Fashion photography did something rather odd as it came into general use in the early part of the 20th century. It reinforced the societal roles of men and women in a new way. Prior to the advent of photographic reportage, fashion images were nearly exclusively etchings and engravings; often hand colored, and the persons pictured were shown in the most bland of settings, in formal stiff poses, that showed the clothes with great accuracy, but gave no real hint whatever to their feel, or mobile qualities. This way of representing fashion was the same for both sexes.
What makes this significant is that this emotionally disconnected fashion imagery for men stayed the norm for another 20 years. It was only with the rise of fashion photographs of underwear models, and the rise of the acceptance of the Gay male community that images finally began to move forward again.
So, at last, men's fashion images are keeping pace with the wild innovation, and often surreal qualities of contemporary women's imagery. Let us hope that it continues, and that we can begin to amass a group of iconic fashion images of men that are the equal of the ones that have existed for women for decades.
Sure, I realize that all such pictures are an idealization and an objectification of the models in use regardless of their sex; but if we truly are seeking after gender parity across the board, then this can only be a good thing. We need our icons of unattainable beauty. It is my hope that we will soon begin to break the barriers of body consciousness and allow ourselves to perceive all manner of bodies and colors as equally wonderful, which of course, they are.