The body is meant to be seen, not all covered up.
You might be surprised, but the vast majority of straight men do not have any awareness of their own physical attractiveness whatsoever. A man may know what it is to be appreciated as a provider and/or confidant; he may know what it feels like to be loved and adored, and looked up to as a leader and role model, but I can assure you with good authority that very few men have actually had the sense of being longed for in a physical sense. You see, we boys have been indoctrinated by society into thinking that the female body is a work of art worthy of display, while the male body is a horrendously hideous hunk of junk, practical enough for the menial tasks of killing sabre-tooth tigers and skinning wooly mammoths, but nowhere near comparison to the female body in terms of aesthetic attractiveness. In other words, while the female body is an indication of The Creator's artistic genius, the male body is a representation of His artistic mistakes. In this essay, I attempt to debunk the myth of the male body's aesthetic inferiority, and maintain that the male body is no less beautiful and worthy of physical longing than the female body.
Unless you've been living under a rock, it should come as no surprise that contemporary Western women enjoy more fashion freedom than their male counterparts. The average woman's wardrobe contains a vast array of garments which exist in all shapes and sizes, and these range from sleeveless blouses to backless tops, from suits to trousers and ankle socks. When you compare it with the average man's highly restrictive choice of garments (no skirts, no backless tops, and Lord forbid you wear anything other than a conservative 3-piece shirt and pair of long slacks on formal occasions), the world of fashion does seem pretty bleak for the boys. Is it any surprise why many of us guys wear women's clothing? It's because we can't find anything that suits us within the rigidly defined norms of male fashion! In fact, with the exception of that one rule of decency which forbids women from exposing their bare breasts in public (a double standard no less, but soon to be abolished in our highly feminist society), I think most of us can agree that women have much more leeway as to how much skin they can expose in public. It certainly doesn't help with the running dogs of the patriarchy, the so-called guardians of male dignity, rambling on about how men should cover up to be cool. Here's a snippet of what a male blogger whose name I will keep anonymous has to say about men showing off their physiques through their clothing:
"They wear tank tops all the time (the ones they call ''wife beaters'')... or those sleeveless T shirts. These are the same guys that wear Under Armour shirt to the gym (hint... all of us look much more muscular in those shirts, but they are really corny). Make sure and wear fashionable clothes that ''happen'' to show off your nice physique. Maybe a fitted short sleeve vintage T shirt instead of a tank top. Wearing clothes that are blatantly meant to show off muscle mass make you look totally cheesy. Show off your body in the context of ''good fashion''.
However, this same blogger contradicts himself with regard to handing out fashion advice to women:
'I think women are too conservative at times. There are times when it is appropriate to wear skimpy clothing, especially if you are in great shape. You won't look good forever, so enjoy it while you can!''
So let me get this straight. This guy is basically saying, "If you're a bloke, then please cover up. Nobody wants to see your ugly male body anyway, especially not women! But if you're a woman, then please bear all! Because everybody wants to see the beautiful female body as opposed to the horrid male body which is better left to the imagination." I don't know about you, but from what I can see, the undertones of his advice simply reeks of patriarchal conditioning. So this guy is basically saying that a woman who shows off her body looks sexy, but a man who shows off his looks stupid. It's funny though, how these so-called straight male fashion gurus seem to have the world all sorted out, especially since "the world" is a phenomenon that occurs through their rigid, hetero-normative viewpoints. Perhaps they haven't considered that women also possess libidos, and that straight women also lust after the sexualized male body in the same way men lust after the sexualized female body. Don't believe me? Then go ahead; go and pay Madame Josephine's a visit on Hen's Night, and see what I mean! And check out what this lady had to say about the current trend of today:
The male body is an exquisite miracle that should be honored. I, for one, am so tired of the female body and it's glamorous position in our society. Give it a rest girls and let they guys turn it on.
...When I see the male form, I stare in awe at the incredible beauty of the shape, form and texture. It's not strength, power or any of those other typical male associated attributes that stand out, it's the sexuality, the passion, the way they are enjoying the way they look and sharing it with others, particularly me.
...I can't describe how sick I am of having to see the female body sexualized all over the place. I can't go anywhere without being exposed to the images of scantily clad women posing in provocative ways. It's everywhere, t.v., magazines, movies, games, anywhere and everywhere. It just doesn't reflect what I want to see when I go out into our over-the-top commercial society.
