"Perfection is a disease of a nation." -- Beyoncé
I'm writing this post at one o'clock in the morning after having one of the greatest epiphanies of my life. It might seem simple to most people, but to those who live my life everyday should be able to relate. According to the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy there are about 19 million people in the United States who identify themselves as gay, which is roughly about 8.9 percent of the population. This statistic doesn't even account for the millions who are keeping one foot in the closet. I'm not the only one who has probably had this epiphany, and I'd be willing to bet large majorities of people are able to relate.
We're rallying around champions like Jennifer Lawrence who are spreading the word that it's okay to be who you are and that body image is only distorted because we grow up in a very superficial society. This mindset is ever so present in the gay community. A lot of my straight friends who are looking from the outside in would say that the gay community is extremely superficial, hook-up prone, cliquish and some could even go as far as saying it's dirty.
These words ring true with apps like Grindr, Scruff and Jack'd that promote the idea that the better body you have the more likely you're able to get what you want. You see guys on these apps that are looking for "friends" but what they really mean is they're looking for "friends" who are just as hot or good-looking as them.
In Beyoncé's new song Pretty Hurts she plays a character that is a beauty pageant contestant whose mom is telling her that it's all about body image and being perfect and not about anything else. This is the gay world. It doesn't matter what's in your head any longer, it's about your hair, teeth, if you have a six-pack, and what you wear.
We've lost our ability to connect with each other based off other personality traits. If we aren't able to accept each other in our own community how can we expect those who aren't living our lifestyle to accept us? The disease we've created around being perfect is killing our community from the inside out. We're all victim. We're all vulnerable.
I just think it's time we take this idea of body image and how someone feels about themselves to an entirely new level. Some celebrities have started the war, but the only way the illusions of this perfect body will fade is if we stop playing into it. I know as a gay male body image is a daily struggle because for the majority of us our testosterone levels are always high and we're very sexually driven. Body image issues exist for everyone and it's extremely present in the gay community -- so how do we fix it?
My epiphany that I talked about earlier was perfect for a New Years resolution that doesn't just wait for the New Year but starts today. Let's no longer be content in life, but work towards being fulfilled and being truly content. That is the only way that we'll really know what it means to live life. Get rid of stereotypes and roadblocks in your life that make you judge others for not necessarily being like yourself. Body image and the overall feeling towards the gay community doesn't have to be what it is and we can fix it. Let's make that our New Years resolution today, this year and going forward . Let's make a resolution to be real and to not judge others gay, straight on appearance starting now. Starting today.
Be aware of your natural bias to stereotype others and exclude those who are different. We are so much more than body image and to see only that is a limitation and a weakness. Let's make a resolution to be who we are and accept how that shows up in the people around us regardless of appearance.