Gay and bi men LOVE to talk about bodies…other people’s bodies, we don’t so much like to talk about our own bodies!
More information on this study:Nine in ten gay men admit they enforce “unrealistic” images of lean and muscular men in conversation.In comparison, only a third of straight men said they would give a year or more for an ideal body shape, and 77% admitted buying into the body image ideal.The research was part of a study commissioned by Central YMCA, the Succeed Foundation and the Centre for Appearance Research at University of the West of England Bristol into how men talk about their bodies.Gay respondents were consistently more affected by body concerns and more likely to make body comparisons than straight men.They were also significantly more likely to use what the study authors called “body talk”: speech that implicitly or explicitly reinforces or endorses the traditional western standard of male attractiveness: tall, lean, muscular, toned body with clear skin and a full head of hair.91.2% of gays said they make statements which reinforce this image, compared with the 77.4% of straight men.Nearly twice as many gay men as straight, 59% to 32%, said they compare themselves to better-looking men.A third of gay men said they compared themselves with men they thought were less attractive, compared with 20% of straight men.Rosi Prescott, CEO of Central YMCA, told PinkNews.co.uk: “This research shows that body image anxiety is sadly much more of an issue for gay men.“Today gay men are under enormous pressure about their bodies, and we believe that a lack of body diversity in the media, including the gay press, and a relentless focus which values people based on appearance, may in part explain why gay men are particularly susceptible to this issue.“This is of concern when we know that record numbers of men are taking steroids or having unnecessary cosmetic surgery to achieve what is often an unattainable or unrealistic body image ideal. Central YMCA is campaigning to promote greater body diversity in the media, and for young people to be given an opportunity to learn more about body image in schools.”Straight men came out narrowly ahead of gays when rating how they important they thought their body was to their partner.51.4% of straight men said what their partner thought of their shape and weight was “very or extremely important” to them, compared with 49.4% of men.But only 20% of straight men said their friends’ opinions were that important, versus 35% of gay men.Dr PhillippaDiedrichs, who conducted the study at UWE Bristol, said, “This research really demonstrates that body image is an issue for everyone, and that we need to take a collaborative approach towards promoting an environment that values diversity in appearance and promotes healthy body image.”The YMCA’s Body Confidence campaign aims to promote positive body images in schools, at Parliament and through research.394 men were questioned for the study in November and December 2011.
If you deconstruct the advertisements, they convey a lot of powerful symbols, a collection of which represents a stereotypical gay man which many gay men, as a result, strive to become. It is kind of globalization of a stereotypical gay male (in a very racial way), undermining so much diversity in gay male populations.
Body Dissatisfaction and Disordered EatingAmong Men Who Have Sex with Menin CanadaInternational journal of men’s health, 10, 3. Several authors, for example have pointed to the effects that increased exposure to mainstream gay media (advertising, magazines/newspapers, pornography, films), with their emphasis on sculpted, lean yet muscular bodies, can have on men’s desire to orient their body perceptions and their perceptions of other men around these mostly unattainable body ideals (Duggan & McCreary, 2004; Hartoum & Belle, 2004; Harvey & Robinson, 2003; Morgan & Arcelus, 2009; Morrison, Morrison, & Hopkins, 2003).Other literature has focused on the importance within gay communities for men to signify a “healthy body” as a counterweight to the stigmatizing force of HIV/AIDS phobia (Diaz , 2006; Ramsay, Catalan, & Gazzard, 1992; Varas Diaz, Toro-Alfonso, & Serrano-Garcia, 2005).
