Once again Instagram deletes another account which depicts the nude male body.
Yesterday it was reported that the world’s biggest picture sharing site, Instagram, had banned Meat‘s latest account – which at the last count had garnered 5000 fans, the previous one, (yes they’ve had two banned) had 15,000 fans. What was their crime? Allegedly falling foul to that cardinal sin… displaying naked men. Okay, you say, it’s right there in the community guidelines, “no nudity” however these pictures had a whopping great modesty circle in front of anything that might be even slightly racy.
This isn’t the first time that the Facebook-owned company has deleted pictures of the male form. In the past, it has deleted the Warwick Rowers and in August it deleted Greeks Come True. There was not one penis on show. These are beautifully crafted pictures of men, who yes, are naked, but where you cannot see anything that would give you tingles downstairs. Pornographic? No. Homoerotics, hell yes, but there’s a huge difference between porn and eroticism.
Meat is different though. It’s a breath of fresh air – the guys portrayed are unphotoshopped, average bodies. It shows that even when you don’t have a six-pack you can still appear on the front of a magazine or calendar.
Recently THEGAYUK.com polled over 300 of its Twitter readers about whether they were comfortable being naked in the presence of other people. Over half of us answered in the negative. Over a half of us are awkward about our natural state why is that?
And I’m not hating on you six-packers. Hey, the true is I’m jealous. Aren’t we all a bit envious of those who can obtain and maintain a single digit body fat percentage? But I will just never be that guy.
“The thought that I was fat kept me in a perpetual state of eat, feel guilty, purge and workout”
I have always struggled with my own perception of my weight. The thought that I was fat kept me in a perpetual state of eat, feel guilty, purge and workout. At one point, in my attempt to have what I thought was a “good body” I would throw up everything I ate and go to the gym twice a day. Needless to say, despite being, what I now see as thin I could only see body rolls. Even now, over a decade on, I still find myself with fingers down my throat with “WTF are you doing” going round and round in my head.
What was / is the cause of my insecurity and clearly a huge majority of us?
I’m not going to sit here and solely blame the media because I’m part of it (there’s my disclosure). I’m very aware of the pressures upon us in the media to get clicks, to shift copies, to adhere to the old adage that sex sell, or at the very least the notion of what sexy is – sells. We’ve been accused in the past of posting only certain types of male images – but let me tell you, I see the analytics and despite the protestations from some audience members, pictures of different bodies just don’t fly. Why is that?
For the record, I’m not audience blaming either.
Have we all been programmed so hard to only see slim, white, blonde boys as sexy? Perhaps it’s time for all of us to shift the view of what is sexy.
That’s why I love the idea behind Meat and the Naked Rugby Players and even Channel 4’s controversial dating show, Naked Attraction. They are showing that the typical body is beautiful. Bellies, love handles and hair here and there is normal and wonderful.
The likes of Meat and Naked Rugby Players (above) are changing the game.
“We’re bombarded with images that prod at the subconscious saying “you’re not thin enough” and we’ve got to change the narrative.”
Body positivity is a hot topic right now and it should be. If over half of us aren’t happy with our naked bodies there’s something not right. There is a strong link between our bodies and our mental health. Many of us are on endless diets and we aren’t just yo-yoing on weight. We’re playing games with our mental health each and everytime we step on those scales.
We’re bombarded with images that prod at the subconscious saying “you’re not thin enough” and we’ve got to change the narrative. We’ve got to expose ourselves to different standards of beauty. We’ve got to relearn that our normal, unretouched, imperfect bodies are actually perfect – and platforms like Instagram have to start playing their part.
The editor and chief of THEGAYUK. All in a previous life wrote and produced songs on multi-platinum records.
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