Opinion: Marvel Comics is the new Barbie – The Mercury News
He examined himself in the mirror and lifted his shirt up to see if his stomach flattened out. He looked at his arms for any sign of muscle gain, and stood against the door frame to check his height. Then I caught a glimpse of sadness in his eyes as he became disappointed by his findings. At the age of 7, my younger brother, Ethan, was suffering because he fell short of the unrealistic body standards set by society.
Watching my brother suffer angers me. He, like any other child, should not be worrying about his physical appearance at such a young age. This month, he turns 14 and is still concerned about his body image, despite years of me telling him that his body is fine and he definitely does not need to fix it.
Ethan’s issue with his body helped me see how society’s impossible standards are causing a toxic lifestyle for many young boys in today’s generation. If the movement for the appreciation of the female body is changing our unrealistic expectations of them, then we should be developing this campaign for men as well.
Men have kept quiet and continue to conform to society’s expectations that they must look strong and emotionless. Meanwhile, many females continue to push the media to get representation for their capabilities as women, rather than being objectified.
No human should be appreciated just for their physical appearance. It is the good they contribute to the world that counts.
There have been campaigns to stop Mattel, the makers of Barbie, from promoting an unrealistic body image of women — if Barbie were life-size, her waist would measure 16 inches, while a real woman’s waist on average is 36 inches. We should start a campaign to stop DC Comics from creating a false image for men with superheroes such as Superman.
Action figures such as Superman teach young boys to believe that at a young age, they must get as buff and emotionless as any superhero. But this causes many physical and psychological problems for them as they try to learn how to deal with their emotions in a healthy way.
Boys are beginning to use steroids during their middle school years to have their desired physique. These drugs cause major health issues and the 6 percent of boys in middle school that are taking them begin to develop long-term effects such as depression, rage, eating disorders and suicidal tendencies, according to the Atlantic.
To encourage boys to focus on their education rather than their body, we have to start a campaign to accept all body types, regardless of gender. We must attack the brainwashing propaganda that, to be worthy, all men must be tall, muscular, and emotionless.
Sophia Rodriguez, a recent graduate of Andrew Hill High in San Jose, is a staff writer with the 2017 Mosaic high school journalism program.