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Through a video series (available to view at m.bodiment.ca), the project highlights personal experiences and the impact of body image on men’s mental and physical health.

Though every participant’s story is different, everyone had felt bad about his body in one way or another.

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I felt bad about my body, which was soft, mostly fat, with little or no visible muscle. My face was pretty and my mannerisms were effeminate, leaving me at the bottom of the social order. Not at first—at first, I took drugs: MDMA (Ecstasy or molly), crystal meth and cocaine—party drugs—mostly on the weekend (which was Wednesday to Sunday on my calendar) and eventually every day.

Partying became a way for me to numb my experience as the guy at the bottom of the hierarchy.

This form of homophobia is intimately tied to misogyny, a dislike of women.

When I was a younger man entering the gay scene, I quickly discovered that where I ranked and where I wanted to rank were two different places.

I believe all of these factors have helped me on my journey from being the young, fat kid with thoughts of suicide to being the gay party boy who abused drugs and sex, to being a man obsessed with muscle mass and “masculinity,” to being the person I am today. I look more like a man find attractive, and that is new to me. I stopped trying to have a lean body, and discovered there were many gay men looking for a big guy.

I still work out (though not obsessively), I still party (on special events and holidays) and I still use my knowledge and experience to my advantage with other men, though I am much more respectful about it now. I stick around spaces that celebrate huskier, thicker men, or go on dating apps specifically for larger guys.

I crushed on guys who were “out of my league.” I watched my “more attractive” friends meet or date guys who ignored me.

I saw others get attention while I was ignored or rejected.

We need to rethink what we find attractive and ask ourselves why we think the way we do. By talking about it, we can share what we know, learn more from others and learn about ourselves.

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