Dr. Ben Barry | Men’s Ads
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This project explored men’s perceptions of male models of different shapes, ages and races in fashion advertising. An Institutional Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Ryerson University funded it. Below are some articles that I have published on this research project.

The Fashion Engagement Grid
With Barbara J. Phillips
International Journal of Advertising
In Press

This study examines how men who are interested in fashion interpret fashion advertisements. Data is garnered from interviews with adult men who regularly read fashion magazines and buy fashion clothing. Findings reveal that men process fashion advertisements through the same five modes as women. The current study also demonstrates that men’s responses to fashion advertisements can be categorized through the Fashion Engagement Grid which examines men’s characterizations of and motivations for fashion behavior. This study expands theoretical understandings of gender in advertising research and recommends advertising elements to attract male consumers.


Destabilizing The Gaze towards Male Fashion Models
With Barbara J. Phillips
Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion
(Special issue on masculinities)


Fashion advertisements pioneered the mainstream objectification of the male body in popular culture. While scholars have theorized about the influence of these images on men, few empirical studies have examined men’s engagement with them. This study investigates how men experience objectified men’s fashion advertisements through interviews with 30 gay and straight male fashion consumers. Analysis revealed that both gay and straight men gaze upon images through the lenses of appreciation and fantasy, destabilizing normative binaries of gender and sexuality. Despite the delight that men experienced, objectified fashion images also roused despair and distress because the models represented limited ideals and expressions of gender and sexuality. Findings provide empirical evidence to support and advance a new theorization of the male gaze in men’s fashion images. Fashion professionals are advised to expand their representations of male imagery to enable men to continue to traverse gender and sexuality boundaries.


Expanding The Male Ideal: The Need for Diversity in Men’s Fashion Advertising
Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion
(Special issue on men’s bodies and body image)

2015, 1(3), pp. 275-293

While an emerging stream of scholarship has focused on women’s perceptions of body diversity in fashion advertising, few studies have investigated men’s responses to diverse male models. Interviews with 30 men were conducted to examine how they interpret male models of various sizes, ages and races in fashion advertisements as well as how these models influence their body image and perceptions of the advertisement. Analysis revealed that men identified with models whom they shared physical traits, expressed aversion towards idealized bodies, rejected muscularity as a symbol of masculinity, and wanted to see more diverse models in fashion advertising. Participants expressed body anxiety and negative perceptions of advertisements when they viewed idealized models, whereas they communicated body satisfaction and favourable perceptions of advertising when the models reflected their bodies. Results from this study elucidate how men evaluate and respond to male models in fashion advertising and particularly highlight the influence of viewer – model similarity on men’s responses to models. Menswear brands are advised to cast models that reflect the diversity of their target market in order to foster body confidence and advertising effectiveness.


Rival Reflection
With Daniel Drak
Herringbone Magazine
2014, Summer, pp. 40-51.