body image

crippled sensuality's picture

man in the mirror

As i sit and watch the television today i still see many things that try to get people to look at their image and the way they really are, trying to get them to change the way they look and telling

exposing body image issues's picture

Reflections on the Motivations of a Sympathetic Witness and the Male Nude

By Judith Brisson

Ironically, thirty years later, I probably have a more positive bodily self-image than I did then. My skin was a lot thinner in my twenties and careless or cruel comments more easily left their marks. I’m not implying that all is well in that lobe of the mind – my bodily self-consciousness I believe is ineluctably tied into the corporate political economy and the use of the youthful female form as a primary vehicle for promotion in advertising houses.

Yes I’m something of a sell-out: I mask my aging with products chemical and textile, supporting the corresponding aspects of the economy with plenty of my hard-earned dough and endangering my health in the process. Phthalates and poisoned rabbit eyes float around in my guilty un-conscience. I do it to circulate more fluidly – that is less self-consciously - in a youthful world, where I happen to spend a lot of time. Unlike many traditions from around the globe, age can be easily sidelined in our culture.

At least that’s the rationale I mentally employ as I while away my time pursuing the numerous high-maintenance tasks of the middle-aged woman. But the real reason is more insidious than that: my theory is that corporate composite of the female image eats away at my self-esteem, constantly reminding me of my numerous flaws by means of an endless array of mechanisms larger than life, including posting building-sized images of fourteen year-olds in designer pants slung low enough to expose pubic hair (if there were any to be seen).

It’s something of a comparison game that takes place at some sub-conscious level later on when I am alone with my body and contemplating its shortcomings.  In a search to understand my compulsion to focus on body image, I document, alongside collaborator Colette Coughlin, the struggles of men in maintaining a healthy and positive body image in a highly aestheticized world.

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