The Before Body

(Hat tip to Sociological Images.)

Below the cut, we have a fascinating video in which a man becomes both the “before” and the “after” body for a weight-loss, muscle-gain ad– within only a few hours. To get the after body, he lifts weights (to make his muscles more prominent), tans, sprays his body with PAM, takes the picture with good lighting, and flexes– not to mention using a little Photoshop. To get the before body, he relaxes on the couch for a few hours, consumes high-fat high-salt food and diet soda so he bloats, takes the picture with bad lighting, and pushes out his stomach.

Beyond the fascination of the transformations a body can go through in less than one day, why is this video relevant? As we talk about ad nauseam, women tend to have a Beauty Myth (“you can never be beautiful enough”) and men a Success Myth (“you can never be successful enough”). However, something I find fascinating is the way that both myths tend to bleed over into the “wrong” genders, often in particularly gendered ways. Women often face pressure to be Supermoms, with a successful corporate job, two well-adjusted intelligent children, a happy husband, and a clean house– and look good the whole time. And men are starting to experience a similar unrealistic beauty ideal, although with (as of yet) much less strength than the female ideal.

I think it’s because corporations, having already gotten rich off women feeling like shit about their bodies, have decided to explore the untapped gold mines of men feeling like shit about their bodies.

But, seriously, let’s nip the male beauty myth in the bud. Photos lie. Just as the skinny model with the C cup breasts is the beneficiary of genetics, plastic surgery, and unhealthy diet and exercise regimens, the zero-body-fat model with bulging triceps is the beneficary of genetics, steroids, and unhealthy diet and exercise regimens. While the male model may seem to be “healthy,” what’s really healthy is a well-balanced diet and sensible exercise plan– whether it leaves you with belly fat or six-pack abs. (Not to mention that people should feel no duty to be healthy if, in fact, doughnuts and bad TV are what will make them happier– but that’s a different point.)

It is even more ridiculous to feel like you have to live up to a beauty ideal that even the models don’t. Without clever tricks of photography and a little Photoshop, the man in the video looks like a normal, if very athletic, man; with them, he looks ready for the cover of Maxim. And, hell, I’ve met female models. You’d be surprised how ordinary they look without makeup and good lighting and Photoshop. There is no sense in feeling bad about how you look because you don’t look like an ideal no one does.

I have a before body. So do you, and so does the man in the video, and Hugh Jackman, and everyone else you’ve ever met. People with before bodies climb mountains, fall in love, save lives, raise pretty awesome children, create art, play sports, and generally live happy, meaningful lives. I am proud of my before body, and you should be too.

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78 Responses to The Before Body

  1. PetroniusArbiter says:

    Very nice Ozy – particularly the points about that looking in a way we have learned to associate with health is not necessarily a result of actually healthy practices, and that noone should compare what they see in the mirror with a processed image.
    I do have one quibble though – with your statement “people should feel no duty to be healthy if, in fact, doughnuts and bad TV are what will make them happier”. Basically, I disagree. I think there are in fact certain obligations that people have in regard to (at least attempting to) maintain and improve both body and mind health, at least as far as they exist as a part of a larger network – whether that is family, community, or society at large. Whether you see it as striving toward an abstract ideal, being there for your family for as long as possible, or not being a drain on the community via (possibly) unnecessary medical treatments, personal happiness is not an absolute and final criteria (and we are not even going into what constitutes “true happiness” here).
    However, none of this has anything to do with what you look like, so as far as that goes, i agree with you 100%.

  2. granbee says:

    Love your last paragraph about folks with Before Bodies leading very good lives with lots of joy and wonderful accomplishments. You are SO right that Madison Avenue makes a killing everyday trying to make us feel “like shit” about ourselves.

  3. Xakudo says:

    I have a before body. So do you, and so does the man in the video, and Hugh Jackman, and everyone else you’ve ever met. People with before bodies climb mountains, fall in love, save lives, raise pretty awesome children, create art, play sports, and generally live happy, meaningful lives. I am proud of my before body, and you should be too.

    Gold, right there.

    I’ve struggled with body image issues since high school, and I’m male. I wonder if this is another one of those “guys experience it, they just don’t talk about it” kind of things. I’ve rarely ever told anyone I don’t feel attractive. It would be weird in a very particular way. It can easily come across as fishing for complements. So if you’re talking to guys, it can seem “gay”. And if you’re talking to girls, it can seem simultaneously un-confident and fishing for pity romance, or something like that.

    I’ve only started to regularly feel physically attractive within the last year or so thanks to lots of positive comments from my girlfriend about how she likes my body. She’s the first girlfriend I’ve had that does that.

    So that’s an interesting question… how many of the straight women here regularly re-assure their male partners about their physical attractiveness (as opposed to their personality/behavioral attractiveness)? I’m not trying to pin anything on anyone, but it’s interesting. My general experience through life has been zero reassurance about my attractiveness from any source at all, including my partners. And I’m wondering how common that is.

    It’s a lot easier to weather the storm of unrealistic media when I have someone in real life telling me I’m attractive.

  4. superglucose says:

    I had a friend proudly broadcast that she had .72% bodyfat. I responded with, “I recommend medical treatment” along with a published list of medically accepted “appropriate” bodyfat contents. Turns out that women should have at least 10% bodyfat for their bodies to function properly!

  5. PetroniusArbiter says:

    @Xakudo
    You make an interesting point. My sense of self has never been very closely tied to body image, so I’m happily not particularly sensitive to either compliments or put-downs based on physical appearance, but the closest I have seen mainstream media come to positive message for men is “don’t worry guys, the ladies don’t care about what your body looks like”. As that is rather obviously untrue (as a general statement – i’m not saying it’s untrue in any and all cases), I doubt it comes across as particularly reassuring.
    Another thing i’m curious about – how did you react when your girlfriend complimented you for first time? (happy to hear it, btw). I know that when i receive compliment about something I’m not feeling particularly confident about (whether that is a piece of work, personal characteristic, whatever), I have the tendency to take it as either someone being patronizing, or sarcastic at me. As I’m not particularly good at reading subtle social cues, that can occasionally cause problems.

  6. Xakudo says:

    @PetroniusArbiter:

    My sense of self has never been very closely tied to body image, so I’m happily not particularly sensitive to either compliments or put-downs based on physical appearance

    Oh, yes, don’t get me wrong. I think guys are taught to value themselves for things other than beauty, whereas I suspect that is much less the case with women. My sense of self-worth and sense of self has little to do with my physical attractiveness. But I find that it still hurts in some specific ways to not feel like I am physically attractive. It’s also kind of… like, I didn’t notice how much it affected me until I no longer felt unattractive. Looking back on myself even two years ago, my psychological outlook was very different, in a negative way.

    the closest I have seen mainstream media come to positive message for men is “don’t worry guys, the ladies don’t care about what your body looks like”

    Yup, I heard that all the time (also from women in real life, not just media). Often coupled with “Men aren’t physically attractive anyway–women are the visually pleasing sex.” And this from straight-identified women.

