Expectations of Women, Expectations of Men


In Where the Girls Are, Susan Douglas argues that women of her generation in the 1950’s and 1960’s were expected to be both feminine and American, but mostly feminine. This was embodied in their outward appearance, and Douglas felt she “was supposed to be obsessively self-centered, scrutinizing every pore, every gesture, every stray eyebrow hair, eradicating every flaw, enhancing every asset, yet never letting anybody see me doing this” (28). Essentially, Douglas was supposed to be a walking contradiction that fit into an artificial, cultural mold.

Now, the cultural artifact video titled “Aesthetic Natural Bodybuilding Motivation-Fitness Aesthetics” reveals an unprecedented attention to detail regarding the male body. None of the featured fitness models talk during the entire video, they only work out and parade their sculpted, Greek god style bodies. The message embedded is one of severe self-discipline that will, over time, give one the perfect body.

Both Where the Girls Are and “Aesthetic Natural Bodybuilding Motivation-Fitness Aesthetics” expect their intended audience to fit a mold that is nearly impossible to achieve. The necessary self-scrutinizing to maintain such bodies is expected by those who already fit the mold, but the general public sees such actions as unnatural and freakish. These young women and men are caught between a rock and a hard place.

While I agree with both the text and video artifact, I feel that the body image issues relating to young men in the early 21st century are largely ignored, though increasingly rampant. Too many videos on YouTube espouse a lifestyle that severely restricts food in order to attain low body fat levels. Worse, the bodies shown in these videos are not natural, and require steroids to achieve. If a young man attempts these physiques naturally, he will only be disappointed and lose self-esteem, seeing himself as lesser than these idealized physiques. Do you think men are suffering more body image issues in this day and age?


One thought on “Expectations of Women, Expectations of Men

  1. Yes. Men of today’s day and age do face and suffer with more body issues than in previous years, but I also believe that women face this problem as well. Our society in general faces more self esteem issues due to the mass use of technology and influence of the media. Men and women alike are now both held to unrealistic expectations of how their bodies “should” look because of the use of Photoshop in slimming and trimming the bodies of models and celebrities. We also see that the impact of social media has had an effect on these expectations as well. In an Instagram or Facebook page, we see that people only post the best versions of themselves. These forums are arenas in which people, in a sense, compete for the most “likes” or “followers” which are gained through having the most aesthetically pleasing pictures.


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