When I see guys take underwear pictures of themselves and posts them online, my immediate reaction is to roll my eyes and think “conceited”. But how hypocritical is that? I do the exact same thing. Half of my selfies on Instagram are shirtless gym selfies. So why am I so quick to label their actions as narcissism but my own as self-empowerment?
I work out for a variety of reasons: to be more adept when playing sports, for health, and admittedly for the social privileges that come with a chiseled physique. Life is noticeably easier to navigate when you have an athletic body. Am I, or anyone, inherently wrong for striving to attain it?
I think it’s wrong to look down upon those who don’t have perfect physiques. It’s wrong to not have equal representation of all different body types in media. But is it wrong for recognizing that a certain body type has privilege over others in contemporary society, and working night after night to attain that body thus the privileges that come with it? I don’t think so. I don’t think privilege is inherently a bad thing, and I’m not going to apologize for working out and being proud of my body.
It’s interesting though. When I see someone pose confidently with their bare body when their body doesn’t match societal standards of beauty, I think “how brave.” Yet when their body matches societal standards of beauty (i.e. Athletic), I think “how narcissistic”. I do this out of insecurity. It’s a self-defensive mechanism. I put them down in order to elevate myself. But it’s ironic for me to feel this way since I should know better than anyone the amount of effort and work required to attain a gym-toned body.
Despite what the pictures I post may appear to tell you, I’m insecure with my body. Very few people aren’t. So when I workout, I’m proud when I see the noticeable changes. And when I have windows of feeling good about my physique, I will document it and post it online. Should I be ashamed for this? Should I shame others for doing the same thing? Are these actions stemming from vanity or insecurity? And where is the line between vanity and self confidence? And who gets to decide?
Point is I shouldn’t be a judgmental asshole. Neither should you.