Man, that’s tough
I loved the response from the young girl in the letters page last week in relation to my column about Lindsay Lohan. But I have to warn that not everyone is as sensible as that young letter writer.
Just to clarify for mums and dads out there: body image issues are not just a problem for girls.
The guys are feeling the pressure too, more than ever before now that we are in the 21st century.
Take a movie like ‘Twilight’. In the recent movie all the guys are whipping their tops off and it’s not just aimed at the girls. There's as many young guys watching, and that image thing is having a big impact.
You only need to go to a concert, like the Big Day Out in Australia, and you’ll see the young guys all wandering around with their tops off. So why is it that men are facing the mirror a lot more these days?
Clinical psychologist Sabina Christensen, who works at the Dubai London Clinic, says: “Maybe it's a shift in society. Maybe it’s entirely thanks to David Beckham and other sportsmen, pop stars, actors and leaders but one way or another men have started to care about the way they look.
This is very positive from a physical and psychological point of view however for some men it has become a source of stress.
“Body image is essentially how one perceives ones appearance in relation to others and the root of this need is ‘do I fit in’?
“When boys, adolescents or men answer ‘No’ they may turn to using steroids and other measures to make changes to their bodies in the hope of being accepted.
“Taking drugs is an unhealthy coping mechanism to feelings of inferiority, and anxiety. It is is not the option and while it might lead to a short-term gain, the long-term effects lead often to addiction, psychological disorders, physical deterioration and lack of wellbeing.”
Perhaps the movies are the best way to highlight the problems that young guys face too.
Take someone like Hugh Jackman, the ‘Wolverine’ star (above). This Aussie is, in my opinion, the ideal role model. Not only does he look fit, he’s also a drug free, organic kind of guy. He doesn’t take steroids or extreme measures, it’s all natural. He controls his weight gain, weight loss or strength and he’s researched and understood it all.
Gerard Butler, meanwhile is a very good friend of mind and his is a different example. He looked incredible in the movie ‘300’ but in actual fact his body has taken a bit of a hit. I spent a bit of time in the gym with him in Dubai last year and you wouldn’t know it, but he permanently injured himself for that film. It’s his trademark but he’s got the scars to prove it, torn muscles, rotator cuff injuries, you name it. It’s all because of the intensive programs he went on. It’s a real warning to youngsters out there that you have to stage these things properly or you’ll suffer the consequences.
Sylvester Stallone is worse. His body is just a mush now and you just need to look at his face to see which road you don’t want to take when it comes to fitness.