Surprising Numbers In Body Image Survey. One Percent Very Happy. The Rest? Meh
Bravo to you all that are happy with your bodies. Is it a surprise that you are part of the minority? We’ll see what percent of people are happy with their skin and bones a little later on.
Eight times out of ten, I’ll be thinking to myself, “Okay, good, there’s someone bigger than me” or “I’m a little better looking than some of these guys in here, right?” That’s what goes through my mind when I find myself in a crowded room of gay men, at a pool, beach, or water park. Exposing yourself (no, not that way) in a social setting or ½ naked environment for all to see is not the best feeling, especially if you have a negative body image.
In one of my latest posts about last weekend’s vacation, The Bahamas - On Your Bucket List? Safe Place To Visit?, I mentioned going to the water park attached to the Atlantis Resort in Nassau, Bahamas. Yes, I went on the rides, but there was always the little voice in the back of my head reiterating that I didn't look as good as these other people. Are these fit guys and girls looking at me in a negative way? Was I alone in thinking this?
As part of their annual “The Body Issue,” Attitude Magazine released some surprising numbers.
As we prepare to explore the body beautiful in our landmark Body Issue – available to download and in shops today (February 1) – an extensive new survey conducted by Attitude has revealed the shocking truth about how gay men really feel about their body.
A survey of more than 5,000 readers conducted in January 2017 revealed that more than half of respondents are unhappy with their body, with an overwhelming majority (84 per cent) reporting feeling intense pressure to have a good body.
Responding to the question How happy would you say you are with your body?, 49 per cent reported feeling “Unhappy”, while another 10 per cent said they were “Very unhappy”.
While 23 per cent of respondents said they felt “Happy” with their body. 17 per cent reported having “No strong feelings either way”.
Staggeringly, just one per cent said they were “Very happy” with the way they looked. - Attitude Magazine
So out of more than 5,000 people, 84% feel pressure to have a nice body, 59% are either unhappy or very unhappy, 17% are neutral, 23% that are happy, and 1% was very happy.
I'm not going to make it as personal as when the 'Attitude' Editor Is Down To His Underwear to show how magazines manipulate bodies. I'm definitely not a fan of undie pics. But I will share an older pic and a newer pic.
As I prepare to go to California for a long vacation from March 3 to 12, get ready Los Angeles and San Francisco, I look back on my last long vacation there. It popped up as Facebook memory from a dozen years ago. I was feeling good and thought I was looking good so two weeks in California in 2004 was going to be a lot of fun. Flash forward to last weekend, about 8 more inches on the waist and about 90 lbs more, yeah, I look different.
Before I started writing this, I was talking to another blogger and he said, “You should do something with this. You don’t have body issues.” I quickly corrected him that he was 1,000% wrong, but I would go ahead and write something.
And I think that brings up another point. Some of us don’t show that we have body issues. Many of us may keep it as an internal battle. My coworker, someone I’ve never met before in person, but just via chats over the phone and Facebook, had mentioned the same thing one of my BFFs of almost 20 years had mentioned a handful of years ago. My BFF said, “That ‘s a good trait about you, Adam, you don’t have an issue with your body image. You’ve been fit and not fit and you don’t really change your outlook.” I let that soak in for a while and corrected him a little later.
Are many of us suffering from bad body image internally? In silence? Do we not let on to our friends that we are unhappy? When we have CrossFit friends that can bench press a Volvo, drag a bulldozer, and burpee for days, and they moan and groan about them not looking good, some of say, WTF. Why should we even try if these people aren’t even happy. Does it seem that the muscle boys / gym bunnies / protein shake queens are bitching and moaning more than us bigger boys. Were they part of the 59% that were either unhappy or very unhappy?
I’m so prepared for the “get off your ass and exercise” comments and I’m right there with you. But what are you to do if you are one of the fit guys and you still do not have a good positive body image? Us big boys aren’t the only ones in the 59%. What about the ones that think they are too skinny, small, short? Does hair loss fit in here, too? Bad teeth? Acne?
I do notice though, that it is great when you don't think about body image. Remember, I said "eight times out of ten?" There are times where I catch myself feeling confident in the way that I look, appear, and carry myself. And I would say I meet more people when that occurs. Being yourself and just relaxing and living does work. Confidence definitely goes a long way. Now I just need to work on that not being 20% of the time.
Where would you land on this survey?
Are you part of the 10% are very unhappy?
Part of the 49% that are unhappy?
Part of the 17% that are neutral?
Part of 23% that are happy?
Part of the 1% that are very happy?
h/t: Attitude Magazine