Dressmann, a clothing company in Norway, recently released an underwear commercial for the “perfect” man. Perfect can be a really dangerous word. Especially when it comes to our media-fueled perceptions of masulinity, it can evoke images of toned muscles, chiseled jawlines, and other beauty standards that have been created by years of the media choosing to promote a very skewed and specific “model” type. However, “perfect,” as Dressmann defines it, doesn’t necessarily mean abs or zero body fat or chiseled anything. Instead, the ad emphasizes that perfect means “just the way you are.”
The ad features seven different men with seven very different looks – older, younger, bearded, freckled, heavy, thin, muscular – representing seven different versions of “perfect.” In a behind-the-scenes video for the commercial, Dressmann spokesperson Vidar Nilsen traces the stereotypical “perfect” male body type to Calvin Klein photo-shoots, featuring men like David Beckham and Justin Beiber who have to be in tip-top shape to succeed in their careers. Though Calvin Klein models definitely represent one kind of beauty, they don’t represent all types of beauty. No one person can. That’s why featuring a variety of men in this Dressmann commercial is so powerful.
“Like many other brands, we have lost ourselves in the fashion industry’s ideals,” Dressmann says in its BTS video. “Now we want to find our way back. Back to the majority of people. Back to reality. Back to ourselves.”
Distorted body image is a problem all over the world. The video cites surveys that show over 10% of middle school boys have admitted to trying steroids. One third of those surveyed reported they would trade one year of their life for a “perfect body.” Confidence can be complicated, but looks should never be considered more important than living life.
“From now on, we will no longer be seen as a brand just for the perfect men. We will be seen as a brand for all 3.4 billion perfect men in the world,” Dressmann promises in the video. The company has also created a #justthewayyouare campaign that goes hand-in-hand with their new, diverse ad. Hopefully, including all sorts of body types in commercials like this will remind everyone – men and women – that there are all sorts of “perfect.”
So the next time you try on some underwear (or a tank top or bathing suit or whatever) and you find yourself wishing for David Beckham’s abs, just remember that you are the best kind of perfect — just the way you are.