Today in male body image news, David Beckham apparently has been using a stand-in for shots of his posterior during an ad campaign for H&M;. The explanation the brand gave doesn’t entirely track to me: if Beckham has enough time to be ogled by tourists, jump in a pool, and have his shirt torn off by hedges that a couple of shots of him readjusting his trunks would be the thing that busted the production schedule and had to get left off the list:
But I’m totally sympathetic to the idea that even David Beckham wants to make sure when his body isn’t in motion, when it isn’t being celebrated for its capacities, but merely as a piece of meat, that even he might want a substitute. There may be more variety in archetypal male body types in popular culture than there are for women. But when it comes to the kinds of bodies designers want to put clothes on, whether they’re walking the runway or posing in print and video ads, the standards for men and women are both pretty brutal. There’s been a lot of work done to expose what women put themselves through to meet the physical standards required of them to model, but it would be delightful to make it clear that the expectations for men aren’t any more realistic or attainable, even for ones who stay in shape professionally.