In the context of No Fat Talk Week and other initiatives that tackle our society’s unrealistic expectations for female bodies, I felt it appropriate to address this self-image issue from the male perspective.
It’s been three thousand years since the time of the ancient Greeks, but our society still worships the kouros. Maybe the Greeks had the ideal male right. Maybe we really should be tall, muscular and gruff. But at five-feet, four inches and 125 pounds, I find this Brad Pitt look just as unattainable as a slightly overweight woman might find Angelina Jolie.
I wonder if I’m the only man though who glances at the covers of GQ or Men’s Fitness with hopelessness and helplessness. Men are taught how we should look just as much as women are – Disney teaches girls that they need a prince; Disney teaches boys they have to be the prince. And let’s face it: most of us are no Prince Charming.
There are, of course, plenty of advantages to being fun-sized. Just last Christmas, my nineteen-year-old self entered the MoMA for free on a ticket priced for sixteen-year-olds and under. No fake ID necessary.
Still, the little perks of being little hardly make up for a general feeling of inadequacy. It’s very hard to get any respect when you look like a seventh grader. Not to mention the actual seventh grader’s more serious self-esteem issues.
Our society makes many small prejudices that generally go unquestioned – against extra-buff athletes or tiny, blonde sorority girls in precept, for example. With the mini-controversy this No Fat Talk Week has created, I hope we can expand the debate about body issues and self-image to include the rest of us misfits as well.