Friday, 31 May 2013

Body Image

I recently made a video called "Girls on YouTube" in response to Benjamin Cook's video from the series of "Becoming YouTube" and today, one of my friends messaged me about it saying the following (this will only be modified grammatically to make it into the form of paragraphs to make it easier to read)
"As much as I like the video, I don't think you are right all the time there. Guys as a rule do not have a problem with what they look like. Most guys would not care AT ALL. The amount of girls compared to the amount of guys who are insecure about how they look or even give a shit is MASSIVE. 95% of guys won't give a shit what they look like.  
Most of them would want to look better, because that's natural, so do I, but no one would take that to such an extent as to making a fuss or something. No one would care about how they look like in a photo or video or shirtless. Because they simply don't care what others think of them, sure it's good to look good, but I've never met a guy who's insecure about his looks. Not talking about body specifically, but looks in general. Guys are just more confident. 
Guys actually don't care. We don't take notice of insults or anything. We ignore it because we don't care. If you tell a girl she's fat, you're an idiot. You tell a guy he's fat, everyone will laugh and the fat guy will be like, "Okay? Yes I am". No one says that's wrong. What's with that? It's like there's a difference in how you treat a guy and a girl. 
Instead of saying this from a girl's point of view, where you victimize girls, tell it from a guy's point of view. Girls have invented themselves this idea of how they are supposed to look. It's not guys that are making these rules up. Girls are easily manipulated."

My friend and I did end up deciding to talk about this at school in person because this isn't a discussion to have over text and it's 11:31 PM but I'm going to respond to this now since I'm in the zone to talk about it and update this after we talk.

Points I want to address - I'll organize it nice and clear for you to read:

1. "Guys as a rule do not have a problem with that they look like. I've never met a guy who's insecure about his looks.

You most certainly cannot base a worldwide issue on the amount of people you have met. I've never met someone that was sexually abused at home but I am mentally aware that there is a huge proportion of people that have unfortunately suffered from that experience. And to be honest, "as a rule", some guys do have a problem with what they look like. Here are some statistics (despite my hatred of categorizing people in the form of numbers, this helps people visualize the issue)

• Up to 12% of teen boys are using unproven supplements and/or steroids.
• 45% of Western men are dissatisfied with their bodies.
• 17% of men are dieting at any given time.
• 1 in 10 people with anorexia are male
• 4% of men purge after eating
• 85% are dissatisfied in terms of weight; around half want to lose weight and half want to gain weight.

and these are j u s t a few statistics gathered from all around the place. But my point is, the minority of a problem does not erase its existence.

2. "Guys are just more confident"

This is partially true. Guys are just more confident because they are raised in a society that focuses 110% on their personality and attitude rather than their appearance - as it should. It is unfortunate that there are images perpetuated by the media for men to abide by or look like; because most male characters in video games and movies are also often given unrealistic expectations to live up to, but there is always more of a focus on personality and mentality on guys than on girls and that was the point I was trying to get a cross in the video.

3.  "If you tell a girl she's fat, you're an idiot. You tell a guy he's fat, everyone will laugh and the fat guy will be like, "Okay? Yes I am" No one says that's wrong. What's with that? It's like there's a difference in how you treat a guy and a girl"

This is a double standard and I most definitely do not approve of double standards, whatsoever. The fact that I'm saying you should not go up to a girl and call her something you think would hurt her, does not mean I'm saying "hey but it's okay to do that to a guy." No. I was addressing that particular aspect because it is the majority and it was also the main focus of the video I was responding to.

I personally do not condone double standards what so ever and would stand by my belief that if this gender cannot be treated a certain way because it's unacceptable, the other gender should not have to endure similar behavior either. But the truth of the matter is more guys will go up to girls and say there is something wrong with their appearance (wether it's private remarks or blunt, loud ones) than girls will to guys. That doesn't make either of the genders right for doing so.

4. "Instead of saying this from a girl's point of view, where you victimize girls, tell it from a guy's point of view"

I addressed the video from a girl's point of view because of a few reasons:

  1. I am a girl and there is no one else to understand the situation better than I would. Talking from a guy's perspective will make me seem like I'm diving into the realm of the unknown, even though I'm 110% sure of my facts from that perspective too.
  2. The video I was responding to was specifically about girls. Specifically.
  3. The video was offensive towards girls and not guys, so bringing up guys while responding to someone that didn't even mention it will make it all irrelevant.

5. "It's not guys that are making these rules up. Girls are easily manipulated"

This irritates me so much.

I am not blaming you for the body image issues that have reverberated across my gender and age group. It is not your personal fault but yes you are a contributor. And you have a huge role in contributing to this issue:

The majority of guys - or how about we say people, will make it very clear what kind of girl they prefer or what kind of physique is the right and perfect physique. And this irritates me because this is something that is: a.) Conditional and b.) Out of the person's control so there is absolutely no point in you criticizing him and her over something they can't change. Can you even imagine how upsetting and frustrating that would be?

The media is the main source of the issue - as always. Women are presented in a particular manner in the media field and this affects them tremendously. I am sorry but it certainly is not the vulnerable, 10 year old girl's fault for watching a movie and wanting to be the most loved character that happens to be the only one considered beautiful with her perfect face, hair and body. These 10 year old girls will grow up to be young women that are deeply affected by it. Not everyone ends up being tremendously affected but you make it sound like it's their fault when it is just most definitely not their fault. You cannot blame someone from consuming the shit they watch on television, some people cant help it and you do not have the same filtering capacity as a young girl or boy, you are naturally absorbing and learning from everything you watch, read, see and hear.
The thing we should be targeting now is not the people that have certain issues it's what giving them those issues. Because, to be honest, when you're not suffering from something yourself you do not quite realize the severity of it all, and when you become a member that indulges in such behavior that might affect certain individuals negatively you need to get a grip, realize what you're doing and stop.

Because no matter how serious you think it is, something small to you might be the world to someone else. One little remark you've made might be the 12th comment that person's heard that day. 

I'd just like to understand, how hard is it to just try to not hurt people with your words. Don't make comments about something that is not harming you personally. If you have a problem with someone's appearance, you have a problem with yourself. Because what someone looks like, or how tall they are or how much they weigh is literally n o n e of your goddamn business! 

Just. Don't. Make. Comments. Like. That. 

It's so simple. 

Every problem should be given importance because even if it seems insignificant to you now it either already is significant, or it will become significant if it is not stopped.

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