Borrowing from feminist scholarship, others have suggested that this linkage between CSA and DES and other mental health issues may result from men’s attempts to use food, the body and/or alcohol/substances as compensatory mechanisms to help manage the vulnerability and overwhelming emotional states resulting from their abuse, or as tools of empowerment and as expressions of possessing and exercising control.One possible explanation resides around the increased vulnerability that White identifying men may face when encountering media images and gay cultural norms that are oriented around an idealized White body of a specific stature and shape. In other words, racial identification with the idealized physique, as reinforced by peer pressure, may leave White identifying men especially vulnerable to the risks of body shame, fear of being evaluated and rejected, body dissatisfaction or adopting extreme measures to match normative assumptions about an idealized physique with own their own eating and body behaviours. Moreover, it is plausible that racialised men, depending on their levels of internalized racism (a higher level of internalised racism might signify a greater orientation towards the White idealised physique), their experiences of racism, and their strength of connection to their own ethno-racial communities (greater connection would represent a resiliency to the idealised physique), may or may not orient their conceptualizations of themselves or their behaviours in relation to these ideals.
THESE QUOTES ARE FROM MEN OF COLOR!
These quotes are from men of color!
From being invisible to being exoticized and fetishized.
The effects of colonialism…
Fisher, W. A., & Barak, A. (2001). Internet pornography: a social psychological perspective on internet sexuality. Journal of Sex Research, 38, 4, 312-32.Their research is guided by the Sexual Behavior Sequence Theory, which conceptualizes contact with Internet sexually explicit material as a self-regulated event which will occur or not occur as a function of an individual's arousal, affective, and cognitive responses to sexuality. Their work attempts to provide a conceptual and empirical context for considering antecedents and consequences of experience with Internet sexually explicit materials
Fisher, W. A., & Barak, A. (2001). Internet pornography: a social psychological perspective on internet sexuality. Journal of Sex Research, 38, 4, 312-32.
Porn is prolific, accessible….Commercial interests owned the porn media..Now it is more accessible…
Stulhofer A, Busko V, Landripet I. Pornography, sexual socialization and satisfaction among young men. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 2008;37.
The pictures from this post are taken from Eric Alvarez’s book : Muscle Boys.They depict the body evolution of gay pornography actors from the 1970′s to the 2000′s.
Duggan, S., and McCreary, D. (2004). Body Image, Eating Disorders, and the Drive for Muscularity in Gayand Heterosexual Men: The Influence of Media Images. Journal of Homosexuality, 47, 3/4, 45-58.Participants (N = 101) were asked to complete body satisfaction questionnaires that addressed maladaptive eating attitudes, the drive for muscularity, and social physique anxiety.Respondents were asked about their consumption of muscle and fitness magazines and pornography
Duggan and McCreary (2004) Body Image, Eating Disorders, and the Drive for Muscularity in Gay and Heterosexual Men: The Influence of Media Images. This study indicates that gay men consume larger amounts of pornography than do heterosexual men. Taken at face value, this resultmight indicate that the consumption of pornography is more accepted in the gay community or that it is more acceptable to admit to its consumption, which in some ways might represent perceived acceptance. It also is possible that gay men believe their lifestyle is not accepted by society in general and that, consequently, there is no need to accept the status quo that pornography is taboo. Conversely, heterosexual men may have been socialised to believe that pornography is “dirty” and that they should deny using it.
Morrison, T., Bearden, A., Harriman, R. (2006). Exposure to Sexually Explicit Material and Variations in Body Esteem, Genital Attitudes, and Sexual Esteem among a Sample of Canadian Men. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 14, 2, 209, 222.
Participants had the option to select more than one answer for this questionInitial analyses showed that there is no association between watching bareback porn and reported sexual risk.
AIDS Care, 13:2, 163-169Earlier study
Halkitis, P., Green, K., Wilton, L. (2004). Masculinity, Body Image, and Sexual Behavior in HIV-Seropositive Gay Men: A two-phase Formative Behaviour Investigation Using the Internet. International Journal of Men’s Health, 3, 1, 27-42. Earlier study
More recent studyAmerican Journal of Men’s Health, 5, 1, 6–10
David Brennan Presentation
Reconsidering Social Determinants 2012 BC Gay Men’s Health Summit November 1 & November 2, 2012 Vancouver, British ColumbiaDefined Body or Defined by my Body? Reconsidering Gay Men and Body Image DAVID J. BRENNAN, PHD Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work University of Toronto
QUESTIONS Is there a connection between the social determinants of health and body image for gay men? (marginalization?) Do gay visual media portray images of certain body types in a way that excludes people? Do these images help to get men’s attention to our messaging? Do these images engender feelings of body dissatisfaction, depression, low self-esteem and exclusion?
