"You don’t have to fit in a box."
Some men spend up to $10,000 on surgery to rid themselves of "man boobs." One British man, inspired by the feminist body-positivity movement, is bucking the trend by embracing his "man boobs" and urging others to do the same.
Southhampton financial adviser Stevie Grice-Hart, who at one point weighed as much as 252 pounds, recently told the New York Post that the ubiquitousness of "ripped, chiseled guys" in media portrayals left him feeling unhappy about his own physique.
Losing half his body weight through crash dieting and excessive exercise didn't serve to alleviate the problem. “I thought if I lost the weight, I’d suddenly be popular and wouldn’t have to worry about money … but that wasn’t true," he said.
But what did help was the example of plus-sized models who shared untouched photos on Instagram, which he joined in 2016.
Motivated by the body-positive perspective of women who dared to love their bodies, whether size 2 or size 22, Grice ditched his fixation on rock-hard abs and began posting photos of himself in his underwear, sans six-pack.
In the process, he may have discovered an underserved community: Men who feel put upon by cultural expectations about fitness.
"I get so many lovely messages from [men] as young as 11 to guys as old as 60,” Grice-Hart said. “They say that they’ve never had a space to talk about [body issues],” he told The Post.
“Whereas women … have a community to nourish each other and talk about their issues, men don’t have that,” he added.
Grice lamented the fact that he hadn't had a role model to tell him that his body was perfect just as it was. "You don’t have to fit in a box," he said. "Not everyone has to look like the cover of Men’s Health and that’s OK. These people are still worthy of respect and love.”
Juan Leon is Pluralist's managing editor. He can be reached @juanemel
Cover image: Stevie Grice-Hart poses in a photo shared to Instagram May 11, 2018. (Screenshot from Instagram.)