The unrealistic body standard.

Recently, I was scrolling through facebook, and stumbled on an article that really got me thinking. The article was called "Ugly Gays: A Playground of Bodily Categorization" and it really got me thinking of this false, unattainable body image social media and the gay community forces on it's members.
As someone who is 5'5" with a 24in waist, I always felt ugly. I would look at friends, social media influencers, models, actors etc and feel like I'm in this weird bubble that is considered unattractive to the masses. I know I'm not alone in this, but when you have a constant influence of "If you don't have this body-type" or "if you don't like like exhibit A", you're instantly deemed unsuitable and unattractive in the gay world.

I've never really looked at myself as an attainable or desirable body-type. And to get way too personal here, I've definitely gone to drastic measures to look a certain way, or even feel a certain way. As a young boy, I remember the jokes my friends would make about me having a bit of a belly. I felt ugly. I felt like I didn't look like that attractive jock who everyone wanted to be friends with. It lead me to an extremely drastic attempt at slimming myself down and forcing myself to lose any extra body mass as a start at turning myself into this "hot jock".
It completely warped my ideal body for myself and what I thought others wanted to see. Over the course of a few months, I dropped down from a 30 waist, to a 25. Even then I still didn't think I was attractive. I still saw that kid with the belly and it broke me down. I hid behind long hair, and baggy American Apparel hoodies.

As I got older, I came across a TV show. The show was called SKINS. I was so used to seeing that perfect Gossip Girl styled cast with beautiful Nate winning all the girls that when skins came along and introduced me to a completely different look on the "hot guy", I felt weird about it. At first, I found myself shaming the "skinny guys". But I could actually relate to their bodies. I looked the same without clothes on and over time, it finally made me feel normal-ish. I still didn't think by any mass standard that I was "normal", but I finally felt a connection. I felt like I could relate. Then along came Cassie. She was the first TV character I felt was in-tune with me. She felt the same way I felt about food, and she made me feel like I wasn't alone. I wanted to scream from the top of a building that I felt like I was a normal person and that I wasn't the only one going through this struggle!
It started to change the way I looked at myself. I looked at myself as, yes the skinny guy, but I knew that was who I was. I was okay with that. I'd never have that perfect "jock" body, and I wasn't "ugly" without it! There were other people as skinny as me, and other people going through the same struggles.
I started to study my body. I learned different ways to wear clothes that would flatter my size, and help me feel even more comfortable in my own body. I started to take care of myself again and I felt good about myself! It took YEARS of struggling but I finally looked at myself in the mirror and realized that I was perfect just the way I was.

Then I turned eighteen. I had gotten out of a relationship and started dating again. I went on a few dates here and there, nothing ever came of it. Then I received a message on one of those super fun dating apps, telling me that I was so disgusting slim that no guy would ever want me because "no gay man wants to fuck a boy with a chick's body". That cut deep. I felt myself spiral back into how I felt as a young teen. I pulled myself out of the dating world for a long time. And even now, I still find myself avoiding anything to do with relationships in fear of that insecurity coming back.
I'm so fortunate that now I've become so comfortable with who I am that even with negative criticism, I can still wake up, look in the mirror and tell myself that I'm beautiful.
We shouldn't feel like we have to have this adonis physique to be attractive to other people, and I think it's about time we stopped fat-shaming and skinny-shaming members of the gay community because at the end of the day, it comes down to loving yourself. I wish I could say that one day we'll live in a world without body discrimination, but I think we all know how impossible that goal is.
I think there needs to be a much larger representation of all body types and all standards of beauty to create such an equal and free world for everyone to feel like they're beautiful. I'm so thankful that I came through and made myself comfortable in the skin I'm in. I'm so proud of the self confidence I have and the freedom to be myself and shut out any and all negative feedback I receive about my appearance or my body type.

At the end of the day, no matter what anyone says to you about your body, just remember that you're beautiful to someone, and you are beautiful in your own way. Control your own reaction, and control the way you see yourself, cause in the end you just have you, and that's who you need to stay true to.

Now I leave you with one of the best men's ads I've ever seen:

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