    I wish people would cut that the hell out. All that kind of stuff really screwed with my head. It was like, “You can’t be hot, because you’re male. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be, because women aren’t shallow like pigs… err… I mean like men.”

    Another thing i’m curious about – how did you react when your girlfriend complimented you for first time?

    I think I was a little distrustful. Like she was just trying to make me feel good. But I also took it as a nice gesture that she would care enough to say that, which gave me warm fuzzies.

    It wasn’t until a while (and numerous compliments) later when I told her that I’ve never really thought I was physically attractive. And her face instantly shifted into this “WTF?” expression. That was what finally got me over it. Just that totally instant and genuine WTF moment from her. She could not for the life of her grasp how I had gotten into that state of mind. (Apparently several of her friends think I’m hot, too.)

    However, I will also say that it wasn’t entirely due just to her. I had gotten into PUA to an extent prior to meeting her, and I’d had some positive experiences flirting with women thanks to that. So I’d already started to get an inkling that I was, in fact, a lot more attractive than I thought I was. But her consistent compliments and the obvious pleasure she took in my body was really what finally sold it for me. It was no longer just isolated incidents, you know?

  7. jesus_marley says:

    I would go through periods in my life where at times I would feel more attractive, but I still never felt “attractive” as a man. I still have a less than stellar body image but I am starting to get over it. I have my wife to thank for this. She had never outright told me that she thought me attractive, but I think that had more to do with her belief that I already knew it. I found out quite by accident when she had me call her cell phone after she misplaced it. I found it and saw on the caller ID that I was programmed into the phone as Sexy Jesus*. When I saw that It completely made my day in that I realized that I was actually viewed as a sexually desirable entity. When I told my wife this she too had a WTF? expression. She makes it a point now to tell me quite often.

  8. jesus_marley says:

    *She uses my actual name in her phone.

  9. Gaius says:

    I’m confident in my looks, if only because they get the job done: they please my partner and occasionally compel women to smile at me. I don’t care what society says: as long as the people I CARE about find me satisfactory, who gives a damn what the media tells me to believe?

    And if someone DOESN’T like how I look, that’s their privilege. I don’t blame them in the least — beauty is subjective, and that means people are allowed to have their own opinions. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Furthermore, I can see how different body types can be attractive to different people in different ways. Most (almost all?) human beings are storytellers who make sense of the world in terms of narrative, so if a certain body type fits into your personal narrative in a satisfactory way, I can see how you’d appreciate it.

    On the other hand: though I’m confident in what I have (to the point that I almost take it for granted), I’m not particularly ATTACHED to it primarily because it’s the OPPOSITE of what I find attractive. It’s straight and angular where I prefer curves. It’s hairy where I prefer bodies hairless. And it’s dull where I prefer bodies sensitive.

    In other words: I’m confident that my looks will get the job done, and I can even understand intellectually how people can fit it into their personal narrative so that it satisfies. But when I look in the mirror, it mystifies me how people can find this angular, hairy package attractive — if only because I cannot.

  10. Autochron says:

    Hello. I am de-lurking, finally, to comment on this post. I love the blog and I hope to comment more in the future.

    A background:

    I am a 32-year old man with some body image problems, especially regarding myself as sexually repulsive because of how my body looks. I look somewhat like the guy in the picture except that I’m a bit taller, quite a bit heavier, have a great deal of belly fat, basically a very large pot belly. I’m working on losing it, but it seems slow sometimes, especially with other health problems.

    I am working on the body image issues too. I’ve really only heard that I’m at all physically attractive from both my girlfriends, from a couple of my mother’s friends, and from some strangers online in a private forum where I posted my pictures, none of whom I really believe all that much, and I’ve heard a lot more evidence to the contrary (although admittedly most of that was from elementary and high school, as well as from my family growing up — my weight and eating habits were an excuse that my abusive family members used to justify doing what they did) Then again, when I “knew” there wasn’t anyone more physically repulsive than me in a 50-mile radius, it didn’t really hurt to hear the teasing and negative comments… now that I’m not so sure, thinking back on it, it hurts a lot more.

    I also (apart from a couple of brief relationships) have never dated, partly due to this but mostly due to other psychological issues re. abuse trauma. So that’s a brief background.

    That said, I really liked this video (and Ozy’s post!) I do worry that my body doesn’t even qualify as a “before” body, though… certainly the guy in the video doesn’t have the gut that I have. It’s a serious issue. I don’t qualify for body dysmorphic disorder according to the DSM-IV (haven’t looked at the -V yet) because the defect in my body is not minimal or non-noticeable, but I’ve been told I have exaggerated its effect on my sexual undesirability. So I wonder if my perception is accurate after all.

    Anyway, grr, I’m sorry, I didn’t want this comment to be all about me, but I’m unpacking, I guess. Point is, this gave me a lift. Thanks for posting it. 🙂

  11. Suturexself says:

    I have a similar quibble as Petronius. First, I’d like to say I agree 100% with virtually everything Ozy wrote. People should love and see value in themselves at any bodyweight. People should also never let others use their bodyweight or image to make them doubt their self worth.

    That said, obesity is still a bad thing. It still means diabetes, and heart attacks, and “metabolic syndrome”, and a host of other health issues. It still means a persons ability to perform physical activites is progressively limited. And it still means the pool of potential parterns is, in most cases for most people, progressively smaller as they get bigger.

    Of course this doesn’t imply some imparative for everyone to strive for an “after” body, but, frankly, the sassy self righteousness of being obese these days is stupid. Convincing yourself that you look “damn good” in a bikini when you’re 5’2 and 250 pounds is fine, if you want to believe it, and its also fine if you want to wear it – you have every right and should face no mistreatment. But there’s also this, explicit or implicit, idea that if other people don’t agree with your assessment, that’s evidence of moral failing on their part. That’s about where I draw the bullshit line, because I have no moral obligation to being attracted to any particular person, and if I’m not attracted to someone because they are overweight, it doesn’t make me “superficial”, “stupid”, a pig, or a helpless pawn of media images. I’m not attracted to overweight women, and I’m sick of being told it makes me a bad person.

    People talk about self love – but doing things that directly adversely affect your health, just because its more immediately gratifying, is not self loving. Respecting your bodies dietary needs is self loving – people feed their children vegetables, even though the kids don’t enjoy them as much as ice cream. Why? Because they love their children and want their children to be healthy. Exercising, or other physical activity is self loving – it’s taking time and making effort towards your own health.

    Again, everyone should love, appreciate, respect, and see value in themselves. But self love is far, far away from complacency.

