Does This Photo Make Me Look Fat??

First of all, let me start by saying that I am not a writer and this is the first time I have ever written a blog so I thought that I would start with something very dear to me.

I’m a man and I’ve spent my life ashamed of my body because of my weight.  I struggle every single day with loathing for my body. If I can spend the day in sweat pants then life is good, but if I need to get dressed, then the battle starts.  I will try on several pants and shirts, complaining to my wife about the fit of each, until I finally settle on the ones that fit the best.  After the struggle of getting dressed and reaching down to put my shoes on, I will look at myself in the mirror and be disgusted with what is looking back at me.  To see myself naked in the mirror makes me want to do harm to the poor glass.  

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Andrew Walen, the president of the National Association for Males with Eating Disorders (who is also the CEO and founder of the Body Image Therapy Center in Maryland and DC), stated:  "We’re seeing a significant rise in body loathing in men," he said.  "For many men who have body issues, it turns into substance abuse and into self-loathing. ...  Men are not given permission to express [them]selves.  We're taught that if we are to react at all, we are to react with anger."

“Men are supposed to be OK with bodily criticism and not have any side effect of it. Even acknowledging it is emasculating,” said Thomas Hildebrandt, director of the Eating and Weight Disorders Program at Mount Sinai. “Men acknowledging that they have shape or weight concerns…reveals a vulnerability that you’re not supposed to have if you’re masculine.”

Apparently, “to not judge a book by its cover” does not apply to “fat” people.  If you are big people judge you no matter what.  You are always the butt of everyone’s jokes and ALWAYS given unwanted “health” advise.  There is no outcry or outrage when a comedian makes a fat joke, but backlash when jokes are made of others.   

We have been taught over and over that we are not beautiful if we are not the “perfect” size according to popular opinion. This must stop!!!  I’ve seen time and time again Body Beautiful shoots out there in the world to help women accept their bodies and empower themselves over their struggles, but not once have I seen a shoot geared to men.  Upon further research, there is just not much out there for us guys.  it shouldn’t be that men are too afraid to talk about having body issues.  It is important to know that body image issues impact everyone, men included.  

I have felt for some time that men need a voice in the “body positivity” movement.  It is with passion that I have launched my “Body Positivity Project for Men”.  After posing for the images myself It has changed my attitude towards how I felt about my body and the need to change my life and start taking better care of myself. Seeing how I had let my body get into the shape it was in shamed me and got me started on the tract to save myself. For years I had closed my eyes and ignored the facts.

We have had such pressure placed on us by television, magazines, social media, etc that we cannot help to always struggle with our body image. It affects many more people than we know, possibly the person next to you. But of course as men we are taught not to share our feelings.

I’m shooting male volunteers for this project who have ever felt that their body was less than perfect when compared to the “normal” standard. If you would like to declare to the world that we are beautiful, strong individuals and that we deserve to love ourselves as we are, please contact me to schedule a photoshoot. I would love to share your story.

~ken

 

Here are some images from participants of the project. Thank you for sharing your struggle with me!