The fact is that:
"Males have always determined and governed the rules of modesty—both for women and for themselves. Men have always decided, in this and every other culture, how the body will be displayed, and where, and to what effect."
(Kevin Esser, Baggy Pants)
It's interesting to note that in Ancient Greece and Rome, it was not the female body that was glorified as it is today, but rather, the male body. Ancient Greco-Roman society was of the impression that the male body was essentially more artistically pleasing than the female form, in the same way that contemporary Western society is of the impression that the female body is more artistically pleasing than the male form. Of course, it is important to note that these societies were under a powerful gay influence (I don't mean to sound homophobic, but many of the big men of Ancient Greece were actually homosexual men; prior to the advent of Christianity, homosexuality in Greco-Roman society was not at all considered taboo). As Esser puts it, it was men who have always more or less been the governors of the body's modesty. In that regard, Ancient Greece and Rome could well be said to have been no less patriarchal than contemporary Western society; the only difference being that while the former was a gay male patriarchy which catered for the homosexual male gaze, the latter is a straight male patriarchy, which caters for the straight male gaze. In my humble opinion, neither of these phenomenon is healthy; both of which undoubtedly end up repressing a certain segment of the population from expressing their sexuality, and a certain segment of the population from enjoying the aesthetic value of the opposite sex.
If you were to observe the trend from the 60s, onwards to the present day, you would notice that boys and men did enjoy a brief period of liberty with their bodies during the liberal era of the 60s, onwards to the 80s. It was the era of Jimi and Elvis, an era which celebrated freedom and diversity over conformity. In fact, I even managed to get hold of a photo of a male model from the 1960s in a (manly) dress! (Fig. 4) Men proudly strutted around the beaches with their speedos and short shorts, which came in a wide assortment of colors from red to yellow. They weren't afraid of donning tank tops and tight tees, of growing long hair and toying with the androgynous.
The original Flower Child exuberance gave way, in the Seventies, to the feral excess of punk and glam, a carnival of hedonism and sexual ambivalence featuring the likes of Queen, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, David Bowie. Long hair on girls, long hair on boys. Short-shorts on girls, short-shorts on boys. The teen idols from these years—tender boytoys such as Davy Jones, David Cassidy and his brother Shaun, Leif Garrett, Tony DeFranco—were the perfect avatars of this new androgyny.
There was a unisex worship of the id, a unisex celebration of the Body Erotic that reached its heyday with disco, with Village People and Frankie Goes to Hollywood, with macho men doing the milkshake and having fun at the YMCA. Suddenly, remarkably, gay and mainstream were one and the same, no segregation, no distinction between queer and straight, an entire culture cheerfully and unwittingly homo-eroticized. The hetero aesthetic and the homo aesthetic had become indistinguishable among young males—in matters of music, hairstyles, and, yes, clothing—no thought or care given beyond looking good and feeling good.
(Esser, Baggy Pants)
Hell, it was not until recently when I discovered that straight women DID indeed desire the male body, and that most straight guys were wrong in their assumptions that women had no interest whatsoever in the male body. Until of course, that fateful day 2 years ago when my dad remarked that there was a woman who was checking me out. At the time, I still could not believe that women saw the male body in the same way men regarded the female body - it was all too incredulous for my patriarch-indoctrinated mind. But secretly, I had hoped that it was true; that I might be longed for by women in the same way I longed for them. Soon, I would meet women who were honest enough to voice their desire for the male body; women who were not ashamed of admitting that they found the male body, and mine in particular, to be attractive. (Many men are actually under the assumption that all women are asexual, in that they have absolutely no visual interest in men) And it wasn't as if I am some single-digit bodyfat underwear model-esque type either. I'm a boy with a healthy weight for my body type, with good muscle tone, but I'm not unrealistically lean either.
In that bygone era, the dark ages of conservative, homophobic tyranny had yet to befall the world. The baggy surfer shorts which have become a uniform of sorts for beach-going men of today had not yet come into existence, and all men, regardless of their sexuality and/or body type, wore speedos without shame. Our forefathers enjoyed a much greater degree of personal liberation than we do today, and would doubtless be ridiculed in this present day and age, in today's highly conservative, hetero-normative era of GQ and Esquire.
