Though there's still work to be done, we’re basically living in the golden age of body positivity—for women, at least. But what about men?! Yes, women face a ton of criticism about their bodies, but actor Matt McGorry (Orange Is the New Black, How to Get Away With Murder) recently opened up about how much it affects guys too.
McGorry used to be a competitive bodybuilder, which actually made him more critical of his body. He told TODAY he was miserable while training, but being OK with how his body looked when he wasn't super muscular wasn't easy. McGorry even admits to slipping back into old crash-dieting habits before his first shirtless shoot for Orange Is the New Black. And he says he's still working on not being too self-critical.
McGorry has a lot to say about gender and body image, so we’ll let you hear it from him:
I hope that discussions of body issues and self-criticism will become more of a conversation among men. I really do think that tied in those issues—and our willingness (or lack thereof) to discuss them—is a conversation of how vulnerable men are willing to be in general. We're taught, typically, that a real man doesn't show vulnerability, nor does he exhibit self-conscious behaviors.
But in my experience, being public about things like that leads to great freedom. It's the first step. If we can't express it, it's hard to change how we think and feel about it.
When we lock our boys away from those feelings, not only are they more likely to hurt themselves, [but] they're more likely to hurt others and to hurt women. They'll likely be the ones policing masculinity among other men too.
It's time to get away from the idea that men are supposed to be strong and hard and unfeeling, and women are soft and maternal. Gender is a spectrum, not a binary system, and it's time we view our behaviors, emotions, and appearances on a spectrum as well. Many men are vulnerable to unhealthy, powerless feelings when it comes to body image. Let's talk about it.