  12. Park S. says:

    It’s possible that my case isn’t normal, or maybe it’s to do with my generation, but I’ve had significant issues with how I look since I was ten or so. I’ve literally never felt handsome, for even a second – even when I’ve had a girlfriend. I got close to it when I was at the peak of my physical fitness, after a few years of playing football and wrestling, but once those years were over I started gaining weight and feeling farther and farther from being attractive.

    I mean, my most recent ex, whom I was with for three years, wanted sex more than I did, but I always just kind of figured she just liked orgasms. She never complimented me on my looks, and never seemed to want to explore my body in any way. At the beginning of the relationship I tried to encourage her to do more for me, as I did for her, but after a while of doing that it starts to feel less like encouragement and more like begging. Eight months or so into it I gave up, and pretty much just resigned myself to her only ever wanting to lie there and have things done to her. It was more comforting to think that this was just how we had sex than to have to bear her seemingly begrudgingly do anything that involved her actively touching or pleasuring me (and only after me requesting it done). Near the end of our relationship it was very common for me to not even orgasm, or to only do so because I didn’t want her to feel like I wasn’t attracted to her.

    I never really got this whole “Beauty Object” vs. “Success Object” dichotomy; the heavy burdens of both seem to have been with me since I was first aware that entering a relationship meant passing someone’s evaluation. I also have to echo what someone said above: I’ve always felt like I can never vocalize those feelings with anyone. It feels like, as a guy, the only thing worse than being unattractive is caring that you’re unattractive. I understand that someone who is perpetually putting themselves down is one thing, but I’ve always seen someone (man or woman) who’s down on themselves as a chance to lift someone’s spirits. However, it’s also always seemed as if no one else (especially women, towards men) sees things similarly, and I’ve just always accepted it.

    I dunno.

  13. I also read a really disturbing article a few months ago about what male models go through before photoshoots. Can’t find the original, but here is a site with most of it, I think. http://www.thespartanwarrior.com/post/4791429282/you-too-cant-have-a-body-like-this

  14. Petronius888 says:

    @Park S.
    So many things wrong with the situation you describe, that i don’t even know where to start.
    It really doesn’t matter one bit what you look like in this case – your ex’s behaviour is just wrong. Even if she didn’t find you particularly attractive (in which case i’d question why she was with you for 3 years), she should be willing to reciprocate. If not, that simply makes her either incredibly selfish or lazy or both. With giving her as much credit as I possibly can (based on your description), the most charitable thing i could say about her is that she was ignorant and self-centered – more or less assuming that you would get off simply as a result of the fact that you are provided with a pussy, and nothing else is required. Even that is questionable if you in fact communicated clearly that you desire something more. I want to repeat that this really should have nothing to do with your level of attractiveness, whether compared to the cultural standard, or in the purely personal case.

  15. Park S. says:

    @Petronius888

    I did vocalize it, and she usually obliged without any overt negative response. However, it was never enthusiastic (using it in the normal sense, not the “Enthusiastic Consent” sense, which always makes me think of someone bouncing off the walls with how little they can contain their joy), which didn’t and doesn’t sit well with me. She also didn’t, aside from literally a single instance, ever try to please me of her own accord. Her idea of initiating sex was stripping naked, getting on our bed, and putting her hindquarters in the air. I’m not saying that it was something I hated seeing, but that was about as active as she ever got in our sex life and my enjoyment of that sight just got a bit… fizzled out, as time passed.

    That said, she wasn’t a bad person or even a terrible girlfriend – just human. I was far from the perfect boyfriend, and we were far from the perfect couple. I hold no ill will towards her, and I learned a lot from the relationship. I now know that one of my requirements of a girlfriend is, among other things, that she enjoys cock as much as I enjoy pussy. Generally I feel much better equipped to select a partner now than before. I outlined the sex life of that girlfriend and myself in my earlier post in an attempt to illustrate that even having someone want sex from you can leave your self-esteem no more buoyant than before.

  16. Monika says:

    I tell my husband he looks good – sometimes generally and sometimes a particular feature that happens to catch my eye right then. I know he gets compliments from other people too, usually on his hair.

  17. Feckless says:

    Good post.

    I admit I cringed a bit when I read this:

    “And men are starting to experience a similar unrealistic beauty ideal, although with (as of yet) much less strength than the female ideal.”

    Much less? It is self evident, and with everything that is self evident I get curious. Why do I get curious? Well there were many things I though were self evident that turned out to be false. As with all topics regarding problems that are typical seen as female problems, there usually is a hidden male side that is underreported, underresearched and quite significant. Please do not take this as a critique of your post, it is not, I am merely wondering how “much less” it is and how one can quantify this. I blogged about this before and the only comparing factoid I could come across was this via wiki:

    “Psychology Today found that 56% of the women and about 40% of the men who responded to their survey in 1997 were dissatisfied with their overall appearance.[4]”

    It is an interesting topic and as of now I am warming up my google-fu, wondering what data is out there.

  18. Thomas says:

    However, something I find fascinating is the way that both myths tend to bleed over into the “wrong” genders, often in particularly gendered ways. Women often face pressure to be Supermoms, with a successful corporate job, two well-adjusted intelligent children, a happy husband, and a clean house– and look good the whole time. And men are starting to experience a similar unrealistic beauty ideal, although with (as of yet) much less strength than the female ideal.

    Yes, this. But I think that a strict separation between Beauty Myth and Success Myth is impossible. Beauty is a marker of success and success is a marker of beauty. Maybe the first is more true for men and the second is more true for women. But nonetheless beauty and success are intertwined.

    The idea is that everyone can become beautiful/successful if they work hard, make the right choices. This idea is very visible in the TV-show The Biggest Loser. In which several obese people dedicate their lives to become healthy beautiful for some months. In the end the person who lost the most weight (relative to the starting weight) wins the game and a quarter million dollars. Becoming healthy is more of a side effect of becoming beautiful. There is even a make-over week when the contestants get new hair cuts, a new wardrobe, beauty treatments in a spa. (I admit the show is one of my guilty pleasures.)

    The mantra of one of the trainers is “hard work and dedication”. Noah talked about the success industry in one of his posts. The same mantra could come straight from a motivational speaker in a “How to get rich”-seminar. The common underlying issue is that the onus is solely on the individual to succeed. Societal factors for success or failure are masked out. Let’s not talk about the price and availability of healthy food, let’s rather talk about the bad choices individuals make.

  19. f. says:

    @superglucose, like with most things, the “proper” functioning of a female body is a little more subjective than you might think. The monthly menstrual cycle, for example, is an artifact of societies that don’t suffer food scarcity or involve extremely strenuous work – and it might just contribute to higher levels of ovarian cancer, too. Plenty of very athletic women don’t have the body fat to allow for a monthly cycle, and as long as they make sure their gynecologist is in the loop, they have nothing in particular to worry about as long as they’re not trying to conceive a child!

