Real Men Take On Underwear Ads

AdvertisingBeauty 12 Comments

We often talk about female objectification and the sexualized images of women that permeate the media, but we aren’t the only ones faced with unattainable standards of what is considered to be the “ideal”.  Men are also victim to increasingly unrealistic messages of masculine perfection.

In an experiment, the British newspaper The Sun decided to put four of their readers in front of a camera, to see what it would look like to have “real men” model in their underwear. The photos, by Stewart Williams, emulate popular ad images from Armani, H&M, Dolce & Gabbana and Calvin Klein.

The Sun explained what precipitated the experiment: “REAL women with real shapes have figured in ad campaigns for years, with brands such as Dove and M&S showing the female form as nature intended. But what about the fellas? Instead of realistic role models, they are still faced with images of perfectly sculpted males modelling boxers beneath impossibly taut six-packs.”

While we admit that at first the images made us chuckle, they also serve as a reminder that the feelings of body dissatisfaction and inadequacy aren’t ours alone; body image is an equal opportunity issue that doesn’t discriminate on gender.


Calvin Klein, Man vs. Freddie Ljungberg


H&M, Man vs. David Beckham


Dolce & Gabbana, Man vs. David Gandy


Armani, Man vs. Cristiano Ronaldo

  • Foggy

    Hilarious! Great idea to have these “normal models” men pose exactly as the original “taut six-pack models”. Actually, all four “normal” guys look pretty good! Definitely dislike Beckham’s tattoos.

  • gargouille

    They are brave and charming. Now, the day this happens for women and men applaud and say we are brave and charming in our real bodies, THEN I will agree that ‘body image is an equal opportunity issue’!

    • Topi

      so true!

    • G B

      I’m down.

  • Cory

    A body can be altered in many ways. Yes, advertising companies are particular with their models and I think if people want to complain, then stop looking into a possible career that requires “taut six-pack models. Models get paid to keep their bodies in a specific shape, that’s why they were chosen in the first place. You want to be masculine men? Do you want ripped deltoids and jaw-dropping biceps? Stop whining and stop over eating processed and fast foods and get your asses into a gym, that’s what ripped models must do. A six pack is very attainable and definitely not anywhere near impossible. I’ll compare this to engineering- if you don’t have the intelligence you can’t do it! Get over it and start elsewhere. Sex sells, and with or without preconceived ideas from media, I would rather see a 160lb masculine man in underwear rather than a 250-300lb obese individual “Naomi Cambelling” up and down a runway. I’m just saying how it is. There are too many emotional aspects that anyone can think of. Who cares about the perfect “body image”, if you do, then turn it into what you want to see, otherwise STOP bitching about it. To possibly say that a masculine image is a bad image to portray upon men or in the other realm- women, is hogwash. Most of those masculine men are some of the healthiest men a person can lay eyes on, I do suppose this is the U.S. and the majority is overweight and unhealthy, so I see where much of the controversy stems from. So you think media must uphold responsibility for every single individual that decides to pick up a fashion magazine or watch television? Now that is the “unattainable”.

    • Unfairman

      Wow, you just completely missed the point. It’s not that these things are unattainable, it’s media messaging leads people (men, women, children) to hold this “ideal” as normal instead of what a body looks like when a person does dedicate the time and effort you mentioned above to attaining it. It’s not average – about 100 people in the world look that way, and even they don’t actually look that way due to photo retouching – and that’s what’s effed up about the whole thing.

  • gidgetgirl

    I think the normal guys are way hotter! 🙂

    • Topi

      I don’t think so!!!

    • lirpa

      Me too, in every case! Why don’t any of the guys on the right have any chest hair?

  • Topi

    Ewwww…want to keep the models .

    • Topi

      and…the models are much bigger down there.

  • Tracy Wilson-Scarbrough

    They are all “real” men. It is just the clothing industry pushing unrealistic, for the average person, body images to sell sell sell their products. The men on the right are attractive/handsome; but I like the men on the left too. And lets face it folks…there just are not many who can compare with David B!