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Body Image Pressure in the Gay Community: The Whys and The Hows

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For all the people outside the gay community, all its members look satisfied and happy, and living lives that other people can only be envious of. However, the truth is somewhat different, and not everything is so peachy. Many people put gay men into a one-dimensional category in which they have to meet all the popular gay stereotypes, but what happens if someone is a member of this community, but doesn’t want to, or simply is not able to fit these stereotypes? According to the psychologists at the Anglia Ruskin University, these stereotypes and expectations can damage the gay man. To all gay men out there: why is this the case, where does this pressure come from and how to get rid of it?

 

The expectations

Perhaps it’s because of popular TV shows such as “Sex and the City” or “Will and Grace”, but all of us feel this pressure to be everything a typical gay guy is – witty, humorous, stylish, having perfect skin, hot, having a six pack, leading healthy lifestyles. That’s a lot of burden, especially to the gays who can’t fit into one or two of these categories. And let’s not talk about gay porn, which might provide the most pressure of all. If you take a look at all the popular gay porn actors, you’ll see nothing but perfectly shaped bodies. Hence, it’s only natural that, after watching gay porn, our expectations somehow differ from reality, resulting in being interested only in guys who look like the ones we saw in porn.

 

The reality

The reality is very different. Not all of us are filthy rich or extremely stylish; some of us have acne and imperfect skin; some of us like to eat junk food. Some just have a different sense of humour. However, one of the most important aspects of pressure imposed on gays concerns their body image. It can be extremely difficult, not to mention impossible to some, to have a centrefold body. However, things get a bit more complicated here as it’s not only gay porn actors who have bodies to die for. If you enter a gay club, the first thing you will see is a guy wearing a sleeveless crop top accentuating his big biceps and bubble butt. And you’ll see at least half of the club in the same outfit and with the same attitude.

 

Fix what can be fixed

The gay magazine “Attitude” has recently conducted research on whether gay people were satisfied with their body, and 84% of the surveyed said they felt pressure and thus dissatisfaction with the way they look. Only 1% of the surveyed were actually satisfied with their body. Bearing in mind that gay men are more prone to having mental health issues, this can sometimes be very damaging. That is why it is very important to try and change everything that can be changed. If you’re not satisfied with your body and really want to have a better one, get motivated and hit the gym regularly. Try to change your diet and lead a healthier lifestyle. Even though you might like sitting back and eating junk food, if a better body is something that will make you happier, work on it. If you’re not for breaking a sweat, use the services of a body sculpting clinic and try to gain that body you’re aiming for. However, you should not be doing this only because of the pressure around you, as there are other things you are good at.

 

Discover your power

Not everyone can be everything – how many gay people do you know who are extremely hot, stylish and funny? Not a lot. That is why it’s of crucial importance to stop comparing yourself to others. You are one of a kind, and you have your own superpower up your sleeve, you just have to find it. Is it style without the body? Or perhaps humour? Even though the scruffy masculine look is extremely popular among gays nowadays, it’s questionable if it’s going to be so popular in the years to come, as well. The differences and the flaws that we have are the things that set us apart from the crowd, making us unique and original. And if you are one of those, don’t give that up just to be another Ken doll on the shelf.

It seems that everything is about physicality nowadays, which is superficial and a bit sad. However, if someone’s into physicality only and you’re not, why then look up to him, as you know your goals are totally different? As David Levesque, a gay vlogger who talked a lot about this topic said, “Everyone has something beautiful about them, and we shouldn’t just be looking at the body.” And there’s a lot of truth to that.

 

Thanks to Peter Minkoff for guest-writing this blog post. Check out his previous post here.
Peter is a gay lifestyle writer at Woofd magazine. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.

 

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