A man’s identity was once largely drawn from work, family and perhaps sport. Today, men are given the task of designing and maintaining an identity from a multitude of alternatives offered by products they can buy and images they are shown in the media. The supposed reward for all this is social and psychological well-being. As many marketers would have it, “look good, feel good”.
But this shift has brought the kind of pressure to conform to a certain image and body shape that was previously directed at almost solely at women. Recent adverts for Protein World weight-loss products that featured a highly toned, bikini-clad model were criticised as an attempt to exploit women’s body insecurities and shame them into buying the products. These were accompanied by similarly revealing but largely unnoticed ads for men. While these don’t carry the same sexist legacy of women’s objectification, they do replicate some of the same body shaming issues.… Read the rest