GAY MEN TEND TO HAVE BETTER BMI ANDLESS FAT THAN STRAIGHT MEN
NORTON, Matt (2011): WHY MAG COVERS LIKE THIS SET GAY MEN TO FAILI found myself distracted. How wasthis dude so perfect? I’m off to thegym… For me, the gym’s always beena great place to think. So I got tothinking. I’m not an irrationalperson. I know that boy on thecover is airbrushed. Either thator he has no pores. What am Idoing here benching my own bodyweight at 8.15 on a Sunday morning?It kept happening – finding myself inthe gym as a result of the bloodycoffee table dude. This wasn’taspiration. This was obsession.
HALF OF GAY MEN “WOULD DIE A YEAR EARLY” FOR THE PERFECT BODYCentre for Appearance Research at Universityof the West of England, BristolA study says 48% of gaymen would sacrifice a yearor more of their lives in exchangefor a perfect body.The research suggests 10% ofgay men would agree to die more than 11years earlier if they could have theirideal body now.Gay men in the study used speech thatimplicitly or explicitly reinforces orendorses the traditional westernstandard of male attractiveness: tall,lean, muscular, toned body with clearskin and a full head of hair.
MARO (2006): GAY MEN AND BODY IMAGE:DECONSTRUCTION OF GAY MEN IN MEDIAA typical male model appeared in advertisementstargeting gay men is an athletic young white manwith six-pack abs. Why white? Why athletic body withsix-pack abs?
BRENNAN, CRAIG, THOMPSON (2010):FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH A DRIVE FORMUSCULARITY AMONG GAY AND BISEXUAL MEN This study recruited participants (n=400) at Toronto’s 2008 LGBT festival. A drive for muscularity is associated with a younger age, an increased risk for disordered eating, and increase in depression symptoms, sexual risk, and increase in internalized homonegativity.
BRENNAN, CRATH, HART, GADALLA, GILLIS (2011): BODY DISSATISFACTION AND DISORDERED EATING AMONG MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN IN CANADA Data collected at “Pride Toronto 2008”; N = 383. 13.6% reported disordered eating. About 10% among general population are male. Though binge eating is not measured as a disorder and is likely to be higher. Younger men report significantly higher DES.
BRENNAN, CRATH, HART, GADALLA, GILLIS (2011)BODY DISSATISFACTION AND DISORDERED EATINGAMONG MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN IN CANADA MSM in the sample who reported childhood sexual abuse (CSA) were more than twice as likely to report DES. Results from this study also corroborated the association between depression and DES. Our results suggest that White identifying men might be at greater risk for DES than either Asian or Black identifying men.
GUADAMUZ, LIM, MARSHAL, FRIEDMAN,STALL & SILVESTRE, 2012 50% of Pittsburgh HIV-negative cohort were obese/overweight. However, over 8 years that level did not rise. Obesity was not associated with sexual risk, substance use or depression.
VARANGIS, LANZIERI, HILDEBRANDT,FELDMAN, 2012 Lean muscular men are preferred by gay men The dating context matters. Gay men rated lean and muscular men in the context of a short term relationship as more attractive than for a long term relationship. Those who had lower body fat themselves were more discriminating in terms of body fat and muscularity.
