We've all read articles about how there needs to be more plus-sized models in magazines, and in a society consumed with perceptions of beauty, it seems like a necessity to have this push. Celebrities have even gotten in on the action by insisting that magazines feature non-retouched photos from their shoots.
Society is moving in the direction that accepts a few extra pounds on you because you can still be sexy while not being thin as a rail. The need for plus-sized models can be summed up by the ideal that it's simply what real women look like.
But, what about men? In a culture that is increasingly accepting of all body types, how come we haven't seen any articles that defend men and preserve our body image?
We all know how hard the fashion industry is on women; there have been numerous articles that decry how poorly women are treated in the industry. Many women develop eating disorders, depression and other destructive behaviors. This certainly shouldn't happen, but there are also male models out there who navigate equivalent struggles.
Open a Google tab. Type in “model.” What do you see? You see a bunch of sexy women posing with their hair perfectly coiffed. Additionally, you see sexy men standing stoically, shirtless, with chiseled chests and washboard abs exposed. Now, do another Google search. Type in “plus-size model.” Look at the results.
You will see numerous plus-sized women in their bras and panties, posing just like the models in the previous search. But something is missing. There are no portly gentlemen voguing toward a camera. There are no-plus sized men posing with their shirts off, happy to finally be accepted by mainstream standards of beauty. In fact, the only men you see in any of these pictures are the same ripped hunks, feeling up the plus-sized women.
Many complaints waged against female models are that their bodies are unrealistic and impossible to attain. But tell me, what makes this body more attainable for men?
Do you realize the intense, hard work required to achieve a body like this? It requires countless hours at the gym, lifting things that weigh more than your body weight, eating on a strict regimen, making sure you get the appropriate levels of protein, abandoning numerous pleasures and dealing with all the financial headaches that come with purchasing a gym membership, protein shakes and other vanity products.
I understand that more often than it should happen, women develop eating disorders in the quest to become models, but men can also develop eating disorders, along with many other maladies. When at the gym, you are at serious risk of injury every time you pick up a weight. You can tear muscles, which could take months to heal.
You can drop something and break bones; you can also get viruses, because most of the time, people don't disinfect the equipment well after use. Men have also been known to develop exercise addiction, which is exactly what it sounds like. Just like women obsess over their weight and the need to be skinny, men can develop a similar obsession with exercise. It can become unhealthy and unsafe.
But who cares, right? We need to see plus-sized women, because that is what “real women look like,” but apparently, male models with their washboard abs are what “real men look like.” That body is certainly attainable for men, so get to the gym, fellas! Women want to look at your six packs despite their plus-sized images being increasingly accepted in culture. Just know that the men's plus-sized culture has not yet been accepted, so you better drop and give me 20!
If we are going to actually move toward a more accepting culture in which beauty comes in many shapes and sizes, we need to even the playing field. I know that there are some gorgeous plus-sized men out there, so why are they being shut out of the magazines? If the plus-sized movement is going to be real, it needs to be inclusive of all sexes. You can't have your cake and eat it too — pun intended.
Photo credit: Family Guy