The male model industry
In the world of highly competitive and female-dominated professional modelling, the attitude toward male modelling is changing. Although male models are still facing criticism and bias from their professional peers, society's typical mindset is changing.
|Human resource management senior Kellen Andry has been a male model for Maison Blanche's teen board, Andry does not fit the stereotype of the typical male model , except for his look.
“I fit the stereotypical look of a model because I am tall, lean and wear clothes well, but I try to defy all society's stereotypes,” Andry said.
Andry said he did not think society's view of modelling is swaying one way or the other, but that it is becoming more acceptable with men becoming more metrosexual and focus on their bodies. Andry is not certain what society's future opinion of male modelling will be, but said the opinion of male modelling is dependent on society in general.
Andry said as metrosexuality becomes the norm and people are more interested in looks, the positive opinion of male modelling will increase. But if a manly connotation begins to affect society, the public opinion could easily change.
“Male models, they assume they are all gay, when only about 10 percent are. This doesn't bother me though, because I am comfortable with who I am,” Andry said.
Business management junior Louis Toliver has modelled for JC Penny's. Toliver said he is certain the opinion of male modelling is changing as society as a whole also is changing because people are not that narrow-minded. There are a lot of people that break stereotypes and Toliver said he hopes he is one of them.
“Times are changing, lines are blurring. Guys want to look as good as girls. That's why there are an increasing number of guys with eating disorders. I see the same guys at the gym everyday obsessing, trying to be what girls want,” Toliver said.
Russell Collins, an aspiring male model, said that male modelling is losing it's negative connotation.
“It takes time for people to grow to new ideas, it's not new so people accept it,” Collins said.
However, Collins who wants to be a male fitness model, said that he does think male fashion models fit the male modelling stereotype.
“I think fashion models as the gayer more feminine type. I wouldn't want to be categorized like it,” Collins said.
Andry agreed that fashion modelling deals a lot more with the vanity aspect of modelling, than fitness modelling does.
Both Collins and Andry said they have not experienced bias from their peers for their decision to model.
“My friends or anybody wouldn't care. The bias on any topic really depends on the person,” Collins said.
The opinion of male modelling differs even among models. Andry said to him male modelling is a “fun, energetic, way to play with one's male vanity while enjoying your masculinity.”
Collin's opinion of male modelling is that it is a good interest. “I think it's cool for a little on-the-side money to pay for stuff. It's nice to get a little money for how you look.”
Another broken stereotype of models is the stigma that models are not intelligent. Toliver, Collins and Andry agree that school is a priority for them and this generalization is unfair.
“Models aren't complete morons. The ‘Zoolander' theme suggests if you look good that you're probably lacking in other places. I don't think that is necessarily true,” Collins said.
Toliver said that although he is focusing on his education, modelling would also be a competitive industry to break into because you're forced to be something you're not.
“There's a lot of work. You put yourself out on the line,” Toliver said.
Andry said that he models for fun.
“You enjoy the attention and energy from being on stage and wearing the clothes,” Andry said.
Andry said that modelling does not carry as much of a feminine connotation as previously because modelling is something many men really want to do.
“A lot of people have secret desires or vanities. People will also aspire to look a certain way or feel a certain way,” Andry said.
Another aspect male modelling has received social criticism is because of its outward declaration of male physical obsession.
Collins said that he does not think body-consciousness is a negative idea.
“I think it's good to be obsessed about your looks. When it boils down to it, it does matter how you look. You'll get opportunities in life because you carry yourself differently because you have a boost of confidence,” Collins said.
Toliver agreed that focusing on your appearance is important.
“I think guys are becoming more aware of how they look, which is awesome, but you shouldn't let it be your number one priority,” Toliver said.
Toliver also thinks that guys are now becoming more vocal with their concerns about body image.
“Guys have those same insecurities girls have and want to be that same object of attention that girls do,” Toliver said.