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Body Talks: Let’s talk about male body image

We’ve all felt crap about how we look – right? Right. No matter who you are, where you’re from, or your gender, the way your body looks can make you feel rubbish. And while there’s lots of talk out there about unrealistic beauty standards, when it comes to male body image, there’s not much conversation to join. We know men struggle with how their body looks too, so we’ve partnered with Instagram and some familiar faces to start a conversation about the good, the not so good, and, let’s be honest, the awkward bits. 

Worrying about your body can be really lonely. In the moment, it feels like you’re the only one who worries about their looks. Whether it’s the belly you can’t seem to shake, the extra 2 inches you add to your height, or the regular incognito google searches about hair loss, we’ve all got something that we’d rather change about our looks. And the numbers prove it, with 35% of men aged 16 – 40 saying they are unhappy with how they look, and 48% saying they have struggled with their mental health because of it. 

Binning off the ‘perfect body’

A whopping two in five men feel pressure to have a perfect body. But the reality is, it doesn’t exist. No matter how many wrinkles you have, what glasses you wear, or how big those biceps are, everyone has body hang ups. Those photos you see across social media and online? They’re just a snapshot of someone’s life (and that’s without the filters or photo-editing). In fact, half of men cited mainstream media and social platforms as the reason they felt rubbish about their bodies, with 54% believing the men we see in the media are not representative enough. We know the key to feeling better about how we look is opening up about it – but that’s not always easy. 

 

Starting a conversation

There’s a huge body positivity movement across the internet and IRL, but it’s pretty clear  men don’t really feel part of it. Here at CALM we’re always harping on about talking, and, spoiler… this is no different. Talking about the stuff we have in common, and the stuff that gets us down, can make us feel less alone, less alien, less, well, crap. CALM and Instagram found that 21% of 16-40 year old men didn’t feel comfortable talking about their bodies. That’s why we enlisted the help of Jamie Laing, Russell Kane, Leon McKenzie and Stevie Blaine to get talking about theirs and spark a real conversation about male body image. 

Head to the CALM Body Talks hub or catch us on Instagram to hear more from them on body image and what you can do to join the conversation. 

And if you’re struggling…

You can read more about body image and its impact on mental wellbeing here. If you’re struggling with how you look, you can talk to CALM. Our helpline and webchat are open everyday from 5pm to midnight where our helpline staff are on hand to chat about whatever you’re going through. Get support here. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

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