When was the last time you saw a short, chubby male with a little belly as a fashion model? Most probably never, the reason being- these men do not fit the worldly criteria for the perfect male body and hence they are made invisible. Your prince charming has to be tall and muscular else he is not your prince.
In the last decade, the term “Body-Positivity” has crossed our ears countless times due which now, thankfully, we have dark-skin, plus-size, hairy, short female models, modeling for leading fashion tags. It is this step that has made women all around the globe become a little comfortable in their own skins. In some way or the other, it has brought down the constant shaming and calling out of the ‘Not-So-Ideal’ bodies which were not treated equally a few decades back but the concept is still constrained to only one gender.
If you try to imagine a perfect male figure, you are more likely to think of a man with a chiseled jawline, broad shoulders, tanned preferably tall, and with a beard. To achieve such physical features, men spend a lot of money and time at the gym. Despite these efforts, if they cannot manage to get the perfect body, surgery is their next best option, and the tireless efforts keep on rolling.
According to a report by The Indian Express, “The study, released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, showed that a lot of young men are looking for body contouring procedures to enhance their looks. In the past few years, liposuction has seen a 23% cent rise and tummy tucks have gone up by 12%, while male breast reductions have increased about 30%.”
Most of the designers focus only on making outfits for men suiting the so-called ideal body. Sabyasachi Sarkar, a well-known designer who has supposedly dressed all the Bollywood cream has made outfits for plus-size women and has often showcased them in his collection but no such thing is seen when it comes to men. All the plus-size women models being paired with lookalikes of Greek gods is something very normal.
Let alone the fashion industry, the entertainment industry is no different. Tall and toned men make the lead characters while the chubby ones are often the supporting characters and the bald and timid character plays the poor and deprived or nothing at all. Anupam Kher, a well-celebrated actor in an interview revealed that despite being capable, he was denied lead roles many times because of his baldness and it is because of this attitude of the industry that he had to take up side roles which were the only option.
They say we do not judge a book by its cover but we do. We consume what we see and this makes it difficult for society to accept men of all shapes and sizes. The issue in no way stands in comparison with the female body positivity banner as the majority of women have hormonal complications which result in unwanted weight gain and body issues. Male body positivity is needed because it is time that like all the other narrow-minded definitions, the strict rules for perfect male body image should also be scrapped. Women of all colors and sizes are beautiful, similarly it goes for every other gender.
Men can look after their health and physique and be as they want to be, but no such effort should be made to ‘fit in’ or just to feel like a part of a society with unrealistic beauty standards.
Syed Taqui Haider is pursuing English Literature from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Edited by: Reda Aamna