Men Are Pressuring Themselves to Become "Spornosexuals"

Illustration for article titled Men Are Pressuring Themselves to Become Spornosexuals

Nose jobs. Tummy tucks. Botox. Breast implants. Fad diets. Historically, most of the pressure to look a particular way to be considered beautiful and sexy has been put on women. But according to an article by Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore at Aeon, men are starting to feel the heat, as well.

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From the article:

Images of this hyper-sexualised, commodified male are everywhere, from Hollywood films to glossy magazines and billboard advertising. British journalist Mark Simpson calls them ‘spornosexuals,’ men who want to look like sportsmen or porn stars, chiselling their physiques through a cocktail of gym sessions, diets and drugs. The spornosexual has evolved from the ‘metrosexual’, a term Simpson popularised in the 1990s. While the metrosexual puffs and preens, the spornosexual sculpts. Aesthetics trump sports or performance. And for the first time in history, the buff and the beautiful can spread their bodies to the world instantaneously via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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Ironically, women aren’t even pushing for hyper-muscular guy physiques – in one study described in the article, men consistently overestimated how much muscle women found attractive. Bulking up seems to be a phenomenon created by guys to show off for other guys.

(And you can read the whole thing at Aeon.)


Contact the author at diane@io9.com. Image craig Cloutier via Flickr | CC-BY-SA 2.0

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DISCUSSION

synthozoic
synthozoic

“Ironically, women aren’t even pushing for hyper-muscular guy physiques – in one study described in the article, men consistently overestimated how much muscle women found attractive.”

My guess is there’d probably two things at work here:

  • Advertising is working very hard to make us all feel self-consious, inadequate and depressed in order to sell us shit we don’t need.
  • Prevailing male values about what’s “beautiful” in men. Women probably want toned, lean dancers or swimmers, not bloated, bulked up body builders but men aren’t paying attention to that.

And on those points, I found what I think to be weird analogs going on the women’s side of things.

  • Women starve themselves down to skin and bones because that’s what fashion advertising drills into them. You can’t feel good about yourself because advertising must create a void to fill with product.
  • In women’s magazines the models are boney, sickly waifs, while in men’s pornography there is very large segment that obsesses over zaftig and voluptuous women.

However men’s fat/big gal porn still isn’t entirely healthy, positive or empowering either because it still imposes another set of standards and women are still not allowed to have any variation in body type either way. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

I only point this out that to show that a similar disconnect is happening between what men/women think men/women want versus what men/women actually want.