men · normative bodies

Men, body image, and shame

Over time, here on the blog, there are things that become, for each of us, our topics. I’m our go-to person for writing about men and body image. I’m not sure why. It might be that I am the parent of two 20-something men and I watched how these issues affected them growing up. Certainly it’s true that I didn’t get the egalitarian world I wanted, one in which women got the body comfort traditionally available to men. Instead, men got normative thinness and body shaming. They even got Spanx. Ugh.

Exhibit A: They’re even body shaming Jason Momoa. I love this response.

Exhibit B:

People are telling men what to wear now too, shorts over leggings for example.  It’s like the push to have women wear skirts over leggings for fear of revealing butts and camel toe except this time it’s shorts not skirts and the pressure to cover up is on men not women.

Writes Bret Williams who makes the case for men wearing leggings alone, sans shorts: “I’m not advocating for everyone to totally ditch shorts for good if they don’t feel so inclined (not all women love the tight all over look, either). I’m just saying that the stigma that surrounds a leggings-only outfit for men should be lifted. That dismissive attitude does exist. Go to any gym or athletic event and you’ll find tons of guys rocking compression leggings as a base layer, but most (if not all) of them will also be sporting a loose pair of shorts on top. That doesn’t always make sense for performance— you’ll get the same compression benefits and comfort whether you layer it up or not.”

It turns out that men who just wear compression shorts or tights, without baggy shorts over top, often go for a strategically placed towel instead. Here’s the Rock defending his well-placed towel. Short version: He says he sweats a lot. Others aren’t convinced about that account.

Jezebel asks, Why Are Men at the Gym Wearing Dick Towels? 

The answer is compression tights and modesty.

From Jezebel. “Men’s compression tights have recently been called the “must-have” piece of clothing that, according to Esquirewill make every workout better.” The benefits reportedly include increased blood flow and reduced muscle fatigue. (A recent study cast doubt on that latter claim.) The Rock himself has launched multiple pairs of branded Under Armour tights that promise an “ultra-tight, second-skin fit.” But it seems “second-skin” fit feels like “first skin,” judging by the Reddit threads debating whether it’s acceptable for men to wear compression tights without taking secondary measures to cover up their “junk.” Quora threads inquire, “Are running tights for men immodest?” and “Is it ok for men to wear leggings in public?” Most commenters recommend embracing the tights-only look, wearing shorts over them, or using compression shorts underneath.”

I don’t care if men want to wear shorts or strategically placed towels. It’s the cover up your messy body parts body shaming that gets me for people of all genders. I especially hate the version of this shaming that says it’s okay to wear revealing things if you have a perfect body but imperfect bodies should be hidden

 

3 thoughts on “Men, body image, and shame

  1. Honestly, with all the fussing about the bits, the complainers are just drawing attention to it. Maybe underarmour should bring out a range of tights with codpieces! Really shy guys could invest in dance belts if it’s such a big issue. For them. It would be more in conformity with the stated intention of providing support and improving performance. https://images.app.goo.gl/NAvfKonfYc444skH9

    Liked by 1 person

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