Gay male body image and physical insecurities have always been a hot topic within the gay community. Some feel that the preoccupation to look our best can have dangerous side effects. Modern media in today’s gay culture can also exacerbate body image issues by constantly idolizing “perfect”, nearly impossible model standards, which gay men may then internalize and continue to perpetuate this type of physical standard.
Men with a poor self body image striving for muscularity often suffer from low self esteem, depression, and anxiety. This puts them at an increased risk for abuse of anabolic steroids, thus affecting their overall health. They are at a greater risk of developing coronary heart disease, liver and kidney damage, high blood pressure, liver cancer, and a reduction in immune function. The idea that you have to resemble the “type of guy” you are trying to attract resonates with gay men.
Feeling Good About Yourself
Of course, many gay men feel really good about their bodies. Some even express great body confidence due to the fact that they don’t feel the need to conform to society’s rigid expectations about what men ”should” look like.
Hopefully, that’s how you feel. But if not, here are some things to keep in mind when you’re beating yourself up over how you look:
- Exercise. Feeling healthy and strong is a great way to feel good about yourself.
- Focus on your positives. Find a part of your body you really like and try to accentuate that.
- Find someone to talk to. If you are feeling really bad about your body, think about who you could talk to, a friend, family member or therapist, anyone who might make you feel better.
- Keep things in perspective. If friends or family criticize what you look like, remember they aren’t perfect either. They may be commenting about you because they are either insecure about themselves, or too wrapped up in traditional notions of gender appearance.
What it Comes Down to
In the end, body image is really about how you feel about yourself regardless of what you look like. In fact, a lot of people whom society would consider very attractive and fit, still have low self esteem about how they look.