Social Media Double Standards: Men vs. Women
Social media has become a place of double standards when it comes to men versus women and how they are judged based on the content/photos they post. It is becoming more prevalent than ever and the public perception of males versus females with regards to health, fitness, and nutrition is polar opposite when compared to each other. I personally experienced this gap, or divide if you will, a few months ago and I think it's worth talking about. While reading this, if you realize that you're guilty of doing this, whether consciously or subconsciously, try to stop and think about what you are posting and how it will impact the person you are writing about. I'm not trying to place blame here, but I think it's worth reading so hopefully you can consciously make an effort to stop judging a person based on one picture. You're not only hurting the people around you and creating a setback of any progress towards equality, but you are also hurting yourself. I believe in equality and I don't like how people place expectations on a person based on gender. So when I made two posts a few months ago, I noticed a very scary divide. The posts were almost identical in wording and message with only slight differences. One was based on Tamara's point of view, speaking about how the majority of people don't work in their chosen career, that she's one of the few who do, but she never imagined working in health and fitness and how this coaching thing has been benefiting our lives. The second post was from my point of view and was kind of the same thing, but on the opposite side of the spectrum. I'm working in a field that I never went to school for and also never thought I'd be working in health and fitness, but Tamara and I have come together and now have this business together, helping encourage, support, and motivate others to become a healthier version of themselves. The posts had the same basic message behind them and the intent was very similar. The main difference was the photo. Each post had a recent picture of us on our fitness journey, one of Tamara alone and one of me alone.
Before I go any further, I need to point out that Tamara has improved her body fat percentage and increased her muscle mass compared to where she started more than I have. She has kept the weight off better than I have as well. In other words, Tamara is kicking my ass! She's doing way better than me and if compared pound-for-pound, she's in better shape than I am...strength wise I'm stronger, but health wise she's overall better.
My photo, as shown above, was of me flexing. You can see my belly pooch and it's not perfect, but within a couple of days, I had around 30 likes and a few positive comments. Her post on the other hand, got very few likes. As you can see in the photo above, it was of her wearing a sports bra and some yoga pants. She looked awesome, but the only comments that her post garnered was "she's too skin and bones, not healthy at all" and "looks photo-shopped" (because her arm is too long). This really got me thinking about how drastic the perception of men versus women differs on social media. The more I thought about it, the more angry I got because she's in a healthier position in her life right now than I am, and yet her comments and the love/likes on her post is much different than what I received. This really opened my eyes on the double standard of men versus women. Most of the comments were from women and were much more judgmental and negative for Tamara than the comments for me. This is NOT RIGHT and it really made me think about how society puts pressure on women to be perfect. From looking at other posts on social media, women in general seem to be much more judgmental of other women than men are. You're either too skinny or you're too fat, you don't look like the women in magazines or you're photo-shopped. This judgmental commentary is bullshit and here I am, probably 10 pounds heavier than I should be right now, getting all the love. There's a huge disconnect between what is needed to support and encourage people compared to how people are actually treating others on social media. From these posts, I now understand, first-hand, how hard it is for a woman to feel accepted and beautiful, especially on social media. I want people to feel comfortable in their own skin and once someone actually gets there (I know how hard it is to get to this point), it is essential for them to stay like that and not be brought down by negative comments on social media. By judging and posting negative comments about them, you're putting them down and this is not ok. I started looking at posts online from fitness models, competitors, and even plus-size models and at least 50% of the comments for women are from women and are negative. Like how she's too big or too fat or has so much muscle she's disgusting. Comments like this need to stop. Start encouraging and inspiring each other to improve daily. If people are happy with where they are in life and with their body image, then love them and celebrate them for it. This entire experiment that I inadvertently created, proved to me that women are extremely hard on other women, but not on a guy who is not in peak physical condition.
I'd love to hear from you guys on your thoughts in the comments below. I know there are a lot of people out there who are extremely encouraging (keep it up!), but it seems like there's a higher percentage who are not and want to tear someone else down instead of lifting them up. So learn to accept each other so that everyone, no matter what their gender, size, race, etc can feel more comfortable being who they are and owning it! Maybe then we can change the world for the better.
You can see my original video post here.