Monday, November 5, 2012

The Lies We Tell....

Greg Hodge at the Huffington Post did an article last month that I'm not linking directly to because of some problems I have with the tone and language.  The one thing of value from the article was the data he found by commissioning a survey of male and female internet dating site users from the U.S. and the U.K.  More than half of them, he says, lie about themselves in their dating site application.

The part that interests me is not that they lie, but what they lie about. 

Number one lie for women was weight, followed (in order) by age, physique, height, money, bust-size, claiming to have a glamorous profession, knowing celebrities, having an assistant or other employees, or working in the entertainment industry. 

Number one lie for men was how good their job was, followed (in order) by height, weight, physique, money, seniority at work, how interesting their profession was, knowing celebrities, having an assistant or other employees, and working in the film industry. 

(Data from research agency Opinion Matters via Greg Hodge, Huffington Post online article 10/10/2012)

Notice that for men, physical appearance ranks higher than how much money they have, or their seniority at work.  I don't know if that would have been true twenty or thirty years ago, but it is a clear sign that men are now feeling strong pressure to conform to appearance ideals set by our society.  We are seeing mannequins for mens' clothing shrink around the waist.  We are seeing the beauty ideal for men shift to slim, tall and youthful. We are seeing it in rising eating disorder diagnoses in both boys and men. 

I absolutely hate oppression olympics, so please no responses debating whether men or women "have it worse" when it comes to body acceptance.  Just because one subjective experience is different does not mean we should ignore the other.  When we fight for body acceptance, we are fighting for all bodies.  The gender that occupies a body is no more a determining factor of it deserving human dignity than that body's waist size or current ability.  

Now this is a smallish survey (1000 people) and I have no idea how the data was collected or grouped.  It is simply one piece of a pattern that says men share in our body shaming culture to an unprecedented degree. 

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