Courtesy of ocelot in the open thread, check out this article in New York Magazine about the nonexistence of plus-size male models in fashion. Note phrasing: not dearth, not paucity, not lack of exposure, nonexistence.
(As with so much else in life, don’t read the comments on that article. They are dismaying.)
I think we can all applaud the increase in awareness of plus-size female models, but this article makes a good point that that improvement has not translated to male models at all. I for one can’t help but speculate that this ties in with the dual role of fashion models: as clothes racks and sex symbols.
These two roles are intrinsically at odds in some cases–witness the well-worn observation that the extremely skinny physique of many female models is sexually attractive to only a small niche market of men. With the awareness both that fat people buy clothing and that there may be more than one possible “look” for an attractive woman, we’re seeing more plus-size female models, so that’s a start.
Thing is, I think the Myth of Men Not Being Hot is playing a role here, insofar as male models are clothes racks first and sex symbols second, if at all. There are no male supermodels, after all, no guys who show up on reality TV shows or celebrity panel discussions based on their ability to wear Hugo Boss or Armani and walk down a runway. Thus, the idea of “more than one kind of sexy” simply never enters the conversation when it comes to male models. Does that make sense to anyone else, or am I stretching a point too far?
Edited to remove some insensitive phrasing on my part.