Body positivity is not just for women

“There’s something manly about a big gut, huh?” my brother asked his wife, in reference to a relative’s beer gut.

She smiled as she pursed her lips and cocked her head.

“I guess it’s pretty unhealthy…” my brother responded.

We’re not a skinny family. My brothers and I all struggle with our weight, though you wouldn’t tell by looking at us; we’re all very active. I’ve borne the brunt of my mother’s scrutiny, as a girl, but we’ve all felt it. Growing up with a skinny mother who constantly puts down her looks (and by extension, ours… we have the same genetics… also shut up mom if you think you’re fat then what do you think I am?…I’m not bitter…) really put a psychological strain on all of us.

I wanted to say so much to my brother in that moment: that it was sexist to imply that belly fat was masculine, as if belly fat has a gender; that he should turn his attitude around before his daughter grows up, because she is sure to have her own insecurities; and that a beer gut being unhealthy isn’t the counterargument to “but it’s manly!” (they are separate things).

In many cultures, a big gut on men is indeed celebrated as a rite of passage for married men. There is definitely a cultural connection to manliness. But if you’re going to say that you have the privilege of gaining weight because you’re a man, you had better think about the implications of this line of thought for the women in your life.

That being said, I know the household he grew up in, I know how we all internalize guilt about our bodies; I empathize with him. I haven’t overcome my own body issues overnight; how can I expect my brother to?

I’m working hard on being body-positive myself, but I also want to be an ally for men with body image issues, and that is an entirely different type of body positivity than for women. There is some overlap, but I feel that my experience being a non-skinny woman does not necessarily make me a good ally for men.

There are so many body-positive fashion bloggers, clothing lines, and spokespeople popping up all over the place for women, and while we have absolutely not closed the gap on positive representation for fat women, men with eating disorders and negative body image go largely ignored. “Oh whatever, you’re a guy, you can get away with anything.” It’s true, male privilege is a thing; but that doesn’t mean men’s lives are automatically anything. Especially if we’re talking about the intersectionality of male body positivity and the LGBTQ community. I once had dinner with a group of gay men, several of whom were talking about the diets they were going on in order to lose weight for summer, boyfriends who dumped them for gaining weight, etc. Not every LGBTQ man feels this pressure, but it is a far more pervasive issue than is publicly acknowledged. I don’t even know about intersectionality with other identities. But I will say from first hand experience, jewish guilt doesn’t help.

Even straight white cisgendered fit men like my brother can have issues with their body image; and even if they don’t, they could always be better role models for those around them who look up to them. Healthy self-esteem carries over to everyone in our lives. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Here are just a few body-positive resources for you menfolk/masculinefolk/anyone to whom femme/female body positivity doesn’t apply:

  • Dressman “underwear for the perfect man”, and other body-positive campaigns for men. (By the way the Modcloth male employees campaign is super cute… especially a quote from one of the guys saying that the confidence of the women in the women’s shoot inspired him to wear a swimsuit for the men’s shoot!)
  • This Bustle roundup. Tons of wonderful masculine fashion inspiration for plus-sized bodies.
  • This Ravishly roundup. Brings to light the intersection between body positivity and maleness in our culture, and the pressure to “man up” when one’s self-esteem isn’t at its best.
  • This “body positivity for guys” tumblr, which specifies itself as “A body positivity blog specifically for all of us male-identified, masculine-bodied, and/or masculine-presenting people of Tumblr.” There are some wonderfully diverse gender presentations on here.
  • This other male body health and love tumblr. Again, very queer-friendly. (Can there be any other kind of body positivity?)

Exercise or don’t. Wear what you want to wear. Be yourself. Male or female, masculine or feminine, cis or trans*, queer or straight… most of us need a little body positivity.

Happy Friday!

 

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2015 QTN search terms

I kept endlessly endlessly entertained by ButchWonders’s “Search Terms” posts which happen once a month. BW’s are pretty hilarious and interesting; so I decided to look through my own. I mostly found a bunch that made me want to think/discuss/hug the person who googled. But also several that made me ‘lol’. I got a whole lot about binders, reviews for binders, binding with a large chest; I’ll ignore all those because that info is up on this site and I’ve said all I can say about binding a large chest. As for the rest of them, Imma put them into categories:

The ernest:

