But what about the menz?

That’s what I think of when I read this NYT article about skinny male models, sent along by Pizza Diavola.

Wasn’t it just a short time ago that the industry was up in arms about skinny models? Little over a year ago, in Spain, designers were commanded to choose models based on a healthy body mass index; physicians were installed at Italian casting calls; Diane von Furstenberg, the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue, called a conference to ventilate the issue of unhealthy body imagery and eating disorders among models.

The models in question were women, and it’s safe to say that they remain as waiflike as ever. But something occurred while no one was looking. Somebody shrunk the men.

I realize that some men have eating disorders, but it’s quite unlikely that they’re looking to fashion models for inspiration/beauty standards in quite the same way that women — who, after all, are pushed to value themselves solely on how well they fit into prevalent beauty standards, which are right now extremely difficult for most women to pull off — are. Men aren’t exactly looking to the tents in Bryant Park for their inspiration. Nor is there — yet — the intense downward pressure for male models to get skinnier and skinnier, until they start dropping dead when they step off the catwalk.

Indeed, men who do have eating disorders often are athletes rather than models. Any sport that has weight classes, such as boxing or wrestling or horse racing, will produce athletes who are not only weight-conscious, but who will go to extremes to maintain a weight at the top of their weight class. My brother wrestled in high school and college (and my mother, who had few social outlets, got reallyreallyreally into being a Wrestling Mom). Weight was never really an issue with him, since he competed in the Heavyweight class, which more or less had no upper end. Though he did once try to get into the 191 class (he’s 6’3″). Fortunately, that didn’t last long, since it made him cranky as hell, not to mention weak and unable to compete as well as he wanted to.

But since our high school had a giant gym with an indoor track, we often hosted kids from New England for the Summer Olympics tryouts (the prize was a trip to the University of Northern Iowa in August! Woo!). Which meant that the Wrestling Moms were asked to host kids from around the region who competed in the tryouts. (In fact, I’ve already written here about one of the guys we hosted, who eventually became one of the first blind climbers to climb Everest — and who was identified as one of the first gay climbers to climb Everest on a local news program).

What got my mom was that these kids who stayed with us (there were two; Erik the blind guy, since we were willing to take his guide dog as well (though our dog wasn’t too happy with that, so Wizard stayed in our finished basement — not a bad deal, since it was the coolest place in the house) and Josh, who was fairly obsessive in his Iran-Contra hearings watching) were sucking weight, and all they wanted to eat was broiled fish and vegetables. Which did us all good, really, but it made all the stories my brother had told of guys running until they passed out (indeed, it seemed like at least one guy died in Iowa every summer), or getting put onto an exercise bike in the aisle of the bus to pedal all the way to the out-of-town match hit home.

Indeed, if guys have skinny role models, they’re likely going to be rock stars, who are not only rather notable for their thinness, but also notable for their drug use. But given the number of paths to acceptability open to men, it’s not seen as imperative for men to emulate male models *or* rock stars. That’s not to say that men don’t have looks pressure on them, but it’s not the same kind of pressure that’s on women. As I said, there are many paths that men have to acceptability, and if rock-star looks are foreclosed to them, they can choose another path.

So why all the fluttering about male models just beginning to slide down the low-body-fat slope? Perhaps it’s just that once a problem becomes one that men deal with, it’s suddenly a real problem, no matter how long women have been dealing with it.

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47 Responses

  1. Little Rakshasi
    Little Rakshasi February 8, 2008 at 2:27 am |

    You know, I don’t think the article implied that the new standards for male physique were as harmful, or as ingrained in our psyche as the standards for women. I do, however, think that it was pointing out a problem, in which dangerously low weights are encouraged in the fashion industry, in both men AND women.

    Perhaps you could let us know where in the article the author implied anything like that?

  2. RacyT
    RacyT February 8, 2008 at 2:56 am |

    I’m going to go out on a limb here. I personally am very, very attracted to skinny guys. I am almost completely incapable of being sexually attracted to a guy who weighs more than maybe, 150 pounds. Skinny dudes make me insane. Bodybuilders disgust me. I have always found it curious that women tend to be chubbier, yet our society tells us we should like skinny women; yet, a huge amount of men are naturally skinny, but we are supposed to be turned on by body-builder types.

