The gay community is not all about bright colors, popsicles and flowers. Behind the facade of extremely funny and stunning guys, there are hours and hours spent on working on their self-image, and for many reasons. Some will say that being a part of this community takes hours of working on yourself and giving up so many things, while others say that this whole story is rather damaging, as they cannot live up to the challenge of having that perfect V-shape or being supper funny and punny. Even though there are many pros and cons of working on your self-image in the gay community, we are here to discuss the reasons why so many gay men are literally obsessed with this.

The feel-good factor

Probably the most important reason why all of us work on ourselves (be it the physical or the mental self-image) is because it makes us feel good. There’s nothing better than looking yourself in the mirror and liking what you see. However, since the standards of looking perfect in the gay community are extremely high, this doesn’t happen very often, with hundreds of guys not being satisfied with their reflection. Endless gym sessions and drinking protein shakes will probably result in a body shape that many of us will like, but, yes, there are those who are never satisfied with their appearance.

A part of the community

Gays are known to be extremely cruel just as much as they’re funny and creative. In order to be a part of the community, actually a part of the “cool and hot gays”, working on yourself is an imperative.

Regardless of how easy and naïve this sounds, it’s not always like that. Surely, the feel-good factor and the sense of belonging to the community are only the goals they’re trying hard to achieve, without realizing that many of them will end up suffering from BDD – the body dysmorphic disorder. Namely, this is classified as an obsessive-compulsive disorder, giving you the impression that your body is definitely not the way you wanted it to be, no matter how false that impression might be. Apart from that, many gays, due to this fact, suffer from different eating disorders and negative body image. This definitely means that we really need to pay attention to the way we’re working on our self-image.

The most wanted in the community

If you interview, for example, all the members of Grindr in a certain place, you will definitely come to the conclusion that all the buff guys, or the ones who are really, really good-looking, tend to get much more messages than those who are, in lack of a better term, ordinary guys. Each and every one of us has different features that they want to enhance. Take a guy who’s not particularly cute or beautiful, for example – you know that he will do whatever it takes to enhance the looks of his body. Others turn to medical solutions such as penis augmentation, liposuction or something else, which is again totally advisable if that’s going to improve your self-esteem. Plastic surgery has also found its way into this world, which is again perhaps the least dangerous method of improving the flaws you (think you) have. But what about those guys who simply work 60 hours a week and have no time to work out or work on themselves?

Connecting masculinity to gayness

Let’s do a small experiment. Take a look at the gay scene from the early 00’s and the one of today, and spot the differences. One of the biggest differences you will notice in the first second is that almost all gays today look extremely buff compared to the ones from 10 or 20 years ago. So, could it be because gays love buff guys, or in order to be closer in looks to straight guys who were their crushes while in high-school? Even though the answer to this question is very difficult to give, the fact remains that gays are trying to be more masculine, regardless of their sexual position. An article in The Atlantic deals with this issue, explaining the tyranny of buffness in the gay community, giving examples and reasons why.

Becoming Prince Charming

Let’s put all this working on your body aside, as working on your self-image is not only about pumping your muscles and getting a nose job. The self-image depends greatly on your characteristics, which is again a thing that many gays are working on. There is this prejudice that gays who look like a million dollars (we’re talking big guns and pretty face) are not that interesting or funny at all. And if this were true, it wouldn’t be shocking at all. All the gays who cannot live up to this challenge work on their social skills and their humor, which is probably the most important thing for a gay guy. Looks and trends come and go, but this is something that stays.

The gay community can be a very vicious world. It’s not enough that we are being judged for who we are, but we judge and discriminate gays among ourselves based on their looks, which is definitely not a healthy thing to do. The best thing would be to work a bit on your body and bit on your social skills, without judging anyone. After all, we’re here playing for the same team.

Peter is a gay lifestyle writer at Queer Voices magazine. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.