all


Not true, in my experience. :) Sure, women are hard on themselves and on fellow members of their sex. A lot of the impetus to become super skinny has occurred as a result of competition between women. "I have to be as skinny as SHE is! But that's not all. I can't tell you how often I hear males my age and older make horrible comments about women who are just slightly overweight or plain-looking. The men that I know personally favor skinny girls, almost without exception. Granted, I am in college and a lot of guys (and girls) will eventually grow out of this focus on body image. But many don't. I think the problem is that so much of the obsession with thinness and appearance is targeted towards young people--people who are at the exact right age where it will make a lifelong impression. I've always been slightly overweight and I remember overhearing guys make fun of the size of my butt as early as middle school. That kind of thing never leaves you. So, while it's true that the fashion industry (comprised of many women and gay males but many straight men as well) has pushed a lot of this obsession with image, it's foolish to pretend that it is "only gay men and women" who are responsible for the unhealthy focus on the perfect female body.

I think the same is true for the obsession with the male "perfect body". The same competition that occurs between women occurs between men, only for men it's with muscle and bodybuilding. Most women don't care if men have perfect muscles, just as most men don't care if women are stick thin. But it's the subtle comments and the overheard remarks from members of the opposite sex that have the real psychological effects.


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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Tue 14 Apr , 2009 9:01 pm 
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Well one of the reasons I like LoTR so much is the Models, i.e. Elves, and the perfect men, i.e Gondorians are good guys. But the best of the best are Hobbits, short, round and hairy. :cheers: Frodo and Sam were no tall he-man types that's for sure. If they were in real life, they'd be driving a gremlin and probably wouldn't get looked at twice in dating world.

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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Tue 14 Apr , 2009 9:19 pm 
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What Elsha said. Young men, in my experience, are horrible when it comes to women and weight. At least the so-called "cool" young men. :roll: If you aren't skinny as can get, you're nothing, you're undateable, you're worthless. I've had quite a lot of nasty things said to me about my weight/body, and the comments have always come from guys. And it hurts more than nasty comments from girls, because - contrary to what everyone else in this thread has said - I'm not trying to impress other girls, I'm trying to impress guys. Sorry. :P Or, "impress" is the wrong word, perhaps, but I want to be someone it's possible to be attracted to. And I know it's not looks that counts (and it's not looks I go for in guys), but goodness, it sure helps not being "officially" a fat girl..!

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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Tue 14 Apr , 2009 9:20 pm 
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is that a real gremlin as in "bright lights bright lights" or an AMC Gremlin?

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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Tue 14 Apr , 2009 9:32 pm 
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Freddy wrote:
Since I have started going bald, mostly because of a hypo-thyroid, I get criticized for that more than anything. This comes from the kids as well as co-workers (male and female). That's the pressure I see more than anything is that you have to have a "full head of hair" to be taken seriously.


You've got to be kidding! Men can look great bald! Capt. Picard comes to mind. The guy in Pitch Black, as well "Riddick". And my optometrist/former judo sparring partner....

My particular guy isn't going bald, but I'm sure he'd look great if he did.

I hate the musclebound look. Whenever I see a pic of someone flexing big muscles for a camera, I feel pity for the cramp they must have. To me, a knotted up muscle equals PAIN!

However, there is something to be said for the usefulness of big muscles. My husband is stronger than average and it's nice (if ever surprising) that he can put so much more kinetic force into an activity than I can. It's one of those things I always forget somehow. I'll be struggling to budge something, and he'll just come and pick it up take it where it needed to go. That always surprises me somehow. It's my own personal blind spot in our relationship. I'm also always surprised when he can see something on a high shelf that I can't. I blame early brainwashing on me. I was taught I was the equal of any man, in anything.

Turns out not to be the case, to my continual amazement. :suspicious:

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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Tue 14 Apr , 2009 9:51 pm 

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Jonny wrote:
Quote:
Looks unnatural, it does


Cause it is :D

What I find interesting is the difference in male body image between straight men and gay men. With gay men (what I've found anyway) the pressure is to be as thin as possible - which is like the pressure that women feel. My question is whether this has to do with differences in the brain between gay men and straight men or differences in society.

I'm sure there are gay men who want to be as beefy as possible, but I've never heard any of my friends say they wish they had more muscles... it's always about dropping percieved fat and weight - and here's the scary part - a lot of times they don't care if its muscle weight they are losing, as long as they are losing it.


That is fascinating. I’m going to have to try and come up with a biological explanation (assuming it isn’t a localised thing).

Dave_LF wrote:
I've never personally felt pressure from the muscleman images I've encountered; I've always parsed them as cartoonish exaggeration as opposed to something one could aspire to in reality. Videogames are a major source of these images; incidentally. See any of id's first-person shooters or World of Warcraft, for example. And it isn't limited to muscles--these characters tend to exaggerate all of the physical and personality traits that are influenced by testosterone.


It’s not surprising that people from an educated and nonconformist community like this one would be less likely to be influenced by these sorts of images. But it seems, from research like the reports cited the article in the OP, that it is catching on.

