Underwear models or body modification promotors?

Underwear models – they’re everywhere. We’ve all seen them. We’ve all envied their bodies. And we’ve all bought the products hoping to look even partially as hot as the person modeling them.

Two dominant underwear brands come to mind: Calvin Klein and Victoria’s Secret.

First – the male models. Women, it’s okay to drool. You wouldn’t be the first one to do so. Calvin Klein has a knack for giving its female audience exactly what it wants and causing its male viewers to look down at their beer bellies and weep.

Washboard abs. Bulging biceps. Perfect facial structure. A little oil. And of course – the bulging package. No need to place the model in an overly masculine stance, his body and piercing stare get the message across – this is what every women wants in her man and what every man wishes he looked like.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, not every man looks like this. In fact, an extremely small percentage do.  So why do we obsess so much over what we can’t have.  Well there’s your reason – you can’t have it, so you want it even more. But how far are you willing to go to get it?

This is a rare and unrealistic image of the male body, yet it is the one that the media portrays most often. This unbalanced ratio of unrealistic body images can cause, and has caused, consumers to go to unhealthy lengths to reach such perfection.

The female version of the underwear model is no better. Victoria’s Secret models have long, flowing hair, a slim figure, long legs, toned muscles, perfect facial structure, a seductive look, and of course those large, perky breasts.

How many women do you know who actually look like the model to the right? … Yeah, that’s what I thought.  Despite the rarity of this look, it is what we idealize.

Not only do these advertisements portray unrealistic body images, they also promote them. In other words, they put the idea into the viewer’s head that a body like that is not only achievable, but that they should strive to achieve it. On the surface this may not seem too harmful, but the severity of this message is entirely dependent on the viewer’s personal interpretation of it.

The impact of male body image is often underestimated behind females, but in reality males go through many of the same body modification techniques in their attempt to achieve a different body: plastic surgery, artificial tanning, hair extensions (or plugs), liposuction, diets, excessive exercising and many others. But when is body modification taken too far?

We’ve all done something to change our appearance to match our personality and style or attempt to look like one of these models. But there is a point when body modification becomes unhealthy.  Whether it is in the form of excessive exercising, an eating disorder, or damaging plastic surgery – when a persons health is at risk these unrealistic perceptions of body perfection need to be eliminated.

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