The title is a quote from Simone de Beauvoir. Its a quote that sums this post up rather well.
The inspiration for me to write this came from watching a program on BBC Three called Queer Britain. It is a documentary that explores different sectors of the LGBTQ Community and the prejudice and problems that they face. This episode in particular however was all about the body pressures in the gay community.
I have never been very body confident. Im not fat, Im not Skinny, however if you were to ask if I take my top off on the beach on a hot day. Never. I have never been able to say I’m very confident when it comes to body, although in reality there isn’t really anything I shouldn’t be confident about. Im a slim average guy, I exercise and stay fit. Even still I feel pressure from all sides on not having a great body. Why?
The program discussed many issues, from body shaming, fem shaming and the ideal ‘gay guy’.
Fem Shaming is a form of discrimination where guys are targeted and shamed for being too feminine, although they identify as a guy. This happens on a daily basis, everywhere. Im quite lucky in the fact that I don’t look as feminine as some other gay guys who do get fem shamed. However the main part of this segment of the documentary that shocked me the most, is that is has been found that most of the body shaming and fem shaming being inflicted on gay guys, is from other gay guys. This profoundly shocked me.
The one community you thought you would be fully accepted in, are the ones actually doing most of the discrimination and putting the most pressure on you to look and conform a certain way.
Many guys, especially in the gay community, tend to hit the gym, and turn masculine and look for the ideal masculine body. Muscles, chiselled lines. Turn to be more on the ‘Hunk’ label in the body image spectrum. However some guys of other body types, like in the ‘Twink’ (Hate the word!) and who are slim and are more feminine in nature, are deemed lesser as they don’t have the muscle and the bulk that the hunky muscle guys have.
I found this very relatable. I do often look at myself and think, I need a little more muscle. I need to go to the gym, I need to bulk out. This is mostly because of this pressure to look good, as image is very important to me. I want to always present myself in a reputable and good manor for business, and just for myself I always strive to look my best. So when it comes to my body, this is where my lack of confidence lies.
The show, presented by Riyadh Khalaf, a gay YouTuber himself, also went on to talk about the sexualisation, and the highly sexual labels when it comes to identifying your body type. The two labels you could choose from, as a gay guy, is either highly masculine, so the ‘top’ as you could say, and then the feminine guy ‘Twink’ or ‘bottom’. Thats how narrow the labelling and identification of your body can be in the gay community.
Its sad as you would think that the community would be highly supportive no matter your size or shape, or mannerisms. However its not all as it seems.
I am starting to get back on the bike, go on lots of walks and will be starting the gym very soon once I move house. I do agree, it is partly an attempt to get a better body. I would be lying if I said there wasn’t at all a part of me that felt like that. However the more I think of it the fitness side of it, just keeping fit, outweighs the getting a better body. The better body at this moment in time is a bonus. I have a long way to go before Im fully body confident as I said, Im not confident at all. However I do feel my feelings and confidence in terms of accepting my body slowly changing so hopefully, in the future, I will be able to say Im fully confident in my body and in my self!
Be true to yourself, and love your body 🙂
Brandon x x x