Is it possible that the standard of beauty can be oppressive, even for men who meet it? It seems counterintuitive, but Jarren, a late-twentysomething from the West Coast, proves that the answer is a resounding “yes.” As he describes in his own journey of awareness, whether you meet the standard or not, there’s always a catch and a cost. But the true test is how you choose to deal with it.
If it weren’t for the manscaping, I would say that male beauty is timeless and can be seen through archetypal traits, such as being physically large and protective. More rugged than groomed. When it comes to internal attributes, I’d say I learned what I view as beauty from my mom. I always thought being a well-rounded person is more beautiful than being any sort of too far down one road.
I think being able to be the rock for your loved ones and be depended on is wonderful, but it doesn’t mean anything unless you can open up yourself and express yourself without seeing any of that as a weakness. So is being able to kiss your kids and show them it is okay to be emotive, instead of just being the stern provider who isn’t there, emotionally.
When I think about how I compare to the standard I’ve just mentioned, I’m obviously a larger guy and it’s been a huge part of my life to be active. I played football since I was in 6th grade. I was raised in an environment where boys were rough, but I also did writing and stuff like that.
I always remember being self-conscious because I was really skinny, which might have had something to do with playing football in college. If you compare me to my friends, I’m in the middle of the pack when it comes to size and height. But at my job and in the real world, I’m always the big black man, which can be a gift and a curse.
I know personally, as a large black male, you rarely get the benefit of the doubt unless you’re around older black women, like grandmas…
I know personally, as a large black male, you rarely get the benefit of the doubt unless you’re around older black women, like grandmas–and almost always only black women are people who I can approach without an automatic checking of place in social interaction. Being a physically attractive person has helped smooth over what could be awkward situations, especially in the workplace because most people just don’t have that physical presence.
To some, my size could come off as abrasive or intimidating, so it’s something I have to be conscious off. For example, my friends and I joke about it sometimes, but we’ll say, “You have to put on the telephone voice and smile a lot…” so that other people feel more comfortable being around you. It’s strange but true. And because I enjoy being well put together and look good, when I’m dressed up or in a suit or at a wedding, people’s reactions to me are different than if I’m on the way to gym.
How I look and what I’m wearing determines how people treat me, and whether they will trust me. If I were lost and in need of help, how I look and what I’m wearing will determine whether people will give me the benefit of the doubt if I’m asking for directions.
For example, if I’m wearing basketball shorts or a hoodie, half to three-quarters of the people would not respond to me. Even if someone did have certain prejudices, if I was in a suit, I would feel more confident approaching someone and they would be able to meet me with a level of trust where an interaction would be possible.
Men are just as insecure about their own physical beauty and are just as concerned with appearing and being beautiful to the outs world as women are, even if it might seem in different ways.
The downside to beauty is that it makes it hard to be friends with people sometimes. I’ve been in situations in the past where I wasn’t necessarily physically attracted to a person, but because they found me attractive, the nature of that relationship got convoluted and it was hard to establish what we were trying to do.
I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and would prefer to be friends, but depending on how a person feels, sometimes that may get difficult. What’s been really difficult is now that I have a very committed partner, it makes it harder for her to trust me. On an objective level, it makes sense, but it can be very frustrating sometimes.
The negative spin is that it hypersexualizes an already hypersexualized demographic. Every interaction you have is assumed to be sexual, and that can hurt you in creating friends or building relationships in general. On the surface level, that can be very flattering. But people are usually pretty vocal, which can be awkward.
In one instance, I was working at American Eagle and I was up front as a greeter. I remember one of the regional managers was visiting our store and the manager was standing within earshot of me. She was a middle-aged white lady. When she came through and greeted our manager, she mentioned, “You got your man meat up front.” I remember thinking, if an older guy made a comment like that to a younger girl, it would be considered offensive, but to her it wasn’t because I was a man.
A common misconception about men and beauty is that we don’t have to worry about being beautiful. But that’s not true. Men are just as insecure about their own physical beauty and are just as concerned with appearing and being beautiful to the outside world as women are, even if it might seem in different ways.
How I look and what I’m wearing determines how people treat me, and whether they will trust me.
Benjamin harrison, pay for essay billion dollar congress, czar reed harrison quickly rewarded his supporters.