For decades, corporate influences, primarily in the media, have
pressured women to have poor body images. This has spurred
growth of entire industries in fashion, weight loss, etc. No
doubt, billions of dollars have been made in this way. The
only price to society has been the epidemic of eating
However, the marketing impact has largely been limited to women.
Now, it appears, men are increasingly affected.
A study by Dr. Tracy
Tylka, presented at the annual American Psychological
Association meeting this year, provides the details:
To Be More Muscular May Lead Men To Unhealthy Behaviors
Main Category: Men's health News
Article Date: 12 Aug 2006 - 21:00pm (PDT)
Women are not the only ones in American society who feel pressure to
achieve the perfect body.
New research suggests that men feel pressure to have muscular bodies,
and that influence can lead some to symptoms of eating disorders,
pressure to use steroids, and an unhealthy preoccupation with
"Men see these idealized, muscular men in the media and feel their own
bodies don't measure up," said Tracy Tylka, author of the study and
assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University 's Marion
"For some men, this can lead to unhealthy and potentially dangerous
behaviors to try to reach that ideal."
Her research focused on the health impact. It is negative,
obviously. One comment i found to be particularly telling:
"Instead of seeing a decrease in objectification of
women in society,
there has just been an increase in the objectification of men. And you
can see that in the media today,"
I've not been able to think of a realistic way to counteract these
I teach a Freshman food science class. To get them interested I ask them about their food habits and concerns. The women want to be thinner and weight less and the men want to be heavier with more muscles.
I try to point out the irony of the situation, but I don't think they get it.