It is not only men who have bought into the notion that the male body is detestable, and should be deliberately kept hidden away from the naked eye. It seems that some women also seem to regard the male body with a certain disgust that resembles that of our hardcore conservative brothers. In the article by The Guardian UK writer Jess Cartner-Morley titled The male cleavage: put it away, boys!, the author seems to be highly critical of even a slight display of male chest.
I have tried, really I have, to look on the bright side and welcome this development as a step toward gender equality. But (a) is it not a little depressing that of everything women have contributed to civilisation, it is displaying your naked chest that men have picked up on, and (b) well, just, eew. I can't take it any more. Those photographs of Cowell in his boxfresh white drawstring trousers and mirrored sunglasses, an overgrown Ken doll dressed unconvincingly for kung fu, were bad enough, but then Cowell has long famously struggled with the concept of where one's waistband should sit, so it is only to be expected that he would misjudge how much chest to display. No, the final straw came when Jude Law – the 11th best-dressed man in Britain, according to GQ magazine – took Sienna out for dinner in Mayfair, dressed in a V-neck sweater slashed as low as a wrestler's vest. Gentlemen, please. Put it away.
How any heterosexual woman can come up with something like this is beyond me. It does not seem, in this case, that the author is simply pointing out a fashion faux pas made by men. It would seem that her vilification of male sexual expression results not from personal sentiment, but rather, through social conditioning, which manifests itself in the highly prudish manner we as a society treat the male physique. It almost seems as if the author is deliberately going out of her way to vilify the male body with choices of words, such as "ew", in order to conform to social expectations of her gender. You certainly don't hear of men telling women to "cover up"; it would certainly be unusual, for instance, of a man saying something to the extent of, "ladies, I've tried. I've tried really hard to appreciate your boobs, to be visually turned on by your bodies, but I just can't! So please, for the sake of us all, and for the sake of your own dignity, please cover up"! I imagine that a man who said something to that extent would either A) Have his sexuality thrown into question B) Be regarded as a fundamentalist religious nut whose delicate sense of propriety is offended by the slightest display of female flesh. C) Be labelled a sexist misogynist pig who has no right to tell women what to wear. But it would seem that it is perfectly acceptable, heck, even admirable, for women to say that men should cover up, which reflects the misogynistic attitude that implies women have absolutely no interest in the male body, that they have sex not because they enjoy it, but simply to please their husbands/boyfriends. (Which is an extremely male chauvinistic as well as misandrist way to look at it, because you're implying the notion of woman as a prostitute who rewards the man in her life with her body, and the man as a pimp who provides for his wife/girlfriend in exchange for sensual and visual pleasure)
Boys in contemporary Western society have been taught that women are a type of being which exists on a higher plane of existence than themselves; we're taught that women are more gentle, less aggressive, more hygienic, less animalistic, etc (Homer and Marge Simpson for instance; while Homer and his son Bart are bumbling incompetent slobs, his wife and daughter are the complete opposite), and that the female body is a work of art, while the male body is something disgusting best kept hidden away. You see it on TV all the time; the stereotype of the male body as grotesque is certainly nothing new. In the last scene of The Hot Chick (2002), Rob Schneider's body is portrayed as a hairy, sweaty, bumbling lump of flesh; the very caricature of humanity. On the other hand, his female counterpart, dressed in a tux, is seen as being possessed of a certain dignity which is the very anti-thesis of Schneider's cross-dressing portrayal. The message is clear: While women can successfully pull off men's clothes without making fools of themselves, the male body is so ugly that if men were to try donning clothes of the opposite sex, they would simply fail, and be humiliated in the process.
