Ready for Action
Action figures have gotten bigger and more muscular over the last 25 years. In a straightforward bit of research, Baghurst et.al. (2006) measured changes in the relative sizes of action figures that have been in production for more than 25 years (G.I. Joe, Batman, Hulk, Spiderman, and Superman). Their data are summarized in the table below. Given that research on the effects of media and male body image is relatively young, it is unclear what effects these bulked-up and unrealistically proportioned toys will have. We can guess that some will be inspired to attain the muscular ideal and that others will develop higher levels of body dissatisfaction.
G.I. Joe Photo: H.P.Holland, 2006
BAGHURST, T., HOLLANDER, D., NARDELLA, B., & HAFF, G. (2006). Change in sociocultural ideal male physique: An examination of past and present action figures Body Image, 3 (1), 87-91 DOI: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2005.11.001