A lot of women have browsed through a Victoria’s Secret catalog and felt less than stellar about themselves.
We know. We talk about it. We write about it.
We don’t often talk about how men feel when seeing a Calvin Klein ad though.
Leave it to the BuzzFeed staff to face these issues square in the body.
After the BuzzFeed female staffers posed for We Tried On Victoria’s Secret Bathing Suits And This Is What Happened, the men got in on the act with We Re-Created Famous Calvin Klein Underwear Ads And This Is What Happened.
While reading the comments the ladies made, I really felt the women were being honest and I felt they were really looking at the experience.
Honestly, I wish we could go back to wearing old-timey full-coverage swimsuits. I also have fairly large boobs and it’s really hard to find a suit that lets me move around and NOT flash people. I assumed these models just got made up, put on the swimsuit, struck a pose and got the shot. Easy. But it wasn’t easy. The sand was really hard and hurt my knees. It was freaking cold that day and I did not want to wet my hair in the ice water of the Pacific. I struggled to make my body even somewhat resemble the model’s, no matter how much I sucked in.
Looking at these models was just a constant reminder that never in my adult life have I been that skinny or white, so I can’t pretend that I relate. It sucks because there are different ways to represent “bikini bodies” and beauty in general, but we’re force-fed one image. I wish I could see someone like me in a magazine, but I’m still waiting.
While I want to believe the men are speaking honestly, there was more of a level of snark like this was all just a big joke.
Almost every single male underwear model looks like he was sculpted by someone trying to create the ideal man. The funny thing is, when I look at these ads, I don’t even notice the underwear. It’s just more like, damn. How do you get that ripped?
The confidence behind my pose was certainly tough to fake. I had a fairly “natural” pose, but a thousand questions popped into my head while I was doing it: How do my arms look? Do I have that line in my stomach? Can you see my flat butt from this angle? How’s my package lookin’? WHAT DO I DO WITH MY FACE? I was really afraid that my arms would look scrawny, my legs would look really white, and my stomach would be…awkward.
A great way to feel insecure is to compare your body to that of an underwear model. Or to anyone else, for that matter. You just have to learn to appreciate your own body, which is tough, but necessary. I’m not there yet, but I’m on my way.
But, of course, for the women, the Victoria’s Secret brand is much more of a presence in their lives than the Calvin Klein ads are for the men.
Because it’s not just VS that can seemingly taunt women with high expectations of what it means to look like a woman—it’s every magazine on the grocery store stands, it’s every newsstand, it’s every billboard. It’s the culture.
For men, it’s much more—once in a blue moon. So it’s more of a joke. It’s more of a humorous exercise in imagining what it would feel like to really feel the need to look like one of those men.
But they know at the end of the day, it’s all just a joke. Men have not been ingrained to compute their value or their worth based on their looks.