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'Stop hating your bodies!': Men challenge harmful stereotypes

Point of View is an ITV News series where we invite people to share their life experiences and what they've learned from them.

A group of men are trying to change the way body image is often seen in the media.

Manual, a men’s health and wellbeing group, says the pressure to have a perfect body is negatively affecting men especially when it comes to their mental health.

Bashir Aziz Credit: Manual

The group says recent campaigns from brands such as Dove and Misguided have outwardly rejected misconceptions around the 'bikini body' and as a result, women's bodies are finally being increasingly celebrated in all sizes, races, genders, and aesthetics. But Manual says the same can not be said for men.

James Makings Credit: Manual

If you only look at the men in adverts, you would think that all men have six-packs, the perfect amount of stubble and permanently bronzed skin.

It is completely unrealistic and doesn't reflect what masculinity really looks like.

In a world where opening up about mental and physical wellbeing is arguably more crucial than ever before, it's vital that we all work together to de-stigmatise men's wellness and improve the health and happiness of men everywhere.

– George Pallis, Co-Founder of Manual

A massive part of all this is changing your mindset. It's really easy to get stuck in a cycle of 'I hate my body and nobody else is gonna like my body'.

I had to forcibly say to myself 'stop hating your body so much - what bits do you like about yourself and highlight those parts!'.

I've actually found social media really good platform for it. While I believe social media can be bad for mental health, I just started following more positive, inspiring people made me feel like I can be big and confident on Instagram without being a thirsty bear.

I posted a half-naked photo of myself in the bath and thought 'oh god, everyone's gonna hate this', but I got all these likes and I felt amazing about it afterward.

Things like that really started to help me.

– James Makings, campaigner

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