We often think of body image as a "girl" problem. But that's just not the case. Our boys are just as susceptible to messages about their appearance from friends, media, and other sources that surround them.
Our girls see photoshopped women with tiny waistlines, perfect makeup and hair and no blemishes. But our boys see photoshopped men with huge muscles, zero body fat, and perfect hair too.
As parents, we need to be aware that our boys are under pressure to be perfect, and we need to be willing to talk about it. If left unchecked, ideas and attitudes absorbed from the media can tell us all sorts of lies about boys, from the requirements for big muscles and being "tough" to the even more serious lie that girls--not boys--are always the ones who are victims of sexual exploitation.
But take heart, mamas. We don't have to tackle the whole mountain at once. We can start small. We can talk about media and body image first. Reading the children's book, "Messages About Me: Wade's Story: A Boy's Quest for Healthy Body Image is a very do-able first step to more meaningful discussions with our kids. Check out our video review of the book below.
And if you're feeling especially brave, you won't want to miss the National Press Conference for "Out of the Shadows," a campaign from the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation focusing on boys and men, also posted below.