Husky guys have always had a decent amount of media visibility, (see: every Kevin James or modern Adam Sandler movie where he dates a model, and Chris Pratt being Chris Pratt), but right now, their moment is truly peaking. Since the average man likely fails to fit the six-pack, chiseled, toned ideal appearance of a model in the same way that the majority of women probably don’t resemble their high-fashion catwalk counterpoints, it’s not a mystery as to why a lot of guys have been feeling crappy about their body image.
The National Eating Disorders Association says that in the United States alone, 10 million men will struggle with eating disorders at some point in their life, which is lower in comparison to the 20 million women who will struggle with the same issues but still is not an insignificant figure.
Still, there’s no denying women have very real love for their husky guys.
Part of the sea change with husky guy visibility is potentially related to the addition of male plus-size models at IMG’s "Brawn" division. IMG president Ivan Bart told Women’s Wear Daily that Brawn "has a positive message" about "physical strength." The agency’s first model Zach Miko is 6-foot-6 and has a 42-inch waist, which is notably larger than most male models’, who according to Models.com are between 5-foot-9 and 6-foot-2 and 120 to 170 pounds. Bart spoke with Refinery29 about how modeling for Target helped with his self-acceptance, saying, "I remember coming home and seeing my wife, and I told her that I love being the big guy … Now, for the first time, I want to be big forever. I don’t care if I’m not cut and chiseled like an Abercrombie model."
Even in the less professional modeling sector, there have been viral photo shoots from husky guys in skimpy clothes (hello, Sexy Husky Lumberjack and Sexy Husky Farmer) that people went nuts over because they showed real guys looking ridiculous and also super-hot in photo shoots that would typically be reserved for those chiseled, super-slim men we’re used to seeing plastered all over magazines and billboards.
Now with the recent hashtag explosion that was #BigGuyTwitter, we’re seeing another surge of big-guy visibility. Hashtag creator Mike Byrd told the Daily Dot he wanted to create the hashtag so that men could "take pride in who they are and love and accept themselves fully" and tweeted a photo of himself to get the hashtag going. It took off from there.
While the explosion of this kind of body positivity seems on the surface to be nothing but wonderful, I reached out to several of my self-identified bigger guy friends to see how they felt about it and their opinions were pretty mixed.
Han, 28, said that while he thinks #BigGuyTwitter is a lot of fun, at 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, he has "no trouble finding girls who are into that." Han attributes the allure of the big guy to "the primal aspect of protection," since he’s usually the biggest person in the room wherever he goes. He thinks this might "bypass the normal attraction filters and tap into the monkey-brain" which wants to be protected by someone big and strong.
Loren, 23, says he also finds that being a bigger guy works in his favor, saying, "People underestimate how approachable guys who aren’t top-shelf are. It’s wise to play to your strengths and being an Adonis is not one of mine."
However, Hashim, 38, said he was "pretty ambivalent" about #BigGuyTwitter because he feels weird when someone he doesn’t know refers to him as a "Big Guy." Even though he knows they didn’t mean it maliciously, he added that, "It told me that’s what they saw first."
Hashim believes the media’s more positive portrayals of bigger guys on screen has definitely helped his own love life, noting that he had a recent date who kept saying he reminded her of Wilson Fisk from Daredevil. He adds, "While my first notion was to be offended, I realized that for her, it was a compliment. She found me more attractive because she found the character, a big bald guy who exuded power and dressed well, to be attractive. For once the image of a fat guy wasn’t taken as a punch line, but rather a sex symbol. It renewed [my] hope."
And, though opinions may still be divided, when it comes down to it, any increase in body positivity is a change we can get behind.