Male Body Image

Published: February 17 2010


Bikini season’s fast approaching, and while women may worry about what they look like, a new study suggests men are becoming just as concerned about sculpting their own bodies. University of Florida researchers have found that men with lower self esteem may be trying to compensate by bulking up fast. As muscularity’s become even more a symbol of “ideal” body image in advertising and entertainment, the study shows that more and more men are choosing to alter their body image through quick fix methods like steroids rather than traditional exercise.

Heather Hausenblas/UF exercise researcher: “Men who tend to report lower self-esteem tend to use a lot of supplements, supplement use and also tend to have what would classify as exercise dependence, or obligatory exercise attitudes were more at risk for this drive to masculinity.”

UF researchers say it’s common for the media to put pressure on both males and females for that perfect body image. Within the last decade, the drive for masculinity has gone up. And although the image of the muscular male is nothing new, today’s degree of muscle is.

Heather Hausenblas/UF exercise researcher: “ When you take a look at the Superman now versus the Superman 20 years ago, I mean he’s hyper muscular now and you know action figures have hyper muscular even children’s costumes, you take a look at Superman or Spiderman they’ve got the built-in muscles so I think it’s here to stay. It’s what we see, and what kids see, what adults see, and that’s what they think, ‘okay this is what I need to achieve.’ ”

And experts say that may create serious health risks, no matter how big your biceps get.