  20. suturexself says:

    It appears my previous comment was deleted. I apologize if it was offensive.

  21. Flyingkal says:

    @Xakudo:

    Oh, yes, don’t get me wrong. I think guys are taught to value themselves for things other than beauty, whereas I suspect that is much less the case with women.

    Nah, I think that body/physical apperance plays a great part in men’s attractiveness, and always has. It’s just that we not usually label it as “beauty”, but something along the line of “handsome” or hunk” instead.

    Other than that, my experiences are pretty much like yours. But my GF doesn’t have a sexy jesus on her phone… 😉

  22. Flyingkal says:

    @Park S:
    Spot on. Still not putting on any noticeable weight, despite being 40+, but being on the “smallish fit” side my whole life, I don’t think I’ve actually felt truly attractive in the “lusted after” sense, like, ever.

  23. L says:

    So that’s an interesting question… how many of the straight women here regularly re-assure their male partners about their physical attractiveness (as opposed to their personality/behavioral attractiveness)? I’m not trying to pin anything on anyone, but it’s interesting. My general experience through life has been zero reassurance about my attractiveness from any source at all, including my partners. And I’m wondering how common that is.

    I do, and it’s even partially because of the “men can’t be hot” myth. I want him to feel good about himself, and be confident and happy with his body. That’s really all there is to it.

    I have a similar quibble as Petronius. First, I’d like to say I agree 100% with virtually everything Ozy wrote. People should love and see value in themselves at any bodyweight. People should also never let others use their bodyweight or image to make them doubt their self worth.

    That said, obesity is still a bad thing. It still means diabetes, and heart attacks, and “metabolic syndrome”, and a host of other health issues. It still means a persons ability to perform physical activites is progressively limited. And it still means the pool of potential parterns is, in most cases for most people, progressively smaller as they get bigger.

    Yeah, same. I see no reason to respect someone that has no respect for themselves, their family, and their community. You don’t have to be 700lbs to be insanely, horribly sick and unhealthy. Never heard of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and poor brain activity making someone happy, and for someone to claim it does (usually before any health issues start to hit), disgusts me. On behalf of them and my older family members that are suffering from health problems unwillingly already. One of my uncles almost lost his life to heart complications, and had to have it completely replaced. You undergo that and tell me you’re happy and made the right decision with your life. Going to say something unpopular, but this is almost like the pro-ana crowd using pictures of people starving in third world countries as thinspiration. It makes me sick.

  24. L says:

    Oh and, for a great resource for staying healthy without being fixated on weight and waist size: http://feministfitness.tumblr.com/

    Yes, there is “feminist” in the blog title. No, that doesn’t mean that the men here can’t enjoy and get something out of it. (It’s rather gender-neutral.) Unless, of course, you just don’t like the word, then you’re out of luck.

  25. PetroniusArbiter says:

    I’m sorry, but what is the “pro-ana crowd”?

  26. Actually, there are a lot of thin sick people, and a lot of fat healthy people. There’s not a lot of evidence that becoming non-fat makes people healthy, and there are health risks to trying to lose weight.

    The pro-ana crowd are people who embrace anorexia as a lifestyle.

  27. Vicky says:

    “Exercising, or other physical activity is self loving – it’s taking time and making effort towards your own health.
    Again, everyone should love, appreciate, respect, and see value in themselves. But self love is far, far away from complacency.”

    I generally eat what I want. Sometimes I exercise and sometimes I don’t. Fortunately, I’m not fat so my low self-esteem isn’t visible for all to see.

    Sorry for the sarcasm, but I feel angry and disappointed when people imply that being fat is morally wrong. These kind of comments don’t make people healthier, it just turns them into yo-yo dieters who feel bad about themselves. Why don’t we look at the societal factors that make people obese: zoning regulations that force people to drive everywhere instead of walking or biking; food additives; subsidies on corn and sugar cane that make junk food cheaper and more available than healthy food; food deserts in poor neighborhoods.

  28. Amy in Toronto says:

    I was referred to this blog post via a listserv recommendation and I’m so glad to have been directed to it. I’m not used to reading about these issues with which I am so familiar, from a male point of view, and particularly with so much thoughtfulness and insight. I’m fascinated by your (male) perspectives on this topic.

    I compliment my partner on his looks on a regular basis. We’ve known each other for more than 10 years and I’ve seen him vary in weight depending on his employment (e.g., when he worked closer to home, he would bike to work and now that he works farther away, he relies on his car and tends not to be physically active on a regular basis). He usually makes a joke or dismisses my compliment, which irritates me (and I have told him so) but I understand his personal context for trying not to be emotionally invested in his looks.

    As a child, he was skinny and got teased by girls for having such a dark complexion. He learned very early that conventional beauty ideals didn’t really apply to the people he knew and loved. He developed his own sense of what he considers beautiful. He doesn’t really have a physical “type” that he prefers, and he finds women of all ages and sizes to be attractive or “hot”.

    He’s currently at a size where he feels less comfortable, since I hear him making disparaging comments about himself, but I’m a big fan of his body whether he’s fat or thin or somewhere in between and I let him know it verbally and physically.

    I find it fascinating to read about men’s perceptions of their own bodies in the context of being amongst other men, being with female partners or just generally. Thank you for this thread!

  29. PetroniusArbiter says:

    Seriously? That’s a thing?
    Learn something new every day i guess. I just wish i didn’t, in this particular case.
    Reminds me of this

  30. Suturexself says:

    @Nancy – “Actually, there are a lot of thin sick people, and a lot of fat healthy people. There’s not a lot of evidence that becoming non-fat makes people healthy, and there are health risks to trying to lose weight.”

    It’s true that thin =/= healthy. Its also true that there are healthy overweight people (I don’t like the term “fat people” for annoyingly and arbitrary semantic reasons, I don’t think people should be defined by their weight). However, to deny that there is a general correlation between being overweight and having a higher risk of serious health problems would be a fallacy.

    There are only health risks to trying to lose weight if you’re going about it incorrectly. If you decide to starve yourself, yes, health risks. If you decide not to respect your bodies current limitation w/r/t exercise, yes, health risks. But cutting out two or three cans of soda a day in favor of water? Starting a safe, realistic exercise program? I’m sorry but I just can’t see those things as health risks.

    @Vicky: “Sorry for the sarcasm, but I feel angry and disappointed when people imply that being fat is morally wrong. ”

    I did not mean to imply that being fat is morally wrong, and I apologize if it came off that way. Bodyweight is amoral, but being overweight, IMO, given the health risks and objectively negative impacts on a persons life, is still a bad thing.

