In American culture, there is a lot of emphasis placed on body weight, size, and appearance. And, we are conditioned from a very young age to believe that self-worth is derived from these external characteristics. For example, being thin and/or muscular is associated with being “hard-working, successful, popular, beautiful, strong, and self-disciplined.” On the other hand, being “fat” is associated with being “lazy, ignorant, hated, ugly, weak, and lacking will-power.” These stereotypes are common in our society; and they are reinforced by the media, our family and friends, and even well-respected health professionals. As a result, we often unfairly judge others and label them based on their weight and size alone. We feel great anxiety and pressure to achieve and/or maintain a very lean physique. And, we believe that if we can just be thinner or more muscular, we can be happier, more successful, and more accepted by society.
The media sets unrealistic standards for what body weight and appearance is considered “normal.” Boys are given the impression that men naturally have muscles bulging all over their bodies. For example, take a look at their plastic action-figures (like GI Joe Extreme) in toy stores. If GI Joe Extreme were life-size, he would have a 139.7 cm chest and a 68.6 cm. In other words, his bicep would be almost as big as his waist and bigger than most competitive body builders’. These body ideals are reinforced every day on TV shows, movies, magazine covers, and even video games. The media’s portrayal of what is “normal” is more muscular and ripped for men.
With these media images and body ideals, it’s little wonder that men feel inadequate, ashamed, and dissatisfied with how they look. All boys see is a body ideal that for most men is impossible to achieve without illegal anabolic steroids. There is a physiological limit to how much muscle a man can attain naturally, given his height, frame, and body fat percentage. ...