Research from Jennifer Aubrey a leading researcher of media effects on body image at the University of Missouri-Columbia looks at the effect of male magazines on college-age men.
Here’s what Science Daily Article:”Surprisingly, Female Models Have Negative Effect On Men” reports:
“Aubrey found that the cultural expectation for men is not that they have to be as attractive as their peers, but that they need to be attractive enough to be sexually appealing to women.” The guys were looking at magazines such as such as Maxim, FHM and Stuff, which have “sexually suggestive images of women” and articles “that speak in a bawdy, male voice about topics including fashion, sex, technology and pop culture”.
My opinion is that magazines MUST represent an ideal media body image as they are the vehicle of advertisers – and what do advertisers do? Advertisers SELL. The media have the responsibility to sell a “perfect” body image ideal to make us (the readers-consumers) BUY. The media is not interested in reflecting real lives back to us because that would make us more interested in each other and less interested in buying stuff for our weak underfed egos.
The media message about the body, about working out, about exercise, any physical need we have as human beings is to impose their ideal body over our own intuition and over our own body’s sense of what is pleasurable, beautiful, memorable and valuable.
I even have male friends who have recognized (and admitted to me) that they are now looking at real women’s bodies more critically. The men have noticed they are more likely to think “oh she’s fat” when they never used to think that in the eighties and seventies. This one male friend of mine was really disturbed that he was thinking that way without watching much TV or reading magazines – it’s just a general environment of media and society obsessed with the physical body with no interest in what it means to FEEL your body (sexually, emotionally, sensually, creatively or just for fun) or to FEEL JOY without someone having to categorize this “joy” as worthy of social attention or VALUE .
My interest in dance as a way to access your inner joy has become my latest obsession. I’ve been obsessed with my body all my life. And now seeing the media being such a dominant force in the minds and lives of others – it’s time for me to champion the body’s NATURAL abilities to feel good.
Here are just some of my questions to ask yourself about your body (image):
What part of your body is crying out for attention right now? (Ask yourself everyday)
What do I love about my body?
How can I make what I love about my body a part of my life that I celebrate in a fun way?
How can I share what I like about my body in a creative way with others? (I recommend dance!)
Feeling good in your body is a political movement so men and women and children can recover what is naturally a healthy body image. The media will continue to tell you their image of the body. What image are you going to create?