We live in an era of images. Social media and dating apps present an endless stream of polished pictures that showcase only our best features. In movies, television, and advertising, mainstream media provides very narrow representations of what’s deemed “beautiful” – and often queer media is no better, frequently showing only the white, cis-gender, muscular and able-bodied members of our community. All of this can lead to feelings of alienation and insecurity for queer guys, especially for those of us who don’t embody these restrictive margins of “beauty.”
In response to this, OurSpace dedicated August to recognizing body image issues. In celebration of the variety of body types in our community, we headed to Toronto’s clothing-optional beach, Hanlan’s Point. There we basked in the sun and the water, and enjoyed seeing the multitude of bodies that were around. We also reflected on our own bodies and others. We asked ourselves what we liked most about our bodies, how we take care of them, and how they factor into our overall wellness. Then we considered what makes someone sexy to us, and why there seems to be a narrow focus on certain “desirable bodies” in the queer community. Finally we asked ourselves what we can do to improve this narrow focus.
We came up with a range of responses for each question. Some of us like our eyes, smile, cheekbones, legs, hair, and even our heart the most. We take care of our bodies in different ways as well – some of us like a workout or hot yoga, while others prefer a hot bath or bike ride or walk. Trying to eat healthy is important to us, as well. We recognize that our bodies can affect all aspects of our well being, but we also acknowledge that dealing with our emotions is important. We find talking to others or making space to be alone good strategies for dealing with mental and emotional issues.
We find many different aspects of a person sexy, from their ability to hold a conversation to having nice eyes or legs, and to their passion for life, their kindness, and sense of humour. We also recognize that sometimes guys may not be fully in touch with their emotions, and may rely on physicality alone for chemistry. As for the narrow focus on certain “desirable bodies” in the queer community, many of us state that media representation (including pornography) tend to focus on white, cis-gender, muscular able-bodied guys. To create more diversity of images, we can create our own diverse media (including selfies!), and also encourage companies to use more diverse models.
In support of diversity, we hope you can join us for our movie screening of “Pay it No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson” on September 25 at Glad Day Bookstore. See our Facebook event for more info: click here.
OurSpace is showing this movie as a response to “Stonewall,” which we believe misrepresents the actual event of the Stonewall riots, and disrespects those trans people and queer people of colour who were at the forefront.
Written by Liam McElheron
Edited by Juan Saavedra