Considering Male Body Hatred-Do Men Get Eating Disorders?

Here at Predatory Lies, we talk a lot about female body image, eating disorders, body dismorphia, cultural lies and pressure from the media. But I’ve never taken a close look at how this social frenzy for physical perfection affects men. Personally, I don’t feel equipped to address that. However, this article is exquisite and in many ways could have been written about women as well. This is just the teaser. I highly recommend you click through and read the whole article.

The Epidemic of Male Body Hatred

by: Paul Maxwell for Desiring God

“If I could look like that guy who played Thor, I would be happy.”

It’s a common belief among men of our age. Put more honestly, “If I can’t appear confident, sexy, intimidating, competent, and super-human, I’m worthless.”

We compare ourselves to others in the gym. We come away from movies wanting to exercise for eight hours. We would rather jump in front of a truck than take our shirts off at the pool. We feel pathetic and small. We look at ourselves in almost every mirror we pass. When alone, we flex — not because we like what we see, but because we don’t. We have spent hundreds of dollars on pre-workout, weight loss, and weight gain supplements. We research the best way to bulk, shred, diet, and binge.

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Naked Disparity

This is a slightly more casual chat about nakedness than we have been having here lately. But, it struck me so bluntly Sunday morning that I just had to share.

My girlfriend texted me: “My son is so funny. When he’s naked he kinda goes goofball silly on me!” (her son is almost 2)

Body image
Credit: http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/b/body_images.asp

I replied: Aren’t all men a bit that way?

Now, certainly I’m not an expert on all men and I haven’t seen but one man naked, but nonetheless, I think it’s a widely accepted fact that most men are pretty proud of their nakedness. If you spy on a naked man with a mirror (who thinks he’s alone) you’ll probably find him flexing, dancing, admiring and pinching (his biceps.) Replay that scenario with a woman and you’ll find her hiding behind her towel, dressing as fast as possible, or moaning about the jiggle on her right butt cheek and pinching (what she calls flabby thighs). Am I right?

How did such similar bodies, both fashioned in the image of a divine, creative Master become interpreted by one as near perfection and by the other as nothing short of a pariah?

Food for thought.

Bearing in this broken frame

Your stamp, your glory, emblazoned name.

Bearing within His mortal dust

Your hope, redemption for all of us. 

That now inside our fragile flesh,

We can know your heart to bless

Breath, shape and perfect form.

Christ’s life in us, naked flesh reborn. 

The Secret to World Peace (and yours)

In an election season, ‘peace’ is the buzzword. Every politician vying for your vote is promising you peace through their plan. Peace in your finances, peace in the form of less crime, international peace, partisan peace, peace with minorities and the absence of hate.

They valiantly pledge their lives to the betterment of public life. Then they turn around and viciously sling mud at their opponent. The worst part is, they can’t all be right! So where do we go for real, true peace?

The simple answer is: God. But unfortunately, that’s become a token response, spoken almost as glibly as a first grader in Sunday school class.

“Well, I’m just praying that God will intervene. If we would all just be obedient to God. Well, God’s going to punish America and then He will establish His peace.”

I’m absolutely not denying the fact that God Jehovah is the source of peace. Jesus Christ is called the Prince of Peace. In the Gospels, Jesus says, “My peace I give to you.”

If generations, centuries of Christians have believed that God is the source of peace for the world, then why do we not experience peace on earth? At the very least, why don’t we have peace in our own homes?

Remember the “good old days”? We say that when we look at our kids and realize that they have no concerns.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful, we think, to go back to having no worries, just trusting that Mom and Dad would take care of things? Those nights when you slept well; your breaths were soft and deep and you only cried if you stubbed your toe. Even then, Mom or Dad always had the power to make it better.”

Matthew 19:14 says, “But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” Ah children, peaceful, quiet, innocent babes. (Not always, but you get my analogy.)

So what are they doing right?

In her Bible study, Living Beyond Yourself, Beth Moore made a startling observation – at least to me. She said, “peace is always associated with authority.” Think about it, your child lives peacefully, relative to you, because she is under your authority. This position includes being loved by you, cared for by you, advised by you and disciplined by you.

I have been mulling over that idea for a couple days. Then this morning, my Father showed me this truth definitively in His own words.

Colossians 3:15 says, “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”

Peace is found under the rulership of Jesus Christ. When I try to be my own authority, peace becomes an illusion.

In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus is called the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. The next verse tell us of His governance. Jesus brings peace to those who are under His authority.

Question: In my most harried moments, the days when my brain feels as if it’s filled with rabid birds, when the anxiety almost seems to physically burn my insides: am I under Christ’s authority? If so, then like a child, I can simply trust my Father – to love me, care for me, advise me and discipline me.

One final thought, that I hope to explore in more detail later:
Ever since the Fall in the Garden of Eden, tension has been an inevitable part of marriage relationships. There God cursed the man to be frustrated in his ambitions and the woman’s desire to be for her husband. Most scholars believe this indicates a power struggle between the two.

Throughout the Bible, God calls the man to be a leader in the home and for the woman to submit to his authority. We also know that God does not prefer men to women, or women to children or one race over another. So why this submission thing? Aren’t we equals?

Could it be that God knows in our sin-sick world, peace-less-ness will reign? I think He is offering us peace on earth by saying, “Yes, I love you the same, you are equal. But peace comes with authority. For the sake of peace in your homes, I am establishing a leader and a follower.” What do you think?

Is There A Perfect Body?

Take this quiz: On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with the “perfection” of your body?  On second thought, DON’T.  You are likely to be depressed.  Unless you are unusually egotistical, crazy self-confident, or completely oblivious, you, Dear Woman, are probably convinced that you are physically far from perfect.

It’s a lie that I wake up with nearly every morning.  To be honest, I go to bed nearly every night attempting to plan out my perfect workout program for the next day.  I suffer through the ever changing opinions and simultaneously contradictory philosophies of Muscle and Fitness Hers, “The New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women,” Shape and Fitness.  I believe that if I can find the most excellent balance of cardio, strength training, intervals, stretching, yoga and ab work then someday, over the rainbow, I will wake up the next morning fully satisfied with my body.

What is the lie?  Is it that I can achieve the perfect body?  Is the lie that there IS a perfect body?  Is the lie that everyone else is happy with their bodies? Whatever the falsity, I know that I am not the only woman caught in this whirlpool of self-doubt.  I am not the only woman valiantly hanging onto some shred of dignity while her senses are swarmed with images of Victoria’s Secret models, headlines declaring DO THIS FOR THE PERFECT BODY, jingles singing, “Drink this, swallow that and wake up thin,” “These jeans will make your best friends envious!”  Even comic relief sighs with the hidden message that we must keep trying harder to obtain the perfect body, “God if you won’t make me skinny, please make all my friends fat!”

I can tell you it’s a lie.  You know it’s a lie, but as long as society continues its vicious attack on women’s bodies, it seems like we barely stand a chance to find peace with our appearance.  I found this video with a two-word search on Google, “women, bodies.”   Get a death grip on your sense of self before you watch it.

What do you think?  Can you believe that men were given a chance to design the perfect woman?  Would you, as woman, take that opportunity?  What goes through your mind when you see these advertisements and images, or hear the latest rant on obesity?  What variables affect your self-perspective?