I recall Frank Zappa asking his audience “Is there anyone out there who thinks they’re good looking, y’know: you think you’re kinda cute? Well, you’d better watch out, ‘cos there are a hell of lot more of us ugly motherfuckers about.”
Broadblogs responded to my post “Naked Men” suggesting that the self-consciousness I was witnessing was a result of the idealised body images of men portrayed in the media. This is a problem more commonly associated and discussed in relation to women. The skinny models/anorexia/young women’s suicides debate has been raging for decades.
I understand that positive self-image and self-esteem are a large component of mental health. We need to feel good about ourselves in order to be able to function as “normal” human beings.
The natural progression of these arguements is to say that the media are making us ill. If that’s true, why do we let it happen? “The media” are people too: do they suffer the same fate? Who has anything to gain from creating a narrow tolerance of what a body should look like? It’s hard to believe that the models are responsible for its promotion, since they seem to suffer their own torture to maintain the way they look. Is this trend bigger than its players and impossible to deflect or stop? Is there a way to break the cycle?