Millions of American men have been transformed into body-conscious consumers of revealing fashions, seductive perfumes, and the services of hairstylists, personal trainers, and plastic surgeons. Due credit for this transformation must be given to advertisers, marketers, and self-esteem gurus, who have sold men – and all of us – a message of self-transfiguration through self-commodification. The traditional image of women as sexual objects has simply been expanded: everyone has become an object to be seen.

– Lynne Luciano

Looking Good: Male Body Image in Modern America (on Amazon)

Some evidence, in ten images:

Below: an ad for a cosmetic surgery center (Italy). The copy reads: “We don’t discriminate based on gender.”

Below: an ad for a slimming cream (France). The copy reads: “Eliminate love handles in 8 days.” The slogan: “Beauty has its method.”

Below: two ads by Somatoline – a cream that promises to tone abs and eliminate belly fat. The second ad says: “It helps you slim down in 4 weeks while you sleep.”

“Touch, it’s leather.”

I found this brochure by Juviderm (Botox-like injections) especially targeting men… in the office of an ear doctor (of all places!). The copy says that through the injections men can “reclaim their confidence.”

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The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt provides a comprehensive continuum of specialized care for children, adolescents and adults with eating disorders. Our holistic and multi-disciplinary approach to recovery helps individuals and families move beyond surviving to thriving.

  • When will you all wake up and see the writing on the wall? It used to be that MEN protected us form the greed and harmful intents of others. Now? they have become so weak and womanly that even Women are the stronger of the sexes now. They have listened to media and made decisions with their little heads instead of their big ones and the result is the uni-sex humans that are becoming the norm. Its sickening to see men with shaved chests and who spend more time grooming and shopping than females of my day ever did. Modern males have become pawns and bow to the “pressures” of popular opinion. Its sickening and pathetic. How will you teach your sons to be Men if you’re not men? You will all soon have only memories of what real men are if you don’t put your boots back on, get those levis dirty and take charge again.

  • I do some work with an organisation called The Odyssey Program – – and we do our best to educate thousands of teenage boys in schools around Australia on just these issues. It’s important work because in one day of workshops with us they get exposed to an alternative view and hopefully connect with someone who’s “been there, survived that” (yes, on a personal note, I’m an ex-gym-junkie).

    The one thing that comes through most significantly in every single teenage male I have ever worked with is – surprisingly perhaps – their innate desire to do right. Even when they joke, even when they mess about, even when they test my patience to the fullest, it’s as clear as day to see a deep insecurity there that is crying out for correct guidance so they can relax, no be so confused, express themselves and just be happy and help others be happy too.

    Unfortunately, the feeling never leaves me that as much as I try there is no way to out-compete the money-backed psychologically-informed mass media. With nothing held sacred when everything is for sale, boys rarely get an opportunity for self-understanding amid the noise of impulse stimulation.

    In the end, that old story about throwing washed-up starfish back into the sea one at a time is what keeps us going; if we can make a small difference, it was worth it.

    This is why I am so happy to see this film in production. Seeing is so often believing, or in this case, seeing can become disbelieving.

    I think your film will be a very powerful tool in the deconstruction of what are essentially empty values proliferated in the name of short-term profit. And I commend you for detailing the struggle of men where it could easily have been overlooked.

    I wish you great success with this film.