The Quest for the Six Pack: Body Image Issues in Boys

body image

body image

The six pack.

It’s a symbol of fitness, dedication and attractiveness. Men have spent countless hours doing planks, crunches, and sit-ups in pursuit of a flat belly. Because of the six pack’s allure, many young boys are doing the same thing.

I discovered how much boys covet the six pack after doing an activity with the middle school boys that I mentor. I asked the boys to draw a self-portrait. The point of the exercise was to discover how they viewed themselves and generate a discussion about self-image.

Most of the boys drew only their faces. But one young man drew his whole body and his picture was the most revealing. He depicted himself with huge muscles and a chiseled body. Although the young man plays on his school’s football team, he isn’t a bodybuilder.

I asked him why he drew himself that way.

“Because the girls like boys with six packs,” he said.

“How do you know?” I asked.

“Because the boys with six packs always have a lot of girls hanging around them,” he said.

He went on to tell me how he does stomach exercises before and after school and during his free moments. He’s even posted pictures of athletes on his bathroom mirror to motivate him to keep working out.

“At school, the boys lift up our shirts and compare our six packs,” he said. “It’s a competition. I’m going to have to work our hard this summer to be ready for high school next year.”

As I listened to him, I thought back on how much I was like him when I was younger…Read the rest of the article on my Blog at Puritans Pride

Stay Strong,

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About author

Frederick J. Goodall

Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at or on Twitter at

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