Rihanna has long been hailed as a champion of inclusiveness as her lingerie brand Savage X Fenty continues to feature many shapes, sizes, ethnicities and sexualities in its campaigns. But with the September 24 release of Savage X Fenty Vol. 3 parade, it seems men are at the forefront of what makes the brand different.
By talking to the Associated press, the singer turned designer opened up about the importance of including diverse men in her show. âMen, above all, there is always a certain silhouette that represents them in this space of lingerie and loungewear and boxers and briefs,â she said. “We’re going to have men of all sizes, all different races. We’re also going to make men feel included, because I think men have been left behind on the inclusion curve.”
While this isn’t the first time Rihanna has included men on her show or campaigns, the conversation matters. The one stigma that men continue to face when opening up on bodily insecurities is a major obstacle in the wider diversity movement in fashion. According to experts, Rihanna emphasizes that the stigma is a step in the right direction.
âThere has been a lot more open discussion for women than traditionally for cis men, denouncing the pressures and negative impacts of beauty standards in society,â Brenna O’Malley, registered dietitian and founder of the Non-Dietetic Community Well, says Yahoo Life. âJust as there is more stigma for men to talk about mental health, we also see less space for men to openly share and feel represented in body image conversations. men do not experience these struggles. “
O’Malley points out that bodily pressures and men’s responses to them are often “disguised” as more acceptable than women’s responses, which are generally viewed as “messy.” For example, “the idea that a woman does not eat all day for intermittent fasting more easily elicits the image of a messy diet compared to a man who does not eat all day is often associated with willpower. or by force, âshe explains.
At the root of both behaviors, however, are societal standards of beauty that are harmful. When it comes to ideals for men in particular, the standards are outdated, says clinical psychologist and wellness expert Carla Manly.
âIn the same way that versions of the ideal female form are etched into the psyche, the media and society in general have created narrow and perfectionist ideals of the male form. physique encapsulates the often over-idealized version of the quintessential male form, âshe told Yahoo Life. âDue to societal ignorance and acceptance of the status quo, men were left behind in the inclusion curve. This stems in part from the atavistic awareness that the tall, athletic male type was better off. able to “protect his wives and offspring.” Yet, given that times have changed and we no longer live in a world plagued by primitive threats like lion attacks, it is certainly appropriate to rethink and expand our standards of inclusiveness. “
Rethinking these standards was done for women thanks to the activism of positive body advocates on social media. A reflection of this work is seen in the media through the decline of Victoria’s Secret, the evolution of the Illustrated sports swimsuit and, most recently, the runway hit of Savage X Fenty – spearheading a new standard for inclusive casting. However, little room has been given to men in this broadening of inclusiveness standards. While O’Malley and Manly both refer to male underwear models as a very influential model of âthe perfect male formâ, it is important to create space in the lingerie category in particular.
âRepresentation matters. The more we are exposed to images of people in all bodies living in their bodies and not just as a ‘before’ image, the more we expand our view of beauty and what bodies ‘should’ do. look like and make room for the nuance and diversity of all bodies, “says O’Malley.” By having a focused representation of all bodies and all people, it sends a powerful message that ‘your body is enough, you deserve to be seen “and reduces the narrow appearance of thin, muscular men with visible abs – which is only a small percentage of the population and the majority of images of men we see now.”
âThe much needed focus on the positivity and inclusiveness of the female body has paved the way for similar changes in the male realm,â said Manly.
And according to Rihanna and her latest work, the Savage X Fenty scene is where these changes will be visible.