    It’s just one more way our society treats NORMAL people like there is something wrong with them. My biggest issue with this is how my girlfriends tell me “something is wrong with me” because skinny dudes make me go out of my mind. It’s annoying. Why “other” something so common? Do skinny guys drive anyone else mad, or am I crazy?

  3. Hugo
    Hugo February 8, 2008 at 3:57 am |

    Leaving everyone’s personal tastes aside for a moment, there’s no question three things are generally true:

    1. Many men have eating disorders of one kind or another.
    2. There are fewer men with these disorders than there are women with them.
    3. Men, as a class, experience less pressure to be thin than women do.

    Let me say that when I was struggling with disordered eating and an exercise addiction, I slipped below 150 pounds — I looked emaciated. No one gave me any encouragement; indeed, folks all around me started various interventions of one kind or another, though others just gossipped that I had AIDS. In any case, had I been a woman, I would have received much more approval for my extreme weight loss — time and again, I’ve seen friends on the verge of starvation being told “you look great!” I got that approbation when I gained weight, not when I lost it. That’s privilege.

  4. Pizza Diavola
    Pizza Diavola February 8, 2008 at 4:03 am |

    Hi Zuzu, thanks for posting!

    That article left a bad taste in my mouth for a few reasons. Although, as Little Rakshasi points out, the article doesn’t say that these standards for male beauty are as harmful as standards for female beauty, I think the article is dismissive and tries to reframe the discussion of female models with a classic “Why are you concerned about women when men are suffering?” In itself, talking about how male models suffer from eating disorders or body issues isn’t harmful. The way this article is phrased, however, is unnecessarily dismissive of female models’ issues and I think it tries to talk about male models at the expense of female models:

    Wasn’t it just a short time ago that the industry was up in arms about skinny models? … The models in question were women, and it’s safe to say that they remain as waiflike as ever. But something occurred while no one was looking. Somebody shrunk the men.

    The tone is just–I read it and I hear, “Wasn’t the industry kicking up a fuss a while ago? How silly! And they didn’t even pay attention to the really important issues: men.” “It’s safe to say that they remain as waiflike as ever” is so dismissive, it sounds like the industry’s attempts to address unhealthy body image were unsuccessful (okay, true), and silly to begin with. “Waiflike as ever” takes eating disorders, unhealthy body image, and models starving themselves into sickness and says, “Eh, this is how female models are supposed to look/have always looked. Wev.”

  5. Pizza Diavola
    Pizza Diavola February 8, 2008 at 4:13 am |

    My point is, it’s not that eating disorders among men aren’t important, or that they don’t deserve to be discussed. They are, and they do, because eating disorders are important and need to be more widely discussed, period. But why couldn’t the journalist talk about male models’ weight issues without dismissing female models’ weight issues? It’s not a zero-sum game.

  6. Hawise
    Hawise February 8, 2008 at 9:09 am |

    In terms of image, the current preference is for beauty that is not fully evolved. “People are afraid to look over 21 or make any statement of what it means to be adult,” Ms. Cutrone said.

    I think that this is the statement in the article that aced it. It isn’t the size, it is the age. No one wants to present an adult figure or attitude or silhouette. For women it has been children’s clothes get sexed up and adult clothes get babydolled, now the men are getting the same treatment- hairless, shapeless and unformed. Fashion has gone prepubescent.

  7. Holly
    Holly February 8, 2008 at 9:53 am |

    I was thinking the same thing as Hawise, and that’s basically what the male models at the top of the article looked like to me. I agree with what Pizza Diavola and Hugo said about the article and about men’s anorexia vs. women’s. It’s definitely important to point out that men also suffer from eating disorders, as long as you do it in a way that trivializes or dismisses the fact that a much greater number of women also do, but this is something a lot of people (especially in the media) haven’t gotten the hang of yet. What’s really newsworthy is this broad, across-genders trend towards the prepubescent look on adults. I mean, it’s nothing new in fashion (Calvin Klein 1979) but there’s a penumbra around actually using underaged models or an overtly stated pre-puberty look that involves deformed expectations about what adult bodies should like. And that is going to affect adults a lot more than seeing an image that’s clearly supposed to be a little kid.