RACISM, HOMOPHOBIA & BODY IMAGE AMONG ETHNORACIALIZED GAY/BISEXUAL MENDavid J. Brennan1; Peter A. Newman1; Clemon George2; Trevor A. Hart3; Andre Cenranto4; Kenta Asakura1; Ishwar Persad5 1-University of Toronto, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work; 2University of Ontario Institute of Technology; 3-Ryerson University; 4-AIDS Committee of Toronto; 5-Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
IMAGINE MEN’S HEALTH:COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE Shazad Hai, MSM Outreach Coordinator, Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention. Daniel Le, Gay Men’s Health Promoter, Asian Community AIDS Services David Lewis-Peart, MSM Outreach Coordinator, Black CAP. Marco Posadas, Bathhouse Counselor Initiative Coordinator, AIDS Committee of Toronto. Tavinder Channa, Community Member Dexter Roberts, Community Member Siva Gunarathnam, Gay Men’s Outreach Coordinator, AIDS Committee of Toronto Anthony Chen, Medical doctor Gerardo Betancourt, HIV Prevention Program Coordinator, Centre for Spanish Speaking People Marco Gomez, Policy consultant
STUDY BACKGROUND Purpose: To examine the relationship between racialized identity, sexual orientation identity, and body image among ethnoracialized gay and bisexual men in Toronto, Canada. Multi-phase, mixed-methods study: Phase 1: Focus groups & interviews (n=61); Phase 2: Survey (n=410) Community Collaboration: Roles of Community Advisory Committee (CAC). 4 ethnoracial communities: East/Southeast Asian; Black/Caribbean/African; Hispanic/Latino/Brazilian; and South Asian.
FINDINGS Three main themes emerged across four ethnoracialized communities.(1) Body Image Idealization in GBM Culture(2) Negotiating a Racialized Body Image(3) Negotiating Impact of Body Image on Relationshipwith Self and Others
1. BODY IMAGE IDEALIZATION IN GBM CULTURE1A: Influences on Body Image “Look at the cover of the publication. Like… [local gay magazines] …who usually gets profiled on the cover is …a Caucasian male, lots of muscles…And I understand…you’re selling magazines, but for the rest of us, who don’t fit that profile, and don’t have a good strong sense of self, I can see how damaging that could be. How you don’t think when you look in the mirror that “I’m hot”, because …you never see yourself reflected anywhere.” [Black/African/Caribbean, > 30]
1. BODY IMAGE IDEALIZATION IN GBM CULTURE1B: Hot Body Type in Toronto “There’s two (hot body types for GBM in Toronto)… (One) is the white male, mid-20’s, extremely cut, bigger; doesn’t have to be too big, but has to be very fit. And the other one is the older, muscled, bear, hairy; doesn’t matter if you have a gut, because that’s a new trend that’s been going on for the last couple of years, against having abs and everything. But at the same time you still have to be defined in the right places, even though you have a gut.” [East/South East Asian, > 30]
1. BODY IMAGE IDEALIZATION IN GBM CULTURE1C: Personal Description of Hot Body Type I don’t want somebody who is too good looking, and I don’t want somebody who is like too muscular, I just want an average looking person. To me that’s sexy. I don’t like the built perfect shape anymore. It’s not attractive to me. I like normal person. And, if a person has a little flaw, like let’s say a little larger nose or a little characteristic about your face, I find that more intriguing. So, body image comes down to, I guess, personal preference again. I don’t necessarily need six-pack abs to turn me on. [East/Southeast Asian, > 30 ]
2. NEGOTIATING RACIALIZED BODY IMAGE“Sexually...if I am being fetishized I don’t really like that and I wouldn’t really have sex with someone if that’s what’s going on. Socially... we live in a White supremacist society, unfortunately. So, of course, there’s going to be...a lot of not necessarily discrimination all the time but you can just sense it.” [South Asian, < 30]
2. NEGOTIATING RACIALIZED BODY IMAGE 2A: Negotiation of Internalized Racism Related to Body Image “I’ve tried to work on this...that every time I try and think of dating another Filipino guy, I feel like I’m dating my brother... It’s strange, because…it’s either we’re too much alike... like I’m with my brother, [or] because I feel like I know too much of their cultural norms. So it’s a very strange situation, having that same kind of body type.” [East/Southeast Asian, > 30]