Elsha wrote:
Sure, women are hard on themselves and on fellow members of their sex. A lot of the impetus to become super skinny has occurred as a result of competition between women. "I have to be as skinny as SHE is! But that's not all. I can't tell you how often I hear males my age and older make horrible comments about women who are just slightly overweight or plain-looking. The men that I know personally favor skinny girls, almost without exception.


I think it’s true that young men find thinner girls attractive, but there’s thin, and then there’s the Bergen-Belsen look of many supermodels. And I’ve yet to find a straight man to praise that look, any more than I’ve a found a woman to praise the Herculean bodybuilder look. It’s easy to assume that because, to these men, slightly overweight = unattractive then the more underweight the better but there is a middle ground. I think most men would still find Marylin Monroe more attractive than many supermodels.

I should also add that not many serious bodybuilders are inspired by the urge to look attractive. Many simply like pushing their body to its limits.

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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Tue 14 Apr , 2009 10:09 pm 
Sorry I haven't been keeping up, busy painting Katie's room and meetings.

Anyway, cops are brutal. That's all there is to it. We are brutal to each other and comment on things such as loss of hair all the time. If I hear another comment about my abundance of body hair one more time..... There was a time that I refused to dress as work because of it.

I have never been been impressed by a woman who has no shape. If I were rating guys then the rail thin ones are just as strange looking as the the muscle heads. That goes for the elf looking dudes. A solid balance is important.


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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Tue 14 Apr , 2009 10:10 pm 
bioalchemist
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You probably could be a man's equal once you correct for the size differentials. I'm as strong as guys my size. Hell, on Denali we were all carrying roughly the same loads - me, the small guys, the large guys, we all did it. But me and the smaller guys suffered a bit more for it (think about what it means for a 200+ lb man over six feet tall to carry a ~80 lb pack, or carry and tow a combined weight of ~100 lb; now think about what it means for a man or woman who's 5'6" and 140 lb to do the same - it's possible, believe me, it's totally possible, but it's NOT fun).

S is about my size, one inch shorter, roughly the same weight. We can share clothes. That extra inch I've got seems to make all the difference in reaching stuff. S's very male tendency to pack upper-body strength makes all the difference in lifting and carrying stuff. It works. S does get flack for being short, but he's used to it. Though he came home from a caving trip complaining about how, for one reason or another, they needed a short, strong guy and everyone looked at him. :damnfunny: And I've gotten flak for wearing his hand-me-over shirts and having a boyfriend who's shorter than me, though the former's more of a dig at my dressing sub-standards and the latter was such a purely jealous gripe I almost laughed at the woman who said it.

Elsha, I was very self-conscious about my bum too until I had my off-the-cliff revelation. ;) In all seriousness though, kids in junior and senior high pick on each other over every little thing (I had someone make fun of my socks once) because everyone's so very insecure about everything and they feel better by poking at each other. The wounds can be a long and hard time healing though.

My former boss has been balding since before I worked for him. He did the rasty comb-over for a while. When he finally surrendered and started shaving his head, it was like ten years had dropped off him. Very impressive in that regard. Frankly, baldness is just part of the total package - if the guy has embraced his baldness and is secure with it, he'll be quite attractive. If he's treating it like a flaw, everyone else will pick up on it.

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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Tue 14 Apr , 2009 10:17 pm 
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:D :thumbsup

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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Tue 14 Apr , 2009 10:55 pm 
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Meh. There's always something about these conversations that bug me. Like if we should all feel guilty for finding some physical traits more appealing then others. I don't. I find a wide array of men physically attractive (including some bald men and some short men ;)) but generally, yes, men who look very strong and fit are more likely to catch my eye than those who don't. I'm pretty darn okay with that. The only alternative to having broad social trends on what is seen as physically attractive is to pretend we don't find some people more beautiful then others. We all know that's a lie so it's best to stop comp;ainin' about it. :P

That said - do a google image search for sexiest men. While you'll find all of them are quite fit and in good shape, you won't find any of the 220-pounds-of-pure-muscle type stuff LM's first post was talking about. Somehow I don't buy the idea that there's seriously a group of young men who are pursuing that body image. Those few who are I imagine are most likely the bodybuilders who, as LM pointed out, "simply like pushing their body to its limits".


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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Tue 14 Apr , 2009 11:04 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
Meh. There's always something about these conversations that bug me. Like if we should all feel guilty for finding some physical traits more appealing then others. I don't. I find a wide array of men physically attractive (including some bald men and some short men ;)) but generally, yes, men who look very strong and fit are more likely to catch my eye than those who don't. I'm pretty darn okay with that. The only alternative to having broad social trends on what is seen as physically attractive is to pretend we don't find some people more beautiful then others. We all know that's a lie so it's best to stop comp;ainin' about it. :P


I don't think anyone here said that it's wrong to have preferences. But that it's wrong to make people feel like worthless shit if they somehow don't live up to your preferences.