  8. Hawise
    Hawise February 8, 2008 at 10:35 am |

    People age, their bodies change shape- that is just the hard facts but when you add societal pressure to remain at a certain age, then you will get disorders. Whether it is an eating disorder, depression, body modification or whatever new thing pops up, if you force people to fight their genetics in order to retain their job then this will happen. It is more in your face in modelling and acting because we have a paparazzi culture but it is also in boutique and cafes, clubs and schools. We have to stop defining societal acceptance by failure to grow up.

  9. brklyngrl
    brklyngrl February 8, 2008 at 10:47 am |

    First, I think you’re right that the article is basically a what about the menz article. Ad I think you’re right that men’s fashion doesn’t hold as much sway over men as women’s fashion does over women. But I think you’re underestimating the potential problems somewhat. This will, and already has, filtered in advertising and mass marketing, which men see whether they seek it out or not. It also filters into the way retailers cut clothes, and so will filter down that way. I’m sure that form fitting clothes just make people more self conscious, regardless of how they feel about runway fashion. And there’s the gay community.

    Actually what I really find interesting about this, and its happened over a number of years, is the pressure for these guys to fit into that ‘just on the verge of puberty’ look that has been so popular for women lately. That has to be a bad thing, IMHO, for both men and women.

  10. NicoleGW
    NicoleGW February 8, 2008 at 10:50 am |

    I thought that certain aspects of this article were asinine, but the only really problematic part I noticed was this:

    Far from inspiring a spate of industry breast-beating, as occurred after the international news media got hold of the deaths of two young female models who died from eating disorders, the trend favoring very skinny male models has been accepted as a matter or course.

    Well, yes, that does make sense. Breast-beating is more likely to occur following two deaths than it is following dudes getting skinny. This isn’t exactly a brain-teaser.

    Aside from that, though, this article reads more as an observation of current fashions than as an indictment of society for ignoring teh menz.

    Outside of that one paragraph, I couldn’t find anything that minimizes the experiences of women, suggests that these male models are or will be responsible for an epidemic of eating disorders amongst men, or otherwise tries to imply that men suffer effects from the fashion industry to the same degree that women do.

    In fact, the article doesn’t mention eating disorders in men even once, which if anything is a problematic omission. It mostly struck me that this was an observation of a bizarre trend in fashion that, as Holly points out, isn’t all that new anyway.

  11. km
    km February 8, 2008 at 10:53 am |

    The problem is that it’s not taken seriously as a problem until it happens to men. It doesn’t need to be as serious a problem, just that it’s happening to men.

    I don’t get that from the article at all. According to the quoted text in the original post, when this was framed as a women’s problem, there were conferences, doctors at casting calls, and BMI standards. Even if those efforts didn’t achieve their objectives, the efforts themselves suggest the issue was/is being taken seriously.

    I interepreted this article as simply saying, “hey, male models are really thin too,” rather than as a call to take the problem seriously now that if affects men.

  12. Holly
    Holly February 8, 2008 at 10:58 am |

    But I think you’re underestimating the potential problems somewhat. This will, and already has, filtered in advertising and mass marketing, which men see whether they seek it out or not. It also filters into the way retailers cut clothes, and so will filter down that way. I’m sure that form fitting clothes just make people more self conscious, regardless of how they feel about runway fashion. And there’s the gay community.

    Although I see your point, I think the trend to try and make men look more like undernourished children is going to face more of an uphill battle than the same trend for women. Even in the gay community, which currently has much more widely accepted alternatives for what “men should look like” that involve lots of muscles. Women are already supposed to be the more “childlike” gender, the protected one in relationships, etc. It’s hard to imagine the broad acceptance of a masculinity that doesn’t involve strength and physical maturity. Maybe for indie rockers and skate punks, and other aesthetics which are defined in opposition to the jock or masculine father… but that stuff has been for many decades — and always, it seems to me, in a less problematic or directly-linked-to-eating-disorders way than the equivalent pressures for women.

