Are sexy gay Instagram accounts fueling disordered eating?
Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer/songwriter Sam Smith, who is openly gay, fought back against body shaming last week with a shirtless Instagram post . He said it was the first time he didn’t starve himself “for weeks” before a photo shoot, even a fully clothed one. The body-positive message drew widespread praise, but the platform for the message, Instagram, struck some gay men as ironic.
Instagram, which boasts roughly a billion users, is arguably the most visual social media platform, as its content is comprised of mostly photos and videos, with some memes sprinkled in. But for some users — particularly gay men, who have long dealt with social pressure to have a body that fits the ” masculine ideal ” — the image-centric platform has morphed from being a social network for friends to a sea of semi-nude “influencer” accounts.
These accounts, often dubbed “thirst traps,” typically feature scantily clad men with chiseled physiques hanging out on the beach or gay hot spots. They can have anywhere from 10,000 to a million followers, and they often post sponsored content where brands can promote their products. But this “eye candy” can have a negative consequence for some men who follow these accounts.
Patrick Lehe, 29, has struggled with his weight, including periods of binging and crash dieting. He said Instagram often reinforces the stereotype that gay culture is only for “ripped, statuesque men.”
At 6 feet tall, his weight has fluctuated between 188 and 277 pounds. He came out as gay after moving to Los Angeles, but he said because of his heavier weight, he feels even less accepted now than he did in the small town in Indiana in which he grew up.
“I’m at a healthier weight now, but it’s not one that is accepted by most in the community,” Lehe told NBC News. “Instagram helps create this idea that gay life is only for the ‘six-pack pals.’ I’ve felt this insecurity I couldn’t shake unless I fit the façade of beauty.”
Patrick Lehe, 29, says that Instagram often reinforces the stereotype that gay culture is only for “ripped, statuesque men.” Courtesy of Patrick Lehe Approximately 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives, according to the National Eating Disorder Association. The organization found gay men struggle disproportionately with body image issues and eating disorders: Though they are thought to make up only 5 percent of the national male population, gay men account for 42 percent of men who report having an eating disorder.
Asher Pandjiris is a therapist in New York City who treats LGBTQ people with eating disorders and was also a program director at an eating disorder center. She said high rates of disordered eating in the LGBTQ community are often reactions to the homophobia internalized in youth.
“Queer people often try and prove heteronormativity by having a muscled or thin body,” Pandjiris said. “But it’s almost more insidious that the queer community polices or generates these unattainable standards.”
Related NBC OUT Rippon’s body image comments highlight hidden struggle among gay men Pandjiris said it’s common to see patients engage in disordered eating, such as starving themselves if they miss a workout or before trips to gay events where their bodies are on display. She said looking at statuesque bodies on social media can play a hidden role in the problem.
“It’s hard for patients sometimes to connect the dots — that they saw a post on social media that makes them feel like they have to look a certain way in gay spaces, that they need to work out obsessively and starve themselves before a trip to Fire Island,” she said.
And research has indeed shown that high frequency of social media usage — particularly image-centric platforms like Instagram — corresponds to body image concerns and eating disorder symptoms in gay men.
Some of the ripped men on Instagram took note of Smith’s post. Max Emerson, whose page has more than a million followers, mostly posts photos of himself in his underwear, either alone or with other men with a similar physique.
Emerson, 30, said he’d like to feature more diversity on his page, but he said the reality is that posts with diverse bodies don’t get as much engagement.
“If you’re not selling a fantasy at first, you’re not going to get the platform,” he said. He pointed out that sponsors often cast his posts and that people with diverse bodies may not want to appear in photos with him, and that by keeping the platform popular, he’s been able to raise significant funds for LGBTQ causes.
“Still, what Sam did is important,” he said. “I could do more.”
Lehe still follows a few “thirst traps,” but some gay men decide to cut them out altogether.
Patrick McNaughton, 35, said he unfollowed all such accounts about six months ago. When he joined Instagram in its nascent days in 2011, he enjoyed it as a way to keep up with friends.
“Eventually, it changed. It became hundreds, if not thousands of these hot guys posting pics,” he said.
Related NBC OUT ‘Love & Resistance’: New exhibit celebrating Stonewall anniversary is rich with LGBTQ history McNaughton struggled with anorexia as a teenager and unhealthy diet and exercise later in life. He said that the photos of perfectly chiseled men on Instagram was an unwelcome reminder that in gay culture, it’s hard to get even platonic attention without that kind of a body.
