Ryan Shea's picture

Gay Men- Just a Heads Up That Body Shaming Makes You a D**k

This is a topic that at this point I feel like I have exhausted over the course of several years regarding writing about the challenges that are present in the gay community. However, the eloquence of it for me is gone. I have tried writing it from a “glass half” full mentality a bunch of times, with some great feedback and debate. 

An article that I did a couple of days ago showed the highlights of dating a man with a belly in a very comedic but true sort of way. It was not designed to insult other body types (I made that clear at the bottom), but more of a way to highlight that every kind of man in this community is awesome in their own way. For the most part, I received positive feedback. Then there was one that took my bullet points from the article and turned them around to being complete negatives (in other words, he referred to husky dudes as obese and disgusting).

Those sorts of words bring me back to something that happened a couple of years ago. Just as a heads up, this is in no way a “woe is me” situation as I am merely the messenger in sharing the experience.  I have been an active member on a particular bear app for years.  One time, I engaged in a conversation with an in-shape dude who was visiting my area. The chat was rather friendly, and when I asked if he wanted to meet up while he was there, he then followed up with this:

Him: “Ur handsome but how about the body?”

Now, before I even continued with what was next, I kind of had a feeling of what was to come.  The main photo of me was simply one that highlighted my face, which was my choosing because quite frankly I looked good in it, and didn’t feel the need to show a full body in pic in order to get a guy to message me back.  Normally, I wouldn’t even want to reply as I could feel the judgement wafting through my iPhone, but I sent him a shirtless photo just to see what he was going to say.  This was his response.

Him: “A bear… lolol”

Me: “Why the lol?”

Him: “I see guys like u and say if u worked out and was a muscle bear then u would see how guys would be after u, and u would like that”.

Me: “I have guys after me all the time.  Muscle doesn’t define attractiveness”.

Keep in mind a couple of things.  One, this is how he really wrote all of this, so grammar and spelling really aren’t his forte, just like his manners aren’t as well.  My comment on “guys after me all the time” sounds arrogant, however I wanted to be as blunt as possible to prove a point.  Muscle is great to have, but it doesn’t equate the only time in your life where you will be the honey to the bee.  Ignorance is bliss, especially in this case, and is rampant in a community that is hell bent on its “you can’t sit with us” mentality on how divisive it is, especially when it comes to weight.

The main question really is this- what is body shaming really doing for you in the long run?  It is sort of the same question I would ask to people who don’t want gay marriage legalized- how does this affect you?  The answer simply for both is that there is an element of power when you let someone know that you think less of them, based on your own insecurities.  And it is wrong on so many levels that I don’t even know where to begin. 

Aesthetics is a huge part of our community and has been since the beginning. As I have gotten older though, the craving for intimacy has gone beyond the big d**k/tight ass thought process and has developed into something so much more concrete and real in that I want someone who has traits like being kind, thoughtful, attentive, sweet, etc. That doesn’t necessarily mean they need to have a six pack with purchase (not that that is a bad thing), but no matter what your weight is, you shouldn’t body shame someone else because they aren’t your desired f**k for the night or a potential relationship.  That isn’t fair.

You know how you can get your point across without being a major d**k?  Get to know them still.  They reached out to you, so at least entertain a conversation but let them know in a nice way that you aren’t interested.  You might still make someone’s day in doing so, especially when so many of us (myself included) have been brutally rejected in this community which can lead to a lot of physical and mental damage.  Stop thinking that you are above someone because of the way you look and realize that we need to be a little bit more accurate when it comes to calling ourselves a community, because these persisting issues make us the exact opposite.

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

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I am a Big Guy And I have Guys Coming for me left and right and only very Few Have Said:  "if you lose the Weight you'd have more men after you then not"  well guess what I don't need Everyone After me.  I am a Big Ginger Bear.  A lot of men like Gingers big or small beefy or muscular.  But I hear what Your Saying.  Body shaming is Depressing but when you Stop listening to ignorance your better off.  I have always been Self Conscious about my weight and recently Took my shirt off at a pool party and enjoyed myself in front of a large group of Straight men and Women, a Few Guys Said put my shirt back on and others were just happy to see me finally enjoying myself for once.  I don't Allow Criticism about my bell To Get to me anymore.

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I usually come up with some ass-ripping remark or observation like: "well, the only way to avoid time yourself, young man, is to die young.  You may think you, your body and your face are immune to time but I'm here to tell you you're not.  So best you move on with kindness now, and die, because I would not ever want you to have to experience the cruelty that you and your ilk perpetuate now."

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Completely agree. The superficial body shaming really needs to stop, especially now with the ascendency of the far-Right. Not all of us are perfectly ripped, 20-year-old gym rats and we shouldn’t have to be; listening to their sniping like a bunch of Mean Girls doesn’t help anyone, so they should be ignored. Some of us were club kids once and now that we’re settling happily into middle age, have bodies to prove it and aren’t ashamed of it. After all these years, and all that’s been achieved, being gay in 2018 should not be reduced to the stereotype of “young, white/black, toned Abercrombie model.”

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Something that muscle bound men don't think about, it won't last forever. Muscles and abs have a way of disappearing over time.

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I'm a big, fat bear.  If others find me unattractive that' not a problem.  If they don't even want me round that's their problem, because it's all like water off a ducks back to me.  I know that I have my admirers and it keeps me from getting hurt.  I think that Mother Nature has been kind in making us all attractive to someone.

If people don't want to know a person because the person is fat, I think that they are being rude, offensive and divisive.  And they lose out on what a good friend you might be in other ways.  But that's their problem.  I'm just glad that these people soon show their true colours, because I'm better off without rude, offensive and divisive people in my life.

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Devil's Advocate but doesn't some of the body issue shaming/problems fall back on sites like Instinct who flood our FB pages with articles celebrating only 1 body type? Right now at the top of the page is link to a story about Cazwell's new video "Cakes". I applauded you for ones like 5 Reasons Why You Should Date a Guy with a Belly. But they're disproportionate to ones perpetuating the muscle body ideal.

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It's a good point, but to play Devil's Advocate to your Devil's Advocate, if a magazine used photos of real men with regular bodies - bigger bellies, smaller muscles - how would their profits go? Are you sure they aren't giving us what most of us seem to want in the first place?

It would be interesting to see the viewing habits of guys who don't have the "muscle body ideal." Are they looking at images/videos of guys who look like themselves, or who look like the fantasy ideal?

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Great article. Having been a cute, thin guy with a head full of hair in my earlier years to an attractive, older, bald guy with a gut - I really understood what you are saying. I’m fortunate to have been with the same man for almost 20 years who married me and accepts me just as I am. However, it does sting when you are in a group of gay men and feel the scorn or judgmental glances. That’s when I remind myself that I’ve survived 35 years of HIV, live a blessed life and looks are a fading commodity. So many better things to invest in like my health, my love and my life ! Kudos to you.

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I would hope that you told this guy everything that you just wrote here. If you did not, what's the point?

I no longer have patience for unpacking and reacting nicely to what people say to me. At the first sniff of judgmental BS, I tell a guy that "it's clear we're not a match; have a good day/evening/night." And then, I walk away.

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