  13. Jae
    Jae February 8, 2008 at 11:24 am |

    The tone is just–I read it and I hear, “Wasn’t the industry kicking up a fuss a while ago? How silly! And they didn’t even pay attention to the really important issues: men.”

    That’s exactly what I heard when I read this article. Though lip-service is usually given to the idea that women should not be encouraged to pursue an unnatural body, those kind of statements are often made with a wink, because everything continues to tell women that they should do anything and everything they can to obtain the thinnest body possible. However, here a similiar phenomenon appears for men, and the writer seems to view it as a never-before-seen outrage.

    Obviously I don’t believe anyone, male or female, should be forced to look any particuliar way, but the idea that this is going to somehow morph into exactly the problem women have been facing is a little hard to believe. Though anecdotal evidence is far from proof, if my life is representive of the population at large…I have never know an eating disorder man (though I’m sure if I’d known some different kinds of men, I might have), but nearly every single woman I know has either suffered with disordered eating or had a full-blown eating disorder.

  14. Hawise
    Hawise February 8, 2008 at 12:29 pm |

    I think the trend to try and make men look more like undernourished children is going to face more of an uphill battle than the same trend for women.

    I think that that may be a bit premature when you realize that fashion tends to be behind the trend and not really ahead. We already have the ohnos about more boys being in soccer than football- a sport that requires a leaner build. You have the backlash against steroids that is brewing. You have the rise of the skater culture (add in BMXers and other X sports) which again trend towards a younger, smaller frame. Advertising is just cluing into things that are already happening in the youth culture. The fact that they are going to try to sell it to an older, heavier crowd just means that the whole thing could get ridiculous pretty fast. It took awhile to make women feel so very bad about themselves but the ad gurus have those tricks down pat now. Young men are just as sensitive to group pressure as young women, they just have had a different and mostly healthier standard to meet.
    Of course this can’t be good for young women because we just know that if the boys have to be small and thin, the girls have to be smaller and thinner.

  15. Josh
    Josh February 8, 2008 at 12:39 pm |

    I agree. All problems that affect men should be ignored entirely until each and every problem that affects women is resolved.

  16. Cola Johnson
    Cola Johnson February 8, 2008 at 12:48 pm |

    It absolutely does not have the effect on young men that these same images have on women, and I don’t find it equally disturbing for that reason. I do find it disturbing, though. It seems like all of Western society is obsessed with scaling down.

    I would agree that it only seems like a real problem when men deal with it, but I think the plight of women models is simply something we’re more accustomed to, since we hear so much more about it and, really, this issue with dudes is a pretty recent development.

    Only time will tell if it’s a tend and whether it has any far reaching consequences. I just find it horrendously disgusting, all the same.

  17. wriggles
    wriggles February 8, 2008 at 1:12 pm |

    I can’t help thinking that the journalist was alluding to the shamelessnss of the fashion industry, on the one hand looking as if it’s taking the pressure on models to be overly thin seriously (only when forced to by the deaths of those unfortunate women) whilst at the same time shrinking men, showing it’s true feelings on the matter.

    I’m not sure that it is so much about age as what one of the models quoted said, androgyne. That which is seen as too overly feminine or masculine, is in competition with their clothes, so they cleverly train us to see this as somehow, vulgar. You fit the clothes, not the otherway around.

  18. Josh
    Josh February 8, 2008 at 1:18 pm |

    Yet the article puts these two things on equal footing.

    That’s a bit of a stretch. The article is about the thin trend in male models, and mentions twice that there was an outcry over too-thin female models two years ago. Noting a similarity between two things is not the same as saying they are equal.

  19. km
    km February 8, 2008 at 1:21 pm |

    Yet the article puts these two things on equal footing.

    I didn’t get that impression. There has been much more emphasis on the issue of the weight of women models (and for good reason) – this article cites jthat emphasis. The article seems to be pointing out that male models are getting skinnier too, without implying the issue is as serious as it is for female models. There’s no call for DVF to hold a conference to talk about the weight of male models.