“The photos are saying, ‘Look we’re all gorgeous, and we all hang out with people who look like us,’” he said. “If I saw those guys all together, they’d obviously never talk to me. So why maintain the fantasy by looking at the pictures?”
The way the men post about mundane aspects of their life — getting coffee, going to the gym, lying in bed reading — gives the false sense of real connection with them, according to McNaughton. “It’s like they are letting you into the elite social circle of hot guys,” he said.
Brogan , who has almost 50,000 followers and asked to be identified only by his Instagram handle to maintain a professional separation from his work at a startup, said he does feel connected to his followers. He said most messages he gets cite his feed as motivating, and he views Instagram as personally liberating.
For three years as a teenager, Brogan underwent conversion therapy in Virginia where he was told he was too feminine. He said this caused him to exercise obsessively in an effort to attain a physique perceived as masculine. “I looked great, but I was depressed,” he said.
Now, he’s found a balance in his diet and exercise, and is comfortable with his body. “I feel good when I’m walking around in my underwear,” he said. “I view the photos as art.”
When Brogan, 30, saw Smith’s post, he said he was surprised because he thought Smith looked great.
“I’d proudly stand next to him in photos. I don’t see our bodies as being in different categories,” he said. But he acknowledged that his feed doesn’t feature any men with physiques similar to Smith’s. The only posts showing diversity are a few with his friend, Mila Jam , a trans woman of color with an athletic physique and almost 20,000 followers.
“Do my photos with her make my engagements plummet? Yes. She’s a woman. My followers want a sexy man,” he said. “But I thought it was important to feature her.”
Padjiris, the therapist, said most people suffer in silence, creating the impression that this isn’t a widespread problem. She said it’s important for those with a platform to speak out, but ultimately the whole community could deal more honestly with the pressure on queer bodies.
“Smith said in his post it took courage to speak up. We could decide that we have a different standard of beauty, that we don’t have to conform to the heteronormative image,” she said. “That would be brave.”
If you struggle with disordered eating or someone you love does, contact the National Eating Disorders Association (U.S.) helpline at (800) 931-2237.
11 Brutal Truths About Loving A Libra (As Written By One)
February 21, 2019
The good, the bad, the Libra.
Ah, the scales. No, I’m not talking about those idiotic, scary ones that tell us when we’ve eaten too much ice cream. I’m talking about the symbol that represent the fall-friendliest of the zodiac signs, Libra, — which happens to be my own astrological sign.
Accoding to astrology, we Libras are known as harmonious, pleasant, and well-balanced people. Hence the scales, get it?
But scratch the surface and you’ll find there’s a bit more to us — and admittedly, it’s not all so delightful and sunshiney.
There may come a time when you find yourself dating or falling in love with one of us, and when that time comes, these little nuggets of knowledge might just help you navigate your relationship more smoothly.
Because let’s face it: When you land a Libra zodiac sign, you’re going to want to hold on to her forever.
So here’s what you need to know about what it’s like to love and be loved by a Libra woman. 1. We’re a little out there.
“Middle” Libras, born somewhere between October 4 and 13, are just … weird.
Perhaps we make animal noises in conversation or adopt cat behaviors as our own (I’m sorry, I can’t help it); perhaps we invent bizarre dance moves in our kitchens.
Whatever the manifestation of this weirdness is, it exists and it’s not going anywhere. 2. We’re indecisive — or are we?
(See what I did there?) Anyway iit doesn’t matter if the decision is as big as whether or not to take a new job or as small as choosing between chicken and fish — to us, it’s a matter of life and death, no matter what.
We’ll obsessively weigh the pros and cons as our heart rates rapidly increase and our faces contort in distress.
And once the decision is made (usually by force of another person), there’s a strong chance we’ll regret it almost immediately or spend the rest of our lives wondering how things would be different if we went the other route.
We’ll bring you along for this entire journey, so buckle up! RELATED: 7 Ways To Truly Love A Libra Woman (As Told By One) 3. We’re peacemakers.
Enter us into a beauty pageant because, guys, Libras just want some godd*mn world peace. And while that, unfortunately, may not be entirely attainable, you can bet we’ll at least work on it at a more personal level.
You hate someone? Even if we kind of hate them too, we’ll speak their merits to you until we’re blue in the face because: fairness.
