While body shame is usually associated with women — it can also affect men in the form of mental illness or eating disorders.
And although men can compare themselves to each other regularly — we have a few tips to help them better understand why they are affected by body shame as well as steps to fight against it.
One of the first steps you can take as a male who struggles with body shame is to first admit how it is real.
“As cliché as it sounds, the first step to overcoming something that can be both as subtle and as destructive as body shame is admitting it exists—and that you experience it. It is hard for a lot of men and masculine people to look at themselves and be vulnerable with their feelings, since doing so is traditionally seen as weak or unmanly.” according to the body is not an apology author, Philippe Leonard Fradet.
The second step that can be taken is to identify what is causing the body shame.
While there are many different possibilities that could cause someone to be ashamed of their body, many times these issues of shame stem from childhood — most likely a parent making negative comments or subjecting their children to inappropriate counseling.
“Even if the source of the shame isn’t rooted in stereotypical or traditional concepts of the “male” body, men feel pressure to change their bodies or feel as though their bodies will never be good enough because they don’t look the way they’re “supposed to” or the way someone they idolize or respect does.” Fradet shares.
Discovering things that make you feel less ashamed and eliminating it will also help in your journey to embracing your body.
While it may be difficult at first to admit how there are things we do not truly like about ourselves, there are always things that we do love about our bodies that we may have a hard time expressing.
And if you struggle to find something about yourself to love, one tip is to look at others who both look and identify similarly to you and find the things they love about themselves.
“Rather than looking at all of the traits that others have that make you feel inferior, you can look at how those people who look like you rock their bodies and use them as inspiration for yourself.” Fradet writes.
Last but not least, eradicating what causes the body shame can help lead you to a place of increased confidence.
Whether you completely cut out the source of body shame in your life be it certain media outlets or address people who make you feel inferior is a choice you and only you, can make.
Confronting those who make you feel ashamed about your body is an vital step on the path to growth and a higher sense of self.
Being honest with them about how you are feeling as well as helping them understand why you demand respect from that moment and on wards will lead you to a place of confidence and self-respect.
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