One of the most common methods to improve one’s body is the change in eating habits. Diets and changing your eating habits can be good, until they become unnatural which can lead to a disorder. An Eating Specialist wrote, on Huffington Post, that " according to NEDA [National Eating Disorders Association], at least one million males in the United States have an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia." This contrasts with the idea, she wrote, that "twenty years ago, very few people even knew what an eating disorder was." These statements show that people’s eating habits are changing, and this reaction is attributed to the change in media messages. This message appears in a variety of media, in fact, actor Sam Claflin has this same problem. When he is cast in Catching Fire, as Finnick Odair, the idealized male, he was “admitting he didn't see himself as Finnick at all.” He believed that he isn’t muscular or handsome enough, and that he was insecure. He says, “My wife calls me manorexic, I do seriously have issues, I think. She thinks I'm getting so skinny, but I look at myself and think I'm getting fat.” The fact that a perfectly athletic actor has such views about himself shows that the media is really affecting people, even actors, who are thought to be some of the most confident, secure and popular men in the world, and that this change in media IS negatively affecting males worldwide.
More of these methods that males are using are the use of steroids, protein powders and working out. In a New York Times article, a eighteen-year-old is quoted “I didn’t used to be into supplements” and that “I wanted something that would help me get bigger a little faster.” This shows how teenagers want to change and show a desire for the “improved” body image. Also, teenagers are showing an aptitude for better body images, in fact, almost 40% of boys and teens work out to get a better body. Also, “thirty-eight percent said they used protein supplements, and nearly 6 percent said they had experimented with steroids.” This is an another example to show how people are trying to increase muscle and have better body images. These supplements can be dangerous as a professor of medicine at Boston University says, “The problem with supplements is they’re not regulated like drugs, so it’s very hard to know what’s in them,” therefore it can lead to many problems within a body. This increased amount of younger men involving in improving and adding muscle mass to their bodies show that media is affecting males with different occupations and also different ages.
On the flip side for both of these two methods are the positive effects gained. If the eating habits aren’t drastically changed, or if they aren’t severely reduced, to say almost anorexia, then it is good to diet and become healthy. Dieting is good for the body because it can lower chances of getting diseases, and some “fat around the waist is typically buried deep in the abdomen and increases your risk for diabetes, heart disease and dementia.” Getting rid of these chances for disease is obviously a benefit. This is also the same with working out, it can be good for your body, and make someone become healthier. However, the perfection of these images creates jealousy, and also an article on Huffington Post says that “Perfectionism leads to the desire to be good, accepted, perfect and in control -- all of which are prerequisites of anorexia.” So, I believe that while these images can spark benefits in health, however, they usually create an over-obsession in one’s body image, due to its perfection. Therefore, I believe that this change in media is negatively influencing men and boys to excessively obsess about their personal image.
Overall, I think that these changes in media are negatively affecting people, and not very often benefiting people because of the perfection of the media created image. While it is good to have people aware of their own body and not being unhealthy, it shouldn’t be taken to drastic measures. People shouldn’t be scrutinizing their own image, and trying to change it.