Essay on Body as a Spectacle

Submitted By saraliban
Words: 1584
Pages: 7

The Body as a Spectacle

Men today are facing a quandary regarding masculine identity. Society has put together an image of what you should and should not look like. Increasingly, depictions of the male body in cartoons, through action figures, and in the general media, have come to propagate and glorify images that emphasize physical appearance as a central criterion for assessing masculine worth. This situation is no different, some might argue, from the way women have faced longstanding societal pressures to attain to unrealistic expectations of beauty. Men are taught by society to be emotionally repressive, that to be a man is to face adversity and hardship in grim silence. As a result, when confronted with the propagation of unattainable body images and the feelings of inadequacy those images generate. The media portrays what should be attractive and unattractive; this may result to people not feeling comfortable about their bodies, as people try to achieve these unreachable goals.
Body image Body image is a person’s inner perception of their own body. Body image includes physical appearance, such as weight, height, facial features, physical maturation, race and ethnicity, other diverse body features, as well as abilities. Throughout history, humans have regarded the beauty of the human body as important. What a person regard as society's standards may not always correspond to our perception of our own body. Every single person has a body image. A person cannot avoid having feelings about how they look; it is part of human nature. They are influenced by how they imagine others might see them. People's overall body image can range from extremely negative to very positive. It is normal to like some parts of your body and dislike others. Body image refers to the overall perception, not just certain parts of your body. It refers to how comfortable people feel about their bodies, how much in control they feel, how agile they are, as well as their attractiveness. In society today, body image has become significantly influenced by the media - TV, the press, the Internet, radio, magazines, etc. People's body images do not develop in isolation. People are influenced by those around them and their culture. Families and friends convey to their children positive and negative messages regarding their bodies continuously. Studies have shown that children brought up in families where parents enjoy physical exercise and explain the benefits of being physically healthy tend to have a more positive body image, compared to those who are criticized for the way they look. Baal Shem Tov has said “Everybody is unique. Compare not yourself with anybody else lest you spoil God’s curriculum.”
Construction of an ideal man body When it comes to the media and male bodies, size and shape are not the only issues. There’s also the so-called “real body”: hair, sweat, blemishes, smells—all the characteristics that are noticeably absent or can’t be fully conveyed in a picture or on a screen. The media portray an “ideal” man to be tough, strong, muscular etc. Media-created images of muscle-bound men are not limited to wrestlers or body builders. Just look at other media heroes: Rambo, Hulk Hogan and Chuck Norris. All of them share the media image of muscles, muscles and more muscles. The ideal male body is growing steadily more muscular and it appears that the media plays a significant role in this by presenting the public with unrealistic images of the ideal male body. GI Joe is to boys what Barbie is to girls. Over the past 20 years, these G.I. Joe toys have grown more muscular and currently have sharper muscle definition. The GI Joe Extreme action figure, if extrapolated to a height of 5’10”, would have larger biceps than any bodybuilder in history.
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