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Why Men Need Plus Size Representation In The Media

Why Men Need Plus Size Representation In The Media

Women have long endured the societal obligation that they need to look and act a certain way in order to be considered beautiful by the mainstream media, and to say that this is no longer the case in modern society would be wildly inaccurate.

However, over the last few years, there has been a surge of plus size models that have rapidly gained popularity, both on social media and in the mainstream media too. This is a fantastic step forward for female body-positivity, yet the more I see these photos of models such as Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence, and the waves of support in the comment section,  I can’t help but think – where are the plus size males to look up to?

There are a plethora of actors that could be considered plus size that have experienced success – Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Nick Frost and Rick Gervais are a select few that spring to mind – but where are the plus size models? It may be a case of not doing enough research, or not looking in the right places, but I could not provide you with the name of a single male model that could be considered plus size until I decided to write this article. There are no household names in the male plus size industry.


There are several factors as to why the lack of plus size representation for models can be explained – is it a general assumption that men as a gender are more secure in their looks, is it the male species’ general lack of interest in fashion, or is it something else?

Please don’t misconstrue this article as an implication that women have enough plus size models to look up to, because they don’t, but all of the plus size males that come to mind are actors, not models.


Male representation

Zach Miko became the world’s first plus size male model in 2016 when he signed with Target in America, measuring 6ft 6 in tall and weighing 19 stone, he’s 7 inches taller than me but only around 1 and a half stone heavier. There can be absolutely no complaints that there is a man like Zach Miko in the modelling indsustry, yet he still doesn’t strike me as the ‘typical man’ that I would class myself as.

How The Lack Of Representation Affected Me

For years I’ve been insecure about my weight, especially through high school, and it’s only since I went to university at the age of 21 that I decided to just try and stop caring what people think of me – and it worked – but there is still this nagging doubt in the back of my mind that I need to be different and that I need to have abs and huge defined pecs.

This may be because of my love of American football and basketball, where all of the players are incredible athletes, but I do honestly think it’s because growing up there was nobody I could look up to or emulate that looked like me.


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This is where a plus size male model would have come in handy – in all of the stores I would shop at, all of the t-shirts were “slim fit” or “muscle fit” and I always thought that if I tried to wear one then I would look stupid, or that I did not have the right body shape for it. It’s only recently that I’ve noticed brands – particularly ASOS – using models that are a similar body shape to me.


It’s axiomatic that women had the same problem, and the beauty industry, lead by reality TV stars selling appetite suppressants to young, impressionable girls is still toxic, but in the past, I too have wondered whether or not these ridiculous “supplements” would help me look the way I think I want to look.

How to beat the insecurities from early on

I think, ultimately, schools need to show their students from a young age that eating is good, and that just because you eat certain “bad” foods it doesn’t mean you should demonise your self or the food you ate, they should just ensure that for every “bad” food you eat, you eat maybe double the amount in “good” food to balance it out.


Perhaps if there were people on my TV that weren’t thin, or typically “in shape” but were not unhealthy that could have told me it was okay to look the way that I look, then I wouldn’t have had to wait until I was 21 before I finally started liking the way I looked.

Do you agree that men need more plus-size representation in the media? Comment your thoughts below!

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