Woman have been insane regarding body image ever since magazines and the mass manufacturing of clothing made creating sizes as opposed to custom measurements a necessity. It’s not only understood but expected that females spend a great deal of their mental energy thinking about how they look.
I was talking about this with my husband and we were comparing/contrasting our body image battles from back when we were in middle school. I can remember thinking about every outfit I wore, comparing my body to others in my grade, avoiding swimming pools and hating the fact that my school had one which meant bathing suits during PE class.
My husband remembers trying to decide between his Rush, Black Sabbath and Led Zepplin T-shirts.
“No, I don’t mean the thoughts behind creating a fashion statement, I mean worrying about your appearance so much that it becomes a problem”, I explained.
So he thought about it and he remembered once wearing turf shoes on purpose to an amusement park to meet the height requirement of the roller coasters because he was afraid that he’d be too short to ride. He also wore a cap one winter on the way to school each day to keep his curly hair flat because although Robert Plant was popular at the time, it really wasn’t cool to walk around junior high with his hair-do.
“That’s it?” I asked.
“Yep,” he replied.
“You’ve been on the planet for over four decades and you’ve only obsessed over your appearance a few times?”
Holy shit. How is that possible? My brain needed time to process what he said. You see, MS Magazine did an article this month that stated that girls today spend more time as a “witness” to their body therefore less time actually mastering it’s use. In other words you can’t be a great dancer if you obsess about how you look in your tights in lieu of concentrating on moving your body through space. You can’t throw a baseball far if right before you release it from your hand, you’re worried about your ball uniform riding up and revealing your stomach.
This got me thinking about a study I heard about years ago that said guys tend to mentally focus on only three things: Golf, Work, and Sex. I thought this was a joke until I asked my husband about it and said, Yes. That’s pretty much all I ever think about. Interestingly enough, my husband’s a club champion, a vice president and well, I don’t want to kiss and tell, but lets just say, he’s good at all three things. Three things that he’s apparently spending a lot of his mental energy on.
Hmm…I’m sensing a pattern here. No wonder guys rule the world.
But here’s the rub. You boys better watch your ass, because the body image obsession has reached it’s peak with us females. Beside the width of our backside and the circumference of our thighs, we’ve been conditioned to freak out over (in no particular order)….drum roll please…
Eyebrow arches, nails, back-fat, hair color, cut, and style, crows feet, frown lines, forehead creases, perfect make-up application, age-appropriate clothing choices, accessories, toe cleavage, dry skin, oily skin, the t-zone, the g-spot, nail polish, varicose veins, smoothly-shaven legs minus any razor burn, random chin hairs, bikini lines, perky breasts, stretch marks, cleavage, coin slots, lifted butts, age spots, nose hairs and evening out our skin tone. Saggy vaginas, c-section scars, post-baby-ab-fat, post-menopausal-stomach-rolls and neck waddles – just to name a few.
Guys on the other hand must worry about wiping well after they shit, brushing their teeth and shaving.
But not for long fellas. Thanks to our free-market economy and the fact that it’s all about the bottom line, advertisers, once they are done destroying the psyches of women and young girls have no other place to turn but to you.
Lets face it, the fun has already begun. Queer Eye For The Straight Guy taught men to manscape their uni-brows, the proper way to exfoliate and that back hair is disgusting. Future Pundit reported that cosmetic surgery was up 44% among men between 2000 and 2005. Just last night I caught the tail end of an informercial for the Body Trimmer, a shape enhancing undergarment for men.
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette interviewed Neil Mulhall, President of Undergear, maker of the Shape Enhancer. This line of undergarments for men have a patented contour-stitched seat that defines your backside nicely, a padded front pouch for a fuller silhouette and firming spandex and nylon to redefine trouble spots around your abdomen, hips and thighs.
Let me guess. You thought your love handles were cute and we didn’t notice that your ass sagged. Don’t worry gentlemen, all you need to do to look like the guy above is to buy better skivvies. (Ladies, feel free to insert chuckles and giggles here).
And no offense, but as soon as you drop your cash on a new pair of Undergear, it’ll be kindly suggested that you also trim your nose hairs. And whiten your teeth. And get some hair plugs. And pick up some pants without pleats so your ass won’t look so big. Oh and do some damn sit-ups for Christ’s sake.
Brace yourself boys.