And if a fight erupts between two of our best friends, you can bet we’ll devote every ounce of our energy to getting those kids back on the same page because come on, we cannot take the stress of this rift!
But because we’re diplomats, it often means … 4. We have a hard time saying no.
It’s not unlikely for us to have a to-do list 16 pages long but still agree to take on a last minute project at work, run an errand for a family member, or help a friend perfect her resume.
We’ll do it with a smile on our faces … and then complain about it later.
BTW: now that you know this, don’t even think about taking advantage and ask us for a million favors, because … ugh, we’ll probably say yes. RELATED: 21 Quotes That Prove Libras Just Want (And Deserve) To Be Loved 5. We’re plagued with FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out, for those of you living under a rock). And jealousy.
Honestly, I hate to admit it, but it’s true. They both boil down to the same thing: we want to have the inside scoop on everything, all the time.
When we’re freaking out trying to make yet another decision about whether to go to that event or not? Chances are, the deciding factor to go will be FOMO.
What if Amy Poehler is randomly in town and heard about the event and happens to stop by and I miss it? Or, what if our friends have an amazing time and spend the next month cracking inside jokes that I don’t understand?
Those questions will eat away at us until the end of time.
And the jealousy? That has nothing to do with our level of trust in you. It’s not you; it’s us.
If we don’t have all the details of that night out with your buddies, our minds manifest the worst possible scenarios, all on their own. 6. We’re charmers and flirts. What can I say?
We Libras are a smooth bunch. Don’t worry, we’re not cheats — we’ll be fiercely loyal to you.
We’ll just do so while being charismatic and engaging to everyone else. RELATED: 16 Motivational Quotes That’ll Help Libras Make Up Their Minds 7. We need time to recharge.
Some people refer to this Libra trait as “laziness.” (And yes, those people can kiss my charming, peacemaking ass.)
Sure, we like our downtime but only to recharge us for success, fun, and adventure to come. So if that means staying in on a Friday night or taking a mid-afternoon nap on a Sunday, deal with it. 8. We like beautiful things.
Alright, alright: We’re a tad materialistic and have a bit of a shopping habit. We see the value in investing in quality, whether it’s handbags or home décor and are generally willing to shell out for it.
Before you get yourself worked up in a tizzy, know that doesn’t mean we expect you to give us diamonds served to us on 14K gold platters. (But at the same time, we won’t turn it away.) RELATED: 5 Reasons A Libra Is The Best Friend You Never Knew You Needed 9. We’re great listeners.
Lovers, come to us with your problems. While we can’t guarantee we’ll fix them, we’ll always be here to offer a sympathetic ear and give you the attention and emotional support that just might help lift that weight of worries off your back. 10. We like to take on new challenges.
We’re not happy with settling (see: not lazy), and are always on the hunt for the next new adventure: taking a guitar classes, training for a triathlon, or learning a new language.
Even if we’re happy in our lives and careers, we continue to crave these challenges and will always carve out time to devote to them. And if that sometimes means less time for you, well, so sorry. 11. We’re insane about fall.
Yes, the season. The one with the crisp air, beautiful leaves, and oh yeah, Halloween.
We know everyone loves it (if you don’t, there’s something definitely wrong with you), and we basically claim ownership for its existence, purely based on our birthdates. And we pretty much go nuts for its duration every year.
Apple picking? Going to haunted houses? Baking pumpkin bread? Drinking spiked cider? Let’s do it all!
Emma Sarran Webster is a freelance writer and editor, contributing to sites like Teen Vogue, Allure and Michigan Ave Mag. Catch her on Instagram and Twitter for more. like us on facebook If you ‘like’ us, we’ll LOVE you! Author
Allow Boys To Wear Skirts At School In Gender Neutral Uniform Policy, Says MP
Australia Brasil Canada Deutschland España France Ελλάδα (Greece) India Italia 日本 (Japan) 한국 (Korea) Maghreb México Québec (en français) South Africa United Kingdom United States POLITICS 21/02/2019 11:27 GMT | Updated 21/02/2019 11:35 GMT Allow Boys To Wear Skirts At School In Gender Neutral Uniform Policy, Says MP Lib Dem Layla Moran hits out at anti-trans lobby, and reveals she has questioned her own sexuality. By Arj Singh PA Wire/PA Images Schools should be made to allow boys to wear skirts as part of a gender neutral uniform policy, an MP has said.
Layla Moran also revealed she spent six months as a school pupil thinking she was gay, as she insisted she had “no issue at all” with children learning about transgender issues.
