By Aimee Shirley
Women’s bodies are everywhere in the media. It seems like you can’t even buy a widget without having a bikini-clad blonde on the label. And you’ll find opinions abounding, from Twitter to Fox News, about the effect this has on our lives.
But we’re leaving out a whole half of our population from this conversation. Look at any advertisement for men’s jeans, cologne, or cars… do you see yourself in those ads? (If you do, please stop reading. I’m not talking to you.)
With all the attention and commotion that stick-thin runway models and young girls in makeup are garnering these days, it’s worth noting that men can suffer from body image problems, too.
“This is not just an issue that women are dealing with,” says Dr. Ken Anderson of Anderson Hair Sciences Center. “I see men every day who feel the need to improve their body image. Having a full head of hair is an important part of a man’s overall self image.”
“What we’re finding is that men are more likely to want to tackle their body image privately, and to fix whatever is in their power. And that’s what it’s about. Men begin to feel powerless, and lose self-confidence when their body image is threatened, and so they come to me. Because we men are fixers. We like to be able to make a change that makes us feel powerful.” Says Dr. Anderson.
In a paper called Average Joes: Men’s Relationships With Media, Real Bodies, and Sexuality by Deborah Schooler and L. Monique Ward, 184 Male students were studied in regards to their body image. It was found that men who “consumed” more media had a more difficult time appreciating what the writers called their “real bodies.” As in, the bodies men actually have, not the ones you see up on billboards and in Abercrombie advertisements.
These feelings often lead to risky behavior, and poor sexual choices, the authors found. Such behavior takes its toll, not only on the men, but on their families and loved ones. So what can men do to embrace their “real bodies?”
“Take charge of what you can,” suggests Dr. Anderson. “That’s what I tell the men I work with. It’s not just about hair loss, or exercise, or finding a hot girlfriend. It’s about figuring out what you can do to make yourself the best you can be. And for some guys, that’s making themselves look their best. And I support that.”
Dr. Anderson is a facial plastic surgeon who specializes in ARTAS® robotic hair restoration surgery. He keeps up with his patients long after their procedures. “I love seeing these guys six, eight months, even 2 years out from their procedures. Having new hair can be transformational to one’s self-image and self-esteem. So often I see them in better shape, looking happier, and an improvement in their over-all well-being. I see the difference in them, once they’ve taken charge of their own self-image. That’s powerful. That’s why I love what I do.”
Photo Copyright, Calvin Klein 2007
To read the Average Joe study data for yourself http://shrike.depaul.edu/~ztan/psy326/men7127.pdf
For more on Dr. Anderson visit his bio.