How The Male Population Is Affected By The Superhero Effect

Body politics denotes the practices and rules through which the powers of society control and regulate the human body. It also includes the struggle over the degree of individual and social control of the body.

Much has been said about the standards of beauty that have been foisted upon both men and women by mass media. Throughout the years, fashion magazines are persistent in portraying ideal bodies that are wholly unattainable for most.

As a result, the medical community has condemned the resulting epidemic of anorexia and bulimia as desperate individuals try to achieve the impossible. It is commonly known by the public that women are more likely to experience this kind of reality, but in truth, a lot of men also take part in this stressful experience.

Famed personalities like singer Sam Smith and actor Robert Pattinson have opened up about their struggles with the way they look in recent years. Thus, giving validation that body image is a serious problem for men.

Similar to women, studies reveal that men are often caught feeling either too thin or heavy to meet the standards of the ideal male physique. A look into the effects of superheroes may shed light on this matter. One of the major contributing factors why the male population feels this way is because of how men are portrayed on screen, like movie stars Hugh Jackman and Chris Pratt who display an almost perfect physique.

The superhero aesthetic is easily accepted by the media as a standard for manhood. In return, it formed an unrealistic pressure on men, also known as the superhero effect. Images of these bulky characters surround a boy’s imagination from his earliest childhood. Many adolescents and young men have been driven to enthusiastically pursue this kind of body silhouette embodied by actors playing these roles.

In an era of tremendous change, constant crisis and serious disillusionment with old values, these body-image pressures have fulfilled the extremely important role of a cultural myth. It is clear that images favored by society speak powerfully to many people, both men and women.

Institutions, mass media and other sectors in the society should participate in helping to select and shape these myths surrounding the body, so as to help individuals see more of themselves that are being held captive by these unrealistic ideals.

Superman "Superman" at the updated DC Universe Justice League Exhibit at Warner Bros. Tour Center on May 3, 2018 in Burbank, California. Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images