And then there is the school of thought which maintains that women are interested in the male body, but they are only interested in ONE particular type of male body (e.g. Calvin Klein models with <10% body fat). The obvious lack of "plus-sized" male models gives men the impression that in order for women to desire their bodies, they have no choice but to strive for that "ripped" ideal, despite the fact that it may not be in their genetic cards. You certainly do not hear of men being told to "love their bodies". The moment a man brings up his body issues, he more often than not gets rebuked. He is often told (by other men no less) to "stop making excuses", that everyone can get a six pack if they try hard enough. (That may be true, but the fact is that six pack abs may not be healthy in the long run for certain individuals, it would be like naturally curvaceous Marilyn Monroe trying to attain and maintain Gwyneth Paltrow's naturally slender frame; not a healthy pursuit at all). Society has finally began to admit that female beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and this is reflected by the success of the so-called "plus-sized" female models, e.g. Crystal Renn and Lizzie Miller. However, society still lack a solid "plus-sized" male modelling scene, which is an issue that I feel needs to be addressed, for the sake of men who do not meet the impossible-for-some ideal espoused by Abercombie/Calvin Klein/etc. I mean to say that while women of all shapes and sizes are beginning to be represented in the media, society still has a very skewed perception on what the ideal male body should look like. To you boys out there who have been trying for six pack abs, you need to realize that you may be hotter than you think you are; just as straight men can appreciate the aesthetic beauty of different female body types (don't believe that men are only attracted to thin women; that is absolute bullsh*t), women are not only attracted to male bodies with six pack abs and V-cut torsos. Male beauty also comes in different shapes and sizes, and to say that a Calvin Klein model has a better body than say, me, for instance, would simply not be a valid comparison. That would be like saying Kate Moss has a better body than Mae West, when in fact neither is essentially "better" than the other. They are simply different, that is all.
Men's fashion only comes in one type these days: Fitted/Baggy and ALWAYS painfully modest. The men's department is devoid of backless tops, short fitting shorts, tube tops, etc. It almost seems as if there is no market for figure-hugging/daring cuts in the straight men's wardrobe. Women often remark how boring men's fashion is, and I have to agree. And don't tell me it's because women aren't interested in viewing the male body, and men aren't interested in showing their bodies. They ARE interested, but for some reason, it seems that most women aren't too keen on voicing their desire for the male body, and men don't seem to keen on voicing their desire for personal liberty. We like to condemn the fundamental Muslims for their repression of female sexual expression, but have we considered that we are indeed a case of pot calling the kettle black? Perhaps some day we may even be covering men's heads with the contemporary male version of the Hijab, lest any sight of male flesh were to upset the delicate sensitivities of the patriarchal male gaze.
My point in writing this hub was not, as many people seem to think, in order to place men in a subordinate position to women, nor to place women in an authoritative position over the male body. I simply want to make people aware that the male body is in no way any less beautiful and worthy of display than the female body, and that men would do well to realize that their bodies have a wonderful kind of beauty that is not only appreciated by gay men, but also by straight women. It has perhaps been one of the most reassuring things for me to know that straight women desire the male body in the same way straight men desire the female body, and that I didn't need to look like a single-digit bodyfat Calvin Klein man in order to be construed as having an attractive body. And if you really love your husband/boyfriend, you will take my advice and tell him how beautiful he is in your eyes. You will tell him how much you long for his body, how much you long for its touch, its smell, its taste, its texture. You will tell him that his body is a work of art, no less desirable in any way than yours.
Anto on May 06, 2019:
Silly goose, you contraddict yourself "MAN'S BODY ARE UNATTRACTIVE PERIOD", then "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and "THE WOMEN WHO FIND MAN ATTRACTIVE ARE THOSE LIVING IN FAIRYTALE LAND"
While this last part "NOT ALL WOMEN ARE ATTRACTED TO BULKY, MUSCULAR OR EXTREMELY MUSCULAR HAIRY MAN. MAN'S BODY ARE NOT THAT PLEASING TO EYE, ITS TRUE WHEN IT COMES TO SOME PEOPLE.. OF COURSE NOT ALL MALE BODIES ARE THE SAME, SOME ARE ALRIGHT AND GOOD LOOKING. THERE ARE UNATTRACTIVE FEMALES TOO." is reasonable, but consistent with the idea that there are various kind of beautie for men and women, not that men are unattractive period!
Anto on May 06, 2019:
Ben, nope about what, have you read the whole points of the whole article? You might agree on some and less on others.
Ben Reilly from ky on December 07, 2018:
Doukan on October 11, 2017:
Homosexual men of ancient Greece exalted the beauty of the male muscular body and set the paarameters of male beauty which they celebrated and promoted among themselves while heterosexual men set the parameters of female beauty.
