Can superheroes make male fans feel stronger?

Posted Sept. 26, 2012, at 8:58 a.m.

As I unload my cart at the grocery store, I feel eyes glaring at me. “Do you really need those cookies?” the magazine cover models taunt me.

As I weigh my decision to buy or not to buy the sweets, I question whether those pictures of perfection are helping my self-esteem (by making me skip the cookies and strive to better myself) or bringing me down (by making me feel like I will never achieve their airbrushed beauty so why not pig out on cookies).

It seems men have similar body issues when it comes to their version of the Photoshopped model: Superheroes.

A recent study by the University of Buffalo suggests the masked men can actually increase male self-esteem.

This doesn’t apply to all men, mind you — just devoted fans.

The study found that the mere presence of Batman or Spider-Man makes devoted fans feel strong and physically fit.

Too bad the Incredible Hulk isn’t manning the checkout line when my husband does the shopping. Cookies? SMASH!!!!!