Engaging men in health

March 2009


To be Superman

The male looks obsession

Volume 38, No.3, March 2009 Pages 131-133

Natalie Knoesen

Son Thai Vo

David Castle


It is widely recognised that body image dissatisfaction is experienced by both men and women, and in extreme cases can lead to the onset of debilitating body image disorders such as body dysmorphic disorder and muscle dysmorphia, the latter predominantly occurring in men.


This opinion piece provides a discussion specifically around the social factors influencing the increasing male looks obsession and highlights some recent local and international research in this area.


Implications for general practitioners and clinicians are discussed together with the need for further local research in this area to enhance our understanding of the implications of extreme body image dissatisfaction in men, its prevalence, manifestations and treatment outcomes.

It has become widely recognised that body image dissatisfaction is a significant issue for both women and men. Indeed, increasing numbers of men are becoming concerned with their physical appearance.1 The Psychology Today serial surveys reported that 47% of men were dissatisfied with their overall appearance in 1997 compared to 15% in 1972.2 In 2000, Pope1 reported similar results and found that 43% of men sampled were unhappy with their overall appearance.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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