Daniel Sebold on August 09, 2016:
Well, I have lived in Saudi Arabia and Oman and have traveled in just about every other Middle Eastern country. In the southern coastal city of Sallalah, Oman, I have seen Swedish and Norwegian males there running around the beaches in Speedos . On the beaches of Dubai men and women wear whatever they want. (I do have a weird photo on a Dubai beach of a little Emirati boy in a Speedo next to his mother wearing a giant condom from head to toe, so perhaps you could argue that the male is the sex object in the Islamic cultures) You can often see Russian males and females in g strings on the beach in Dubai. I defy you to find males on Minneapolis beaches in the summer in even Speedos. When I was last in Miami Beach a few years ago there were only a few males there in Speedos, while most women were in bikinis. In Saudi Arabia it is possible for males to buy Speedos in the souks and they are worn on private hotel beaches by men around Saudi Arabia, whereas I have never seen Speedos sold in the Target or Walmart stores around the USA (in Miami you have to go to Cuban specialty shops, and it is the Cuban males who almost exclusively wear such attire.)
I was once at a private hotel beach in Jubail, Saudi Arabia where there were little Saudi girls in bikinis and little Egyptian boys in Speedos running around thoughtlessly chasing each other. In Muscat, the capital of Oman, on the beaches males are seen in Speedo bikinis alongside western women in bikinis. So, really, if you are a young male and want to wear a Speedo to the beach and don't want to be scoffed at by American prudes, head to the Middle East
Dale on October 24, 2015:
Bravo!!! It is like you stoled the words right out of my mouth. I am completely in agreement. I am so sick and tired of being looked at like I was a freak by both men and women when I wear a bathing suit or shorts that don't go down to the calves!!! I mean I might as well jump into the water with a pair of pants on. I do have to give credit to Latino men. Straight Latino men in Miami do not seem to have this hang up. When I moved back to NJ ( thirty miles from Manhattan) I could not believe how the men all dress so similar and drab. It is like they are all so afraid of being labeled "homo" that any kind of style, color or form fitting clothes is anathema. Like I said this is thirty miles from the biggest city in the United States. Now I can only imagine how restrictive it might be in a small town in the Bible belt.
Robert on May 25, 2015:
Wow Thomas! It seems like when it comes to the bisexual group, they all agree that men are more attractive. Interesting!
Thomas on May 15, 2015:
That is a nice article but you saying that males are hairy and lumpy and I don't know what is kind of homophobic from you. I cannot believe that you cannot see beauty in handsome and hot men just like women can see beauty in other women.
In my opinion, men are more insecure about their sexuality because as you said their where a lot of gay men who also dominated past societies.
So men created this illusion that men are ugly and women are beautiful in order to ease homophobia among them....if you come to think about it, why would they ever create that myth? Other than homophobia. And women are easily controlled and influenced by men and adapt men's beliefs. I am a bisexual male (not gay) i am atrracted to both genders and I am not afraid to say that men are naturally wayyy better looking than women and it's the case in most mammals. Lions vs lioness. It is because females are the selectors and the males are the ones who should catch the attention of the female. Men are taller, more majestic looking and mainly made of muscles , women on the other hand are made of fat, lumps of fat. When i hit the beaches i fail to see how women bodies are aesthetically pleasing at the least. Doesn't mean I'm not sexually attracted to them. But yeh....you get the point.
LR on October 18, 2014:
The male body is highly sexualized and shown all over and when women lust after sexualized male bodies, they get ostracized for it, thinking that men should be the ones pursuing women only and that men aren't prizes nor objects for women. It's true that men hate being objectified by women because it emasculates them.
Johng836 on June 19, 2014:
Hey very nice website!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I'll bookmark your website and take the feeds alsoI'm happy to find numerous useful information here in the post, we need work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . . dkekkdkddbeb
Richard Cespedes from Las Cruces, New Mexico on June 05, 2013:
I enjoyed your post. Ive always thought that there was something wrong you know. but the only thing is though is it will take 25 to 30 years in america for every one to see males an equal lust and beauty females maybe even longer. Im 28 ill be old! but I hope this catchs on more and more with everyone in the world.