The Liberal Democrat education spokesman is to table legislation for schools to be made to introduce gender neutral uniform policies to stop pupils being treated unfairly.
She said she was inspired to take up the cause after hearing from then-15 year-old Lib Dem member Jess Insall, who told the party’s conference in 2017 that she wanted to play football on breaks but was told she could not switch her skirt for trousers.
Describing it as a “feminist issue first and foremost”, Moran is bringing forward legislation designed to ensure English schools have either one uniform for all, or different types of uniform which children are allowed to wear regardless of their gender, mirroring recent changes in Wales.
It is “absolutely not” the state imposing what people should wear, she said.
“We’re not trying to make everyone wear trousers for example, it’s actually about giving people more choice not less choice.”
“Would the boys want to wear the skirts? Maybe they would, and what’s wrong with that? I see nothing wrong with that whatsoever.”
The MP said her campaign has also gained support in the transgender community, as children who are transitioning often feel “stigma” when they have to immediately change uniform.
“It’s quite an emotional thing for children who are considering transitioning, actually being forced at that point to come out – that’s the way that one family put it to me,” she said.
Moran also took on critics who suggest children are overly exposed to transgender issues.
“There was about six months at school when I thought I was gay. I wasn’t gay, but I thought about maybe I was? I imagined what would that be like 50 years ago when that was against god, you were a criminal if you did it in law.
“So I have no issue at all with putting all the different options out there on the table. Let’s encourage kids to feel like they have ownership of those and what they mean.
PA Wire/PA Images Moran’s bill would bring English law into line with Wales “And if they match that up to themselves, let them. What I don’t think you can do is force anyone to transition genders.
“The subtext of people who say that by putting the options on the table you’re encouraging people to do it suggests you can coerce people into changing gender. That makes no sense whatsoever.”
Laura Russell, head of policy at the Stonewall charity, said: “We welcome all efforts to ensure all young people feel included and accepted for who they are.
“All trans young people should be able to wear clothes that align with their identity at school. Not only that, but all children and young people benefit from being able to wear a uniform they feel comfortable in.
“We are working toward a world where all young trans people feel able to be themselves at school and are accepted without exception.”
Moran’s will present her school uniforms (gender neutrality) bill to the Commons on March 6.
It is not expected to become law without government support.
A Department for Education spokesperson made clear schools should be able to decide their own uniform policies.
They said: “We trust school leaders to make decisions about school uniform as they are best placed to ensure these policies meet the needs of their pupils.
“When putting together a uniform policy, a school must consider its obligations not to discriminate unlawfully on the grounds of sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment or religion or belief. This is made clear in the guidance we publish to help schools understand their responsibilities.”
Related… How Do You Even Know If You’re Transgender? ‘Parents and Schools Have A Responsibility To Teach Children About Feminism The Rise Of Anti-Trans Activism Is Harming Children, Not Helping Them Suggest a correction Arj Singh Deputy Political Editor, HuffPost UK
How To Buy Real CBD Oil Online
How To Buy Real CBD Oil Online Hint: Amazon isn’t on the list of legitimate retailers. 02/20/2019 04:14pm ET Photo by Demi Pradolin on Unsplash
Don’t want to buy your CBD products on Amazon ? That’s probably for the best.
A quick search for CBD oil on Amazon serves up more than 3,000 results, but the site’s selling guidelines prohibit the sale of products containing cannabidiol.
CBD, or cannabidiol , is the nonpsychoactive ingredient in the marijuana plant. The chemical that is responsible for weed’s psychoactive effects is called THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol , and it is mostly removed from CBD products. Basically, THC gets you high. CBD doesn’t.
People turn to CBD for all kinds of reasons, including for help sleeping better and dealing with headaches . Some people are just curious about the CBD and cannabis beauty items that are now on the market.
The products that show up on Amazon when you search “CBD” are most likely made of hemp oil, sometimes called hemp seed oil, which is extracted by cold-pressing hemp seeds . It doesn’t contain any THC and generally contains very little CBD .
Because Amazon won’t cut it, we did some digging to find a handful of reliable companies and retailers that sell authentic CBD products. From CBD bath salts to CBD pet treats , there are plenty of trusthworthy places to buy from in 2019.
