Men are (sadly) shrinking!

It isn’t just women. Male models, too, are "shrinking" – getting increasingly waif-like, according to this recent New York Times article. Some quotes:

"Where the masculine ideal of as recently as 2000 was a buff 6-footer with six-pack abs, the man of the moment is an urchin, a wraith or an underfed runt."

and

"This was abundantly clear in the castings of models for New York shows by Duckie Brown, Thom Browne, Patrik Ervell, Robert Geller and Marc by Marc Jacobs, where models like Stas Svetlichnyy of Russia typified the new norm. Mr. Svetlichnyy’s top weight, he said last week, is about 145 pounds. He is 6 feet tall with a 28-inch waist."

Yikes! This is NOT a healthy ideal for men! The most interesting quote of all to me:

“I personally think that it’s the consumer that’s doing this, and fashion is just responding,” said Kelly Cutrone, the founder of People’s Revolution, a fashion branding and production company. “No one wants a beautiful women or a beautiful man anymore.” 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 last statement – that at some level people don’t want to be confronted with living, breathing, thinking adults – has truth in it. Because thinking adults would, it seems, rejects these ideas (and the consumerism that goes with it) outright.

George Brown, a booking agent at Red Model Management, said: “When I get that random phone call from a boy who says, ‘I’m 6-foot-1 and I’m calling from Kansas,’ I immediately ask, ‘What do you weigh?’ If they say 188 or 190, I know we can’t use him. Our guys are 155 pounds at that height.”

Although straight-identified men may be influenced by these media and fashion trends, gay and bisexual-identified youth may be particularly vulnerable to eating disorders and poor body image.

Read the full article here.

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.

  • J.H

    Jesus.

  • J.H

    Jesus.

  • JonBoy

    That’s true – the part about gay/bi men. Walking into a gay club used to mean seeing young shirtless boys with well-formed bodies all over the place. Now it’s like walking into an anatomy lab where you can count the ribs around you. It’s not cute – not at all.

    I dated a guy with a body image disorder. It was unbelievably frustrating to hear him call himself “fat” and watch him starve himself. Very sad.

  • JonBoy

    That’s true – the part about gay/bi men. Walking into a gay club used to mean seeing young shirtless boys with well-formed bodies all over the place. Now it’s like walking into an anatomy lab where you can count the ribs around you. It’s not cute – not at all.

    I dated a guy with a body image disorder. It was unbelievably frustrating to hear him call himself “fat” and watch him starve himself. Very sad.

  • Debby

    Yes, I remember several years ago (maybe 2004-ish?) when a gay friend of mine gained a small amount of weight “in the midriff” (as he pointed out), he said that going to a size medium was like “becoming a gay extra large.”

    Even in the late 90s I knew a gay guy in DC who was studying body image among gay men. At the time, it was just beginning to be an area of more focus and concern. A decade later, it seems we are sinking even further and men – regardless of orientation – may be suffering.

  • Debby

    Yes, I remember several years ago (maybe 2004-ish?) when a gay friend of mine gained a small amount of weight “in the midriff” (as he pointed out), he said that going to a size medium was like “becoming a gay extra large.”

    Even in the late 90s I knew a gay guy in DC who was studying body image among gay men. At the time, it was just beginning to be an area of more focus and concern. A decade later, it seems we are sinking even further and men – regardless of orientation – may be suffering.