Masih belum banyak yang menyadari kalau body image negatif tidak hanya dialami oleh perempuan. Banyak juga laki-laki yang merasa tidak puas dan tak jarang insecure dengan body image mereka. Terlalu gemuk, terlalu kurus, terlalu pendek, terlalu buncit, dan terlalu terlalu lainnya. Belum lagi tuntutan budaya untuk bersikap dan berlaku sesuai dengan gambaran laki-laki ideal. Sepertinya tuntutan budaya dan penggambaran ideal oleh media bisa mempengaruhi siapapun, terlepas dari apa jenis kelaminmu.
Semua ekspektasi akan penampilan ideal semakin intens mempengaruhi seseorang apabila ia adalah seorang model. Kita tahu seberapa besar tekanan yang dialami oleh para model perempuan. Tapi ternyata para model laki-laki juga tidak luput dari tekanan ini. Maksudnya, meski kita sebagai orang awam melihat seorang model itu sebagai contoh ‘sempurna’ dan ideal, di industrinya sendiri, kesempurnaan itu dituntut untuk selalu ditingkatkan dan seringnya tanpa memikirkan perasaan sang model.
Mari berkenalan dengan Ray Shabir, seorang model dan penulis, yang #CottoninkTeam ajak untuk mengobrol tentang self-love dan body image dari perspektif laki-laki. Sebagai model, Ray juga pernah merasa self-concious tentang body image ideal yang ditampilkan oleh media. Cari tahu bagaimana cowok yang juga menulis ‘Public Feelings & Other Acts’ ini mengatasi rasa insecure dan self-concious serta nasihatnya buat Kamu yang masih berjuang dalam mengekspresikan diri terlepas dari apapun hal ideal yang ditampilkan oleh media.
Body Image dan Self-Love bersama Ray Shabir
Hello Ray, can you introduce yourself to the 247 Cottonink Magazine readers?
Hi everyone! I’m Ray Shabir. I’m a writer and a model from Jakarta. And now, along with my friend and partner, I’m also running a little studio space called Studio Lima Empat.
What keeps you busy during this pandemic?
I was supposed to release my second book last year but of course with the pandemic I had to reschedule. With that, I ended up editing and perfecting it, tweaking it here and there and somehow made it better. So now, I’m currently preparing for its release!
In this edition, COTTONINK is talking about self-love and body image. What does self-love mean for you?
To me, self-love is about respecting yourself. It’s putting a priority for yourself and your happiness + well-being, while keeping your ego in check. And like any other forms of love, it requires time and effort — consciously learning and unlearning new things in order for you to take care of yourself, and not sacrificing your needs for the sake of pleasing other people.
Could you tell us the times when you ever felt self-conscious because of how the media portrays the ideal body image?
I don’t know if this story counts as ‘the media’, but somehow it probably talks about the expectation for being in the media. My worst experience is when I had a job once for a magazine, and somebody called me a no-del (non-model) on set. That sucked. How am I a non-something when I was there doing the shoot? I felt like a poser.
I realized it’s a term people use for talents that are not thin enough or tall enough or doesn’t fit the mold of the industry standard, and got the job anyway — but they didn’t have to pay. I used to feel self-conscious for not being tall enough to be signed to a modeling agency. I love creative people and would love to get the chance to be in a room with them, working and creating something together. So it broke my heart a bit when I was younger, feeling like I’m not good enough or lacking something to give.
What do you usually do to make yourself feel better?
Radical acceptance. I accepted that my body is mine, and it’s not the end of the world if I didn’t get to be signed anywhere. Because as time goes by, I feel confident enough to say that my work as a model keeps getting better and better. The height thing never bothered me anymore. I get to work with a lot of creatives and talented people that make great works, and I cherish them deeply.
The older I get I realize that this body I have, is my vessel in the world. My body is mine for me to call home. It’s made just for me to live and to be able to tell a certain kind of story in this world. All of my achievements and failures were experienced in this body, and it keeps the score. Or be friends with this person or that person or experienced the kind of life that I personally had. Who knows if I’ll ever be a writer if I was taller. If it wasn’t for this body, I wouldn’t have probably had this chat with you guys.
How was the ‘normal’ body image when you were growing up?
Personally, I never had any pressure to be in a certain shape, or have a certain kind of body type. My family ranges from someone who’s really really skinny to someone that literally has obesity. I was blessed enough to be raised in a surrounding where there was no fat shaming or anything, for both boys and girls. But I know that’s probably not the case for a lot of people.
It has been a general knowledge that most of the time women’s bodies are objectified by the media. Do you think that men also have a ‘splash’ of objectification from the industry?
Yes and no. I feel like influences from western media, especially the ones that pertain to America, really glorifies jock culture. Where athletes and sports are something that masculinity is defined from. Then that trickles into defining what is considered to be ‘hot’ or ‘sexy’ or desirable. We see it everywhere from movies to music videos and giant fashion ads in malls.
I see people who bought into it. Men that hit the gym like crazy to achieve that Adonis type of body. But most of my guy friends aren’t like that. They just simply don’t care or have other things to worry about. I believe women still have it way harder than men by far. Because I’ve never experienced seeing a guy who sees another guy and says “ew look at his outfit” or something along that line. Well, unless he’s a real bitch.
What do you think are the reasons for people feeling insecure to themselves that results in negative body image?
Society. Friends. Family. Media. It could come from all different sorts of things and outside perspectives. This is when learning and unlearning really comes in handy.
Is there any advice for anyone who is struggling with how they express themselves because of the beauty standard by the media?
By the end of the day, when you see something on the internet, it doesn’t mean it’s true. Or that it’s the best. Or in any way right. Don’t compare yourself to celebrities that have the luxury to have personal chefs and hit the gym 6 hours a day. It’s 2021! YOU get to define beauty for YOURSELF. You get to feel like you’re beautiful on your own merits. Be thankful that your body has brought you here today, through all of the bullshit you’ve had to endure in your life. Celebrate it. Just because they look like that on TikTok, doesn’t mean you have to.