How Real Men Would Look If They Posed Like Models in Famous Underwear Ads

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Women have had the opportunity to rise against the perfection of the ad model. For instance, Jes from The Militant Baker goes against the grain by reinventing the black and white, over-perfected couple shots seen in Abercrombie and Fitch’s stores by posing, as a plus size model, with the regular Abercrombie male model. Many ad campaigns [Dove, Hanes, etc] have also done the same thing countless of times by producing content that celebrates the fact that beauty comes in every shape and size. These ads, however, almost never feature men, but only women.

So what happens with men? Do they not go through the same? Are they not as affected by the distorted ideals of beauty as much as women are?

In this photo series, Jenny Francis and The Daily tabloid newspaper, The Sun [England] teamed up to show how real men compare to the popular underwear ads that showcase the chiseled abs and faked tanned male models.

Four average looking men, stood alongside David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Freddie Ljungberg, and David Gandy to show off what a real life man would look like wearing the same exact underwear and standing in the same exact poses. The photos are quite funny, but they are also quite empowering as the provocative poses and the polarity of bodies shown in the comparisons further examine the different male body types out there, from short and thin, to tall and bulky. Just like women, many men are confronted with the issue of body ideals that are often impossible to achieve. (Via My Modern Met)

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Jess from The Militant Baker, posing with an Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirt, asserts that plus-sized women can be sexy too.

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Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty includes women of all shapes and sizes.

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  • Yana

    since when not caring about one’s body means “real”?
    those models are also real people working out

  • Victoria

    Good point, however I do think that these models are heavily retouched, which makes their appearance a bit more exaggerated, and extra-perfect.

  • Vierotchka

    Define real men.

  • Alex Anderson

    Actually, fitness or menswear models like these usually dehydrate themselves before a photo shoot so that their muscles look more defined. However, I think you still make a good point. Just what “normal” or “healthy” is is very difficult to define, and nobody knows exactly what either is, but I think that most of us should probably aspire to fall somewhere in between the images of the men on the left and the men on the right. We definitely shouldn’t think that it’s normal for everybody (18-45) to have a gut, but then again, it’s also normal for everyone to have some flaws and room to improve. We shouldn’t confuse aiming for perfection with a fixation on attaining an (arbitrarily defined) state of perfection which results in a disproportionate sense of dissatisfaction if we fail to attain it, or a disproportionate sense of pride or superiority if we do attain it.

  • Droska

    I agree that thinking anything other than “perfection” is sub-standard is wrong. but to say that there aren’t people that look like this in life without any of the aforementioned retouching or dehydrating practices is just not true. Lets say a man doesn’t look “good” in underwear or what have you. And as a result seeing ads featuring men with clearly defined abs and such makes him feel unattractive sub-standard or just not good enough, or on the other side just angry. The truth of who or what is responsable for this is not black and white. In many ways you yourself are responsable. Because if you feel that you aren’t attractive enough because of your body, The only reason you are still in that situation is because you haven’t taken effective action to change it. unless you have a disease or illness that makes exercise impossible you have the power to change the situation. Perhaps the models for the ads could be slightly less “perfect” looking. Perhaps the ad firms could set the bar for what is supposed to be “attractive” a little differently. But if you are out of shape or overweight and your angry about the ads, And you have no intention of improving your fitness or getting healthier you have nobody to blame but yourself, And you have no right to complain about ads such as these. To say “oh i can’t get that kind of body it’s impossable” when you have never even put in enough effort to reach anything near your athletic potential only show’s that you would rather complain about supposedly oppressive advertising instead of improving your life. The term “real” is subjective. Just because the average middle aged man has a gut does not mean it is normal or healthy or indeed “real”. To plead injustice because some ad features a man that looks more “attractive” than you when you haven’t done maintained any consistent work to make yourself stronger more fit or healthier is a just a cop out.

  • Badger

    Real men don’t give a crap one way or the other. I don’t look at these ads, or any like it, and feel inadequate. I’m comfortable in my own skin and I can achieve the things I strive for, I couldn’t give a toss about how others look or their lifestyles.

  • C C

    You’re completely missing the point. Nobody is saying they want to be the one on the right, or that the one on the right even looks better or more desirable. The media feeds on people’s insecurities, seeking only to make the most profit. It’s up to us to hold these corporations to a certain ethical standard, not to give in to the feeding frenzy.

    The god’s don’t give beauty. True beauty is in what you do, how you act, uphold yourself, not the ears, eyes or jaws or gut being in a certain shape. It’s uninteresting and superficial propaganda, and it inadvertently affects us all, to the point where most Americans (some other countries seem to be indifferent) think that moron in the gym doing bicep curls and steroids in the locker room is “healthy”.

  • Kris

    Dear ‘normal’ guys, go care about yourself, it starts at how much you eat, damn. Anything that is or looks nice and is worth having won’t come easy. Peopl bust their asses to have a great careeer but totally disregard their health and body in general. Logic 10/10 lel