As men and women we have grown up in a world that constantly bombards us with unrealistic ideals for what we “should” look like. As a woman myself it is much more widely known how the re-precautions of body issues have had within our society. In 2016 Dove commissioned a new study that interviewed more than 10,500 women and girls from countries all over the world. This study found that 89% of females would opt out of life events because of how they look. It came as no shock to see that 65-70% of women and girls blame increasing pressures of advertising and media for the unrealistic body standards woman have today (Bushe, Marissa. 2016).

Screen Shot 2016-10-03 at 3.21.00 pm.png

(Creative Practice. 2013)

There are pages and pages of articles and reports showing the effects of body image in women, although it is increasingly hard to find sufficient information on the effects on men. Although Better Health Australia estimate that around 45% of men are unhappy with their bodies (Better Health. 2016). They even state that,

“Men also worry about being muscular. A desire to fit the media portrayed ideal masculine image of lean muscularity means that over-exercising and the use of dangerous and illegal drugs (like steroids) are on the rise.” (Better Health. 2016).

Almost every single study on men and women I have come across links body issues back into the way the media portrays the standard ideals for men and women. This is when Buzzfeed decided to take Men’s Calvin Klein underwear adverts and recreate them. But not with models, with everyday ‘ordinary men.’

Screen Shot 2016-10-03 at 3.16.30 pm.png

The men who participated agreed that Calvin Klein models represented what men wanted to look like, or what they thought they wanted to look like. It went further as to say, comparing yourself to models is only going to lead to further issues and concerns in your own body (Buzzfeed. 2015).


Screen Shot 2016-10-03 at 3.19.27 pm.png

“That’s why I don’t relate to the men in these Calvin Klein ads. I don’t see anyone who looks like me. I see an example of what men are ‘supposed’ to look like.” – Spencer Althouse (Buzzfeed. 2015).

Unrealistic body standards have been greatly influenced by advertising and the media. Although the statistics show a greater influence on women compared to men. Better Health believes that body issue statistics in men are likely to be much higher, although men don’t seek help as mental health issues regarding body issues are seen as a ‘female’ problem. Although data has shown that 1 in 4 people with Anorexia Nervosa sufferers are men (Better Health. 2016).

In response to the ever-growing body concerns in young influential teens, Girlfriend Magazine adopted a ‘reality check’ policy as to combat the ideas of realistic body image and self esteem issues (Delaney, Colin. 2012).

“We know the power of the media, and we strive to educate teens and show images that represent the world we live in. This is why we’re committed to using reader models – of all different shapes and sizes – in our magazine.” (Girlfriend. 2013).


(Hicks. 2012)

Although the magazine does include photos of photo shopped models, they provide ‘reality checks’ to inform the readers which photos have, and haven’t been photo shopped. Although this is seen as a ‘girls magazine’ it is a small step in fight of realistic body standards seen in the advertising media.




Australian Medical Institution. 2009. “Body Image and Health.” Last Modified April 2009.

Better Health. 2016. “Body Image – Men.” Accessed 2 Oct 2016.

Bushe, Marissa. 2016. “New Dove Research Finds Beauty Pressures Up, and Women and Girls Calling for Change.” Accessed 2 Oct 2016.

Buzzfeed. 2015. “We Re-Created Famous Calvin Klein Underwear Ads And This Is What Happened.” Accessed 2 Oct 2016.

Creative Practice. 2013. “Concealment – Modeling Industry.” Accessed 2 Oct 2016.

Delaney, Colin. 2012. “Girlfriend magazine launches self-esteem campaign, editor: ‘this is not a response to Cleo anti-airbrushing protest’”. Accessed 2 Oct 2016.

Girlfriend. 2013. “Girlfriend Body Image Policy.” Accessed 2 Oct 2016.

Hicks, Robin. 2012. “Reality Check labels in Girlfriend magazine.” Accessed 2 Oct 2016.