Darius Mickey is a UK based model who has a skin condition called Vitiligo, where the pigment is lost from some parts of the skin. In his case, the condition is most visible on his hands. Aside from redefining standards of beauty in men through his modeling career, Darius wrote somthing on his instagram page that gave insight into the male psyche that I may not have considered before.
“As a man I often feel forgotten,
like the beauty of a man is a latent and ancient ruin and every so often a tourist will pass by and make a quick snap for the history of a man but rarely for the stunning architecture,
Compliments and Acknowledgement are rare commodities,
For some of us there is no make up to cushion
the fall of rejection or hiding who we are,
We are who we are,
For me, Beauty is the perfect combination of inner and outer quality,
We are the future husbands, father’s & uncles of this generation,
it would really be nice and purposeful to be equipped with words of affirmation, for the battle of acceptance….”
As women we have countless campaigns on redefining beauty, we encourage each other to be give more compliments, and build nests of support for one another. These campaigns usually do not include men, and that can be attributed to the fact that men don’t usually talk about their insecurities. In an era of rigid hypermasculinity where it may be considered too weak to voice concerns on low self-self esteem. This widely held belief in male invincibility contributes to the fact that many heath care providers aren’t really trained to recognize signs of eating disorders in men.
I invite you to look at the men in your life, and try to find ways to be more generous with compliments, to help them build value in the body that they have. None of us of course should have our sense of worth wrapped entirely around our physical appearance, but it’s always nice to hear a compliment.
Just look at the burst of joy one experience, in being told they are beautiful.
Darius Mickey’s honest journey toward self-love could perhaps be an invitation for men to allow themselves the vulnerability to admit their own struggles, and start a journey toward self-love and Self-compassion. And we, whether we are women, or fellow men, should create a safe space in which vulnerability is sacred, nurtured, and tended to. Let’s make easier for men to explore the struggle of finding value in yourself, of learning to be generous with love for the self. And that start, could be just saying “Hey, I think you’re so handsome today”.
Isabelle Masado writes about body compassion on her blog "The Dear Body Project". She knows all too well that the personal is the political, is the community. As such, there is no discussing body compassion without talking about the assault on black bodies, trans women, and people with disabilities. Her mantra is, "How can I live in a way that makes room for you too"? She writes to examine, to heal, to redeem.