Taking men's body positivity seriously
BOPO (body positivity) has been a key cultural cause for Gen Zs and Millennials, but where are all the men in this conversation? Brands and influencers (we see you André Leon Talley) are increasingly creating content that redefines what it means to be masculine, showing that body positivity matters for all genders–and young people are here for it. Casting aside the stereotypical, and often toxic, image of men, this trend calls for a more nuanced and inclusive understanding of what it means to be a man. Honoring this movement requires brands to: express more male diversity in advertising, demonstrate that all shapes and sizes are worthy of being considered handsome, and show that all struggles are worthy of being seen. Read below to learn more about who’s championing male body positivity.
INSTAGRAM X CALM “BODY TALKS”
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably, a UK-based non-profit against suicide) recently started a series of Body Talks supported by Instagram discussing men’s relationships with their bodies. The brand discovered that half (48%) of 16 to 40-year-old men struggle with their mental health because of their body image. In short videos, young men like Jamie Laing, Russel Kane, and Steven Blaine share personal stories about sensitive topics like height, hair loss, bigorexia, and comparison culture. CALM’s CEO Simon Gunning explains, "Body image worries affect people of all genders, body types and backgrounds. And the conversation is much deeper than just weight or body shape.”
THE EVERY MAN PROJECT
The Every Man Project is on a mission to create a safe space to “liberate men worldwide from self hate.” Started by millennial Tarik Carroll, an artist and body positivity activist from Brooklyn, the multi-faceted project is a “visual conversation about inclusion and diversity,” featuring photography, a YouTube series, and even curated music playlists on Spotify. Their “EveryMAN MONDAYS” series features in-depth interviews with young men, or “kings” as the site calls them, about self-care, how to celebrate your body, and the modern definition of masculinity.
Ryan Sheldon’s eating disorder led him on a journey to self-love and now he’s on a mission to motivate others. As body image expert, model, inspiring speaker, and ambassador for NEDA (the National Eating Disorder Association), Sheldon supports other men, teens, and those from marginalized communities to learn to love who they are no matter their body type. On his social media pages, you’ll find him dispelling myths about eating disorders, raising awareness of eating disorders within the LGBTQ community, and leading a men’s body image support group.