I’ve talked about the issues with the modelling world on here before, exploring the pressure for female models to be stick thin resulting in them being severely underweight. However it seems that we keep forgetting that male models may be under the same pressure.
I’ve honestly never thought about this until I read an article from News Week Europe (here) where a former male model tells his story about how the pressures of losing weight made him quit the job for good.
For me I always thought it was simple for men; stay in shape with muscle definition and you’re all good – of course a strong jaw line and high cheekbones are just as necessary. But there is a growing trend within males model that they need to be almost as skinny as women, it seems that male models are trying out the 90’s elfin waif trend which a young Kate Moss started.
Whether this is what they want to do or what they are made to do by agencies I’m unsure, but if it means they are seriously reducing their calorific intake then it’s got to be an issue (it would for me anyway!)
A requirement to be a male model is that you have to be over 6foot, and the taller the better. For different types of modelling, different types of bodies are required. Catwalks prefer skinny men with tall necks and wide (but not big) shoulders. Fitness models of course need to have muscle definition, these types of models tend to get more commercial work where they are seen as an aspiration to the public – “I will buy those jeans because they will make me look like I have spent 10 hours in the gym this week” –yeah right, but it works.
The big muscly manly male model trend happened…
Then the bearded and rugged male model happened…
And now we are back to the skinny, translucent male model who looks like he needs a big roast dinner, similar to what was favoured in the 90’s when androgyny was at an all time high. Potentially triggered by the popularity of celebrities such as Pete Doherty, Russell Brand and Alex Turner, the men are following each other in a downward spiral.
The article is honest and gives a lot of detail into this mans life as a model, again revealing that the model life isn’t all private parties and pretty clothes. Instead it is a low income or none at all, and hours upon hours of work to be turned down because you don’t fit the brand aesthetics or in some cases, you’re too fat (aka a normal and healthy weight).
It’s not just brands booking habits which show this, but statistics on eating disorders as well, with 25% of people experiencing eating disorders considered to be men, the growing percentage over the years is getting worrying. Even more shocking? In 2009 there was a 44% increase in male breast-reduction procedures proving that men want to achieve the skinny male model look, and unfortunately feel they need to go under the knife to achieve this.
I really encourage people to read the article and also start raising awareness of the expectation issues of males in the modelling industry.
It may be pretty on paper, but behind the scenes there tends to be an unglamorous life.
Written by our guest Blogger Ella Richards from the blog ‘Ella Must Blog‘