('Backyard' by Derrick Chow), Creator supplied
Constructed, buff and metrosexually styled — such is the dominant stereotype of what queer males ought to appear like. Magazines, web sites, image-based social media and courting apps contribute to creating idealized photographs of muscular and fat-free males’s our bodies. Is it any shock that physique dissatisfaction has been reported to negatively affect queer males’s psychological, emotional and sexual well being?
(Jalex Noel), Creator supplied
Dominant physique beliefs for a lot of queer males are unrealistic and may contribute to well being points like consuming problems. Emotions of loneliness and isolation, typically compounded by struggles on account of heteronormativity and stigma inside society, can morph into psychological and bodily well being points specific to queer males.
However the typically invisible issues of queer males about their our bodies are discovering a platform. In our current research, carried out at Dalhousie College and Queens College, 19 self-identifying homosexual, bi, trans and queer comedian e-book artists accomplished an nameless on-line survey designed to discover how comics supposed for queer males may promote discussions on physique picture and deal with physique picture issues.
The preliminary outcomes of our research revealed that comics are an modern solution to discuss physique picture issues for queer males. The artists mentioned comics have the potential to enhance their total well being experiences. We propose that this occurs as a result of comics create a singular language, draw consideration to cultural points and develop queer areas by connecting males.
Comics for care
Comics have turn into a popular culture phenomenon, however in addition they have the potential to vary methods to talk well being analysis.
Analysis exhibits comics utilized in well being information communication can have social and emotional advantages for sufferers, households and communities. Comics for well being care!
This technique has been efficient within the fields of vitamin, metabolic syndrome and HIV. As a result of comics have been proven to assist health-care practitioners discuss to individuals about critical well being points, there have been calls to think about how comics can be utilized much more to enhance well being experiences or higher share analysis with well being professionals and communities.
(Loch Arambula), Creator supplied
Many research about physique dissatisfaction deal with measuring how glad individuals are with sure physique components, whereas ignoring the physique as a complete and the way individuals stay social and cultural lives. Much less frequent — however essential — are research that take a extra holistic strategy.
For instance, in a world formed by heteronormativity, racism and moral judgment about individuals’s weight or meals decisions, queer males are often talked about and handled as if they’re a part of what well being researchers Mark Stall, Ron Freidman and Joseph A. Catania name “interacting epidemics.” Elements reminiscent of class, marginalization, notions of masculinities, how individuals are racialized and weight intersect and form queer males’s total well being.
Addressing all well being points for queer males, together with vitamin and weight loss plan, ought to thus keep in mind greater social contexts and narratives.
Artwork to the rescue! The comedian e-book artists in our research noticed comics as a solution to begin advanced conversations utilizing uncensored language and imagery, and by the highly effective approach comics generate that means and concepts via the juxtaposition of phrases and photos.
Comics had been seen as a medium of self-expression that can be utilized to replicate, problem, destabilize or embrace concepts about physique picture. The responses of the survey counsel that comics can create areas by offering illustration of many physique sorts. These representations contribute to altering cultural narratives about what queer males’s our bodies must be.
Survey respondents believed comics permit individuals to query and discover the social meanings of gender and masculinities that play a task of physique picture issues for queer males.
One artist talked about how comics can be utilized to “assist others acknowledge the lenses that we see ourselves via and the way representations of match our bodies can distort our thoughts’s eye with dire impacts for us as holistic beings.”
(Jay Pahre), Creator supplied
Increasing areas for queer males
The contributors additionally seen physique picture comics for queer males as a solution to create and develop area for them and their our bodies. One participant mentioned how dangerous it may be for queer males to solely see and be uncovered to idealized muscular our bodies in media.
As one participant famous, “to have comics that merely exist that characteristic the queer particular person, not to mention a fats one, is revolutionary as a result of it’s there. Readers can not discover and empathize with one thing if it doesn’t exist.”
The artists additionally talked about comics as a visible medium that’s more practical than prose, stories or analysis articles at creating area the place various our bodies are allowed and celebrated. Many contributors believed discovering or claiming extra space as queer males might help different males really feel higher about their our bodies.
(Fabien Barabé), Creator supplied
Comics had been additionally seen as a solution to construct connections amongst males and construct communities. Most contributors noticed comics as a method as an instance the struggles with physique picture that many queer males share.
Physique picture comics had been seen by a number of contributors as a method to assist one another by selling a capability to share emotions and vulnerability. As one participant mentioned, comics can “spotlight the constructive methods we have an effect on one another after we open up about our insecurities.”
Such a viewpoint might echo the understanding that artwork can present a broader sense of what counts as information and a larger use of that information.
Our outcomes counsel comics give individuals the chance to replicate and uncover connections between their well being, lives and society — one thing vital for each and any type of physique.
Phillip Pleasure is a co-editor for a comic book e-book anthology entitled Rainbow Reflections: Physique Picture Comics for Queer Males. He receives funding from Canadian Institutes of Well being Analysis (CIHR) for this undertaking and his doctoral analysis.
Stephanie Gauvin is a co-editor for a comic book e-book anthology entitled Rainbow Reflections: Physique Picture Comics for Queer Males. She acquired funding from Canadian Institutes of Well being Analysis (CIHR) for this undertaking and is an Ontario Ladies's Well being Scholar (funded by the Ontario Ministry for Lengthy-Time period Well being).
Matthew Numer and Megan Aston don’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that will profit from this text, and have disclosed no related affiliations past their educational appointment.