There's been a meme making its way around the internet as of late, and it's one that taps into an unspoken trend among millennial men.
The illusive trend I speak of is the millennial male's insecurity about his body.
Podcaster Steven Crowder, who is currently being referenced in the media as a “conservative talking head” (and once called Amy Schumer a fat feminist) posted a tweet of Russian MMA brawler Fedor Vladimirovich Emelianeko standing in fighting shorts next to some kettlebells. He insisted the fighter's physique is representative of the ideal male body.
(Obviously, Crowder made a typo, intending to say “male” instead of “make.”)
Despite the fact that the tweet was posted over seven months ago, the Twitter-verse has just recently started discussing it, issuing humorously rebuttals about what they believe is the ideal male body.
As such, a trending meme has been making the rounds — one that has made the coveted Twitter Moments catalog.
As you'll see, the photos released in response to Crowder actually show the opposite of the "male ideal," poking fun at the topic with images of everything from Grimace in a pimp suit, to Jeff Goldblum as a minotaur.
But while we're all poking fun at the subject by turning it into an overpopulated meme, the truth of the matter is this: The concept of an ideal male body is a catalyst for insecurity in millennial men.
In fact, some research from the Central YMCA and the Succeed Foundation suggest men may actually be more insecure about their appearance than women. The biggest insecurities being beer bellies, man boobs and thinning hair.
According to the research, 30 percent of men have heard someone negatively refer to their “beer belly," 19 percent have been described as “chubby” and another 19 percent claimed to have overheard others talking about their “man boobs.”
On top of this, being too skinny was another concern, as we've been influenced by the adonises portrayed in TV and other various media, much like women have with impossibly shapely bodies.
As such, a whopping 63 percent felt they weren't muscular enough to be considered attractive.
Similarly, 38 percent of men said they would give up a year of their life in exchange for a perfect body. This percentage was found to be significantly higher in men than it was for women.
But this isn't a competition between which gender is more insecure. That's ridiculous. It's quite the opposite, actually. The point here is that women aren't alone in feeling the way they do.
But this isn't a competition between which gender is more insecure. That's ridiculous.
Another study released just this month amplifies this point.
Researchers at the University of North Texas recently found that men are most at risk for lowered self-esteem while using Tinder, which is the first study of its kind to reach such a result, considering it's widely known that women are often the victims in online dating situations (harassment, dick pics, etc.).
The point here is that women aren't alone in feeling the way they do.
The research, which surveyed 1,044 female and 273 male undergraduates, found that while Tinder users' “self-worth” reports were relatively equal among the genders (with the exception of lower male self-esteem), researchers believe Tinder may be leveling the dating playing field in terms of exploitation.
"When it came to self-esteem, men had significantly lower self-esteem if they were Tinder users," said Strubel, the study's assistant professor. "When you think of the negative consequences, you usually think of women, but men are just as susceptible."
The research also found that lower male self-esteem may result from the emotionally vulnerable position many men are subjected to on Tinder and the ability of women to be discerning of potential matches.
More men use Tinder, and past reports show that men are three times more likely to swipe right, opening them up to more harmful experiences like getting rejected, even ghosted.
Regardless, let's just call it what it is: None of us are completely happy with our bodies.
As somebody who once worked for a fitness magazine and watched fitness models walk in and out of our doors for photo shoots, let me tell you that none of these chiseled physiques are remotely attainable unless you dedicate your lives to it (and eat nothing but boiled chicken, a handful of steamed rice, broccoli and mustard, which is gnarly).
There will always be somebody you're envious about. Somebody on the beach who's a tad skinnier, or has perkier glutes.
Let's stop categorizing the issue as male or female, and instead stand united.
So let's stop categorizing the issue as male or female, and instead stand united and admit that sure, having the ideal body type would be nice, but going out for wings and potato skins is right up there, too.