    It’s possible to point out this trend among male models without claiming that the problem is as large or has as significant implications as the similar trend for female models. IMHO, that’s what the article does.

  20. bekabot
    bekabot February 8, 2008 at 1:25 pm |

    Dear Josh (with a nod to zuzu):

    Here’s the real issue: we live in a world in which ordinary women are routinely expected to look like haute aesthetick types who’ve put on perhaps three pounds since puberty. The waif is the feminine industry standard; she’s passed off as the typical female. Ordinary men, OTOH, are not expected to look like skaterpunks.

    Therein lies the rub: the two situations are not comparable.

  21. SoE
    SoE February 8, 2008 at 1:26 pm |

    I interepreted this article as simply saying, “hey, male models are really thin too,” rather than as a call to take the problem seriously now that if affects men.

    Me, too, actually but I can also see that people might understand it differently.

    Men’s designers are using skinnier models than they have in the past, while women’s designers are using people so thin and so weak from staying so thin that there have been deaths.

    If the trend is to take skinny people we might just see the first dead male model any day, who tried to shed weight with dubious pills or eating nothing for a long time.
    Just because nothing serious has happened so far means nothing will and it might not become a problem. And even because it’s wrong to only display waiverthin girls, it’s also wrong to only promote this image to men.

    I have seen too many girls with eating disorders but I have also met boys agonizing over their weight and there is definitely a trend towards being more svelte. Tight pants everywhere you go for shopping and nobody wants to look fat in them. So in my opinion this is the point where everybody should wake up and try even harder to promote the message that every child and every teenager is beautiful just the way they are. Everything else is just a waste of time and energy and won’t help a single kid.

  22. Holly
    Holly February 8, 2008 at 1:27 pm |

    Also, a trend pushing young men towards sports role models in sports that favor leaner types — skating, soccer, etc — is really not the same thing at all. Those sports still require muscle and energy. The fashion trends for women are not tied into sports — they require you to be so thin that you would barely be able to play. Which is why female models are dying.

  23. km
    km February 8, 2008 at 1:46 pm |

    Here’s the real issue: we live in a world in which ordinary women are routinely expected to look like haute aesthetick types who’ve put on perhaps three pounds since puberty. The waif is the feminine industry standard; she’s passed off as the typical female. Ordinary men, OTOH, are not expected to look like skaterpunks.

    Therein lies the rub: the two situations are not comparable.

    The article says male models are getting thin, following the trend of female models. In that basic sense the situations are comprable, and that’s as far as this article goes. The article doesn’t attempt to compare the societal implications of too-skinny female models and those of too-skinny male models. Of course it’s true that women models affect girls more than male models affect boys, which makes the weight of female models a much more significant issue. I just don’t see how anything in this article suggests otherwise.

  24. Josh
    Josh February 8, 2008 at 1:55 pm |

    Bekabot,

    This article is not about how models influence body image in society at large. I double-checked, and there’s nothing in there like that, except for a very brief aside about how Sugarland has lots of skinny guys in it. There’s no suggestion at all that men, writ large, are suffering from eating disorders or anything else because of this trend. The article is nothing more than “there is a trend towards thin male models. By the way, there was also an outcry about thin female models a few years ago.” And, the article suggests that the concern about female models stemmed from concern about the health of the models, not women in general. This article simply doesn’t make the claims that you claim it does.

  25. Josh
    Josh February 8, 2008 at 1:57 pm |

    or, what km said.

  26. Charlotte
    Charlotte February 8, 2008 at 2:23 pm |

    In my perception, beauty image in men really falls into two categories (or perhaps three):
    * the man-waif riding on the nineties kate moss heroin-chic
    * the muscular dude as airbrushed on the covers of Men’s Health and various other himbo mags
    * the sport-specific image (it’s well known, for example, that eating disorders run rampant among male jockeys).
    My probably absolutely politically incorrect question is, then (along with the article), why it’s so important to claim the thinness=cultural exploitation of the female body as relevant only to the female body. Does ownership of this discourse mean power over it, and, if so, why does this power have to be exclusionary?