Diana on March 16, 2013:
Frankly I don't understand why men are waxing or shaving their chest! I was making out with a guy and took his shirt off and I was so turned on by his chest hair - I realized that most men had been waxing or shaving their chests. I told him "wow! You have so much chest hair it's so sexy!" yet days later he STILL kept asking me if chest hair was a good thing or not. He always wore shirts buttoned to his neck to cover the hair. I say SHOW IT OFF - many women will be turned on by it. I didn't even know what a turn-on it was until I saw it/touched it!
MissJamieD from Minnes-O-ta on February 18, 2013:
I love this hub:) I have to say that I love the male body!!! And I'm not picky, they don't have to be totally muscular for me to be interested at all!! In fact, I don't mind a belly on a guy as long as he's not obese and unhealthy. But I love a man's physique. I love the way there muscles are shaped compared to ours, I love their hands, the hair on their bodies, their chests, and their muscular legs. And even if they're not muscular, I still enjoy a man's body. It reminds me of the dragon-slayer, so that is very sexy to me, but it just reminds me that they were made to compliment us (and I don't mean in words, I mean a man and a woman together), and accompany us in life. I think men are very sexy and I have no problem saying it. But you're right, many people joke that men's bodies are disgusting but I don't agree with that at all.
timtalkstech on January 02, 2013:
I was very happy to read this article. My wife always tries to compliment me about my body, which is something I look forward to. I'm sure that almost all humans, as sexual beings, would appreciate their partners' bodies, regardless of gender!
John on November 17, 2012:
I know it's been awhile, but for some reason this site is still in my top sites in Safari even though I haven't visited in two months, lol. Yes, it seems if you read the internet, women seem disinterested, or admiring at most, of male legs, yet they don't turn them on like pecs or something. Yet how come butts are seen as sexy? Very interesting. There's no innate reason WHY women should show off their legs and not men, historically it was the other way around. Anyway, maybe it's good for me since I don't like my legs, they are bowed and my lower-legs/tibia are so short for my height. Not many men think about having 'sexy legs' yet for some women this is an obsession! Strange world we live in!
Candace Elise Nichols aka The Khandake' Elise from Missiouri on October 29, 2012:
I think that they both have their purpose and they both look good according to what someone feels is good looking to them. I like a man who is not in shape, and has a belly (to kiss and rub) legs with some power so they can handle their business with me,,,I'm just saying. Arms that can handle me from tenderness to protecting. A mans body can look one way and if his mind is something that is not attractive to me, the body doesn't mean anything and serves no purpose and is unattractive. Let a man know how to hold me, caress me and protect me and he has me.
BereniceTeh90 (author) on September 16, 2012:
LOL It was YOU?!!! The world really IS a small world, John; do you have facebook? We seem to have more in common than we thought, bro!
Hm, now that you mention it, men's legs almost seem "haram" in our society. Notice how women's legs are always being showcased, but men's are always sequestered away under jeans and long pants? Is it therefore surprising why most guys don't bother training legs? GQ tells you not to show it off, so why bother?
Hm; i noticed in most of the commenters on your thread, the women were really positive about male legs, so i think that's our green light. =) If you ask me, it's egg-chicken. Fundamentalist Muslim society always covers up women's bodies, hence the reason why women's bodies are considered "haram" (obscene). The same thing could be said about male bodies in Western society. They are considered "obscene", because of the underlying degrees of homophobia which permeate the mainstream male media, e.g. Askmen.com/GQ/FHM.
Men's legs are JUST as sexy, but it's not like the guys on GQ want you to know. The reason for this is because they want "sensual and provocative" clothing to be reserved for women, and can't stand the thought of a man having better legs than them displaying them openly.
(From a sense of competition ) Furthermore, there has always been a more entrenched homophobia against gay males, and i'm sure you would have heard of the latest rambling of the Malaysian government on deep V necks contributing to the "social problem of homosexuality". And although non-Muslim Malaysia likes to paint itself as a modern society, in many ways it's still very Mad Men-esque. I noticed that 90% of the women wear skirts, as compared to about 50% in Australia. I think a lot of bosses, especially those traditional male ones, are still very particular about gender roles, and their female employees wearing pants might offend them a little bit.
Cool! My dad's from Penang as well, LOL
I've been here 3 years, it would be my 4th year now.
John on September 10, 2012:
Lol I love the internet. The post you quoted was written by yours truly, i'm 'Trimac20' lol...
