Social Media: Instagramer Explains Why Men Need The Body Positivity Trend Too

Stefan Rosenberger is one of the few men who champions body positivity. Among them there are many lovers of fitness. A contradiction?

A young woman stands in front of the floor-length curtains in the living room and looks at the camera. She wears green ribbed leggings with a matching bra. Her clothes hug her perfect body: flat stomach, small waist and still enough hips. The hashtag under the Instagram post is suspicious: #bodypositivity. The keyword stands for body positivity and is being used by more and more people on social media. It is mostly women who have a little more kilos in the ribs than what the current ideal of beauty dictates. They want to set an example against discrimination and announce that every body is beautiful, even the one that does not correspond to the ideal.

Men suffer from beauty pressure too

If you search for more content under the hashtag, you will notice that almost only images of women are displayed. Men are barely represented. Is body positivity just for women? Or do men need that too? “The obsession with beauty does not stop at women,” says Stefan Rosenberger from Töging am Inn (Altötting district). The 32-year-old curative education worker is one of relatively few men to post body-positive content. For men, too, there is pressure to conform to a certain ideal, to have a six-pack and a V-shaped body shape, with broad, “masculine” shoulders. But not all men’s bodies have that shape.

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Rosenberger falls short of this ideal and shows it in his profile. He doesn’t want to “overemphasize” his attitude towards body positivity. He posts photos of his everyday life: with friends, eating and drinking, on vacation, swimming, and at Oktoberfest. “I’m not an influencer or an activist. It’s just me,” says Rosenberger. This is his private profile of him, which is only publicly accessible and through which, among other things, he makes visible his attitude towards body positivism.

Sometimes he posts a shirtless photo. You don’t see a well-trained man, but a man with a few more pounds on his hips and hair on his chest. Just body positivity. “I’m happy with myself,” says the 32-year-old.

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Body positivity became an international phenomenon through social media.

Rosenberger says he was introduced to the movement in 2014 or 2015. He doesn’t know exactly anymore. “At first she wasn’t very aware that they were mainly women.” He thinks it’s good when people are at peace with themselves and their bodies, and he was able to relate to that.

Also read about it

The body positivity movement has its origins in the US in the 1960s, when women in particular campaigned against discrimination against overweight people. The movement was then called “fat acceptance movement” either “fat pride” known. Loosely translated, this means exercise for greater tolerance to obesity. With social media, especially Instagram, this has become an international phenomenon in recent years.

Many men post on the gym hashtag.

What is striking here is that among men there is a surprising number of fitness lovers under the keyword on Instagram, with suitably hardened bodies, mostly directly in action on the equipment. In the descriptions, they motivate other users to play sports too. Like the scantily clad woman in the living room, these men come relatively close to the supposed ideal of beauty. Why are you posting about body positivity? “I can’t say if the hashtag is actually used there,” says Rosenberger. Everyone is responsible for their own content. But he thinks it would be nice if the full spectrum of body shapes was shown. Then there should be more chubby men.

So far he has not received any hostility on his own profile. However, there were negative comments when reporting that it was in public. “Some days it slides like Teflon. Other days it leaves its mark,” says Rosenberger.

This is how Rosenberger reacts to criticism of body positive

Critics of the movement complain that the health risks of obesity are overlooked. “I’m not asking anyone to get fat,” says Rosenberger. There are other activities that also affect health, such as smoking, drinking or even playing sports. The warning of the risks is more of an additional burden. “You don’t see yourself as ideal, and that also means you increase your risk of stroke,” says Rosenberger. In this way, overweight people would be “pushed once again”. It is more important for him to feel comfortable in his own skin. “If I have health problems, of course I have to do something about it.”

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