Below, 15 of our legitimate CBD companies and retailers that sell the real deal:
FYI, HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. 1
Waiting for Oscar: How Florida State alum Barry Jenkins and his ‘FSU family’ make movie magic
News / Waiting for Oscar: How Florida State alum Barry Jenkins and his ‘FSU family’ make movie magic Waiting for Oscar: How Florida State alum Barry Jenkins and his ‘FSU family’ make movie magic By: | Published: February 21, 2019 | 11:00 am | Share: In 2017, Barry Jenkins thrilled students and staff with his visit to Florida State after winning an Oscar for his film “Moonlight.” Jenkins is nominated again for an Academy Award at the 91st Oscars this Sunday.
Something good happens every time Oscar winner and Florida State University graduate Barry Jenkins puts his FSU filmmaking band back together.
The talented film school graduates from the class of 2003 have created another masterful movie, “If Beale Street Could Talk.” The critically acclaimed film is nominated for three Oscars at the 91st Academy Awards this Sunday.
The FSU crew connected in college and created the kind of bond that’s easier felt than explained. Over the past 16 years, they have frequently worked together, played together and confronted challenges together.
They describe themselves as a family, and they work that way too.
“Since we left Tallahassee about 15 years ago, we’ve been working to build careers as filmmakers,” Jenkins said. “Over the past three to four years, that foundation has finally coalesced into the work and opportunities that we hoped for when we were students at FSU. We’re keeping the band together.”
Keeping the band together has been good for them personally and professionally.
Jenkins (FSU ’03), cinematographer James Laxton (FSU ’03), producer Adele Romanski (FSU ’04), and editors Joi McMillon (FSU ’03) and Nat Sanders (FSU 02), have worked together regularly over the past decade. Each experience has rejuvenated what Jenkins calls a “communal” chemistry that first clicked between them as students.
Two years ago, their breakout indie film “Moonlight” was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won three Oscars. Jenkins shared an award for Best Adapted Screenplay and Romanski shared another for Best Picture.
Those big wins have translated into big opportunities.
Jenkins and Romanski have launched a new production company called PASTEL, and they’ve signed a deal with tech-retail behemoth Amazon to develop multiple television series for Amazon Studios. They are already filming the first project, “The Underground Railroad,” based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Colson Whitehead. Barry Jenkins and Joi McMillon share a birthday laugh in 2018. (Photo: Barry Jenkins’ Twitter feed: @BarryJenkins)
As part of Jenkins’ new entrepreneurial effort, he has expanded the FSU film family and welcomed more Florida State graduates to the team. One of the other partners at PASTEL is Mark Ceryak, a native of Live Oak, Florida, who graduated from FSU’s film school in 2003.
Jenkins said bringing new members into the FSU filmmaking family is done with much care because they want to preserve the special chemistry first developed as students at the film school.
“We’re still the same group — we’re not different because we won Best Picture for ‘Moonlight,’” Jenkins said. “The biggest thing to me is we trust each other. Having a producer like Adele at the top, who has my back, is always comforting. So is having James, Joi and Nat filtering the images in the voice they need to be filtered through.”
Those telltale images are again captivating film fans and critics.
The Washington Post praises Jenkins for “redefining cinematic beauty” in “If Beale Street Could Talk” with its vivid colors and compelling composition. The film builds on the almost reverent reputation that Jenkins et al. earned for creating the gorgeously raw and bold look of “Moonlight” in 2016.
Jenkins is building a singular film aesthetic immediately recognizable among fans. He credits the film school and his FSU family for helping to develop that vision on the set and in editing.
“I think my films look the way they do because the film school instilled in me that you have to know how all these different equipment components operate because it’s part of the craft,” Jenkins said. “I think the really lovely thing about the film school is everybody has to do everything, and so the idea of ego is very quickly put in check, and we just share a collective energy.” Barry Jenkins, who wrote and directed “If Beale Street Could Talk,” talks with actors on the set of the film production. Jenkins is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2019 Oscars.
Fortunately, his FSU family is a buffer — a comfort zone where they all can retreat from the realities of celebrity and just focus on being storytellers.
“Everything is larger now, so we have to do extra mental work to block out those things,” Jenkins said. “We want to make sure everyone who comes into the family understands how the family operates. We’re just trying to tell stories, same as we always did.” Posted in: Arts & Humanities , News | Tagged: Academy Awards , Adele Romanski , Barry Jenkins , James Laxton , Joi McMillon , Mark Ceryak , Moonlight , Nat Sanders , Oscars , PASTEL , “If Beale Street Could Talk” Post navigation