You don’t read much about male body issues. I read a lot about body image issues, but it’s pretty much all written by females and for females. I can’t recall a single article I’ve ever read about male body image issues. It’s as if they don’t exist. The world is trying to get women to feel better about their bodies, but they’re pretty much ignoring the men. Women aren’t the only ones with body fears.
I have pretty serious body image issues. I mean, how could I not? Yes, I’m 6′ tall, but I weigh upwards of 550 pounds. Even when I weighed 350, I hated my body. Now, I wear pants with a 56″ waist. I wear size 5XLT shirts. There is literally no store in my town of 180,000 people that sells clothing in my size. There was, but it closed down last year. I have to buy my clothing online and I pay at least $40 for a single t-shirt, and that’s the cheapest item I buy. The selection is fucking horrible too. Women have an entire industry dedicated to making cute clothes for big girls. There is nothing of the sort for men. If you are over a 2XL, good fucking luck finding something cool to wear. Even the big & tall places think big guys only want to wear suits, button ups, or polos. I want to fucking wear geek wear. I want Star Wars and Deadpool, not plaid button-ups. You would think the comic book industry would understand this.
I only own 7 shirts. Not because I don’t want more, but because they are the only ones I could find that didn’t suck. I own one hoody. It’s literally the only one I could find, and they don’t make it anymore. Pants are easier to find, but they pretty much only want to make cargo pants, dress pants, or jeans. I’m not sure if that’s a universal thing though as even when I was less fat, I only wore Dickies pants and shorts. Really, they don’t make much clothing for big guys and that which they do make is super fucking expensive and not at all a style I want to wear.
This is about more than just clothes though. The US already hates fat people, but they seem to hate fat men the most… unless they’re funny. In media, the only fat men are either constantly shamed and the butt of all jokes, or they are the one making the jokes. John Goodman, Billy Gardell, Chris Farley, John Belushi, Ralphie May, Gabriel Iglesias. These are some of the very few positive male role models of size that I have. Of them all, Goodman is the only one that ever had anything other than funny roles. I realize that women don’t have many either, but they do have Oprah, Melissa McCarthy, Mo’Nique, Roseanne Barr, Mia Tyler (pretty sure there isn’t a SINGLE big male model…), and so many more. Big women in media still take shit for being big, but they are respected and don’t have to rely solely on how funny they are to get respect. They can get respect because of who they are, not how they act. And people stick up for them.
This is also evident in porn. There’s an entire and very large (no pun intended) genre of porn dedicated to large women. For the most part, they are not portrayed as disgusting or gross and are even referred to as “Big Beautiful Women” (BBW). There’s really no corresponding genre for men (I’ve looked). Yes, porn is directed at men, but there’s really no representation of big men in porn. If they are there, it is purely for ridicule and disgrace. The men in porn are almost always muscular, or at the very least, skinny. Even the creepy ones aren’t fat.
Men don’t take as much crap in the media for being big though, so that could help explain why there is less talk about body issues with men. Men are generally allowed a bit more “wiggle” room in their size. The acceptable size for men is a bit larger than it is for women. That doesn’t mean all sizes are accepted though. If you’re exceptionally large (as in, not just 15-25 lbs overweight), you’re probably going to get dirty looks because of your size. I know women go through this as well, but they have support. They have people that speak out for them and help to change this perception. Men don’t really have support like that.
Women, now, are taught to embrace their body. That all types are okay and that you should not feel shame for your body type. Guys don’t really get that. Nobody really talks about our bodies. There are no blogs dedicated to making us all feel as though we are normal. There are no photography exhibits showing off all of the different sizes of men or nationwide commercials saying that real men have curves. Society says that men do not have issues with their body image. They deal with personality but ignore that our bodies affect us the way that a woman’s body affects her. Men are not supposed to have body issues. That’s a woman issue.
In the end, I’m not trying to say that women have it easier. Not at all. Our society is still gender-biased towards males. I know that this issue is difficult for both sexes. What I am trying to say though, is that men do not have the support that women have. If you are not a physically fit alpha male trying to dominate everything in sight, you are not considered at all. If you have issues with how you look you’re told to suck it up because nobody cares.
Or, I could be completely off with all of this and I just haven’t looked hard enough/don’t know where to look. I don’t know. I just know that as I wrote this blog and read others about body issues, I felt very alone as a big man having issues with his size. Because of that, I lashed out some. I know that women have it rough as well, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get to be upset about this either.
It’s a bit fucked up how excited I get when my favorite bands have new albums out and I get to listen to them. Right now, I’m listening to How I learned to Stop Giving a Shit and Love Mindless Self Indulgence by MSI and it’s better than the first time I had sex. I’m pretty sure this is what love feels like. My pulse is racing, my face is flush, there’s a grin on my face that won’t leave, and I want nothing more than to spend all of my time with it. I am excited about all of the twists and turns that the music will provide in its playing. And it will change every time I listen to it. It will grow and I will love it more, even if it doesn’t excite me as much as it used to. Eventually, it will be comfortable and I will listen to it until I know everything about it, but I will always find new things in it. Even if I move onto other things, I will always be able to return to it and enjoy it and love it again.
