Anything worth doing will have struggles. But anything worth the struggle is worth doing ~ Megan Finsel

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Truth about Beauty; the Definition of “Handsome”

    We have looked at what it means to be "pretty" and what it takes to be a "beauty", but what about "handsome"? Because societal standards for our appearance is neither gender specific, nor is it exclusively the struggle of women. So this post is dedicated to all the guys who struggle with their body image, too.

    According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word "handsome" can be defined as being skilled or clever, gracious, generous, and for being pleasing or dignified. Now, when we think of someone being handsome, do we usually envision a dapper young man in a tux? How about someone tall and dark? A distinguished, older gentleman? The term "handsome" is not common in today's compliment vocabulary; hot and sexy are usually used instead. But what does it take to be truly handsome?

Young men, just like young women, can be ridiculed if they are not muscular enough or if they don't look like Calvin Klein models. 

     Boys grow up playing with action figures like G.I. Joe, and they watch movies like Superman and Batman. They are surrounded by all these characters subconsciously telling them they have to be “tall, dark, and muscular” to be considered 'manly'. Similar to women, this can lead to conditions like social anxiety, eating disorders, even muscle dysmorphia or steroid abuse. All because of the preconceived notion that this is how they should look. 

    Earlier this month, the Huffingtonpost published an article on this subject [click here to read it], which highlights the struggles men can have concerning their body type and muscle dysmorphia. Interviewing 19 men with varying differences in body types, they discussed why men can tend to feel uncomfortable discussing their insecurities.

"Spoiler alert: Men have body insecurities, too, and that's nothing to be ashamed of." ~ HuffingtonPost
   Likewise, in April last year, published an article which focused on the fact men (just like women) can struggle with their weight and how they perceive themselves [click here to read it]. I found it very interesting to read, as it gave insight to a man's perspective on the struggles of weight gain and having a negative inner monologue.

"I've found myself hesitant even to consider, in my own mind, that disliking my body was worth sharing with anyone." ~ 

    Society tends to put the body image problems of women center stage, while men who struggle can be found standing on the wings. It has become almost shameful for them to talk about or discuss these problems publicly. I think this is sad, considering from a female perspective, I can relate and understand.

    If we demand equality for women, then we should also provide the same for men when it comes to social acceptance and theses preconceived standards. Young men should be accepted, and supported, despite their body type. The old, stereotypical ways of thinking needs to be discarded, and new ones need to be molded. 'Handsome' should become the new go-to look, encompassing each individual body type. So if you are a young man struggling with your own self-esteem or body image issues, please know that you are not alone, and it is not shameful to talk about.   

Want to read the previous posts from this series? 

Here is the list:
  1. Introducing the Truth about Beauty
  2. The Truth about Beauty; the Media is Damaging Us
  3. The Truth about Beauty; Loving Yourself
  4. The Truth about Beauty; Bullying
  5. The Truth about Beauty; the Definition of “Pretty”