It's something I have noticed. Very little interest in male legs. Most women, when listing body parts that turn them on, seem to list pecs, abs, even butt, for seldom legs. I've wondered about this, I mean men like women's legs, but how many women seem to show very little interest in ours?
The question is, is it a chick and egg scenario, is it because women show little interest that men's legs aren't displayed, or is it because male legs aren't just covered up, but also de-emphasized/marginalized? Even in underwear ads, sometimes it's just waist up. Having 'sexy legs' seems like a female thing, and legs have become almost a female body part. Of course we know this wasn't always the case.
My father is Malaysian and I've been many times. I haven't noticed the rampart old fashioned gender roles, but maybe it's because of the people I know? Maybe Muslim society is more conservative in that respect.
I'm from Perth, btw, and my dad's from Penang. What about you? You been in Australia long?
BereniceTeh90 (author) on September 10, 2012:
LOL you're in Aussy too? Which part, bro?
Well i can totally understand yr preference for boardshorts over speedos; BS are much more sand-resistant and as you mentioned, they help protect you from getting "nipped" by crabs and such. i'm a speedo man myself, but i only go to the beach like once a year or so, haha; most of the time i stay around the pool when im in my swimwear.
You know what? I was reading an article by a gay man who was pointing out that men's magazines e.g. FHM, GQ, Men's Health, although they have a considerable gay readership, still aren't very inclusive of the gay demographic. You make a good point when you mention that men's legs always seem to be censored in Anglo-Saxon society. I was reading a fashion article on "how to dress for the gym" by GQ (GOD how much i hate that mag), and they were tearing up short shorts as acceptable male gymwear.
I am sure the author of this piece (probably a straight guy who's uncomfortable with the exposed male body) would not mind if an attractive WOMAN had worn the same shorts in question. The thing is, we're a society dominated by the straight male mentality, and its traditional revulsion with anything to do with the male body. Hence the reason why GQ and Askmen.com are so fussed about keeping men covered up under layers and layers of clothing in their style advice section on what not to wear, while filling in their pages with images of women in super-scanty lingerie, hence giving guys the cultural message that only the female form is "sensuous", and that the provocatively displayed male form has no effect on the female gaze.
(Not that i'm saying that men HAVE to dress provocatively in order to be seen as attractive, but it doesn't hurt if they choose to. Women DO love looking at the exposed male form, assuming that it's well taken care of, and clean-smelling)
Yes, in Ancient Greece and Rome, it was the COMPLETE opposite. It was popular theory that men's bodies all factors being equal were MORE beautiful than women's bodies, and more "sensual and sensuous". Men proudly displayed their backs, arms and legs in knee-length Togas, while the women wore longer gowns, which looked considerably plainer than the men's fashions. I duno how the peacock suddenly became the hen, as it seems in modern society. It is a terrible injustice towards straight men, many of whom go through their lives never being aware that their bodies were beautiful, and sexy, and just as worthy of aesthetic display as women's bodies.
I'm afraid gender stereotypes are still the case,but i'm from Malaysia and i've found that Australia is FAR more progressive than Malaysia when it comes to gender roles. We only got independence from the British in 1957, and as you know, the old-school British were extremely particular about gender roles. You know the tv series Mad Men? Yep, Malaysia is still practically in the Mad Men era, in which hegemonically masculine Don Drapers and their hegemonically feminine trophy wives are still idolized as the pinnacles of success. I found that while most Aussie ladies wear pants more often than skirts, the opposite is the case in Malaysia, because there are still a lot of very traditional employers from the old school, who frown upon their female employees wearing trousers.
But YES, it IS annoying isn't it; ever wonder why most guys who train at the gym don't bother training their legs? Thanks to boy media like GQ and Askmen.com, we've been taught that men's legs arent as "sexy" as women's legs, and that men should cover them up with long trousers practically 24/7 as women have absolutely no interest in them.
You'd be surprised though, what a man's flamboyantly displayed legs can do for the female gaze:
John on September 10, 2012:
I hardly ever wear formal wear, so I'm not really 'hip' to the conventions involved, but I'm not surprised. I'm in Australia too, and the Brownlow Medal ceremony is a good example. If a bloke wears a colourful tie that's considered 'daring'. Yet the WAG's go to town, they 'own' it I suppose. It's nice to see beautiful ladies dressed well, but I'm a bit turned off by how they make the whole thing a fashion show. It's about footy, for goodness sake, they've got their spring carnival or fashion shows or whatever. Being married or in a RS with a football player does not make you any more important.