  31. Timid Atheist says:

    @L: “I see no reason to respect someone that has no respect for themselves, their family, and their community. ”

    So if someone struggles with weight for various reasons that means they have no respect for their family or their community? Since when does someone’s weight have anything to do with respect for family or community? I find it highly offensive that you’d suggest people with weight issues are being selfish. Perhaps some of them are, but such a blanket statement is uncalled for and just another way shame those who have issues with depression, weight loss and the like. And what of people who have medical issues that don’t allow them to lose weight? Are they also disrespectful?

  32. Vicky says:

    I apologize as well. I have a lot of baggage around this issue. It seems like no matter what your weight is, you can’t win. If you’re thin, people assume that you have an eating disorder and advise you to eat a sandwich. If you’re fat people say, “Why can’t they just exercise and go on a diet!”

  33. Suturexself says:

    @Vicky: I understand. I was obese growing up, went through intense bouts of anorexia and years of disordered thinking around food. I’ve been through all the self hatred, the teasing and insults, the “but you aren’t fat why are you on a diet?!” and “he’s manorexic”.

    So I know how important self respect and self love are in terms of body image. But, I just see it swing too far the other way so often – that the very good idea of “you shouldn’t hate yourself if you are overweight” becomes the very bad idea of “you should love being overweight”.

    I still deal with weight issues sometimes, but not to the extent I used to. I have more adipose tissue on my body than I want, so I exercise, try to generally eat right, and have been doing more cardio lately. I’ve learned over the years that self hatred and inwardly directed anger will not motivate me toward improving my health (fuck, those things are inherently unhealthy). Anymore, I relate to my bodyfat the same way I would relate to my hair – if I don’t like the way my hair is, I go and get it cut. I don’t hate myself for it or identify as a “bad hair person” or say “well, my hair just looks bad and there’s nothing I can do about it”. Same with losing weight – if I dont like my bodyfat levels, I can do whatever it is I need to in order to change them in the way I want, without developing an abusive relationship with myself.

  34. ozymandias42 says:

    I never exercise and have occasionally been known to eat popcorn and Laffy Taffy for dinner. I’m also very thin, so no one feels the need to remark on my obviously unhealthy habits. The unhealthy thing is not being fat– the unhealthy thing is not eating a good diet and having proper exercise. If you’re overweight and eat right and exercise, you are probably going to be healthier than I am in the long run. Also, Vicky’s quite right about the structural causes of poor health. Alsoalso, there ARE good reasons why people might not exercise regularly and be concerned with their diet, ranging from poverty and overwork to depression to being in recovery from an eating disorder.

    Petronius: The FUCK is up with your video? That is ableist as hell. People with mental illnesses suffer from quite enough “that’s not real, you’re just making it up, you’re looking for attention, you just need more willpower” shite already, you shouldn’t be adding to it. Not to mention that there are fucking anorexics and bulimics reading this fucking comment thread.

  35. Thank you for writing this.

  36. @Suturexself: cutting out a carton of soda may or may not make you thinner, but it will probably make you healthier. Those are not the same thing at all. “Starving yourself” is not the only unhealthy way to lose weight, actually most of them are, because most diets fuck with your metabolism and can screw it up permanently. 95% of diets fail in the long term, and a lot of them require stringent lifestyles to keep up the new lower weight, for the rest of one’s life.

    When I stopped eating high fructose corn syrup? I felt healthier. I did not lose any fat, and because I felt better, I exercised more, gained muscles under my fat, and now look fatter than I did before I stopped eating it.

    Here’s a good video of Ragen of Dances with Fat being disgusted with Dr. Oz, for anyone who is interested (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUwK74IPZgc) and a post about HAES that is pretty good.

  37. L says:

    @Timid Atheist: Where in my post did I ever conflate weight with health? And did you not see the link right underneath that post where I support and condone a blog whose sole purpose is to eliminate weight fixation from being healthy? And also the part where I’m married to a guy that is “technically” overweight and I’m 100% okay with that?

    I don’t care how much you weigh, but if you willingly and happily treat your body like shit, then that says something to me.

  38. Xakudo says:

    @Monika:

    I know he gets compliments from other people too, usually on his hair.

    Actually, I should have pointed this out earlier. That is precisely the only thing I have regularly gotten compliments on from women: my hair. I wear it long, and apparently it’s amazing. That has been the saving grace of my (attractiveness-) self-esteem for a long time.

    However, nearly all of the complements in that regard have been delivered with about as much “you’re hot” subtext as someone saying they like my sweater. In fact, the most common form is, “I’m so jealous of your hair!” which has never struck me as having much to do with my attractiveness. So, while it did help my self-esteem some, it wasn’t the kind of validation I was longing for.

  39. Xakudo says:

    @Amy in Toronto:
    Welcome to the blog! Yeah, I keep coming back here because it’s a space where I can actually talk about gender issues from my own (male) perspective without getting flogged for it. 😉

  40. Gaius says:

    I’m reminded, for some reason, of that NSWATM blog post a while back (which I’m too lazy to find) about “normal bodies” — normal breasts, etc.

    Perhaps this thread indicates the need for a “normal guys” photoblog.

  41. Suturexself says:

    Ozy: I think you should exercise. That’s not a judgement on you as a person or a personal thing at all – I think everybody should, in the same way everyone should, say, brush their teeth and get oil changes on their car and pay their bills on time. I understand the reasons people don’t, though. Nobody has a moral obligation to getting physical activity or being healthy – but everyone does have a moral obligation to treat others with respect and see the inherent value in others.

    I understand that weight is a sensitive subject for a lot of people, and saying “I think everyone should get physical activity and try to eat a generally healthy diet” on an online forum doesn’t mean I’d make clearly unwanted comments to an overweight person I didn’t know. However, if someone is talking about trying to lose weight or get in shape, one of my pet peeves is all the people who rush to say “You don’t need to do that! You look fine! Why would you want to do that?” The fact that its rude to support people in trying to improve their health really bothers me – especially when obesity and unhealthy habits are correlated with so many health problems.

    This mirrors your recent post about vegetables: The same way you have a hard time imagining why someone would go about not eating vegetables, I have a hard time imagining why someone would prefer to go about not exercising. There are a ton of benefits to it, it feels good as hell, and most people who start either find themselves really enjoying going to the gym or find a physical activity they do get active enjoyment from.

    Again, I get that all the “if you’re fat you’re worthless” shit makes people touchy on the subject – however, wouldn’t you agree that supporting people making healthy choices in a healthy, compassionate way is a better way of fighting the fat shaming narrative than discouraging healthy choices?

  42. Gaius says:

    @Suture:

    Well, TBH, exercise for me feels more like work than fun unless I’m doing it WITH someone, and there are currently no people in my life who offer. Ergo, my only exercise is cycling to and from work every day.

    Fortunately, I my metabolism is sufficient for now, and I eat relatively healthily.

    I agree, exercise is like tuning up your car. The problem is, I’m in the pleasure trap: physicality on its own is not a sufficient motivator for me. I don’t glory in the movement of my body — it is, at best, routine, and at worst, physically uncomfortable.

