Growing up in the gay community body image is a major factor in today's health-conscious world. Since the start of social media, we have been sharing just about every aspect of our live, not just with our own network of friends, but colleagues, acquaintance, as well as with thousands of total strangers.
Let's be honest with each other, most gay men don't like their bodies very much, which might seem surprising giving the amount of time gay men spend at the gym. Gay men probably devote more time and effort cultivating a physical since than any other demographic group. I appears that gay men tend to dislike their physical appearance are gay men.
So why does this happen? Social media has made our culture a sexualized subculture that places a premium on physical beauty, and the media appears to bombard us with images that reflect and impossibly high standard on physical beauty.
Research has shown that second only to women, gay men suffer from dysmorphia - a preoccupation with some imagined defect in appearance when the person involved is actually very "normal looking". Places where gay men socialize especially bars, gyms, or sex clubs, often emphasize physical attributes or make those the first criterion for checking someone out. It’s difficult for someone who is older than a certain age or different from the prevailing cultural standards of beauty to catch someone’s eye in a bar or club. This has the sad and unintended consequence of leaving some gay men in the social binds most familiar to teenage girls – obsessed about their appearance and feeling like their locus of control lies completely outside of themselves.
If you have trouble accepting your body, there are steps you can take to improve the situation. First, take the concern seriously. Don’t confuse who you are with how you look. Develop a sense of identity based on all of your attributes and on your values. Put your body back together. Consider stretching, yoga and massage as ways to help yourself feel like more than just “skinny legs” or “love handles.” Indulge in body pleasures – long baths, massage, good sex, a walk in the park on a sunny day. Make your own list.
Learn to appreciate body types in all shapes and sizes. Stop trashing men who don’t conform to the “buffed” image. Seek alternative role models. Don’t emphasize body size or shape as an indication of a man’s worth or his identity as a man. Learn to value the person inside. Pay attention to the images used to promote products in our community. Notice the way physical beauty is used to push sales or manipulate us. Talk about this with your friends, too.
And finally, confront homophobia, including internalized homophobia. Don’t accept being treated as a second-class citizen by straight society or by other gay folks.