JWoww, one of the main characters on MTV’s latest reality series “Jersey Shore”, knows just what she likes in a man. “Tall, completely jacked, steroids, like, multiple growth hormones…that’s the type I’m attracted to.”
Color me disgusted when I write this, but JWoww and her fellow cast of plastic girls and “juice head” guys may be on to something.
Over the years, we’ve all become aware of body-image issues in females ranging from their teens to middle age. Whether it’s Miss America contestants strutting across the stage on TV, or a Ralph Lauren print ad in which the model’s waist is airbrushed down so badly that it’s skinnier than her head, triggers for women to feel physically inadequate seem nearly ubiquitous in the media.
But now, women may not be alone. In a study published in the Journal of Health Psychology last October, University of Florida exercise psychologist Heather Hausenblas and Nick Chittester, a psychology professor at Concordia University in Texas, showed that males are growing more and more concerned with being big and buff.
In the study, 113 male University of Florida college students were assessed using surveys and body assessment measures. Results showed that a “drive for muscularity” was highly associated with steroid and supplement use, eating disorders, and low self-esteem. On the other hand, concerns for anthropometric measures, such as body mass index and percentage of body fat, showed low association with the drive for muscularity.
You don’t need to be Arnold Schwarzenegger to know the desire for a muscular physique is nothing new. But the UF researchers believe the idealized goal has changed in recent years. “If you look back at what was considered the ideal male body 50 years ago, it wasn’t this super hyper muscular physique that we have now,” Hausenblas said in a University of Florida press release.
It is certainly worth noting that the population in the study included only students from UF, a large, highly athletically-oriented school located in a warm state where people are more inclined to strut their bare skin.
But still, with a TV show like “Jersey Shore” becoming a national craze, bodybuilding still going strong as a sport, and more and more sports icons admitting to steroid use, the potential shift in male body image may be worth noting.
Is “juice head” the new preferred look? I guess I’ll know if I see my 16-year old sister hanging out with Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino or DJ Pauly D.