    But if I’m with someone I want to be with, for the mutual purpose of urging each other to perform, THEN the discomfort becomes negligible and the performance effortless.

    But like I said: there’s no one on hand to offer. My partner CAN’T (disability), and I don’t have any other friends, really.

  43. Suturexself,

    Exercise doesn’t feel good to everyone. That’s why they don’t do it.

    Also, there are more people than you might think who have non-obvious physical problems which makes exercise difficult or impossible for them.

    You aren’t an expert on everyone else’s life. Finding out some of the details of this fact is a sort of mental exercise which might be valuable.

  44. Suturexself says:

    Nancy – Everything you’ve written to me has been argumentative and annoying. I have no interest in engaging you, please leave me alone.

  45. Suturexself says:

    @startledoctopus: I read a bit of the HAES link you posted, and I have to admit there’s quite a bit I disagree with. First, lets examine the “95% of people don’t maintain weight loss” factoid they keep throwing around.

    Can we consider why this is? Our food landscape is terrible, we’re constantly barraged by advertisements for unhealthy food, which is cheap, tasty, and convenient. Most people aren’t knowledgable about diet and exercise, so they adopt weight loss strageties that only work in the short run. I’ve talked to people who really believed Slimfast shakes were healthy – until I explained that the only reason Slimfast “works” is because you drop your calories down so far, so fast, and has nothing to do with the healthfulness of the shakes. Even without gimmicky products, suddenly and severely cutting calories is how (it seems) most people go about “losing weight”.. of course this slows down their metabolism and leads to diminishing returns on their goal.. and then they gain all the weight back and then some when they go back to eating “normally” (read: junk).

    Or the commercial I heard recently on the radio for liposuction, which started with a woman saying “I went to the gym for an hour a day, thinking I’d lose the fat in my midsection if I did 500 situps. For some people, the weight just wont come off.” Of course, if this fictional person had done ten seconds of actual fucking research, she’d learn that spot reduction is a myth, and doing a ton of situps will not burn fat from your midsection preferentially. She went about it the entirely wrong way, decided it *must* be impossible for her to lose the weight without surgery.

    Its disengenuous for HAES to keep touting the same statistic when it seems pretty clear that the reason 95% of people fail at weight loss is because they go about it in unhealthy, uneducated ways.

    But I think you and I are generally in agreement on the point that, bodyweight aside, health is important, and so making healthy choices is categorically a good thing even if it has zero effect on the amount of adipose tissue a person has.

  46. L says:

    @Nancy: For the vast majority of people with issues, that’s a total bullshit excuse, to be frank. I have a bad knee, and I can’t do high-impact exercise like running, and even walking down steep slopes will be troublesome for me. No excuse. There is so much I can do that isn’t the few things that might pop my knee.

  47. Suturexself says:

    @L: I disagree that a persons healthfulness is a valid reason to consider them any less of a person or as a moral failing.

    Making people feel like shit for not having healthy habits pushes them away from those habits.

  48. Vicky says:

    One more thing about exercise: For me, I don’t mind exercise, but I don’t love it so much that I make it a priority in my routine. If it’s a nice day and I want to get some fresh air, I’ll go for a jog or a bike ride if I have time. The problem with exercise is that unless you have a manual labor type job, exercise is now an end in itself instead of a means to an end. It doesn’t happen naturally as part of our daily routines, we have to make time for it. That makes a healthy lifestyle more difficult, because if you’re exercising just to exercise, you have to really love it in order to keep up with it.

  49. PetroniusArbiter says:

    @Ozy
    Yes, the video is ableist, and for what it’s worth, I really did not consider the chance bulimics/anorexics could be among the audience here, and for that i apologize.
    That being said, please keep in mind that i posted in in reaction to the explanation of the “pro-ana” movement above. I did some cursory research after the explanation by Nancy. In that context, I really don’t think that a reaction like that is completely unjustified.

  50. Gaius says:

    @L:
    I’m not trying to pick a fight or anything, so please, PLEASE don’t treat what I’m about to say as an attack! I just want to see what your stance is.

    As I mentioned in a post above: I’m one of those people for whom working out feels like WORK, unless I’m doing it with someone who acts like a catalyst (and I mean that in the physical sense: catalysts make it easier for chemical reactions to occur).

    I work eight hours a day; when I get off of work, I don’t want to do MORE work.

    Furthermore: I don’t love my body. For me, mere movement or existence in my angular, hairy flesh is not joy.

    I cycle back and forth to work every day, but that’s only about four miles, total. Granted, I push myself, taking it in the highest gear I can, and I’m usually breathing hard by the time I arrive. But it’s not what you’d call strenuous exercise.

    I guess my question is: knowing that, do you maintain a position that I should just suck it up and not waste what I have?

  51. L says:

    @Suturexself: I don’t consider anybody to be any “less” of a person for any reason (the things that make humans shitty is… what makes us innately human), but like with the open thread, geek edition, I’ve got personal biases and standards that I use to determine whether or not I want to be around somebody. Someone that would rather starve if there weren’t french fries and cookies available, or someone that has lice and doesn’t care, or someone that drinks themselves unconscious several times a week isn’t a person that’s worth my time. I’m all for being open-minded about someone’s right to exist and do what they want to do, but that doesn’t mean I have to like them. Having no standards for anyone is just as bad as hating everyone, imo.

    Oh, and I stand by my belief that not caring about the repercussions of tossing your physical and mental well-being in the shitter is an insult to those who do care and have suffered anyways. Go ahead, willingly give yourself cancer. But I will punch you in your fucking mouth if you insinuate cancer = happiness.

  52. Gaius says:

    @L:

    someone that drinks themselves unconscious several times a week isn’t a person that’s worth my time.

    Pardon me, but I find this somewhat offensive.

    My father drinks himself unconscious several times a week; other than that, he’s not much trouble. Yes, it’s unhealthy; he acknowledges that. He also says, “It’s my body.” In other respects, he is an egalitarian and upstanding person, and I care about him anyway — on MY terms.

    Yes, he has issues. Unless he confronts and resolves those issues, he will continue to drink, which may cause grief or irritation for me at some point. But I also acknowledge that it is his life to do with as he pleases.

  53. L says:

    So wait, me theoretically not liking your dad is offensive to you?

    Is egalitarianism seriously about needing to like and be BFFs with every single special snowflake out there? Jesus. Yeah, I acknowledge that it’s his life to do with as he pleases as well, and I’m not going to vote in favor of any laws that aim to inhibit that freedom, so I don’t get why my not wanting to be around someone like your dad is offensive. I don’t even like being around my OWN dad, do you find that offensive too?