2. NEGOTIATING RACIALIZED BODY IMAGE2B: Racialization of Body Parts“Being African, everybody thinks you have a 13 or 14-inchpenis...[and] you can shag for six hours, non-stop flight...Theydon’t think you are a human being, you can have a normal sizedick… You get affected because...as you take it out, they say,“You are black, you should have something bigger than that.”So, it’s the disappointment...Of course, it affects you. It affectsyour self-esteem.” [Black/African/Caribbean, > 30]
2. NEGOTIATING RACIALIZED BODY IMAGE2C: Personal Experiences of Body Racialization“I’m fairly decent looking. Many times I walk into a socialsituation and I’d be like ‘why do I feel as if I’m being ignored?’Why is it that people look at you, turn away the moment youlook at them? And I really do think that it’s a race factor...I thinkthat every race other than the White race...has a certain appealto it. I think that when you’re Black you’re exoticized because ofyour virility, your endowment...your ability to put on muscle...When you’re Asian it’s a different [body] type.” [South Asian, < 30]
2. NEGOTIATING RACIALIZED BODY IMAGE2D: Negotiating Different Body Image Ideals acrossMultiple Socio-Cultural Contexts“I [find that men in Toronto] are running after short Asianguys. So, personally I find it’s, oh, how come? ...I am tall... InChina,... tall is always considered good and desirable. Buthere, short and small is considered more desirable...I’mpersonally disappointed because....I’m not attractive ordesirable anymore (Laughter).” [East/Southeast Asian, >30]
3. NEGOTIATING IMPACT OF BODY IMAGE ONRELATIONSHIP WITH SELF AND OTHERS3A: Strategizing & Managing Pressures to Conform to Body Ideal“I’d skip meals. I’ve made myself vomit... so that I could lookgood for the evening... When I used to drink, I would not eatmeals, because I was going to go out and party, because Iwanted to look good. So to the detriment of my health, I will dothat.” [Latino/Hispanic/Brazilian, > 30]
3. NEGOTIATING IMPACT OF BODY IMAGE ONRELATIONSHIP WITH SELF AND OTHERS3A: Strategizing & Managing Pressures to Conform to BodyIdeal“I got invited to...Pride beach party...and I said no... Ican...imagine the expectation of body, you know, what it’sgoing to be like to be in this space. And at this point...in mylife, I don’t need to be in those spaces to be validated...I’ve…cocooned myself with a set of friends, communitypeople, that don’t have those issues around body... Isurround myself with my own that validates me, that I feelthat I can...express myself in whatever way I feel and not bejudged. [Black/African/Caribbean, > 30 ]
3. NEGOTIATING IMPACT OF BODY IMAGE ONRELATIONSHIP WITH SELF AND OTHERS 3B: Impact of Body Image on Health “When I get picked up, I feel accepted....I say, “wait a minute, maybe I ain’t that bad looking.” So, my insecurities about my body has led me to have promiscuous sex; it’s as simple as that, just because I want to be accepted by somebody, and if you go and you get picked up you feel that much better about yourself.” [East/Southeast Asian > 30]
3. NEGOTIATING IMPACT OF BODY IMAGE ONRELATIONSHIP WITH SELF AND OTHERS 3B: Impact of Body Image on Health “I’m HIV positive, I have Kaposi… (years ago) people looked at yourlegs...the skinny body, they know you’re HIV positive, and they talk.At first I didn’t think it would get to you, but it does get to you... So, Ihad a major image problem. Even right now, although I’ve gainedback some weight...if I don’t open my big mouth all the time peopleprobably won’t guess that I’m positive… I look in the mirror and Istill see this skinny little HIV positive person… It’s the way that Iperceive myself, with very low self-esteem.” [East/Southeast Asian > 30]
3. NEGOTIATING IMPACT OF BODY IMAGE ONRELATIONSHIP WITH SELF AND OTHERS3C: Impact of Body Racialization on Relationshipwith Others“If you’re in a relationship with a Caucasian person, going into aspace that’s predominantly of colour, ...the reception...is...double-edged...You’re either looked at as traitors, or envied. … ‘you’re inthis community and isn’t there anybody else in this communitythat you could have found?’ The other way you’re a trophy... acatch...the perception is either you didn’t try hard enough to meetsomeone of your own race, [or] you don’t like your own race... A lotof perceptions are thrown at you.” [Black/African/Caribbean, > 30]
PORN IS CHANGING Increase in free, “amateur” websites. When it is not done in an expensive glossy, Hollywood like context, does it change the body bodies that are presented?
