Male beauty standards are all over the place but manage to be equally unfair.

People rarely speak about male beauty standards, but they certainly impact people. What makes a man attractive is subjective and depends on many factors, such as location and time. In Africa, over 79% of the population is black. However, only around 8% is white. Still, white male models are portrayed more in the media, thus becoming the beauty standard. Colonization is also a primary contributing factor to why people prefer European features and opt for skin-lightening products. 

K-pop has taken the world by surprise, a particular aspect being aesthetics and visuals. South Korean pop culture has helped influence male beauty standards internationally, particularly in East Asia. In South Korea, for instance, K-pop has influenced beauty standards to prefer a soft masculine look. The ideal Korean man would be tall and slim and have a toned body, “soft” features, light, glowing skin, a sharp jawline, big eyes, and a tall high-bridged nose. If you did not already notice, this is nothing like the average Korean male you would see, but you can see this look in many famous K-pop stars due to extreme workout regimes, plastic surgeries, and such. 

Another prominent entertainment industry is the Bollywood movie industry. The Bollywood movie industry has often portrayed dark-skinned people as villains or as rough “thugs.” However, light-skinned people often act as the main characters or heroes. The media heavily portrays light skin as the “best” and has influenced Indian society so that dark-skinned people are often insulted for their skin color. Because of this colorism in India, the nation is home to a booming skin bleaching and lightening industry. Furthermore, Bollywood movies glamorize hyper-masculine men, with actors having some of the most extreme workout regimes.

In contrast to the idea of having light skin in Asian and African countries, in western society, it is ideal to have a more tanned body, as you seem to be more “exotic” and “vitalized.” Men in western society are expected to be muscular, lean, and ripped and have a v-shaped body, 6-pack, big arms and chest, low body fat percentage but still muscular, sharp jaw, flawless skin and teeth, perfect hair, and they have to be tall, no less than 6-foot. You can see how these standards are practically impossible to achieve.

Along with unrealistic male beauty standards, there are many “toxic” masculinity traits, such as that men or boys should hide their emotions. Many of these toxic masculinity traits are seen even now and are encouraged. Men are condemned for doing anything slightly on the feminine side. Things such as crying or wearing makeup are seen as feminine. Therefore, many young boys are taught to stay away from them. 

Many men persistently exercise to appear a certain way, leading to many different eating disorders like bulimia. Between 2010-2016, the rate of men getting treated for eating disorders increased by over 70%. The social standards created for men are unrealistic and unreasonable, and they need to stop.

A message for everyone: you are perfect the way you are, and you do not need to change yourself to fit the absurd beauty standards defined by the media masquerading as our society.

Works Cited

Ibrahim Kamit, creator. The Dark Reality behind Male Beauty Standards. YouTube, YouTube, 6 Jan. 2021, Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.