An underwear brand just hosted a protest runway to help fight unrealistic male beauty standards in advertising.
Box & Scandal took to the runway on Monday (13 May) wearing nothing but animal masks and underwear. They also held signs that read: ‘Balls to Perfection’, ‘Make Love Handles Not War’ and ‘Body Shaming is Pants’.
During Mental Health Awareness Week, the underwear brand wanted to showcase every day men to promote body positivity.
One model wanted to show off his body after recently beating prostate cancer, while another bared all ‘after years of self-loathing about his appearance’.
Box & Scandal owner Rob Nicholson said: ‘It’s incredibly important that we make a stand against the unrealistic portrayal of men in the media, not least because the underwear industry is, without doubt, one of the worst offenders.’
‘There has, quite rightly, been a long campaign in women’s fashion to show diversity and real un-airbrushed female bodies,’ he said. ‘But despite male suicide being a huge — and rising — problem, as well as men’s mental health in general being put under the spotlight in recent years, the finger is not being pointed at the media and advertising industries in the same way.’
Nicholson also thanked Manchester Fashion Week. They have a policy to use models from all ethnicities, disabilities and people within the LGBTI community.
Body image in men
A 2016 study of boys and young men between the ages of eight and 18 revealed 80% of boys are aware of image manipulation when it comes to advertising.
41% feel the way the media portray men in images they use is unrealistic and after being shown digitally manipulated photos, 67% of boys said that it was not acceptable for brands or products to use digital techniques to change the body shape of a model in their advertising.
The study suggested parents and teachers can be slower to recognize the warning signs of mental health issues for boys.
‘Although traditionally thought of as the exclusive domain of girls, boys are increasingly acknowledging body image issues as a struggle for both
genders,’ the study revealed. ‘Over half of secondary boys see eating disorders (56%) as an issue for both boys and girls.’
It then added: ‘Similarly, approximately half of all boys think dieting (55%) and extreme exercising (48%) are gender-neutral issues.’
Last year, a group of LGBTI people got together to talk about their own perceptions of their body.
The resulting video asks five brave students get down to their underwear to talk about their bodies.
It’s awkward and difficult as you watch them struggle. But by the end of the shoot, the students feel incredibly empowered by their bodies.
It might leave you feeling different about how you look in the mirror: