What role does media play in contributing to male delusions about body image?

How does the media affect your body image and self-esteem as a man? Find out the negative effects of media images on male body image and how to overcome them with these tips.

The media portrays unrealistic and unattainable standards of male beauty and masculinity that can cause body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, and mental health problems among men. Discover how to improve your body image and self-esteem with these strategies.


Body image is the perception that a person has of their physical appearance and how they feel about it. It is influenced by many factors, such as personal experiences, cultural norms, social comparisons, and media exposure. Body image can have a significant impact on one’s self-esteem, mental health, and well-being.

While body image issues are often associated with women, men are not immune to them. In fact, research shows that more men are dissatisfied with their bodies than ever before. Some men may develop unrealistic and unhealthy expectations of how they should look, sound, and act, based on the media images they consume. These expectations can lead to body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, muscle dysmorphia, and other psychological problems.

In this article, we will explore how the media influences male body image, what are the consequences of media-induced body image issues, and what can be done to promote a more positive and realistic body image among men.

How the media influences male body image?

The media is a powerful source of information and entertainment that shapes our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. It also plays a role in creating and reinforcing social norms and ideals of beauty and masculinity. The media portrays men in various ways, such as athletes, celebrities, models, superheroes, etc., that often emphasize physical attractiveness, muscularity, strength, power, and success.

However, these portrayals are not always accurate or realistic. They are often manipulated by techniques such as photo editing, lighting, makeup, steroids, etc., to create an idealized and unattainable image of male perfectionMoreover, these portrayals are not representative of the diversity of men in terms of age, race, ethnicity, body shape, size, and ability.

The media also exposes men to constant comparisons with other men who are perceived as more attractive or successful. These comparisons can trigger feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction with one’s own body and self-worth. Furthermore, the media can influence men’s beliefs about what women find attractive and desirable in a partner. Some men may feel pressured to conform to the media standards of male attractiveness in order to attract or please women.

What are the consequences of media-induced body image issues

Media-induced body image issues can have negative consequences for men’s physical and mental health. Some of the possible outcomes are:

  • Eating disorders: Some men may resort to extreme dieting or binge eating to lose or gain weight in order to achieve their desired body shape or size. Eating disorders can cause serious health problems such as malnutrition, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, heart problems, kidney failure, etc.
  • Muscle dysmorphia: Some men may become obsessed with building muscle mass and strength to the point of neglecting other aspects of their lives. Muscle dysmorphia is a subtype of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), which is a mental disorder characterized by excessive preoccupation with a perceived flaw in one’s appearance that is not noticeable or very minor to others. Muscle dysmorphia can lead to excessive exercise, steroid abuse, injury, social isolation, depression, anxiety, etc.
  • Low self-esteem: Some men may develop a negative self-image and low self-confidence due to their dissatisfaction with their bodies. Low self-esteem can affect one’s mood, motivation, performance, relationships, and quality of life.
  • Anxiety and depression: Some men may experience anxiety and depression as a result of their body image issues. Anxiety and depression can impair one’s functioning and well-being and increase the risk of suicide.

What can be done to promote a more positive and realistic body image among men?

There is no simple or quick solution to address the complex issue of male body image. However, some possible strategies that can help men improve their body image and self-esteem are:

  • Limiting media exposure: Reducing the amount and frequency of media consumption can help men avoid or minimize the negative effects of media images on their body image. It can also help them focus on other sources of information and inspiration that are more positive and realistic.
  • Critical media literacy: Developing critical media literacy skills can help men analyze and evaluate the messages and images they encounter in the media. It can also help them recognize the techniques and motives behind the media production and consumption. Critical media literacy can empower men to challenge and resist the unrealistic and harmful media standards of male beauty and masculinity.
  • Positive self-talk: Replacing negative thoughts and beliefs about one’s body with positive ones can help men improve their self-image and self-esteem. Positive self-talk can also help men cope with stress and challenges in a more constructive way.
  • Self-compassion: Practicing self-compassion can help men accept and appreciate their bodies as they are, without harsh judgment or criticism. Self-compassion can also help men cultivate a more caring and supportive relationship with themselves and others.
  • Seeking professional help: If body image issues are causing significant distress or impairment in one’s life, it may be beneficial to seek professional help from a qualified mental health provider. A therapist can help men explore the causes and consequences of their body image issues and provide them with effective tools and strategies to overcome them.


Male body image is a complex and important issue that affects many men in today’s society. The media plays a significant role in influencing and shaping men’s perceptions and expectations of their bodies and selves. However, the media images of male beauty and masculinity are often unrealistic and unattainable, and can lead to body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, and mental health problems among men.

Therefore, it is essential for men to be aware of the impact of the media on their body image and to take steps to protect and enhance their body image and self-esteem. By limiting media exposure, developing critical media literacy, practicing positive self-talk, self-compassion, and seeking professional help when needed, men can foster a more positive and realistic body image that reflects their true value and potential.


Meet Sarah, a healthcare professional with over 5 years of experience in the field. Dedicated to providing high-quality care and making a positive impact on patients' lives. Skilled in various healthcare practices, including patient care, medical procedures, and healthcare administration.

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