    No, I’m not trying to be a troll. I am just sensing (probably completely unwarranted) some territorial angst here …

  27. jfpbookworm
    jfpbookworm February 8, 2008 at 3:19 pm |

    Oh, hooray. I can be thin or muscular – I have a choice when it comes to unachievable standards!

    That said, it’s nowhere near the same thing. Since I’m not a performer or a politician, the only consequence I’m likely to face for not meeting beauty standards is that fewer people will be attracted to me.

  28. bekabot
    bekabot February 8, 2008 at 3:27 pm |

    Josh & km:

    Context counts for a lot. If you will reread my comment, you’ll find that I did not directly address, or pretend to directly address, the ambit of the article itself. Why not? Because I was more interested in addressing the context in which the article appeared. (The stuff that happens on the margins is often more apposite than the stuff that happens in the middle; scores of writers have made their names by paying strict attention to what has not been said.)

    The context in which the article was published is a context in which body-expectations for ordinary men & women are radically different, even if body-expectations for male & female models are becoming more and more “the same”. No newspaper piece which deals with the issue of what size people are supposed to be has to spell out the gender-differential details of body expectations, because the writer can pretty confidently assume that we all know what the real rules are. And he’s right: we all do know what the real rules are. Which is exactly my point.

    As for there being no suggestion in the article that men-writ-large run the same risk of contracting eating disorders as women-writ-large—of course there isn’t. There wouldn’t be, would there? Once again, that’s exactly my point.

  29. Mold
    Mold February 8, 2008 at 3:27 pm |

    Men have that testosterone thingy that keeps the blimpy look away easier than for women. Great for muscles, not so good for preggers. Biology is destiny. Women pack fuel away different than men. Survival of species and all.

    To me this is more that the male eating disorders were known among the subset of practioners and not at all by the general population. Wrestlers were encouraged to drop two or more weight classes to make competeing easier. Of course, everybody did this so the advantage was negated. Body fetshists, such as Arnold or male models, do the dieting and fluid restriction to emulate the ideal body. But I have yet to hear that the scrawny men are anorexic or bulimic. It just isn’t conventional wisdom yet.

    Thin is the look of youth. The time when we are physically unblemished. Oh, to have my pain-induced knowledge and the body at 16. The bestest fantasy of all. We expect our icons of vigor and triumph to be youth and svelte. Grans can be lumpy. Parents can be dumpy. Our hero/heroine must be perfect.

  30. km
    km February 8, 2008 at 3:51 pm |

    beka, I agree about the importance of context, but I wasn’t discussing it here. I was responding to zuzu’s assertions about the contents of the article. Perhaps I misunderstood what you mean when by “nodding” to zuzu in your first post.

  31. bongobunny
    bongobunny February 8, 2008 at 4:07 pm |

    As much as I don’t think thhis trend toward an extremely lean silhouette will affect the general male population as much as it does women, it has long had serious consequences for young gay males. MANY of the young (between 17-23) gay men I know have serious fat-phobia and seem to obsess about their weight as much as many women do. I happen to think it is one of the reasons that crystal meth addiction is such a problem in the gay male community. I do think this issue should be taken seriously because these models are held up as a beauty standard for this community.

  32. bekabot
    bekabot February 8, 2008 at 4:13 pm |

    km:

    What I think zuzu was trying to do was write a post not so much about the article she cited as about the stuff the article was about. I’ve noticed that this is a tactic which seems to provoke one of two basic reactions. The first reaction is: “Stop free-associating and stick to the point,” and the second is: “Oooo!! Way to ferret out the implications!!” I imagine any given reader’s “tilt” toward one reaction over the other is mostly a matter of temperament.

  33. mythago
    mythago February 8, 2008 at 4:14 pm |

    Men have that testosterone thingy that keeps the blimpy look away easier than for women.

    I’m having trouble following your use of technical and scientific terms there. I *think* what you meant to say was men tend to put fat down around the waist, rather than on the hips and thighs, and have less subcutaneous fat, because you wouldn’t be suggesting something idiotic like women naturally being uglier.

