When we think of body dysmorphia or issues with body image, we tend to think of women young and old who have dealt with shaming of their figures on the inside and out. However, in doing this, we are leaving out an important sector of this issue. Men have been left out of this conversation for quite some time, but Queer Eye stars Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness are breaking barriers for men with body image issues.
Porowski sat down with GlamourUK in an interview and opened up about how he felt much more comfortable with his body when dating women rather than men. He went into saying that when with men, there was a sense of comparison, like many of us do when we are around others. There is an extra added pressure and anxiety while being in the limelight with body image- but also while in a relationship- there is added pressure to be “perfect and sexy” for your partner that has extra added pressure when your partner has physique like your own. In the show Queer Eye, Porowski helps others to feel good about themselves and what they put in their bodies by offering food suggestions and showing them healthier, more versatile cooking styles. In doing this, he says that he can feel much better about himself and grow towards self-acceptance , something we all hate to admit, but all desire in our lives.
Jonathan Van Ness , hair guru on Queer Eye, also shared his wide array of body image issues and body positivism for men this past week. Van Ness has been nothing but transparent with the media- coming out with the fact that he is HIV positive as of late as well as speaking upon his relationship with his body. Much like Porowski, Van Ness works on the show to improve people’s sense of self-worth and build up their confidence. For someone whose job is to lift people up and with his electric personality, you’d think he has it all together and enough confidence for all of us. But he has opened up to say this is simply not true and that a conversation for male body image is in high demand and low stock.
Van Ness speaks about how body image issues is something that he has dealt with his whole life and that it should not be limited to gender. In being honest in saying that the “socially acceptable male beauty standards are not wide enough for his looks” , he transpires a new view that has not been expanded upon enough, one that has led him to have an unhealthy relationship with food in order to fit said standard. He even wrote a book “Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self Love” which talks about how he came to be the vivacious man he is today. He begins the book with an inspirational dedication which is something we all need to remember.
All of us need to remember that our issues are not only our own. We have a whole community who understand and feel exactly what we are going through regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc.- we are all going through this together. While most of what we read on body image issues consists of women and their experiences, we must remember just because we do not see the male experience plastered all over the media- does not mean it is does not exist– which is a large chunk of the problem. Most people with body dysmorphia, ( male, female, and all in between ) feel the need to fit a certain mold or role to fit societies standards, but it is about time we shake things up and give society a shape up in terms of body image.
These men from “That’s What He Said” talk about body image issues in men and their experiences, let’s challenge ourselves, whether that being talking with a family member, friend, or group of friends about any possible body image issues we may have an open up the channels of conversations for ourselves and others.