We all know that women aren't happy enough. It's no secret that we're insecure, that we are battling with confidence issues and that most of us are in daily battles, no matter how big or small, with our bodies. And finally, we are doing *something* about it, what with the huge influx of plus-size models, blogs and the #bodypositive strap line. Of course, we're a good few thousand miles from the finish line, but at least we've started the race.
But a new study in the Body Image Journal has found that it is not just us women battling with these insecurities. In fact, dealing with them at just the same rate and magnitude, are the boys. The study looked at 12,176 surveys gathered by NBC News and Today and found that the amount of women disliking their bodies is around the same as men, who feel the same about theirs. Take a look:
6% of men to 9% of women reported that they were very to extremely dissatisfied with their looks.
15% of men and 20% of women said that they felt very to extremely dissatisfied with their weight.
28% of men to 26% of women said that they felt very to extremely satisfied with their looks.
The fact is, this has been such a big issue facing so many women for such a long time, that I think a lot of us forget that this is an equally massive problem for the blokes. No they don't have adverts thrown at them every which way for diet pills, they're not expected to look like actual angels in their underwear and there is a much stronger 'plus size' male presence out there, without the stupid labels... Jonah Hill and James Cordon have never been put in the same category as Ashley Graham FYI. But despite all of this, these results do show that the pressure IS very much there for men too.
These findings come about at the same time as Game Of Thrones star, Kit Harrington (AKA Jon Snow) made claims in The Sunday Times Magazine that male actors suffer the same 'demeaning' sexism as women. He says "there's definitely a sexism in our industry that happens towards women, and there is towards men as well. At some points during my photoshoots when I'm asked to strip down, I felt that. If I felt I was being employed just for my looks, I'd stop acting".
Now whether or not that is 'sexism' is irrelevant here, the point is, there is clearly too much pressure on both men and women alike.
No, men are not encouraged to take diet pills, but every advert in every magazine encourages protein. No, they don't feel the need to look like Victoria's Secret Angels, but they'd like to look like Calvin Klein models. And although there are more 'chubby' male celebs, they are of course worried that women would be more inclined to bed Ryan Gosling before they did Seth Rogan.
And if I may play devil's advocate for a minute here, might I point that if men do in fact have the same pressures as women plastered onto them day in day out, that they are in fact much more ill-equipped to deal with it. After all, we do have the option of makeup, waist trimmers and high heels. (Not that we should feel that we have to wear any of this of course, but the option is nice...)
Some shitty statistics were released during Mental Health Awareness Week about the issues facing men and the thing that I found most worrying of all, is that the biggest killer of men under the 21 is suicide. And for some reason that is something that we just don't seem to be talking about enough. Maybe the guys aren't speaking up, or maybe we're not listening hard enough... but either way, something needs to be done.
So the next time you over hear someone tearing into a guy for being fat, or you find yourself wanting to tease a man for being ugly, please try to remember that men are battling with the same insecurities and pressures that we are.
And to any men reading this - please don't be ashamed to rock the #DadBod - you might have thought it was 'so Summer circa 2015', but all the women that I know that are worth knowing, would pick a guy with moobs and a sense of humour over some hunk with shit chat any day. #justsayin'