Zac Efron, you are making my parenting job difficult.
After watching you rip your shirt open on the MTV movie awards to reveal your amazing six pack abs, my 13-year-old son has become obsessed with working out.
While it’s certainly good to be in shape, I’m concerned. Exercise is good. Obsession with body image is not.
As soon my son he returns from the small gym in our neighborhood, he asks me to feel his muscle. Ugh. What’s coming next? Will he ask me to buy him muscle shirts?
Maybe if Zac Efron didn’t get a crazy amount of media coverage every time he went shirtless, my son would think it’s okay to be fit without being ripped.
Anyone who thinks body image is just a teen girl issue doesn’t have a son. As one recent article I read pointed out: The terms ‘fat’ and ‘thin’ are not just descriptors of weight and size, they become descriptors of character. “A boy who is skinny is associated with being weak or small or maybe they are teased and called a ‘girl.’ A boy who is fat is associated with being lazy or unsuccessful.”
For some boys the obsession with bulking up has them turning to steroids, protein powders and all kinds of muscle-enhancing concoctions. Last night when my son came home from the gym, I talked to him about using exercise as a way to relieve stress and stay fit and warned him against getting preoccupied with muscles.
Of course, what teen boy listens to mom when bare-chested men with impossibly chiseled physique are they guys in the movies and on television scoring with the ladies?
So Zac Efron, please put your shift back on and use your personality to charm the ladies. It might not get you as much attention but it might help our sons realize they have more to offer than six-pack abs.
Parents, have you noticed boys becoming more obsessed with body image? How have you handled talking to your son about it?