— Gender Studies

Men and women are pretty much equally self-conscious about their looks

Glenn Watson/20th Century Fox

We all have moments of insecurity and self-doubt, that is an undisputed fact. But due to the societal pressure on women to look and behave a certain way, it’s easy to assume that they are more likely than men to feel self-conscious about the way they are perceived.

A recent study in the scientific journal Body Image examined 12,176 adult men and women by giving them online surveys about their personal feelings on body image, paying particular attention to weight and physical appearance. The results were enlightening, as they concluded that 15% of men were “very to extremely dissatisfied” with their weight, along with 20% of women. Such a similar number suggests that men feel equally self-conscious; their plight is just not recognized or discussed in the media as often. In regards to appearance, the dissatisfaction statistics were considerably lower. Only 6% of men reported being “very to extremely dissatisfied” with how they look, and only 9% of women.

On the satisfaction side, 28% of men were “very to extremely satisfied” with their appearance, as were 26% of women (maybe we all need a confidence boost?). Back to the issue of weight, 24% of men reported being “very to extremely satisfied,” and 20% of women felt the same way. Perhaps the most interesting part of the study was that researchers concluded, “dissatisfied people had higher Neuroticism, more preoccupied and fearful attachment styles, and spent more hours watching television.” In contrast, satisfied people reported higher self-esteem, openness, extraversion, and general life-satisfaction.

Of course, it makes total sense that weight and appearance satisfaction be linked to personality traits and life habits. On the question of men and their self-perception, it will be interesting to see more of these types of studies in the future, and possibly ones that survey men at different ages. At the end of the day, it’s abundantly clear that we’re all going through the same personal battle to look and feel comfortable within our own skin.

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