As a blogger, I’m often made aware of surveys and studies that people think might be of interest to my readers. The most recent one I’ve received has left me agog. It’s a survey into male body confidence and it suggests this is a huge issue for the male population.
I’ll come on to the results in just a moment. It’s not so much the study’s results that have left me agog, but who commissioned it; none other than fashion retailer New Look.
I have written about body confidence in the past and I’ve been very fortunate to discuss the issue with Equalities Minister Jo Swinson. This, however, is the first time I’ve heard of a fashion retailer taking steps to raise awareness of male body confidence as an issue.
The survey was carried out with 2,000 British men. It found the most common causes for lack of body confidence to be:
- Excess fat (26%)
- The waistline (18%) and
- Height (8%).
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that penis size also featured as a reason for insecurity, as did muscle tone. Interestingly, New Look recently commissioned a similar study with 2,000 women. The results from the two differing surveys hint that women are more confident of their bodies than men; 37% of women claimed to be confident versus 35% of men.
Note I use the word “hint”. The two surveys aren’t directly comparable because the women’s version only involved people aged18-24 while the men’s included people of various ages. Despite this, one thing can’t be denied; the majority of men have issues about their bodies.
Other interesting facts to come out of the survey were:
- Men in Scotland have the largest average waistline, at 35.14 inches
- Men in Wales have the smallest waistlines, at 33.78 inches
- The North East has the most bodily confident males, closely followed by Londoners
- Despite London residents being reasonably confident, men from the South East of England have the lowest levels of body confidence and
- Men appear to consistently get more bodily confident with age, aside from the 25-34 year old age group, who were found to have the least confidence in their bodies.
The impact of this lack of male body confidence is an increase in eating disorders among men. Low self esteem is also on the rise, as is body dysmorphia.
New Look has done some analysis and looked at a variety of sources to explain why men are increasingly worried about their bodies. I can only give highlights here because the analysis is vast. In summary, however, it seems men are increasingly being sexualised and ogled as women have traditionally been. Not surprisingly, this has led to increased competition among men to look good and led to more insecurity. There’s also a theory that men have always had body confidence issues. It’s only now that it’s been recognised as an issue that affects males that it’s become acceptable to openly discuss.
New Look is, of course, a fashion brand and has to sell its products. Having recognised that male (and female) body confidence is a problem, the company says it is now selling larger sized clothes and regularly using plus size models. Unlike other retailers, however, it says it is doesn’t label images modelled by plus sized individuals so that they don’t stick out and simply reflect the body shapes of its customers. Wouldn’t it be great if other fashion brands followed suit?
The survey was carried out with 2,000 British males by OnePoll on behalf of New Look.
I have linked this post up to the rather splendid Mad Mid Week Blog Hop. Do take the time to go and visit some of the blogs on this linky, it always features some marvellous blogs.