For most gay men the perfect body is everything, and we as a culture are obsessed with how we look. However, not all of us are muscle chasing gym bunnies. But judging from the abundance of selfies and shirtless pictures of gay men all over social media, it's clear that a significant proportion are. Obsession with physical appearance isn't merely confined to the virtual realm. For example go to any club or circuit party and trust me you'll see more skin than clothing.
Therefore, it's not a surprise that the gay culture places a premium on the male body, after all men are naturally wired to care more about physical appearances as compared to women. Couples with the fact unlike straight guys, our attractions to the same sex means that we judge how we look based on how we judge the looks of other men. Hence, we tend to be harder on ourselves than our straight counterparts when it come to our physical appearance.
Statistically, we suffer from higher levels of stress and anxiety over how we look, one study has shown that when compared to straight men, we are more likely to report feeling pressured from the media and social media to always look attractive and are more conscious of how we look throughout the day.
"In accordance with the law of diminishing returns, many of us will continue to feel dissatisfied with our appearance in one way or another, irrespective of how many times we lift a dumbbell at the gym." Brian Moore, Personal Trainer
One study shows that gay men are much more likely to desire undertaking cosmetic surgery as compared to straight men (not saying anything inherently wrong with plastic surgery). However, when results show that nearly 50% of gay men would gladly sacrifice one year of their lives to attain the "perfect body", then to men something is very wrong. I mean the same survey revealed that 10% of gay men would agree to die more than 11 years earlier if they could have the ideal body right now. THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE!
For some of us we are more concerned about how we look over how we live is quite disheartening. Indeed, a lot of this has got to do with the media's constant hyper sensationalism of gay culture, particularly from social media platforms like Instagram.
Because of this an increasing number of gay men feeling pressured to achieve a level of aesthetic that they perceive is championed in the gay scene so as to up their desirability. This creates the perception that the social hierarchy in the gay community is defined by one's level of physical attractiveness. Failing to look a certain way will relegate to being at the bottom of the social ladder.
So what is the answer or how do we fix our anxieties over how we look? Sadly there isn't a straightforward answer to this given how appearance drives the gay scene. But we can being to fix this issue by seeing our fellow gay peers as a sum of their qualities rather than on just the sum of their "perfect parts".
Images: istockphoto.com Purchased for commercial use.