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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Wed 15 Apr , 2009 12:30 am 

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yovargas wrote:
Meh. There's always something about these conversations that bug me. Like if we should all feel guilty for finding some physical traits more appealing then others. I don't. I find a wide array of men physically attractive (including some bald men and some short men ;)) but generally, yes, men who look very strong and fit are more likely to catch my eye than those who don't. I'm pretty darn okay with that. The only alternative to having broad social trends on what is seen as physically attractive is to pretend we don't find some people more beautiful then others. We all know that's a lie so it's best to stop comp;ainin' about it. :P


I agree with this point, but I don’t think its necessarily in issue as far as the particular discussion that stems from the OP goes.

yovargas wrote:
That said - do a google image search for sexiest men. While you'll find all of them are quite fit and in good shape, you won't find any of the 220-pounds-of-pure-muscle type stuff LM's first post was talking about. Somehow I don't buy the idea that there's seriously a group of young men who are pursuing that body image. Those few who are I imagine are most likely the bodybuilders who, as LM pointed out, "simply like pushing their body to its limits".


There’s a few separate issues here.

One is the new-found focus on male body image in general. The increased use of unclothed men in advertising, the ‘metrosexual’ trend towards hair and skincare products, etc.

Another is the association in the minds of young men between attractiveness and musculature. Based on the surveys cited in the OP, many young men do associate the two, and to a greater degree than before. I’ve seen anecdotal evidence of this – I’ve been reading threads on mens’ issues forums as part of my interest in this topic and I periodically run into young and adolescent men making comments to each other like “girls probably won’t be that interested in you if you only weigh 160 lb” and things like that. They’re not being judgemental – they’re trying to be honest and helpful. And if those men do gain some muscle but still don’t feel that women are paying them attention (say, because they lack confidence) then they may be driven to try and keep on gaining. We can say that muscle =/= attractiveness all we want, but that doesn’t mean that such a perception hasn’t developed.

Finally, I think it goes beyond sexual attractiveness to also include a lot of male vs male competition as well. The perception that ‘built’ men are ‘alpha’ or ‘dominant’ or simply more secure.

Nienor SharkAttack wrote:
yovargas wrote:
Meh. There's always something about these conversations that bug me. Like if we should all feel guilty for finding some physical traits more appealing then others. I don't. I find a wide array of men physically attractive (including some bald men and some short men ;)) but generally, yes, men who look very strong and fit are more likely to catch my eye than those who don't. I'm pretty darn okay with that. The only alternative to having broad social trends on what is seen as physically attractive is to pretend we don't find some people more beautiful then others. We all know that's a lie so it's best to stop comp;ainin' about it. :P


I don't think anyone here said that it's wrong to have preferences. But that it's wrong to make people feel like worthless shit if they somehow don't live up to your preferences.


Unfortunately, part of it is a fact of our biology. Hundreds of millions of years of evolution have driven us to strongly value being found attractive by the opposite sex. A sexually-reproducing organism that cannot reproduce is a genetic dead-end just as surely as a dead one. So in a sense, saying something that implies “you’re not attractive but you’re a great person anyway” doesn’t help matters much.

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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Wed 15 Apr , 2009 1:27 am 
bioalchemist
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Yes, but there're ways to express your preferences that are less hurtful than others. "I'm not interested" is a bit less damaging to the soul than "You're fugly. Buzz off."

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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Sun 19 Apr , 2009 1:41 pm 
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I think we all have our preferences. For me I prefer men who are over 5'9", have broad shoulders, nice legs, and strong arms. However, I have only dated one guy who was cut and totally defined muscle wise. That said I do like a man who is taller and can envelope me in his arms, it makes me feel well....secure. I wonder if that feeling is what women sometimes go for, which makes it really unfair to slighter built men. I also wonder if it is what men like in women, a woman they can protect if you know what I mean.

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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Mon 20 Apr , 2009 10:05 am 
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Holbytla wrote:

As far as females and the whole Madison Ave wardrobes and physiques go though, don't blame us. ...
We hardly notice.
True story.


You do notice though, just not in a giving a critique sort of way. You notice the women who dress well and have nice bodies.



You see right through the women who don't.



Ok, maybe not in the case of friends or people you know, but men don't notice women who aren't attractive/have nice bodies/etc. You just look right through them, if you're looking in their direction at all. An attractive women gets looked at by men. An unattractive or fat woman simply doesn't exist. Just isn't there.

I say this from experience.
True story(ies)

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 Post subject: Re: Male Body Image
PostPosted: Mon 20 Apr , 2009 10:52 am 

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Estel wrote:
Ok, maybe not in the case of friends or people you know, but men don't notice women who aren't attractive/have nice bodies/etc. You just look right through them, if you're looking in their direction at all. An attractive women gets looked at by men. An unattractive or fat woman simply doesn't exist. Just isn't there.


I think that people don't notice (or more accurately, pay much attention to) unattractive people in general. It’s far to say that I don’t pay any more attention to passing unattractive women than I do to other men or children or whatever (unless they’re so unattractive as to be noticeable).

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