New Study Says Musclemen Aren’t as Appealing as They Think

Here is some potentially good news in follow up to our recent post about the rise of anorexia in men with the advent of the skinny jean: muscular male models with serious washboard abs are no more appealing than average or chubby men in advertisements.

According to a new study, the truth is you don't need them!

Phillippa Diedrichs, the study leader, showed mock jeans, skin care and cologne ads featuring muscular and average men to more than 600 students in their late teens, and the ads with average men were rated no less effective than those with hard bodied men.

If young males are no more drawn to muscular types than average types, perhaps super skinny male mannequins and models will also prove no more alluring or likely to inspire men to be unhealthy.

The Sydney Morning Herald hopes the results will fuel the debate about unrealistic body types in media images.

Diedrichs said some of the participants in her study ”may have attributed the models’ muscularity to vanity or homosexuality, characteristics which they may have found unpleasant or discomforting…The average-size male models [may have seemed] less concerned with their appearance.” {The Sydney Morning Herald}

We think it might just mean that most men are not as concerned with their appearances as previously thought.

Some bloggers noted that for every study there is another that yields opposite results. For example, Deidrichs conducted a 2008 study that found plus size female models were no less effective in selling products than super thin models, but a University of Arizona study discovered plus size models in ads sold fewer products than skinny models, so maybe those concerned with manorexia shouldn’t get too excited just yet. {The Cut}

Our only concern with the results of this study is that the male students rated ads that showed just the product with no model to be most effective. This could show that men prefer not to see any image to which they are bound to compare themselves, meaning young males are still susceptible to body image issues after all.

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