Ryan Dziadul, a 35-year-old New York City-based publicist, is the face behind the popular men’s body-positive Instagram account extraextrastyle. With the female plus-size market abundant with models and influencers advocating for body diversity, Dziadul stands out for trying to loop men into the conversation.
The Instagrammer created the account about a year and a half ago after noticing significantly fewer men promoting body positivity.
“I spent the first 10 years of my career working in fashion, and I was trading stories with my friend Katie Sturino about navigating the fashion world as a big person,” Dziadul tells Yahoo Style. “I realized that there were resources for women dealing with body-image issues, but there didn’t seem to be a place for men to talk about body positivity or to celebrate their style. So I decided to create that resource.”
After dealing with body-image insecurities, he wanted to make himself a resource for other plus-size men struggling to embrace their own skin. “I spent years being embarrassed to even say my size out loud,” he says. “If I was shopping in a store — that is, if they even carried my size in store instead of just online — I would always refuse help from sales associates because I’d rather dig through a pile of clothes myself.”
However, Dziadul reached a point at which he decided it was time to shift his perspective.
“I just got sick of it,” he says. “I decided to make peace. I’ve never been a small person, and I likely never will be. But it’s a process — I mean, I started my Instagram to help other people but it’s really helped me — cheesy, I know.”
He adds: “Every like, every comment, every DM from people saying that I’ve helped them with their own body image or shopping problem or self-esteem helps me. It took me a year and a half, but I just posted my first shirtless picture on my account. So it’s definitely still evolving.”
Reaching this place of comfort in his own skin has helped him to help others, especially when it comes to fashion.
“Shopping as a plus-size person is hard — not every brand carries plus in store, and sizes vary so much item to item or brand to brand,” he says. “I always tag the brands I’m wearing. I’ll let you know what size I’m wearing if you’re curious about picking up something for yourself. If I can save someone the trouble of buying two things knowing they’ll have to return one, then it’s worth it. I have tops ranging from XL to XXXXL — yes, 4XL — in my closet and they all fit. It took me 35 years to realize that size is just a number.”
Dziadul says he’s also inspired by other interesting trend-related content on the social media platform. “It’s been so interesting to see how other dudes express their personal style,” he notes. “Over the last year and a half I’ve tried more trends that I never thought I would participate in, and it’s been fun — white jeans, Hawaiian shirts, and hats, so many hats.”
He continues: “It’s fun to feel like you’re getting in on something on the ground level — it’s a movement where I feel like I can have a voice — and where my voice is needed. I don’t think anyone needs another Instagram feed of, like, cappuccino foam and hydrangeas, but this is a new conversation.”
On promoting this conversation, Dziadul believes the men’s fashion market in general needs a revamp. “People think that men don’t care about fashion in general,” he says. “There are so many tired stereotypes of the clueless guy in a store who needs his wife or girlfriend to ‘save him’ and dress him. And plus-size men are an even smaller subset of the general population, so retailers and the media think that it’s a niche audience that’s not worth servicing.”
But he thinks this is far from the truth. “Men — and big men — have money and they want to spend it,” he says. “Everyone wants to look good, no matter what size they are. Retailers shouldn’t make it so hard for me to spend my money!”
Dziadul believes this is connected to the lack of media attention given to men’s plus-size figures and influencers. “We’re all people, and these issues don’t discriminate on gender,” he says, pointing out misconceptions that body-image issues affect women only.
“The media just isn’t talking about it,” he says. “We are beginning to see mainstream women’s media outlets feature plus-size women on covers and in their pages — I mean, Ashley Graham has a great page in InStyle every month. But that just isn’t happening for men. The only non-model bodies in GQ are professional athletes. I never see anyone who looks like me in the media.”
Aside from posting regular content on his Instagram, Dziadul helps to spread awareness for the men’s body-positive movement in real life as well.
“It’s not just in the way I live my life,” he says. “When I shop, I ask stores why they don’t carry my size. I describe myself, proudly, as a men’s plus-size fashion Instagrammer. It’s not just about me — I try hard to use any opportunity I’m given to talk about the movement. The more it’s talked about, the less it’s stigmatized.”
For the most part, social media has been extremely receptive to the message he’s promoting. “Luckily, people have been super-positive and super-supportive so far,” he shares. “I can count on one hand the number of nasty comments I’ve gotten over the last year and a half. Interestingly, the messages from people with foot fetishes far outnumber the criticisms — who knew?”
He might have launched his body-positive fashion account just a year and a half ago, but his reach has already been immeasurable. “I got a message from someone in Japan who told me he shares all of my posts with his friend who is plus-size,” says Dziadul. “I got another message from a mother who told me she shares my posts with her young son, who is beginning to deal with body-image concerns. Knowing that I’ve helped even one person is so fulfilling.”
Dziadul adds: “I hope that by sharing my journey and my style I’m helping people with their own confidence and helping to take some of the shame away from being plus-size. This is a conversation that people are ready to have, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Read more from Yahoo Style + Beauty:
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