DUGGAN AND MCCREARY (2004):BODY IMAGE, EATING DISORDERS, AND THEDRIVE FOR MUSCULARITY IN GAY ANDHETEROSEXUAL MEN: THE INFLUENCE OFMEDIA IMAGES. Viewing and purchasing of muscle and fitness magazines correlated positively with levels of body dissatisfaction for both gay and heterosexual men. Pornography exposure is positively correlated with social physique anxiety for gay men.
THE INFLUENCE OF PORN ON BODY IMAGE “Mainstream” gay male pornography (i.e., imagery produced by companies such as Bel Ami, Falcon, and Studio 2000) is rife with muscular, attractive men (Duggan & McCreary, 2004). Gay men may look at pornographic imagery and embrace the belief that they need to possess a similar physique in order to obtain sexual gratification (Duggan & McCreary, 2004).
THE INFLUENCE OF PORN ON BODY IMAGE It is plausible that heterosexual and gay porn are distinct and, thus, possess different implications vis-à-vis body image. For example, in gay pornography, the male body likely receives more attention in terms of close-ups than in heterosexual pornography. Also, gay pornography may place greater emphasis on the attractiveness of the male body.
MORRISON, T., BEARDEN, A., HARRIMAN, R. (2006):EXPOSURE TO SEXUALLY EXPLICIT MATERIALAND VARIATIONS IN BODY ESTEEM, GENITALATTITUDES, AND SEXUAL ESTEEM AMONG ASAMPLE OF CANADIAN MEN. The purpose of the study is to investigate associations between exposure to pornography and three forms of self-esteem: body, genital, and sexual. N = 188 male college students Male participants’ level of exposure to sexually explicit material on the internet correlates inversely with genital self-esteem and sexual esteem. Watching pornography may compound the negative effects of social comparison by making salient the gap between what one sees in porn and what one does sexually.
A Commentary on the Role of Sexually Explicit Media (SEM) in the Transmission and Prevention of HIV among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) B. R. Simon Rosser, Jeremy A. Grey, Michael Wilkerson, Alex Iantaffi, Sonya S. Brady, Derek Smolenski, and Keith J. Horvath. AIDS Behav. 2012 August ; 16(6): 1373–1381.
HOW DOES WATCHING PORN AFFECT GAYMEN (OR MSM) Sexually explicit media (SEM) Ubiquitous (what apps are open on your phone?) Very acceptable to gay men
HOW DOES WATCHING PORN AFFECT GAY MEN (OR MSM) For young gay men, it may correlate with more partners (It does for straight young men). For young men and older men, learning about sexual techniques…young gay men learning about how to have anal sex. Affirmation of sexual desires and interests. Older gay men reported SEM as affirming. If true, young gay men may report earlier sexual initiation and particularly in anal sex.
ARE THERE ANY NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF SEMFOR GAY MEN? Poorer body image, though really only two studies. However, body image is associated with sexual risk.
TWO STUDIES Morrison, Morrison and Bradley (2007) found no differences between SEM exposure and sexual risk. Small sample size (n=66). Stein, et al (2011). Those who reported watching UAI 75-100% of the time were more likely to report UAI than those who reported watching UAI 0-25% of the time. Large (n = 751) NYC based sample and all reported high risk for inclusion.