  54. Leum says:

    I dislike exercise that doesn’t serve some purpose beyond the exercise itself. I enjoy biking and walking because they a) get me somewhere and b) let me look at pretty things along the way (provided I’m on a trail and not on the streets of the concrete jungle in which I live). I don’t enjoy weight lifting, even though I’d like to do it, because it seems so pointless, just lifting objects up and down. I think I might be able to get into weight lifting if I had a partner to do it with, but that’s not currently an option. I used to enjoy dance for the socialization aspect, and recently began a martial arts class, which I enjoy largely because of the social nature of training.

    On the subject of body image, I’ve been working on mine with my therapist and one thing I’ve discovered is that, at least for me, my poor body image isn’t just about my physical appearance; it’s also about my physical strength and pain tolerance. I feel horribly inadequate not just for not having muscles uncovered by fat, but for not having muscles period. And having a low pain threshold makes me feel awful, but I’m not sure if that’s even correctable.

  55. Gaius says:

    @L:
    You’re right, that was foolish of me. You’re obviously allowed to like and dislike whomever and whatever you choose.

    To be honest, I think I felt like I was being clubbed by your “personal biases and standards.” And that’s my problem, not yours. Sorry.

  56. L says:

    @Gaius: I think it’s a discussion that needs to be had eventually, really. I mean, look how heated things get with the MRAs when someone tries to assert that women have the right to date and find attractive anyone they want, and that it’s perfectly fair for them to do so.

    Not wanting to consider someone dating material, or even like them for that matter, is a right we all have that doesn’t get acknowledged much when talking about tolerance and acceptance and all that.

  57. Dr. Anonymous says:

    @L

    Can you show such a thing?
    The most I have seen is young feminists being very occupied with their right to preference. And then older feminists being upset that men prefer younger women, or asian women or want virgins and so on.

  58. L says:

    Not really, but it’s not hard to find. Those kinds of conversations sometimes happen here, even. Mostly it’s just people complaining that women are too picky, and not giving Guys Like Them a chance; they just want the bad boys, the lookers, the alphas, etc. etc. In the greater expanses of the internet, you generally hear this stuff from self-identifying “beta males”. (Does anyone in the MRA/PUA circles actually call themselves an alpha? Because I think the “alpha male” should be added to the list of famous cryptids out there if not.)

    The thing that isn’t often addressed (I think it might have been on this blog at some point) was the difference between healthy standards and unhealthy standards when it comes to interpersonal relationships. There’s a CRAPTON of talk about the standards themselves, who came up with them, why they exist, how to dismantle them, but it always seems to take place in this weird theoretical mindspace that has little bearing on a real, individual person weeding out friends or exploring the dating world.

  59. L says:

    Then again, this is no advice column.

  60. @ L
    Does anyone in the MRA/PUA circles actually call themselves an alpha? Because I think the “alpha male” should be added to the list of famous cryptids out there if not.

    On the subject of body imagery – I’d like to personally thank you for the mental image of a grainy 8mm sasquatch with a lot of goldchains, an oversized novelty hat, and way too much hairgel glancing furtively over his shoulder while he vanishes into the woods. Oh, and the PUA Loch Ness Monster, “Neggie.” (“Wow. A kilt. Only someone as hot as you could pull off that level of originality.”)

  61. @Suturexself: well, I guess my issue with the “there is a healthy way to lose weight!” thing is that all of the issues you mention STILL EXIST, and everyone wants to claim that their new gimmick is the “healthy, safe, effective” way – so unless you become an expert yourself, you’re relying on the expertise of people who may not know their shit, or may be out to just make a buck. So with “lose weight” as an unreliable goal (since you need to be superlatively savvy to sort through the industry), why focus on that, instead of healthy behaviors? Especially since fat stigma is so prevalent and harmful anyway, so not focusing on losing weight (as an overall goal in our society, I mean – I support individual choice/medical necessity when it is TRULY medically necessary*) has the added benefit of reducing fat stigma.

    *As opposed to the physicians who blame everything that is wrong with a fat person on hir weight/tell the fat person that every solution is to become thin, and not to, say, become stronger.

  62. Suturexself says:

    @Startledoctopus: It sounds like you’re rightfully bothered by the snake oil industry that pretends to be the “weight loss” industry.

    I agree very much that focus should be on healthy behaviors over losing fat – however, having been overweight and knowing the social effects of it, I support someone trying to lose weight, provided they’re going about it with a good mentality and by way of healthy behaviors.

  63. Dr. Anonymous says:

    @L

    So what you are saying is that there are easily found examples, somehow you know this. But you can’t point to some of them?

  64. kaija24 says:

    I believe that what L is saying is that if you look around you, in your own life, in your own lived experience for these examples you will find them (and a wide range of other behaviours). If you have a rigid idea of “this is how things are/this is the way these people act”, then that is mainly what will catch your attention via confirmation bias. But change your environment, look for other behaviours, surf some other sites on the internet and you’ll find a lot of other evidence. Wild stuff, this variable human behaviour in a diverse society…I can tell you about my observations of my co-worker Walt and my sister Kate and the guy who works in the dry cleaners next door, but that won’t mean anything to you…but I bet if you look around real life (not the internet exchange of selected anecdotes), you’ll see some things that don’t fit the evo-pop-psych/gender wars/reductionist babble of the day. 🙂

  65. Dr. Anonymous says:

    @Kaija24

    What L said
    “Not wanting to consider someone dating material, or even like them for that matter, is a right we all have that doesn’t get acknowledged much when talking about tolerance and acceptance and all that.”

    The claim was that MRAs get all in a fit when a woman’s right to do so is discussed.
    I asked for examples of such. I have no doubt such things exist, but I ask for examples.

    My experience is that it is female feminists who seem to have a troubled relationship with male preference. See Jill’s recent article on period sex for an obvious example.

  66. @Dr. A:

    My experience is that it is female feminists who seem to have a troubled relationship with male preference.

    I’ve noticed a tendency to treat any description of a male’s preferences by a male as some kind of claim of universal truth (rather than one of personal preference) unless care is taken to disclaim it (and even then, that preference might be evil and misogynistic), while not holding a description of a female’s preferences by a female (which are always automatically OK) to the same standard.

    I suspect it’s a variety of confirmation bias. I also think the tendency to see misogyny everywhere but not see misandry (or in some cases not even believe it exists at all, or *even better* interpret all misandry as really being about misogyny) as being an example of the same thing — confirmation bias.

    See Jill’s recent article on period sex for an obvious example.

    I was amazed that no one seemed to want to compare that article to the H.S. facials article.

  67. Suturexself says:

    “I’ve noticed a tendency to treat any description of a male’s preferences by a male as some kind of claim of universal truth (rather than one of personal preference) unless care is taken to disclaim it (and even then, that preference might be evil and misogynistic), while not holding a description of a female’s preferences by a female (which are always automatically OK) to the same standard.”

