Appearances count for a lot in this world, impacting the way that people view us as well as the way we see ourselves. In many ways, then, there has been a strong link between image and mental health throughout every stage of our existence. However, the pressures facing the modern generations are more palpable than ever before.
In truth, women have been pressured to look their best for several decades while men have largely been under minimal pressure. But are males now facing the same challenges as the female race?
Men Now Judging Themselves
Women have been subjected to images of what they should aspire to look like for many generations, but men now find themselves in a similar boat. The biggest cause for concern in this sense stems from social media.
The social media era has taken the concept of constantly seeing models and beautiful people to a whole new level. Digital marketing ensures that we continually see adverts with good looking people. Meanwhile, the manner of those interactions is far more active than seeing a TV ad, for example. This means that the self-judgements are made more consciously.
Furthermore, the average social media user is likely to post their best images. Most people are familiar with the idea of taking 10 or more selfies in order to get the right shot. When supported by the fact we can now edit images at the click of a button, the social media influence on mental health is huge. Seeing the false lives that people pretend to live can also make people feel unsatisfied.
Both men and women are now encouraged to judge themselves more than ever before. And if your image doesn’t quite match the ‘perfect look’, the negative outcomes are significant. Let’s face it; most people are their own harshest critics too.
Men Are Also Being Judged By Others
Personal appearances have always influenced a man’s chances of finding a partner. However, for many years, it was women who were judged on their looks in virtually every aspect of life. Conversely, men were largely left free from this reaction. Not any longer.
Like women, men are now judged on their height, weight, skin, hair, attire, and other features. The pressure to look good is, therefore, greater than ever. Men know this too, which is why perceived shortcomings can lead to serious mental health issues. There is a palpable anxiety for men of all ages and backgrounds.
Self-confidence will take a significant hit when you know that others are forming negative judgements based on looks. Thankfully, men can fight back against some of the bigger issues. For example, these hair transplant before after photos show that men can take control of their follicle troubles. Similarly, cosmetic treatments are available for weight or facial issues.
The fact that men are now more likely to seek professional treatments also cranks up the pressure to look good, creating something of a catch 22. It ultimately creates a relationship between image and mental health that is far closer to the one women have experienced for years.
Judgements Are Now More Brutal Than Ever
Both men and women have been judged on some level for centuries. However, the instant nature of the modern world means that the image-based judgements are now more brutal than ever before. Nowhere is this more relevant than in the world of dating.
Tinder and dating Apps allow users to reject prospective partners based on their looks by swiping in the opposite direction. Failing to get a match from another user isn’t a big deal per se. However, constant rejections will soon dent a person’s mental health, and it all links up to their image.
While it’s true that traditional dating had the same risks, very few people would have ever made the same number of attempts as they do online. The fact that single people would’ve had fewer options than the catalogue of faces now sitting in their pockets is key. Subsequently, the success rates for most people were far higher with older routines.
This is added to the fact that modern dating is focused on image at the first interaction rather than personality. Character and charm now tend to come after a mutual attraction has been confirmed, creating a very strange situation. Dating has never been simpler, but the environment is now harsher than ever.
People Are Aware Of Mental Health
Society’s understanding of mental health issues has grown at an exponential rate in recent years. This signals huge progress and can encourage individuals to gain the support that they need to overcome those problems. However, when people suffer from depression and other issues, they will now realise that their image isn’t helping.
It is particularly noticeable when someone’s mental health deteriorates with their looks. Whether it’s from getting older or getting fatter doesn’t matter. Due to this reason, the pressure for men to unlock and maintain their best image is huge. The good news, however, is that physical improvements often bring mental ones.
As such, the benefits of a personal trainer can cover mental health as well as physical rewards. Once again, this is a link that underlines the relationship between appearances and mental health. The positive and negatives are both linked in a very close manner, and should not be dismissed by any man of any age.
As with most issues, this is something that affects both men and women. However, the fact that it is new territory for men is yet another reason why the link between image and mental health is greater than ever.
It can certainly be argued that women continue to face greater scrutiny and will spend more time and money on their look. Nevertheless, the links to image and mental health are now clearer than ever among men as well as women.
While investing in your image is far from the only key ingredient to consider, now is the time to pay greater attention than ever before.