In this society size really does matter, according to “The Bully in the Mirror” by Stephen S. Hall. We cannot deny that we have preferences when it comes to attraction, but they seem to have taken a turn toward impossible as of late. Now, it is not only girls who go through the trouble of trying to live up to a body image that is unattainable for most, but guys as well. They struggle with their body image, too.
Instead of qualities such as intelligence, wit, humor, and kindness, we place importance on how big your chest and waist are. Guys now feel the pull that girls did to use drastic measures to achieve a look of perfection. We have created a society of mirror obsessed people, but when they look in the mirror it’s not to admire themselves; it’s to pick out their flaws. We use advertisements such as Abercrombie bags with headless, shirtless men and fashion campaigns using models with unrealistic body types to condition the masses. Dolls and action figures reflect society’s changing view. Action figures are now more beefy than ever. If you were to enlarge the figures to average human height, their biceps would be bigger than any bodybuilder in history. This causes boys to strive for unattainable measures. “No one’s looking for a natural look, of being thin and in shape. It’s more of looking toward a level beyond that.” They go to drugs, surgery, and as far as work out all day every day to achieve this new look. They push themselves harder and harder until they hurt themselves. But not everyone can look like that. This creates self-consciousness and a feeling of inadequacy.
Kids get teased and harassed for what clothes they wear, how they style their clothes, how tall they are, and how fat they are until they look in the mirror and all they see is their flaws. Men can look in the mirror and perceive themselves “as physically small and weak, even though they were in fact large and muscular.” It’s all about fitting in, fitting in to cliques and into molds. Physical stature seems to rule all. Even boy’s nicknames refer to a physical quality. “It creates a kind of social pecking order based on physical size and the appearance of toughness.”Boys are pressured to be this stereotypical male who doesn’t express emotion, whose muscles bulge, and who look rugged. If they are not the right kind of guy they are shunned, teased and ridiculed. The things they say don’t leave us. They stay, years later, even after we have outgrown our physical shortcomings. We can look in the mirror years later and still see that youth that was picked on. Kids are becoming increasingly cruel.
This idealized male figure is unrealistic. “They are treated as objects, getting judged not by who they are, but how they look.” People put emphasis on physical beauty, but the level of physical beauty isn’t realistic. Then kids are teased if they don’t look like Abercrombie models. Is it harmless teasing? I don’t think so. These words and images in ads leave a mark.