Published on October 7th, 2013 | by Healthy Gay Lifestyles0
A Body To Die For
by Bernard Lavallee
A few days ago, La Presse published an article in which we learned about the death of a stripper from Stock Bar, a male strippers’ bar located in the gay village of Montreal. If you have ever walked on this stretch of Ste-Catherine at night, you know where I mean. You often see dancers outside smoking that didn’t think it was necessary to get dressed. What a “good publicity”!
The story is bad enough, but what is more shocking is that this is the fourth dancer who worked at Stock to die in less than a year . Among the causes of death, three seem to point to steroids taking. When you practice a job where physical appearance plays an important role on your income, you’re often willing to make many sacrifices.
An Unreal Image
You see men with beautiful muscular and slender bodies everywhere. In magazines, on TV, on the internet, in porn movies… models, actors, dancers, athletes… they are everywhere! We see so many men with this kind of body that one is tempted to believe it is normal and easy to achieve. Yet, this ideal body we see is unreal.
Yes, there are indeed men who are muscular and slim, but it is not the norm. Several of them have genetics on their side. They are naturally more muscular and have little fat. However, genetics does not explain everything and many must work hard to maintain the appearance they desire.
These men who seem to be “everywhere” are displayed precisely because they have a special body. Whether we speak of models, actors or dancers, it’s part of their job to sculpt their bodies. To do so, sticking to a fairly strict diet and fitness routine is commonplace.
Gentlemen, whether you are straight or gay, you’ve probably already stopped in front of those bodies telling yourself that life would surely be better if you had a body as muscular as those. In fact, we consider that the media are a major source of body dissatisfaction.
The problem is that this is not true. Among those practicing a profession whose body is put forward, such as strippers or models, body dissatisfaction is more common than in the general population. This is the same for eating disorders! Even if these men have a body that everyone dreams of, they are never really satisfied and always see something that could be improved.
For this reason, the use of steroids is more common in these individuals. They feel pressure to always be prettier and diet or exercise do not always give satisfactory or fast enough results.
Changing the Ideal of Beauty
The solution to this vicious cycle of body dissatisfaction? Change the ideal of beauty! That won’t be easy. While on one side we begin to understand all the damages advertising has caused on women’s body esteem, mens bodies are more stripped and used to sell (see my reaction to the Andrew Christian underwear advertising).
Gentlemen, be proud of the male body diversity and say no to the unique and unattainable ideal that advertisements offer. It is an ideal which affects the health of all, whether you possess it or you’re “just normal.”
My thoughts are with the four dancers and their families.
Bernard Lavallee, Registered Dietitian and author of gaynutrition.ca