I suppose none of that is fucked up. What’s fucked up is that I have had more meaningful relationships with albums than I have ever had with a woman. Music has never hurt me the way that they have. It has never told me it just wanted to be friends, that I was too weird, that it just wasn’t interested. Music has provided me more emotional support as well. It has helped me through every heartache and painful moment. Music has never left me either.
What the fuck is wrong with me?
Alternatively: Why can’t I find someone that won’t hurt me?
I’ve been thinking about language. Language is a living and changing thing. It changes slowly, but it does change. Based upon how the majority of speakers of a language use words some fall into disuse, change meaning, change spelling, or any number of other things. Gay is not used to mean happy anymore. Nobody says gadzooks (Chrome doesn’t even recognize it as a real word). Encyclopedia lost its æ. ‘You and me’ is now accepted in place of ‘you and I’. Words change. Language evolves, but not always for the better.
The thing I have been thinking of most is words changing spelling. Specifically, does this change happen because people can’t spell words? Will ‘your’ one day be an acceptable form of ‘you are’? Are contractions now just accepted as whole words rather than a mash up of two other words? WTF has entered the lexicon as a word (of sorts) that expresses an emotion or reaction far more than actual expression of ‘what the fuck’. What is our language becoming? Will we recognize it when we are old?
The grammar nazis are losing. Intelligence is dying. Unless we actually choose to turn away from it and celebrate intelligence, grammar, and proper use of words, our language and our society is fucked. Newspeak for all! I wonder how George Orwell would feel knowing that we are moving ever closer to his satirized language. I think he would be disappointed, I know I am.
I suppose this is where I start thinking back on the year that is ending today. However, I spend much time thinking about what has and has not happened, so these things are never far from my mind and summing them up in predetermined segments like a calendar year rather than as the journey they were seems odd.
Can a year be your best and your worst? A lot happened this year. Some good, some bad, and some heartbreaking.
I started making art again and have made a ton of it, even going so far as to sell a piece. I began writing again as well. I have created 70+ posts here for the purpose of expelling and exploring my demons. I have begun to open up and talk to people about the things that I am dealing with. I have grown as a person, though I still have a long way to go.
A lot has changed, though a lot remains the same. I still struggle with loneliness and socializing. I want to fix it, but I’m not there yet. I also managed to fall for someone that would never care for me, again. I may have lost my virginity and cared for someone this year, but I still ended up getting hurt in the end and am still dealing with the fallout to this day. I don’t know when I’ll be past it, but I know that I am no longer thinking of it constantly, only when I come into contact with her… or try to masturbate, but that’s another story.
In all, I’d say the year was neutral. The highs were high, and the lows were low, but they averaged out. It was one of the most active years I have had in a long time, and I think it was just a precursor. There’s more to come; there has to be. This year has been all about building, and growing, and opening up, but for what? I do not know yet, though I think I’ll find out in 2013. I have no idea what is in store for me for the year ahead, but I hope it’s good. It would be nice to have a truly good year for once.
This post should probably be longer or more in depth, but I think i am still too close to all that happened this year to really see it for what it is. As 2013 progresses and unfolds, I think I will start to see the outcome of all that I did in 2012. I just hope it comes out for the best.
I am exhausted. I have been up for almost 24 hours now and I have to start work in an hour and a half. Sleep is not an option for me at this point. I lie down and close my eyes just to wake up.
Behind closed eyes, there is naught but ghostly technicolor reminiscent of an acid flashback. Glowing faintly, pulsing, moving over an empty song that plays in my mind. I try to put it all behind me, but it haunts me, skittering along and toying with my mind just enough to keep it from passing over the threshold of sleep.
And now I sit here, in a state of half aware wakefulness, watching the time countdown slowly until I start work. Eyes blurring, but mind sharp. Wondering if I will make it through my shift or pass out in the middle.
Music floats into my ears. When I drift to lower consciousness, I see and feel sounds. My mind is too malleable for what I have chosen to listen to. It will not influence me to act anything out, but it will exacerbate the issues within myself that I am able to put off on a rested mind. I can’t hide from myself, from that fact that in spite of it all, part of me expects to die alone having never had someone to share my life with. I can’t seem to overcome that thought. I suspect it is wrong, but there is overwhelming evidence to support it. I know things I could do to make it happen, but I don’t actually understand how they work. If any of them work it is through pure, dumb luck.
I do hate this subject and that I keep saying I hate it and talking about it anyways. I can’t escape it.
Yesterday and today my best friend and I started actually working on getting things together to begin a business venture that could potentially take care of us for the rest of our lives. I won’t go into it much, but suffice to say, it revolves around something we both enjoy and love. This is a long term project though. We are still in the learning and planning phase, but once we have done that we will start building and creating the first instances of our product.