  • feminism dating social anxiety – Yep. Dating while feminist is oh so frustrating sometimes. I hear ya.
  • self-improvement – I look this up a lot. The internet has a lot of crap to offer, but also some wisdom.
  • why is boredom the worst – Why? Because it’s not based in reality. It’s your mind saying “I’m not doing enough right now”, but it’s often a projection of something else. I can be doing nothing and not be bored, or I can be doing a lot and be bored. It’s just an emotional state, and that can feel pretty confining.
  • what to do if you accidently grab a boob – Oh. I don’t know. Freak out I guess.
  • are clarks for queers? – I wanted to make fun of this one at first. But honestly, I feel for the (presumably female-identified) person who asked the internet this. It was probably asked in ernest. Answer: No! Clarks (presumably Desert Boots) are for everyone!! They’re great for queers though because they are available in all sizes, so are completely unisex, and they cross over boundaries of gender expression: they go with slacks and button-downs, tights and skirts, jeans and flannel. They are literally for EVERYONE. That being said, they’re often associated with more masculine style (unisex styles often are, which is B.S… but I digress), which may make feminine-presenting people uncomfortable, and that’s ok. But if you like the style, they do not invalidate your femininity, your straightness, your closeted status, your gender, whatever you’re anxious about. See here and here for styling tips.
  • heteronormativity? effects everyone – Typo aside, this makes me go YES. Heteronormativity affects everyone. It’s the worst.
  • screwed up shoelaces – I don’t totally know what this is about. But shoelaces are hard. I feel for you.
  • curvy tomboy – I have googled this many-a-time. There are a few wonderful resources out there but overall it’s very hard to find representation.
  • gender rebels – Oooh, I like you.
  • how to be confident if you have gender nonconforming body – I could rant about this all day. I hate that this is even a question. Just know that you are perfectly wonderful the way you are. Whoever you are.
  • sexist pricing – See “wage gap”, “pink tax”, “things that make me angry part 486, section B”. Life is unfair.
  • does a passion for a career signifies god’s apprpval – This is an interesting philosophical question. As an atheist-ish, I would say that my definition of “God” is love, wisdom and truth; so in that sense, if you are passionate about your career, presumably you gain something from it, and you feel love and truth and wisdom. But this ignores that many people struggle with these things, and with their careers, and it’s not that god disapproves just because you are unhappy with your career. Even if you’re unhappy working in a homeless shelter, God may still approve; and if you’re happy working as a human trafficker, God probs doesn’t approve. It’s not about your career; I feel as long as you continue to grow toward love wisdom and truth, God approves. Make sense?
  • im a bad friend and mess in mind – Aww. Acknowledge the problem, learn to love yourself, practice empathy. Then you can be a good friend. It’s never too late.
  • camping – I love camping.

Sexuality:

  • tomboys and their sexual life – A tomboy doesn’t kiss and tell. Except when we do.
  • nerd captured by lesbians – Is this a fetish?
  • sexy tomboy lingerie – … Actually this doesn’t make me uncomfortable. Let’s talk about tomboy sexuality, and how it’s so often overlooked because hyperfemininity/high-femmeness is the standard in porn and lingerie and advertising.
  • sexy soft butch – Redundant. Soft butch is always sexy.
  • a beautiful girl dressed in boy clothes lesbian pictures – Erm, might I recommend tumblr for this…

The puzzling/how-do-i-google?

  • the shortest distance between 2 points which can never meet – This isn’t a math blog. But I’ll do my best. Are you asking about the distance between two lines which can never meet (two parallel lines)? See below (shortest distance from a point to a line). There are other ways of doing this, but: if you know that two lines are parallel, pick  a point on one of the lines, and use the formula below to get the distance to the other line. Or if you’re asking about the shortest distance between two points, just do sqrt((x_1-x_2)^2+(y_1-y_2)^2).
  • the shortest distance from a point to a straight line is – If the point is (x_0,y_0) and the line is ax+by+c=0, then the distance is given by abs(a*x_0+b*y_0+c)/sqrt(a^2+b^2). I can do a post deriving this if you’d like. It’s pretty fun. According to my definition of fun.
  • the sshortest distance betweet two boys is a line – I just don’t know.
  • ok i was told to wear casual at my first job in a club what will i wear plz adviz? i am a lady, wich exactly… – This got cut off. Best posted on a forum and not on google search results. You can also google “casual club wear for ladies”? Keep it concise, ye fair googler.
  • i’m not your grandmother tommy but i did – DID WHAT? DON’T LEAVE ME IN SUSPENSE! (Wait… this is actually a line from Cloudburst, the bestest lesbian movie ever. That and “codependent lesbian space alien seeks same”. I still think this is a funny thing to google, out of context. Hehehe.)
  • im very nerdy and sensitive lesbian – well hello there!

The “just no.” queries:

  • how to accidentally grab your crush’s boob – Not what I had in mind when posting about that embarrassing incident. Don’t do this by accident. Just don’t.
  • how to grab my crushs boobs – See above.
  • crush grabbed her boobs – If you saw this, I guess good for you?
  • i’m an hiking addict – No. You can’t be addicted to such a glorious thing. There is no 12-step program… there is a 120,000 step program and it’s called the Appalachian Trail.

The beautifully poetic:

  • 1 february 2015 rhaphsody of realities – I don’t know what this means but it’s beautiful.

Unsure/other:

  • charlie brown and relationships – Charlie Brown surely has some wisdom to offer about relationships. Way more than my blog.
  • picture of therapy – Like, a picture of someone lying on a couch I guess?
  • the nerds blod life – What…
  • nerdy lesbian fitting in clothing store – again.
  • “the shame” nerd – Were you looking for Brene Brown? Nerds who are ashamed in general?
  • how many girl nerds are lesbian – Probably a bunch. Probably not all. They still might not go out with you if they’re straight.
  • air travel for dummies – Drink lots of water. Wear comfortable shoes. Wear clean socks and deodorant for your fellow passengers’ sakes. Bring something to read, listen to, play, make, write, etc., so you aren’t bugging your fellow passenger who has her headphones in and her eyes closed pretending to sleep because she just lost her grandma, is going through a breakup, is sleep deprived, and really doesn’t want to talk to anyone on your 2 hour flight together… (speaking from experience.)

There you go! A whole bunch of ways people found this blog.