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Big Boys SNL: How The Skit Helps Challenge Male Body Standards

big boys snl

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Lauren Sanchez. Find her on Instagram at @lauren.sanchezz. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

It’s cuffing season and all the girls need a reason to get a big boy according to musical guest SZA and host Keke Palmer on Saturday Night Live. Two weekends ago, Saturday Night Live came up with a comedic skit all about praising “big boys” or boys with a bit of meat on them this holiday season– and to be honest, I’m all here for it.

From rapping about finding a man with “polar bear arms” who can “bring in my groceries in just one trip to saying “skinny boys [are] dead/ forget a six-pack, I need the whole damn keg,” SNL clearly has one thing to say: “big boys” are here to stay! While SNL is notorious for making jokes and poking fun of everyone, regardless of who you are or what you look like, SNL highlighting the iconic “dad bod” has us wondering why we don’t see that type of body positivity for men in general and how we think of male body standards in general. And while body standards are usually a topic surrounding women and unrealistic beauty expectations, men’s body issues often go unnoticed in the media. And why is that? Let’s dive into the topic of male beauty standards, the effects on younger males and why it’s crucial to highlight body positivity for males of all shapes and sizes!

What Kinds Of Male Body Standards Are There?


Growing up only seeing completely unrealistic standards presented as default has had no consequences #mentalhealth #bodydysphormia #mensmentalhealth #bodypositivity #insecurities #malebodypositivity

♬ Under the wig – jonahpedro

So what is the perceived “ideal body” for men? Most popular male influencers and characters that you’ll find on social media and in film have the same body type: very muscular, tall, strong and have a modelesque physique. Unrealistic body expectations are nothing new. Trends like #Bodygoals have circulated around for years to show off one’s body and promote ideal body types of what people should aspire to look like. From ads with muscular men parading around in their Calvin Klein underwear to TikToks of men sharing their extensive gym and diet routine, each promotes an ideal body type or active lifestyle that men need to obtain.

Because of this, men are often taught that they need to be strong, tough, hypermasculine and “built different” to have a better career, love life or overall fulfillment in life– which is simply not the case.

How These Unrealistic Body Standards Affect Young Men

According to the National Eating Disorder Association, one in three people struggling with an eating disorder is male, and eating-disordered behaviors such as binge eating, purging, laxative abuse, etc, are nearly as common among men as they are among women.

In the United States alone, eating disorders will affect over 10 million males at some point in their life– and while the prevalence of male eating disorders is high, men often feel that they can’t speak out against their bodily problems because of societal norms. In working towards obtaining an ideal body type, the majority of people don’t consider the health factors that affect men when it comes to them wanting to look like the muscular and strong men shown in the media.

Research shows that between 30-45% of men express anxiety about their weight, and over 85% of men are unsatisfied with their muscle weight. In addition to developing disordered eating habits, these unrealistic body expectations can cause men to develop lower self-esteem, develop disorders like body dysmorphia and can cause other mental health illnesses like depression and anxiety to form.

Steroid usage is more common among men to promote muscle growth and changes in their routine to fit in excessive gym trips or exercise for long periods of time to “bulk” up can create unhealthy habits and even cause men to develop muscle dysmorphia– a subtype of body dysmorphia where people are obsessively concerned with their muscularity and leanness.

While body image issues are normally discussed with women, this lack of recognition of male bodies creates difficulty for men to find resources and help to combat their issues and ultimately creates a stigma in which men should not speak up about their problems because it’s “unmanly.”

A Body Type That Needs To Be Appreciated: The “Dad Bod”

On TikTok, edits of celebrities who have the specific body type of the “dad bod” are going viral and it’s rightfully deserved. In normalizing this specific type of body, not only does it combat the ideal body standards that are perpetuated through other forms of media, but it shows that so many people appreciate and actually admire those men who do have that body type.

With these edits going around appreciating “bigger” men, other male influencers on the app are coming forward to show off their own bodies without fear of rejection or ridicule. And while these small seven second videos may seem like nothing at first, these videos are contributing to the bigger movements of body positivity and normalizing the conversation for men everywhere that your body does not contribute to your self worth!

Stop With The Body Standards, Period.


Replying to @Vaeh<33 one more time but only bc sza said so x

♬ have of yall not even big chile – 🆘

Contrary to popular belief, there will never be a “perfect” body and telling people that they must look a certain way in order to gain any recognition or feel worthy is wrong and disgusting! Perpetuating these body standards is so incredibly harmful to all, regardless of gender. All that should matter about our bodies is that we are healthy and happy! 

In appreciating all kinds of bodies, including the “big boys”, men are able to be comfortable in their own skin and not feel like they have to conform to societal expectations— they can simply just exist for being who they are! And with skits like SNL’s “Big Boys” or social media promoting inclusivity and body positivity, the discussion of normalizing all kinds of body types can continue to make progress and teach everyone that our bodies do not determine who we are as people. 

How did you feel about the Big Boys SNL skit? What more can we do to normalize all kinds of bodies and continue the body positivity conversation? Let us know in the comments below!

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