Conundrum of the Adonis

Photography by Callum A. Smith. Styling by Daniel Boey.



Hedi Slimane made quite a stir on his menswear Spring 2014 presentation. Unfortunately, it was not for his collection.

Tim Blank, from, summarized the Saint Laurent collection well as a “wasp-waisted, shrunken chested boy band members, suffering from the famed rock’ n’ roll appetite deprivation”.

Saint Laurent Paris Menswear Collection Spring 2014.

Either it was Mr. Slimane’s decision to redefine the boundary of male beauty or to distract critic’ attentions away from the clothes, either way it was not much of a pretty sight to behold.

If this were the women show, the stir would have been a tidal wave of controversies. But the world has gone numb from criticizing as this trend had been decorating the runway for years. However, the backlash on emaciated women on the runway was so strong that countries, like France, and magazines, like Vogue, started to regulate models to achieve a healthier standard.

So far, the trend for men has fallen on a deaf ear.

Although on the rise, it is largely because body issue has been exclusively linked as a feminine issue.  No doubt, the pressure for women is definitely more prominent, but with the feeding of these supposedly healthy images very early on through media, we might be facing a self-absorbed self-conscious vain younger generation that emphasizes on nothing else but physical beauty.

“We’re doing this to ourselves,” says Dr. David Brennan, a clinical social worker from the University of Toronto. “Our entire culture is showing the same body image. And the question is, does that affect us?”

Brennan elaborates that popular culture’s preference for a specific physical ideal does indeed affect those who fall short of the standards. Some of these negative effects include low self-esteem, eating disorders, and body dysmorphia.

The problem with male body issue is that it comes in two opposing spectrums. While one appears malnourished, the other appears steroid-ridden. Nonetheless neither obsession is healthy.

These problems do not choose gender. They strike both sexes equally.

There is an estimate statistic that 3 out of 10 men are facing body issue. But the figure is believed to be a deflation of the actual number as there is more pressure for men not to talk on something so trivial and vain.

When toys like, Barbie, has received a lot of flaks for promoting the unhealthy unrealistic body proportion for women, why there has not been any criticism directed towards disproportioned super hero figures with bulging biceps and helium-inflated pecs?

I applaud Mr. Slimane aesthetic consistency throughout the years, after all, he was the one who catapulted the “Heroin Chic” trend to the masses, introducing us to the flawless supermodel that is Kate Moss. But to have love handles or thunder thighs doesn’t make one person less flawless than Ms. Moss. The flaws make them appear human.

I am sure with all the airbrushed pictures in magazine covers, Ms. Moss can attest to that.

Stefanus Wong

Dr. Brennan quote is taken from “The Tyranny of Buffness”, published by Brandon Ambrosino, 16 August 2013.