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For hundreds upon hundreds of years, women have been subjected to criticisms for every minor flaw in their physical apprearance, ranging from insults due to "thin hair", "overweightness", or other such trivial nonsense.

However, in the last decade, a tremendous push has occured in the social world, and now the male population is increasingly finding itself under the microscope for attractiveness. In America, the only reason that overweight people are shown on TV is to showcase a sort of self-critiquing comedy style, usually reserved for ethnic groups. Now, more than ever, it is becoming less and less acceptable for men to have that "beer gut", or those "love handles".

This is a very disturbing trend, but not so much in the sense that it is encouraging people to get into shape. In fact, as most people know, a gross percentage of the population in America is obese, a fact most Americans laugh and scoff at while choking down a triple cheeseburger. Indeed, no matter which country you're in, being in shape is never a bad thing. The problem here lies in the way that we are encouraged to get into shape. We are promised fast cars, a great career, and most importantly and frequently, beautiful women. The sad fact is, however, that for many men, being 6'3 185lbs with 4% body fat is simply an unattainable goal. Human genetics dictate, to a certain extent, the comfortable range of body fat that the body wishes to maintain for its own safety purposes, and as much as we try we will never be able to change this fact. Personally, no matter how much I beat my head against a wall, or no matter how many times I sit up, I will never attain a washboard stomach. I've been to many trainers and doctors, and they all say the same thing:

"Sorry, but thats how genetics work. You should be proud with how far you've come anyway."

Its a terrific thought, but the issue is still at large: Men now have the demand of being "in shape" cast upon them that we used to see in darker times. Not surprisingly, when the finger is pointed the other direction, it is suddenly acceptable again, just as it was fifty years ago.

As a race, we should be ashamed of ourselves for the expectations we put on each other. People are dehumanized simply because they don't look like one of the Sports Illustrated models, or because they couldn't pass for a Chippendale's dancer (unless they go Chris Farley).

People, the next time you see a guy who is a bit overweight, do me a favor and cut him some slack. It is no more acceptable to chastize him for the way he looks than it is to chastize his female equivalent. Anorexia is now occuring in the male population at four times the rate it was ten years ago, and the numbers climb. Wrestlers have been sent to hospitals because their glucose levels have been tremendously low, all because of the new social pressure that is being placed upon them from their sport, their coaches, their parents, and society as a whole. Its high time we all developed a different sense of whats important in people, because the current priority scale is absolutely horrid.

I heartily agree. This is not the sort of equality that anyone needs, one where both sexes are scrutinized and crtiqued equally.
Of course, with that comes the notion that the sort of thought that you are talking about has been applied to women, for, as you said, hundreds upon hundreds of years, and that this is no more right. Feminism or chauvinism aside, having one without the other is just as bad, if not worse, than having both.
While I agree with almost everything SoberSephiroth says, I have to correct one point. Wrestlers aren't ending up in hospitals because of any social stigma relating to being overweight. They're ending up in hospitals because they're dropping weight to remain within in their weight class, and they're dropping it too quickly. Because which is better: competing at maximum weight in one division, or at minimal weight in another? Exactly.

Cutting weight is not something that's new. It's been going on for a long, long time, but there's been an excellent job done of covering it up. When an athlete passes out, it can simply be explained as 'overexertion', 'dehydration', or college football's favorite: 'flu-like symptoms'. Deaths in the sport are very rare. But when two kids die in the span of a month, and weekly television news magazines run a story on them, cutting weight got pushed to the forefront. But it still happens, and it's going to continue to happen (even if being fat becomes all the rage) as long as there's competition wrestling.

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