    As to how appearance affects non-models, zuzu’s probably familiar with an old saying among female lawyers who have to appear in court: When a jury looks at a man, all they notice is a guy in a suit. When a jury looks at a woman, they notice EVERYTHING.

  34. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 8, 2008 at 4:31 pm |

    I can’t help thinking that the journalist was alluding to the shamelessness of the fashion industry, on the one hand looking as if it’s taking the pressure on models to be overly thin seriously (only when forced to by the deaths of those unfortunate women) whilst at the same time shrinking men, showing it’s true feelings on the matter.

    I think you may be on to something here.

  35. greg
    greg February 8, 2008 at 6:03 pm |

    the article should have not been dismissive towards womens eating disorders, but it is important to know that eating disorders are up in males who either starve themselves or work themselves out to death. just look at hipster men. they look horrifyingly thin, i dont know how they can stand up or survive a cold snap. they are following the trend of thin is in. being 6ft and under 150 is not healthy, but dangerous, and really unattractive if you ask me, a man myself.

  36. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte February 8, 2008 at 6:03 pm |

    Don’t forget gay men, though. That’s a population that does suffer from eating disorders and might look to models for inspiration.

  37. Josh
    Josh February 8, 2008 at 6:24 pm |

    bekabot,

    Fair enough. Like km, I was talking about the article itself and the assertion that it somehow put body image and eating issues on equal footing.

  38. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays February 8, 2008 at 8:56 pm |

    Racy T – It’s not just you. 90% of the men I’m attracted to fall into a very specific body type – 5ft10 to 6ft3, 120-140 pounds or so. The few exceptions are equally skinny but a little shorter. The heaviest man I ever dated was about 170, and he was 6ft5. And even then I would have found him sexier if he had been a little thinner.

    About the article – I agree with Zuzu that eating disorders are far more of an issue for men in sports than in modelling. The market for skinny male models is small and inconsistent – it goes in cycles. Weight classes in sport aren’t going anywhere. There are parts of the music industry in which skinniness is required for men, and I can think of at least one male rock star with an entirely business-induced eating disorder. Still – it’s not as common a problem as it is for women in the media, and it certainly doesn’t have the same societal impact. The impact of skinny male role models in confined to specific subcultures, which for women it is not.

  39. Dana
    Dana February 9, 2008 at 2:14 pm |

    Try to be careful when criticizing the journalist for this piece. Keep in mind, articles often go through a lot of other people who change the piece to suit their own tastes or that of the readers.

    Honestly, as important of an issue as it is, people are tired of reading about skinny female models and eating disorders. I’m about to graduate with a journalism degree and I have a lot of interest in women’s rights, homelessness, and domestic violence. But I’ve had editors turn me down just because it’s been written about too many times, and I’ve had to find ways to bring up an issue by telling the story a different way.

    So maybe the writer does want to bring attention to the female model problem, but does so by using the men as a “new” issue. Or maybe that was just the editor’s choice.

  40. Mold
    Mold February 9, 2008 at 5:06 pm |

    Mythago,

    Not to be scientific, just using short terms for the differential use of excess CHO and muscle production. Ugly is in the eye of the beholder.

    Having been in court, I can vouch for the plethora of professional women in mini skirts in particular courtrooms. Seems the judges were cast by the same Creator as Ken Starr or Phill Kline.

    Use what you got.

  41. mythago
    mythago February 10, 2008 at 2:25 pm |

    You may be very thrilled at the fantasy of Ms. Tough-Attorney in her miniskirt (no doubt she has glasses, a bun and wears Victoria’s Secret lingerie underneath), but having been in court myself, I have to tell you that it is the exact opposite of “effective professional dress”. Judges and jurors may enjoy the view, but they’ll discount whatever’s coming out of her mouth.

    And as you probably know, I was being sarcastic. “That testosterone thing” doesn’t prevent a beer guy.

  42. mythago
    mythago February 10, 2008 at 2:27 pm |

    beer GUT. geezmo.

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