The Adonis Complex: Suffering in Silence

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Suffering in Silence

Why does the general public believe only women are victims of body image and eating disorders? Adolescent to adult males are dangerously preoccupied with the appearance of their bodies. The difference between men and women are men almost never talk openly about this problem. Society has taught them that they shouldn't be concerned about how they look. But countless numbers of men are sacrificing important aspects of their lives to working out compulsively. This leads to distorted body images, which ties together with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia (Adonis Complex.) The general public usually categorizes these disorders with women only. Women aren't the only victims; men are suffering too, but just silently. According to Greek mythology, Adonis was seen as the premier model of male beauty and masculinity. According to Adonis in Greek Mythology, Persephone raised Adonis. Aphrodite, queen of the gods, loved Adonis but Persephone refused to give him up. The matter was settled when Zeus, the king of gods, made a deal. Adonis was to spend four months with Persephone, four months with Aphrodite and four months on his own. It was known that he chose to spend his four months of solitude with Aphrodite.

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Adonis was portrayed as an icon of male beauty and masculinity; "The body of Adonis presumably represents the ultimate male physique imaginable to the sixteenth-century artist" (Olivardia 6). If we looked at the paintings of Adonis today, there would be a consensus that he looked plump and out of shape compared to today's body builders.

The "Adonis Complex" is not an official medical term; it is used to describe the various secretive body image concerns of males. This ranges from minor physical implications to self-destructing body image disorders such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa.

The media plays a huge role influencing adolescent to adult males to believe that being more lean and muscular equals attractiveness. Whenever I am standing in line at the super market, every magazine cover I see has a model on it. When there is a male on the cover, he is usually flashing his rock hard abdominal muscles or flexing his bulging chest. As a young boy subjected to these images I became immediately envious; even to this day I admit I wish I had those features. Image what this is doing to the psyche of the male pre-teens and teens. Their ideal body type becomes those seen on those magazine covers. Their perception of the male body becomes skewed.

On television these days, it seems as if the models stick together. It is rare to see an over weight person with a lean and muscular person. From my observation, women on television are usually tall and skinny with voluptuous curves. The men are tone with unrealistic chiseled features. I grew up spending a lot of time in front of the television, unaware that I was being subliminally brainwashed. Television is causing young males and females to develop a negative perception on what is seen as normal.

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During the earlier part of November, NBC broadcasted the 2001 Victoria Secret Fashion Show: The Sexiest Night on Television. This one-hour event was broadcasted in prime time that featured tall, incredibly skinny, full-featured women elegantly modeling lingerie. But in reality, it was just a tacky peepshow of emaciated women pumped full of silicone flaunting their bodies. It was a full hour of sugarcoated pornography, an hour of women whoring themselves to photographers.

According to The View, a talk show, more than half of people who tuned were teenage girls. They were interested in what the general public deemed as beautiful. What was on television that night was nothing close to realistic. Imagine all the teenage girls who are completely mesmerized these women. To achieve that look, those models have to go through rigorous diets and dehydration. The lighting has to be perfect to...
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