Of Image

I could go on a tirade about the obsession with image, but I think I'd probably be wasting my time stating the obvious. We are very much influenced by media, TV, movies, celebrities, magazines...unless you live in a cave, it's impossible not to be touched by this. We end up buying into the media's brand of beauty & the product we purchase is pretty warped. Few of us can achieve the sculpted, perfected bodies of celebrities who spend exorbitant amounts of money on personal trainers, expensive beauty products/treatments, dieticians and a host of medical procedures at their disposal.

We all know it's unrealistic. Yet we still try to achieve that level of "beauty" and look for it in our partners. It's not surprising that young men in my generation and the next are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with their own body image and deal with self esteem issues that were largely unheard of in prior generations. I think any heterosexual man over 45 would be horrified if someone suggested that he wax his chest, but a 25 yr old with his chest already shaved/waxed wouldn't be surprising.

Now that I've doused you with my crackpot theories, I'll issue a challenge, mainly to the women. What is so disgusting about a hairy chest or a man with a beard? Why is the removal of body hair required in order for someone to have sex appeal? As a heterosexual woman, don't you think it the least bit disturbing that you find feminine/boyish looking men more attractive than their non-groomed/burlier counterparts? Lastly, the pressures as women feel to attain a certain image - don't you feel the least bit guilty that you are placing that same burden on men?

A lot of what men have been programmed to think is sexy is based partially on the images they see in porn, partially in how they are wired and partially on what society tells them is "beautiful". 50 years ago the size 14 Marilyn Monroe was considered a sexpot, and today she'd likely be a plus size model struggling for work. In modeling, designers chose super slender women to model their clothing because they wanted people to notice the clothes, not the model, since skinny wasn't considered attractive at the time. Men like Rock Hudson, Steve McQueen, Marlon Brando and Humphrey Bogart dominated the silver screen of the past and they would be told to wax, workout and get plastic surgery were they to be around today.