Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gay men's body image: Do I look fat?

Read the full article here

"Do I look fat?” If you are the kind of guy who asks this question, please read on.

Did you know that there are guys out there who would be excited about being diagnosed with HIV? To them, this news means that prescriptions for steroids and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) are coming their way, along with an attractive muscular physique. Others even half-joke with their friends about getting a tapeworm to lose weight.

Sounds kinda nutty, doesn’t it? But it’s true.

It just goes to show you that you are one step from finding yourself diagnosed with a psychiatric condition from the Big Book of Crazy, if you’re constantly asking others if you’re fat.

Last time I checked – gay men are gay because they have sex with other men, not because they have a certain body type. These days, it seems to me that many gay men will stop at nothing to be muscular or have six-pack abs, as if this is some kind of prerequisite to being an accepted gay man in our community.

This disturbing belief is not confined to Southern California, where “healthy” lifestyles and fat-phobia dominate.

A 2009 study from the University of Iowa showed that photos of male bodies in The Advocate and Out magazines became thinner and more muscular from 1967 to 2008. Gay men in this study compared themselves to images found in media. If their body did not match those found in the images, the men reported dissatisfaction with their bodies and decreased self-esteem.

Gay men returning from circuit parties and pride festivities will likely feel tremendous pressure to achieve or maintain the muscle-bound, fat-free body type that we are constantly surrounded by.

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