On my blog and Instagram I talk a lot about body positivity. Although most of my posts may seem female orientated I definitely want to share some more positive outlooks for men regarding their own body image and how they can become more body positive. I have a younger brother, a father and male friends who through the years I have gathered information from on the body image stereotypes that males are expected to achieve. The mysogynistic dated view of women is that women are expected to be beautiful dolls basically so men will find them attractive so they can marry them and gain a husband-worshipping live in cook and cleaner also a carrier for their sperm. But what’s worse for men is that many of them were expected to be macho, strong, non emotional, the provider, and handsome in order to be even seen as a man. Thankfully I don’t think this way at all. That’s the way our grandparents society were raised to think and unfortunately it is still a current way of thinking among some people but is very prominent in media culture. There’s so much pressure over who goes to the gym and how often and how much they can bench blah blah blah 🙄. Theres 14 year old boys trying to sneak into gyms trying to get the Rob Lipsett body. Young men flocking to the internet to buy supplements and steroids out of desperation to look a certain way, all to keep up with the image that they believe is what it takes to be manly.
I’d actually hate to be a ‘man’ sometimes because everything seems like it’s a pissing contest amongst the “lads”. Women we are lucky, we have gotten better and grown and support each other now instead of bringing each other down (well the majority of us have). So why don’t we show our men a bit of support?! They deserve to be supported too.
I decided to interview my dear friend Reece Creed a Youtuber with over 2K subscribers and 6K followers on Instagram about his experience being a man growing up in this day and age and all about one of my favourite topics…you guessed it, body positivity 🙃
Bri: When you were growing up did you have a set mental body image or certain body criteria that you thought you’d have to meet to be seen as “manly”?
Reece: Yes. I always grew up watching all these guys on tv. They would be muscular and big. They would have six packs, massive arms and skinny legs. From as young as 10 I used to look at pictures of these guys that were popular at the time such as Zac Efron and Joe Jonas and think why couldn’t I be like them. I’d starve myself then binge eat and it was just so unhealthy. I’d cry for hours on end looking at myself in the mirror and being sickened by the image staring back at me.
Bri: What’s the worst thing that someone has ever said to you or made you feel about your body ?
Reece: About this time two years ago I went out with my friends to nightclub in Limerick which I won’t name. I felt so good at the start of the night. I got an amazing new outfit, did my hair up in a massive quiff and just felt amazing. The whole night people had been coming up to me for pics and telling me I looked amazing and I was honestly on cloud nine. Then all of a sudden I saw the guy staring at me with such an evil look in his eyes. He was with a girl I knew at the time and I went over to say hello to her and I of course I greeted him as well. He screamed in my face “I DON’T LIKE FAT PEOPLE” and I honestly broke. I was humiliated and felt as if I was about to burst into tears. I got angry and recorded him saying it and put it up on Snapchat. A security guard came over after I stormed off and asked “what’s going on here?” and he said “I just called that famous fella fat problem?” And the bouncer just laughed along. It was honestly one of the most traumatic moments of my life and caused me to feel so unconfident for ages. People can be so shitty.
Bri: When do you feel most comfortable and confident within yourself?
Reece: I know this sounds weird but when I’m in a bomb ass outfit. Fashion is one of my main passions in life and there’s nothing a fire outfit can’t fix. I also love how fashion outlets are making their size ranges bigger! It’s just a great time for fashion right now!
Bri: Is there anything that you believed you couldn’t do because of the pressure there is on males to look a certain way?
Reece: Going swimming used to be so fun for me. Through my teenage years it turned out to be the biggest trigger for my confidence. If I went to the beach with my friends I’d sit on the wall and watch them swim. Also changing rooms just triggered me too. I hated other people staring at me and my body and making comments. My teenage years were honestly the worst years of my life. Boys were so horrible to me all the time and they made me feel like my body was disgusting and ugly.
Bri: Have you ever felt uncomfortable about your own body while around other males?
Reece: All the time. In primary school we used to go swimming every Friday and looking at how skinny and fit everyone else was would make me feel so upset. No one saw me as the “good looking” guy. I was called “chubby”, “fat” and sometimes they would say “you have bigger boobs than the girls”. What people don’t realize is those comments stick with you. Every time you go to the beach, every time you try on clothes in a changing room, every time you look in the mirror your mind flashbacks to the way people made you feel……SHIT.
Bri: What/Who made you change your perspective on body positivity?
Reece: Basically my teenage years were so fucking horrible so once I turned 20 I decided my twenties were gonna be the best era of my life. I joined the gym and have been going 2 to 4 times a week and it honestly makes me feel so good about myself! Also so many people on social media helped me to love myself. Cartia Mallan taught me to live my life spiritually and mediate every day! Remi Ashten also taught me how to live a healthier life not for everybody else but for me! Also you (Bri) inspired me to put up my first body posi post which gained so much support!
Bri: How are you gonna throw some body positivity into the universe?
Reece: I’m gonna just talk about my body experiences more. Through posting more body positivity related content the amount of messages I have gotten about the subject has been crazy. I want to inspire people to live their best lives and to put two middle fingers up to people who have put them down for years. FUCK THE HATERS.
I’m absolutely blown away by Reece’s honesty and vulnerability sharing his responses to my questions. As a friend I have never been prouder of him for opening up to me and sharing his experiences and even more so as a person who follows him and admires him for all of his hard work within the Irish social media community.
I definitely believe that men deserve the support that women get on the topic of body image and body positivity. If you enjoy going to the gym for reasons that are just to transform the way you look because you think you should look a certain way like someone else in order to be attractive or manly, I feel sorry for you. I hope you one day realise that you should be going to the gym to exercise the best version of yourself to push your strength to its limits, to reach a goal, to enjoy yourself, to destress, to take advantage of the ability your body has to do some good workouts. It’s time for the ‘lads’ to stop calling each other fat or scrawny in the changing rooms, to stop taking screenshots and pictures of someone who they call chubby or skinny and slandering them in group chats, to stop making fun of people wether they’re big or small and decide to take their top off at the beach. The pressure on male body image is immense and is not only damaging physically to men but also psychologically. In Ireland men account for 80% of suicides recorded in State (The Irish Times). If we alleviate some of the pressure on men that there is to be seen as macho, strong, non emotional, the provider, and handsome by first introducing a new body image of being the best version of who you are not who you think you should be, it just may save some lives. #BodyPositivity is this: embrace just being yourself, look after yourself and love yourself, that is enough, oh and don’t be a dick.
Thank you to Reece Creed for collaborating with me for this blog post I’ll leave his social media handles here:
Hope you enjoyed this post! Make sure to follow me for more. Feel free to share and send this on to any of the males in your life, a dad, a brother, an uncle, a friend. Spread some positivity today.