In a society obsessed with beauty, the media plays a key role in influencing men’s fashion. News reports regularly focus on how the media and its portrayal of ‘size zero’ celebrities impact upon women, however there is growing evidence to suggest that the media’s portrayal of what is fashionable is having a similar effect on men.
A strong feeling of insecurity amongst males has emerged as a result of the pressure for men to live up to and strive to meet the media’s depiction of a well-built, muscular ideal male figure. In spite of knowing that millions of people will see these idealised images and respond to them, advertising on the television, in magazines and online continues to contribute to this unobtainable quest for perfection.
Some shoppers believe that by buying the clothes worn by their favourite celebrity or model, they will look the same as them. Some fashion experts are aware of this and play on this concept through advertising. An increasing number of men are experimenting with steroids and dietary supplements in an attempt to achieve the ideal body, highlighting that men will dabble in potentially damaging and harmful substances in order to fit in with the media’s portrayal of the perfect man.
Another worrying issue involves the rising cases of anorexia amongst males. An eating disorder typically associated with women, this life-consuming and potentially fatal disease is often linked to the way society portrays the ideal male body. Evidence shows that teenage boys are the most likely age group to be affected by anorexia, however the damaging physical and emotional effects of the disease can last for years.
Men’s fashion blogs are on the increase and magazines aimed at the male population are now featuring fashions sections. Whilst the media can boost the male population’s confidence by encouraging them to be confident about the way they look, this focus upon the idealised male body shape means there is a still a long journey ahead to break down this stigma.