Just a generation ago, younger boys went to the barbershop every once in a while, practically forced by their mother. Aesthetics did not go with them. Now, however, from the age of 14the kids have two altars: their hair (they all have the same cut, with shaved sides) and Your muscles. The perception of beauty exerts a pressure on them that, although It is not comparable to what girls sufferit has risen to the third power in recent years.

    They worry about diet and weight. To them, hair and muscles. The barbershops They have multiplied in towns and cities. Retouching hair has become a vital necessity for boys, hence why make an appointment every 10 or 15 days. Hairdressing involves a budget, but toning arms and legs can be free: the open-air gyms in many public parks are full of chiseled teens working out for hours. Families are worried, but Are we facing a passing youth fashion or a phenomenon rooted and enhanced by social networks?

    The importance of physical appearance

    The physical appearance is the main cause of discrimination in both sexes: 53% of girls and 39% of boys have felt discriminated against for it, according to the survey Risk Factors in High School Students, carried out by the Public Health Agency of Barcelona last year. The recent ANAR Foundation report also reveals that more than half of the cases of bullying are caused by the physical appearance of the victim.

    “There is brutal pressure on boys for aesthetics & rdquor ;, says Susana Fuster, expert in non-verbal behavior, university professor and author of ‘Children who are silent, gestures that speak’. In her opinion, the aesthetic pattern of the kids responds to a maxim of adolescence: belonging to the tribe, identification. What one does, they all do.

    “There is brutal pressure on boys for aesthetics & rdquor;

    Susana Fuster, expert in non-verbal behavior

    Along the same lines, the psychologist specializing in childhood and adolescence Agnès Brossa adds that from the ages of 12 to 16, children have always looked for a ‘uniform’, a ‘look’ with which to look the same and feel safe within their group . Friendships are essential. They are the mainstay of your social life, your provider of oxytocin. “They feel independent and distance themselves from their fathers and mothers. The most important thing is their friends and if you don’t look like them, you become the geek & rdquor ;, she highlights.

    Weekly appointments at the hairdresser. You have to look like youth leaders, like Quevedo, world number one on Spotify. Haircut ‘mullet’, ‘mohawk’ or ‘fade’. Diffusers to enhance curls. Styling waters. Waxes. Dumbbells to shape your arms at home, ‘slim fit’ t-shirts to show them off… “I want to have a good image, and for me it is basic to always have good hair and to work on the back. I don’t consider it a problem because It doesn’t obsess me, although it does cause me some tension. I don’t claim to be an alpha male. Feminism interests me. All I really want is to give a good image,” he says. Manuel, 16 years old, who began to worry about aesthetics from the 3rd year of ESO and who admits that bodybuilding has become a fashionable topic on TikTok.

    Ángel, a 19-year-old from Madrid, adds that the social pressure for kids to have a perfect body is very high. And getting smaller. “I see 13- and 14-year-olds lifting 220-pound weights. Why? Because they see certain bodies on Instagram and TikTok. If you’re not that beefy you feel ashamed,” he stresses. In the networks, in fact, the term ‘gym bros’ (gym brothers) has been imposed to identify each other.

    “There is aesthetic pressure on the boys, but, for now, not comparable with which the girls suffer & rdquor ;, explains Bernat Escudero, a member of Homes Igualitaris de Catalunya. He gives as an example the gray hair of the actress Andie McDowell, which was on the covers of half the world. That George Clooney has white hair, however, is not news.

    Self care is not pressure

    Escudero invites families to distinguish very well between self-care (a very healthy way to live life) and aesthetic pressure (a real stress). Among the first is the fact that men want to have a pleasant and healthy physical appearance, which includes, for example, something as unusual as visiting the podiatrist from time to time. The pressure, however, is related to unattainable beauty models imposed by soccer players, by characters from US war films or by the omnipresent social networks.

    The families are living in a stupor the immersion of her sons in the world of aesthetics and that flirtation, at least cosmetically, with that type of prototypical masculinity. “Since he turned 14, my son had two sanctuaries: his hair and his muscles. He goes to the hairdresser more often than I do, he has a diffuser dryer and various hair products. In addition, we have agreed to buy some weights for you to exercise at home. He has a slim build and wants to strengthen his arms & rdquor ;, admits Ana Ramírez, mother of a 16-year-old boy. “I never thought I would talk to him about the risks of aesthetic pressure. I was prepared to have that kind of conversation with my daughter, who is 10 years old. But not with my son”he concludes.

    “Since he turned 14, my son had two sanctuaries: his hair and his muscles”

    Ana Ramírez, mother of a 16-year-old boy

    After emphasizing that adolescence involves looking for your own style, different from that of your parents and identical to that of your friends, the psychologist Agnes Brossa invites families to calm down and not worry too much about the attraction of minors to certain aesthetic tastes. “Teenagers have always had a ‘dress-code’ and they copy each other. Years ago, it was the low pants, showing the underwear. It may seem horrible to adults, but if they feel comfortable, there is no problem. It doesn’t matter what haircut your son wears”. The problem, he emphasizes, is when he falls into unhealthy habits. Picking up excessive weights, eating chicken and rice – the so-called bodybuilder’s diet, increasingly widespread among younger- or wanting to take specific products to enhance muscle building.Radars, says the specialist, should also be alerted when problems with self-esteem, communication, studies or friendships are detected.

    “If you’re not that muscular, you feel ashamed”

    Ángel, 19 years old from Madrid

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    Brossa concludes with a warning to fathers and mothers: “Accept your child’s aesthetics. Be careful, let’s see if you have the problem with your refusal of his ‘look’ because you don’t want me to grow up and have your own tastes. That is a problem for your son & rdquor ;.

    For the author of ‘Sharing life educates’, much more dangerous for families is the fondness of minors to tattooing the skinsomething that should not be done without parental permission.