In a culture that’s saturated with information and judgment about how women should look, where we often hear about the devastation that media and Photoshopped images cause on young girls’ self-esteem, it becomes easy to forget men may feel as vulnerable about their body composition as their female counterparts.
In this unapologetic and direct article a man comes out and says enough.
Enough shame. Enough hatred. Enough self-attacks.
Some have argued– as explained in this The Globe and Mail article about Jezebel readers’ reactions to his decision to bare it all– that men have no business complaining because women get it so much worse, and thus inadvertently have turned this issue into a battle of who’s the biggest martyr.
More than the nudity, the exposure or the presumed offensiveness of his pictures, what I found very distasteful was precisely this: the self-entitlement with which some people can say to another You have no right to complain.
You have no right to feel sad.
You shouldn’t be whining because you don’t have it as bad.
This is as logical as me running over your dog and then rolling my eyes if you cry because think of all the other people who have lost pets in way more tragic ways, seriously. It makes as much sense as telling a mother whose child has died that she isn’t allowed to mourn because at least she’s not one of those women incapable of conceiving, I mean come on.
Since when did invalidating an individual’s emotions become the viable solution to a problem?
How in our minds do we justify that if we take what a person genuinely feels, throw it on the floor, stomp it over and piss on it, then it’s not a problem anymore?
As individuals we’re allowed to find joy or suffering wherever we choose, and invalidating a person’s feelings won’t resolve the greater dilemma represented here any more than it would help telling an anorexic girl to eat because think of the starving children in Africa. For all we know this exercise was exactly what this man needed to find his peace, and who are we to nullify his triumph?
And so yes. That’s a real human body. If you can’t handle that, don’t click.
“I don’t know how to fix the broken ways our culture talks about bodies. I don’t know how to make people love themselves. I don’t even know how to mend the disconnect between my sense of self and my physical shape. What I do know is how to confront fear and shame and self-hatred, at least for myself, and how you do that is head-on.”