Juliette Bains: The naked truth about men’s body issues could get ugly

Rita Ora, left, rips open Zac Efron's shirt at the MTV Movie Awards.

Rita Ora, left, rips open Zac Efron's shirt at the MTV Movie Awards.

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Tweasing, plucking, nipping, tucking – you name it, there’s a procedure out there for almost every woman.

Whilst some ladies indulge in these measures more than others, most of us can relate to trying to enhance ourselves in some way.

Whether it’s a posh new mascara or something more extreme like surgery, we’ve all tried to look that little bit better.

But it’s becoming increasingly apparent that it’s no longer just women who are feeling the pressure to strive for perfection.

Take tweenage heartthrob Zac Efron for example.

At the recent MTV Movie Awards, the High School Musical star picked up the gong for, wait for it, Best Shirtless Performance.

No, I didn’t know that was a real category either.

Anyway, during his acceptance speech, presenter Rita Ora grabbed the opportunity, quite literally, with both hands, ripping the screen star’s shirt open to reveal his impeccably well-groomed chest beneath.

Mid-sentence and with microphone in hand, Efron gave in to the roar from the crowd and swiftly shed the rest of his shirt before doing a few pec pops and awful ab-tenses.

Efron – ever the metrosexual – appeared perfectly groomed, with carefully coiffured hair and a suspiciously bronzed, perfectly preened and toned torso.

Now, look back just 20 odd years ago and the epitome of a good looking man was someone like Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt or George Clooney.

Although they were every bit the modern movie star, they were also men your mums and grandmas might approve of.

More often than not, they would be clean cut and stylish, without a hair out of place – and certainly not flashing their six packs at the drop of a hat.

But these days there seems to be more emphasis on what a bloke has underneath his shirt.

We’re always saying that by objectifying women in music videos, magazines and films, we’re putting pressure on ladies to look a certain way, which is often completely unobtainable.

So now that we’re literally throwing poor Zac centre stage and ogling his half-naked body, are we paving the way for men to feel equally insecure about their own bodies?

In an era where manscaping and selfies are the norm and pride in your appearance seems to be paramount, it’s no wonder more young men are suffering from issues that might have previously been considered a ‘female’ problem.

A recent UK study revealed men are going undiagnosed and untreated for disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating – despite making up around a quarter of cases.

Despite starving themselves or obsessively counting calories, the men in the study didn’t recognise they had a problem.

One man said he thought eating disorders only affected ‘fragile teenage girls’ while another was told by his doctor to ‘man up’.

The Beat charity has backed up the study, saying men are feeling pressured to have their ‘ideal’ body image, with bigger muscles and more tone.

Which may also be why we’ve seen the number of steroid users in the UK increase six-fold.

The situation has become so bad that there are calls for needle and syringe programmes at gyms so users can safely dispose of them.

Some might argue it’s long overdue that blokes got a taste of their own medicine and us girls got to take our turn doing our fair share of leering and wolf-whistling.

But do we really want to live in a world where everyone has to cope with a crippling body complex?

I, for one, would much rather we all agreed once and for all that nobody’s perfect.

Bundle of joy brings a big life lesson for two schoolkids

I’M STILL learning how to look after myself, let alone the ever-annoying yet adorable cat I recently took responsibility for.

So the news that two schoolchildren have taken on an even bigger responsibility, despite barely being in their teens, is a difficult one for me to comprehend.

It emerged yesterday that a 12-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy had become the youngest ever parents in Britain.

The schoolgirl gave birth to her 7lb baby daughter last weekend.

Oh, and the grandmother is the ripe old age of... 27.

It’s completely unfathomable to me that a woman just a year older than myself is now a grandmother, and stranger still that someone aged just 12 is now responsible for another human being.

I’m more than double this young girl’s age and struggle to even cook spaghetti without setting it on fire (although that says more about my general ineptitude rather than being a reflection on other people my age).

Back when I was 12, I was playing with Pogs and Tamagotchis and staying in to watch Friends, Noel’s House Party and Top of the Pops.

Boys weren’t really a factor.

So it’s odd to think that kids of a primary school age are thinking about such things and have to deal with the consequences for the rest of their lives.

Apparently the young couple have been in a ‘relationship’ for over a year, are ‘totally in love’ and want to raise the child together.

I wish them the best of luck but can’t help feeling it’s far too much, too young.

Bright idea could help you bounce out of bed every day

IT TAKES a lot to get me out of bed in the morning – five alarm clocks, 10 snooze buttons and a couple of texts, to be precise.

If you also stumble out of bed bleary-eyed, a new study might give you a reason to wake up feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed every morning.

Scientists have revealed that a good dose of early morning sunshine could help improve your health by lowering body fat.

Apparently, just 20 to 30 minutes of morning sunlight is enough to keep off the pounds.

It’s believed that the early morning light triggers certain genes linked to the internal body clock, kick-starting the metabolism.

As you may have already realised from previous columns, I’m not exactly what you’d call an exercise queen.

So the idea that lying in the sun, soaking up some rays can help you lose weight is an appealing one.

But until some of the people on the sunlight study drop a good few dress sizes, I’m afraid I’m not willing to lose sleep over it just yet.

Actress Paula Williamson who appeared on TV this week talking about her engagement to prisoner Charles Bronson.

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