Being male comes with a huge amount of privilege within our society, that goes without saying. However, men are still subjected to the same high standards of beauty that women are. Men are expected to be strong, masculine, broad shouldered, have a six pack and a perfectly chiseled jawline.
But what if you don’t fit into the definition that society so unhelpfully sets out for you? Well, you feel exactly as I felt for the majority of my life; that you don’t belong, that your body is the problem; that you are the problem.
It isn’t just these expectations of beauty that men have to deal with. We also have the crushing, ingrained, toxic masculinity that exists within our society. This results in a horrendous cocktail of low body image and self-worth, which is ultimately damaging for our mental wellbeing.
The ultimate catch 22: acknowledging our insecurities
is deemed emasculating.
Women often discuss their body image insecurities. Men, on the other hand, are afraid to speak out about their body hang-ups because even acknowledging them is deemed emasculating. We’re pushed into the ‘man box’ and forced to be strong and never show our emotions, so even discussing these things makes us vulnerable.
Growing up, there was no one who looked like me, so I spent years of my life trying to force myself into society’s idea of what it means to be a man. This is why I started the @bopo.boy Instagram account to break the mould. I decided to be the role model I so badly needed when I was a kid. To show people like me – who don’t look like the cover of Men’s Health – that it’s ok that beauty doesn’t come in one form.
Beauty is in all of us; it exists in our differences.