PRELIMINARY SURVEY FINDINGS OF THE IMAGINE MEN’S HEALTH STUDYDavid J. Brennan1; Peter A. Newman1; Clemon George2; Trevor A. Hart3; Andre Cenranto4; Kenta Asakura1; Ishwar Persad5 1-University of Toronto, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work; 2University of Ontario Institute of Technology; 3-Ryerson University; 4-AIDS Committee of Toronto; 5-Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
HAVE YOU EVER WATCHED PORN? Response Chart Percentag Count e Yes 95% 388 No 5% 21 Total Responses 409
IN THE LAST 6 MONTHS, ON AN AVERAGE WEEK, HOW MANY HOURS DID YOU WATCH PORN? Chart Percentage Count0-1 hours 28.4% 1102-3 hours 32% 1244-9 hours 23.3% 9010-50 hours 14.7% 5750+ hours 1.6% 6 Total Responses 387
Which type of porn do you prefer to Chart Percentage Countwatch?Anal 74% 287Bareback/Hardcore 65% 251Orgy/Group Sex 55% 214Oral/Blow Jobs 55% 215Amateur 55% 212Hunks/Jocks/Muscular 55% 215Straight 47% 182Interracial 46% 180Latino 43% 168Black 38% 148Masturbation/Jerk off 36% 140Bisexual 36% 139Twink 28% 110Fetish, BDSM, Kink 25% 98Asian 25% 96Mature 24% 95Bear 24% 94Toys 13% 49Transsexual 9% 33Other, please specify: 7% 29 Total Responses 388
"I OFTEN COMPARE MY APPEARANCE TOTHE PORN STARS/MODELS"Response Chart Percentage CountCompletely disagree 31% 120Somewhat disagree 20% 76Neither agree or 20% 78disagreeSomewhat agree 23% 90Completely agree 6% 24 Total Responses 388
TATE, H., & GEORGE, R. (2001): THE EFFECT OFWEIGHT LOSS ON BODY IMAGE IN HIV POSITIVEGAY MEN The purpose of this study was to assess how body image may be affected by HIV-related weight loss. Gay men with HIV avoided social activities in the last two months due to self-consciousness over their appearance; family visits, meeting new people and meeting up again with people after weight loss. These results suggest that in gay men, HIV-related weight loss causes significant emotional and physical problems.
HALKITIS, P., GREEN, K., WILTON, L. (2004):MASCULINITY, BODY IMAGE, AND SEXUALBEHAVIOR IN HIV-SEROPOSITIVE GAY MEN For HIV-positive men attempt to maintain their own health while at the same time remain desirable by emphasizing the physical definitions of masculinity. For these men, physical appearance and sexual expression are the cornerstones of their masculinity. Having a strong muscular body is essential to HIV-positive gay men embracing this ideal and has become increasingly associated with other physical attributes than enhance the masculine appearance.
BLASHILL, A., & VANDER WAL, J. (2011):COMPONENTS OF BODY IMAGE IN GAY MENWITH HIV/AIDS Three groups of gay men were compared: AIDS diagnosed, HIV positive (without an AIDS diagnosis), and HIV negative. Results revealed that men with a diagnosis of AIDS reported feeling unfit, out of shape, and in worse health than men who were HIV positive and HIV negative. Both men with AIDS and HIV reported being more reactive to illness and more aware of signs of physical sickness than men who were HIV negative, above and beyond what may be attributed to depression
SUMMARY Gay men take good care of their bodies and want to look good and feel healthy (this is GOOD!) For some, body image issues come from tremendous internal and external pressures. This can impact health (depression, self esteem, sexual risk). The media (including porn and SEM) has an impact on body image. These media are rife with racialized stereotypes. Age is also a factor. HIV - positive men have unique and powerful stressors on body image.
QUERIES Can we talk about how to reduce the stress put upon GBM by this imagery? Gay men want to see sexy images but we also are impacted by them. How and where and when can we talk honestly about these issues? Is it OK to just use specific body types all the time in our outreach? It gets attention, but does it inadvertently impact gay men’s health in other ways?
David J. Brennan, MSW, PhD firstname.lastname@example.org