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8 Stigmatised Health and Body Issues That Men Shouldn't Feel Ashamed About

Collaborative content We think it’s brilliant that we are becoming a more accepting society that encourages body positivity and mental...

Health issues that men commonly face
Collaborative content

We think it’s brilliant that we are becoming a more accepting society that encourages body positivity and mental health awareness. However, the media has focused a lot on women’s issues, but not so much on the troubles that men might be facing. Therefore, we think it’s important to raise awareness on the body and health issues that the male population might be facing because they too have been subjected to discrimination. So, if you feel insecure about your body and want some reassurance, then we recommend you keep reading. Here are some of the main health issues that men commonly face which are often stigmatised.

1. Depression & Anxiety

For generations, men have been ingrained with the idea that they shouldn’t cry or express emotion in case they appear weak. This has caused millions of boys to repress their feelings, leading to complicated mental health problems later down the line, such as severe depression and anxiety. Resultantly, three-quarters of all suicides in the UK since 1990 have been male. This is a staggering amount which desperately needs addressing and de-stigmatising.

2. Exercise & Eating Disorders

It has only been in recent years that people are realising the vast amount of men that suffer from exercise and eating disorders, despite these illnesses generally being associated with women. Once again, we feel this comes down to the stigmatisation of male mental health leading to fewer men speaking up. However, exercise disorders also likely develop because of the immense amount of pressure that is placed on men to attain the ‘perfect’ body. Let’s look at the example of the immensely popular Marvel movie franchise. All the actors have impeccably sculpted bodies. This lack of body diversity has led boys with naturally larger or slighter frames to feel inadequate, resulting in a disordered relationship with exercise and eating. For example, many young men are addicted to working out and restrict themselves to heavy-protein diets.

3. Hair Loss

It’s perfectly natural for men to lose their hair as they grow older. In fact, some people have even developed a receding hairline during their teens. Though there is absolutely nothing wrong with hair loss (baldness and buzzcuts are often very flattering!), it is sometimes stigmatised and made the butt of a joke. Resultantly, it’s well-documented that men feel distressed and anguished by their hair loss, causing their body confidence to falter.

4. Erectile Dysfunction

Sexual politics are massive in the male population, implicitly determining where people land on the social hierarchy. As such, things like sexual infertility, small penises and erectile dysfunction are hugely stigmatised and mocked. This has caused many men to develop crippling self-esteem issues.

Rather than seeking help for their mental or physical condition, instead, they decide to suffer in silence. Fortunately, there’s good advice online for men struggling with their sexual health. If you want more information but aren’t ready to visit the doctors just yet, then read this article by Manual to set yourself on the right path.

5. Obesity

Obese people are often shamed and pressured into changing their diets. Though being obese does impact your health, being made to feel guilty about your weight is emotionally detrimental, too. Also, the more ashamed people feel, the more likely they are to develop an unhealthy relationship with food. For example, binge eating disorders can often arise in those who are ridiculed for their weight.

6. Body Hair

It’s also not uncommon to hear discriminating comments about men and their body hair. For example, boys who can’t grow facial hair like a beard or moustache are often mocked and perceived as inadequate. Meanwhile, men with hairy backs and chests are considered gross or called things like yetis. If these comments were targeted at women, there would be uproar – but with men, they are passed off as jokes.

7. Being Lanky

Lanky is often used as a discriminatory term against men who are thinner and less capable of putting on muscle mass. They are emasculated for being their natural shape, thereby leading boys with slight frames to develop body confidence issues. Once again, this harkens back to the ideal male figure that is glorified by society. Toys like action man exemplify this.

8. Shortness

Short men are constantly ridiculed and emasculated. From the term ‘short-man syndrome’ to fictional villains in movies, shortness among men is always shown in a negative light. This has caused millions of males across the world to feel inadequate and unattractive. Hopefully, as society progresses and body positivity aimed at men grows in popularity, we can dispel this stigmatisation.

These are the main health/body confidence issues in men that are stigmatised by society. We hope you have found this article enlightening. Help us break the stigma by raising awareness and addressing these problems when you see them.

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