    I did notice a recent post (I’ve generally stopped going to Feministe, not at all worth the stress) where a man says he wants a woman who wants to stay home and raise kids. The article, and all the commenters, pulled out their pitchforks and lit up their torches, all in a rage over how sexist he was.

    Yet, in reality, he was just saying that he had a particular circumstance that he thought was ideal, and he wanted to find a partner who wanted the same thing. Somehow, I seriously doubt they’d be in such a fit over a woman saying “I want to stay home and raise kids, and I want to find a man who can support that kind of family structure.”

  68. L says:

    @Suturexself: A lot of that debate goes on in the BDSM world. You know what you tend to find? WAY more of a developed support network for subs and submissive-types than for the doms and d-types. Because basically what the situation is is “I want someone to control” vs “I want someone to control me”. Who, intrinsically, has more power and leverage in those situations? The person doing the controlling, obviously. So yeah, it’s a shitty knee-jerk, but people not in positions of power don’t tend to abuse that… non-power as much. And this is gender-neutral. I’m wary of domineering women who are out head-hunting for a wage-slave husband just as much as the alpha male head-of-household type who wants his steak and blowjob 5 minutes after stepping in the door every evening.

    @Dr. Anonymous: I didn’t give you examples because I’ve got waaay better things to do with my time than spend 3 hours combing the NSWATM archives and thousands of comments over the past ??? months in order to prove a point that I really shouldn’t have to to a single stranger on the internet. It’s not like I have some sort of study I could point you to either anyways. C’mon. So like Kaija said, all we’ve got to work with right now is anecdote, and when it come right down to it, that doesn’t really hold water ever. For better and for worse.

    My experience? My experience says that male preference is regarded with the same sanctity as gospel and the same clout as the writings of any Greek philosopher, and female preference is dismissed as girls just being silly. I mean, there is a narrative out there, after all, that says that women always wind up settling down with average-looking or even sub-par-looking guys (insert “beta male” drivel here), and who knows, maybe everyone thinks this subconsciously, which is why their preferences are so often waved off as useless and futile and why do we even bother having standards god women are so picky.

    Combine this with male-gaze everything in media and advertising, The Myth of Men Not Being Hot, and female sexual preferences start looking pretty stupid, don’t they.

  69. Suturexself says:

    “I’m wary of domineering women who are out head-hunting for a wage-slave husband just as much as the alpha male head-of-household type who wants his steak and blowjob 5 minutes after stepping in the door every evening.”

    Sure, both are equally bad – but there seems to be an easier jump to a man preference meaning he’s the sexist “alpha” you describe than a jump to a womans preference of being a houswife meaning she’s a lazy gold digging bitch.

    I see what you’re saying, though, about the power differential. I just don’t think its fair to so quickly make those types of assumptions (I’m not saying you are, just in general) when people admit their preferences.

    I’ve been in one D/s realationship, as the D. The s abused the SHIT out of her position. Probably never going down that road again.

  70. Mae West Fan says:

    I don’t know if companies are just exploiting people ‘feeling shit’ about themselves. I think the market for fashion, cosmetics, ‘male grooming’ is partly to do with encouraging people to feel good about themselves! yes with the help of products but still it is often aimed at the positive not always the negative.

  71. Schala says:

    “I don’t know if companies are just exploiting people ‘feeling shit’ about themselves. I think the market for fashion, cosmetics, ‘male grooming’ is partly to do with encouraging people to feel good about themselves! yes with the help of products but still it is often aimed at the positive not always the negative.”

    Well yeah, they tell you that you’re shit first, then they claim their product is the positive solution to that problem. So their product in itself is not negative, it’s just the societal attitude towards not having it. Like say, going make-up less all the time and being fine with it (my case), vs being so used to wearing it daily that you feel naked and don’t dare go outside the home without any (my mother’s case).

    On my side I have youth, a generally pretty face, and formative years not being told anything about how I needed make-up to look any good. It’s then much easier to simply assert that much of make-up (at least for daily wear) is a waste of money and time. I’ll wear some, some times, mostly at the insistance of my boyfriend, or to have a different look. Still rather rarely.

  72. L says:

    @Mae West Fan: It’s both. It’s “This is what’s probably wrong with you/lacking in your life. All you need to fix it is to use our product, and keep buying it forever. If those things aren’t lacking/problematic for you, then you should buy our product to make sure that it’s never lacking because this is what could happen should you do otherwise.”

    Marketing is all about manufacturing a need, even if that means destroying people’s self esteem.

  73. Dr. Anonymous says:

    @L
    “Dr. Anonymous: I didn’t give you examples because I’ve got waaay better things to do with my time than spend 3 hours combing the NSWATM archives and thousands of comments over the past ??? months in order to prove a point that I really shouldn’t have to to a single stranger on the internet. It’s not like I have some sort of study I could point you to either anyways. C’mon. So like Kaija said, all we’ve got to work with right now is anecdote, and when it come right down to it, that doesn’t really hold water ever. For better and for worse.”
    So to sum it up, as I said. You ‘know’ that there are lots of examples of this, but you can’t reference them. I see. The second comment seems that you are trying to tell me how much you don’t care what I think.

    “My experience? My experience says that male preference is regarded with the same sanctity as gospel and the same clout as the writings of any Greek philosopher, and female preference is dismissed as girls just being silly.”
    How exactly would this manifest itself? What does the opposite look like?
    Forcing people to have certain preferences? Have you heard about gay-to-straight camps targeting MEN?

    “I mean, there is a narrative out there, after all, that says that women always wind up settling down with average-looking or even sub-par-looking guys (insert “beta male” drivel here), and who knows, maybe everyone thinks this subconsciously, which is why their preferences are so often waved off as useless and futile and why do we even bother having standards god women are so picky.”
    What are you talking about? All I see is women in their late 30s and 40s lamenting that they oh so would like a child but they can’t find a man they deem worthy and this is all the fault of the menses.

    “Combine this with male-gaze everything in media and advertising, The Myth of Men Not Being Hot, and female sexual preferences start looking pretty stupid, don’t they.”
    Wait, what did you just say? This makes no sense to me.

  74. M Dubz says:

    @ Dr Anonymous: Go to http://www.manboobz.com. Search the archives. You will find examples of what you are looking for, in abundance.

  75. Dr. Anonymous says:

    @M Dubz

    I have read Manboobz, I have read it a lot. Yes, he takes up some examples. But still not close to Amanda Marcotte getting away scott free for passing judgement about men in shorts and sandals.

  76. kaija24 says:

    Please take up your obvious beef with Amanda Marcotte at HER blog. No one wants to listen to it here, and the comment guidelines clearly state that crap from other blogs is not up for derail.

  77. Dr. Anonymous says:

    The question was about feminists holding their right to preference sacred. I examplified.

  78. zufash says:

    Oh my God, I lovvvvez this blog! I’ll visit back to respond to this post.

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