Females Aren’t the Only Sex ObjectsPosted: November 20, 2013
Male objectification isn’t anything new, however it is definitely picking up speed and intensity. In no way do I intend to diminish the valid complaints of women about how their gender is often portrayed as an assembly of sexual enticements and nothing more, but it is time to acknowledge they are no longer the only gender who have an ax to grind. We men, we have a big sexy ax to grind.
Past to Present:
Stars on the Big Screen and TV
If you look at the studs of the Golden Age of Movies (1930’s-1940’s), they are undoubtedly manly, hansom, and fit. Men like Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, and Cary Grant, while easy on the eyes, rarely had cause to lose the shirts on camera and if they did they were fit and that was good enough. If you had a pleasing face and lacked a belly you could be a “dream boat”. Some actors like John Wayne did it on swagger and charisma alone. Not to say buff hunks were no where to be found. I’m sure most of us remember the beefcake movement stretching back as far as the 20’s, but being cut wasn’t a requirement to be sexy. We see this trend continue through the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. It really isn’t until the 80’s when powerhouses like Stallone, Van Dam, and Schwarzenegger gain traction do we see men bulking up for the camera as standard. Fast forward to today. The hunks like Jason Statham, Matthew McConaughey, and Channing Tatum are common place. If you want a seat at the “hunk table” you have to be able to bench press thirty Tom Cruises. Try and think of one of Hollywood’s hottest who isn’t rippling and stacked. If you can, he truly is the exception or in between movies.
Sex sells. Everyone and their mother knows this. I remember the first time I noticed it. It was an Uncle Ben’s Rice commercial where a couple was engaging in teasing foreplay while microwaving rice. It seemed so out of place it stuck with me. Women had the market cornered for the longest time regarding selling with sex, but men are catching up. Maybe even surpassing. Calvin Klein changed the rules in the 1980’s when he marketed men’s underwear as something sexy. A huge picture of a hunk in CK briefs was unveiled in New York and the marketing industry was forever changed. Understandably we see hunks selling Old Spice and AF jeans, but increasingly we see chiseled Adonises selling completely unrelated products. Everything from air freshener to salad dressing can be pitched by pecs. I think Wal-Mart and Home Depot are the only ad campaigns not featuring the offspring of Olympus. Clearly exaggerating, but you get the point.
Women regularly point out Barbie’s dimensions are impossible ideals of beauty and I heartily agree. That being said, when was the last time those same women looked at action figures? Boys in the 50’s and 60’s played with Howdy Doody and the Original G.I. Joe. Fast forward to the 80’s. He-Man, WWF figures, COPS, and a toy line called M.U.S.C.L.E. were all the rage. Even G.I. Joe got a muscly makeover. He-Man is the most glaring of all these examples. Is name is repetitively masculine, he is very near nude always, and his body shape is more or less impossible to attain. Sorry ladies, but He-Man just beat out Barbie for causing body dysmorphia in children. Since the 80’s this has only gotten more intense. WWF stars are even bigger than they were, Batman and Superman surely can’t be played by Adam West and Christopher Reeve any more, and with the advent of video games young men can vicariously roam digital worlds as ultra-hunks, no imagination required.
More Intense in Some Ways
In some ways to be the pinnacle of male beauty is even more intense than for females. The skinny ideal in women is ridiculous and often unhealthy, but the diets and workout regiments for men are just as intense if not more so. While filming Death Race Jason Statham dropped his body fat level from 20% to a truly impressive 6%. He lost around 17lbs in six weeks thanks to a brutal fitness regime and a diet of raw veg mixed with bitter food envy. The entire cast of 300 went through insane workouts and diet to shoot that movie. Even after getting the male form into its peak condition marketers still feel the need to photoshop their subjects into perfection.
I pose this question: How many of you have had plastic surgery? 80% percent of American males are lying if they said no. Circumcision is plastic surgery. The health benefits by in large are up for debate so at the end of the day we cut babies penis’ for aesthetic purposes. Honestly women, if society said your genitals looked a little better with less skin and we started cutting 80% of you just after birth, would you put up a fight? Men are told we are born unattractive and must have immediate surgery to correct it. In no way am I saying women have it easy, but the damage done to joints from excessive lifting, chemical imbalances from steroids, and socially mandated cosmetic genital surgery is surely evidence men aren’t getting off any lighter
Loss of Male Identity
With this new found obsession on male form, manscaping has become common place. In the past a straight man needing to moisturize, wax, or get manicured was at the very least done behind closed doors if at all. More and more I hear my contemporaries talking about chap stick, luffas, and body spray. All these things are perfectly fine. My concern is the loss of male identity. We are rapidly being drowned by vanity and consumerism. Sean Connery and Charlton Heston may not have been able to flex their leg hair, but at least they still had it. If a man wants to remove body hair, have baby soft skin, and glossy lips, great! I love we are expressing our physical personality and sexuality openly as a culture and think we could go a bit further since you can kill a hundred henchmen for a PG-13, but some breasts in a love scene flips it to an R rating. The key word is want, but we are trying to make it the standard. For years the man was the bread winner, the hunter, the leader, and the warrior. Happily we are giving women a right and equal place in society, but that means the male identity had to shift. It seems to me its shifting into being able to bench a thousand pounds of hair conditioner and being more concerned over your cuticles than your integrity. Let’s not sacrifice the traditional male characteristics of integrity, honesty, hard work, and respect for women at the altar of Body Wash and Moisturized Razor Blades.
Drive fast. Take chances. Thanks for reading.