More and more clothing brands are featuring plus-size female models, limiting things like airbrushing and just overall embracing REAL bodies. And I’m sooo here for it. Campaigns like Aerie Real are seriously changing the game for advertising and making a positive impact on body image 🙌
But… what about men?
Have you ever noticed that you NEVER see male models in larger sizes? Think about your favorite brands. Usually, the men are pretty fit and “ideal” looking. Even the brands who show a variety of sizes don’t show models who are necessarily plus-sized, and there’s definitely not as much emphasis.
So… why are male plus-size models not a thing? Here are my thoughts!
Women’s appearance gets more attention than men’s
This is just the reality of advertising, and our culture. Society is just more critical of the we look as women! If we gain weight, lose weight, look too thin or too big, if we have wrinkles, if we choose to use cosmetic surgery, etc.
The world of marketing knows this. So of course they put a lot of energy into targeting women for any relevant brand out there.
That includes fashion. Since women are judged more for their appearance, marketing women’s fashion is just more complex. And right now, body positivity is HUGE. It only makes sense that brands take that initiative and run with it. They get to support a positive movement, while appealing to more customers.
The tone is just different for men. So maybe that’s why brands don’t feel as pressed to diversify their models?
There’s not as much need for “male role models”
Women are perpetually influenced by body image.
I’m not saying that diet culture never affects men, but I think women are a much MUCH bigger target. We grow up SURROUNDED by diet culture, with the message that “skinny is best” basically smothering us.
Men might get a little of that, but the tone and pressure don’t feel as intense.
So maybe brands are noticing (or are being TOLD) that they need to feature more plus-size female models to serve as role models. To show that bigger bodies are beautiful and to show how all body types can look amazing in the clothes they’re selling.
Men on the other hand, might just not have as much of a need for that?
Or maybe they DO, but we don’t hear about it as much. Hmmmm..
Women are inspired by what is relatable. Men are inspired by what’s ideal.
Ok, here’s what I mean by this:
When women shop for new clothes, it’s usually discouraging to see a cute dress or jeans on a model with a “perfect body.” Why? Because most of us are going to be like “well, I don’t look like THAT, so those jeans will NEVER look good on me.”
But when we see a model with a more “relatable” body type, we’re more likely to be like “OOOOOH yes she looks amazing in that, so maybe it will be flattering on me too!”
It seems like men are just wired (or influenced) a little differently. Maybe it’s because they’re not programmed to be as critical of their own bodies, I don’t know. But men either don’t pay attention to the model AT ALL, or they see a perfect-bodied male model (I’ve noticed well-known athletes model men’s clothes a lot) and men are like “YES this shirt is gonna make me look good.”
So basically what I’m saying is… women are more likely to compare themselves to “perfect” models in a negative way. Men are more likely to feel motivated by it.
Again, just an idea!
What do you think? Do we need more male plus size models?
I wanna know what you think! Should brands use female AND MALE plus size models?
Let’s discuss in the comments!