The front cover of this month's Details magazine features the faces of ten prominent male models that have gained significant status in recent years, including Sean O'Pry, Clement Chabernaud, and Garrett Neff. Speaking with Business of Fashion, Details editor-in-chief Dan Peres mentioned "men's fashion is stronger than it has ever been in terms of what the offerings are."
Even as some male models strike it 'big,' they still struggle with equal treatment, especially when it comes to amenities and salaries.
"A part of me does think, 'Why is this? What can I do about it? Why is it that the female models get paid four times as much as a male model for a campaign – a campaign they are both in," Gandy asked. "But it's just a fact in this industry that the women earn more than the men. While the top female models fly first class or business class, the guys fly economy."
"I just came from a casting for Reiss, where the girls were sitting in a special room and I had to sit in the middle of an office," he said. "The treatment is different and I think it's because there aren't as many jobs."
"I don't think there is any question that female models are seen more positively and treated more glamorously by our society. This is probably colored by homophobia," Rettenmund said. "Even though many male models are, of course straight, I think our society still frowns on peacocking males and thinks male models are gay and therefore not as praise-worthy as men in other professions, whereas women who are models are fitting into a role that society thinks is okay for that gender."
"The clients know the look they are going for and in my case with [my long hair], I might not fit what they are looking for," Smith added. "Almost half the clients out there don't even hire boys with long hair."
From a social perspective, male models have a long way to come before gaining a similar following to female models. O'Pry has 15,200 Twitter followers and 41,192 instagram followers compared with Bündchen, who boasts 1.67 million followers on Twitter and 1.49 million on Instagram.
Tyson Beckford, the male model best known for his Ralph Lauren Polo campaign, has nearly 80,000 followers on twitter while Victoria Secret bombshell Adriana Lima knocks him out of the park : 1.34 million.
On the flipside, female models are held to an incredibly higher standard than their male counterparts, between the weight expectation and the emphasis on youth.
We have to watch our weight and figure out how the heck we can be healthy. Yes, we have [more opportunity] but when I do market, I'm sitting in a model closet all day—it's not glamorous and it's not sexy but it is what it is. And it's a lot more work than going on set, taking off my shirt and posing like Zoolander."
"With the male model industry being smaller, there's less money but there are also advantages. There are all these stories of female models starving themselves to stay skinny and you don't really hear about that in the male model industry," Smith added. "The rules are definitely more loose for men."
"I find pressure for sexual favors more annoying to hear about than pay inequities, [but] that is an issue that plagues both male and female models equally," Rettenmund said.