Millions of British men suffer from “manxiety” about their body image, says a new report.
Being the butt of friends’ jokes, getting undressed in front of other men and feeling the need to live up to fit celebrities all contribute to a lack of confidence.
And being compared to an ex-partner or even a sibling can make men doubt their own good looks and desirability.
In response to the report by male clothing brand Jacamo, which found four in ten men do not feel confident with the way they look, former cricketer Freddie Flintoff and comedian Jack Whitehall have produced a video to help men confront their “manxiety”.
Flintoff admitted he felt “old” in the dressing room when he was surrounded by younger, fitter team-mates.
Speaking of his feelings towards the end of his career, Flintoff said: “You’re 37 with your belly hanging over your trousers and you’re surrounded by fit lads in their early 20s – you feel old.”
The poll of 2,500 men revealed almost half want to lose weight and two in five want to tone up, while 54 per cent are most unhappy with their midriff.
Jacamo menswear spokeswoman Jenni Bamford said: “The idea of having a ‘perfect’ body is an unrealistic and unobtainable ideal that can have long-lasting consequences for people’s mental and physical well being.
“We hope ‘The Modern Man-ual’ gives men the chance to talk about their concerns about body image along with encouraging a conversation around how retailers, advertisers and the media portray men to better reflect the diversity of the healthy male population.
“With more than 24 million men in Britain, it can only help to normalise this topic with both men and those influential in his life. To help support this message we’ve teamed up with Freddie Flintoff and Jack Whitehall, who have been filmed discussing the report findings as well as sharing their own experiences.”
A major complaint shared by those suffering with manxiety is watching films or television which constantly feature unrealistically attractive men with good bodies.When it comes to key problem areas, more than half of men dislike their stomachs, while one in six wish they had bigger pecs.
But there were some positives to be drawn from the research as many men said their body confidence can be improved by taking certain measures. Doing more exercise, getting a new haircut and wearing a new outfit all make men feel slightly better about themselves.
Four in ten said receiving a compliment can be a great boost, while almost a third feel good after sex or intimacy with a partner.