I dunno if I'm a flamboyant 'metrosexual' - my attitude to fashion is largely apathetic, in some ways, but I do care of course. I don't have any super short shorts but have a pair that goes above the knees, I have a couple of oddly coloured pairs of pants, but other than that it's conservative because that's what i can find. I'm not going to go out of my way to find a more daring style. Actually my 10 year old pair of boardshorts could probably use replacing, I often complain about how heavy they are when waterlogged when swimming. I've been to the clothing option section a few times and it feels way more liberating swimming in the buff. I'm a bit worried about crabs, though, if you know what I mean. I've had grabs nip my toes in waist-deep water, and i was glad it was just my toe! lol
Yes, it seems today only in the gay sphere where male flesh is actually truly celebrated. Despite women's professed love for the male form, 'raunchy shots' of males seem to restricted to the same old topless shots of just men topless. Women don't express much desire to see much more. Sure it's probably complicated, but a lot of it is because the male body is not portrayed as sexy, but funny, gross or rude. Why do women complain about fat, ugly men, but don't seem to complain about fat, ugly women at the beach? They tolerate women in skimpy outfits but don't like men wearing speedos. Can you imagine if a man said 'ladies, I'd prefer it if you covered up. I don't mind seeing men showing off though, the more the better. And I'm perfectly straight!' Imagine that!
I do find it odd that singlets are seen as too casual for men to wear in many situations...I mean isn't it men who like to work on their arms.etc? Don't get why women show off more arm, especially in formal situations.
You have may a point...some women might be threatened...in nature it is the males who are the show-offs, the preening peacocks, the colourful, eye-catching ones, but in our upside down society women have taken on the role of the peacock. In fact that's one reason why many women won't accept bisexual men: a fear they will leave them for a man, or competition from other men. It seems the female gender has 'owned' a liberal, flamboyant style of dress that emphasizes their form and sensuality. We're so conditioned that the same looks 'odd' on men. A lot of women are so artificially made up that they actually turn me on LESS. I prefer women with a natural beauty: don't mind a bit of makeup, but not so much that you're in a disguise. I don't feel threatened by a woman who earns more than me or is stronger than me at all, indeed i've found that even in these liberated times most people still conform to gender stereotypes and roles. Even in GLBT circles (I have a couple of friends) conform. Maybe there are more important things to worry about, but as a straight male having trouble in the dating world this is a topic that comes up. I don't go to the gym - I did briefly - but i'm not one who wants to work out JUST to attract women. I want to do it for myself, for my fitness. Anyway, yes, it's rather annoying seeing women always half naked while the only sexy shots of men show is torso.
BereniceTeh90 (author) on September 09, 2012:
experience* the joy
BereniceTeh90 (author) on September 09, 2012:
I think; some women, although they are loath to admit it, are threatened by a man possibly having better legs/arms/etc than them. When they see a beautiful man proudly displaying his assets in his form-fitting flamboyant clothing, they feel as if their "turf" is being invaded, and that their "female monopoly on beauty and admiration" is at stake. Hence, they keep men from being aware of their own aesthetic beauty, so that they will continue to have the monopoly on visual attention, and the greater variety of clothing to choose from, by not allowing their husbands to enjoy the joy of wearing tank tops, sleeveless garments, short shorts and so on (hence they say "fashion is a woman's world, because women have more power to choose what they wear, and also, female models generally get paid more than male models) thus making them feel "special to be women".
For the same reason a very traditional man might feel threatened by a woman who can squat more than him, or who earns more than he does, because he feels as if his "turf" is being invaded, and that he's losing everything that's making him "male".
BereniceTeh90 (author) on September 09, 2012:
Thanks so much :)
Yea it's pretty bad, isn't it, mate? All this reverse sexism against men and the male body, and the general squeamishness against male skin in general; You know I was once reading a Yahoo Answers page about this guy asking whether it is appropriate to wear a suit without a tie. And one woman answered, "Absolutely not! Would someone wear a mini skirt without knickers?" But you see what's the problem with that analogy? Wearing a suit without a tie has ABSOLUTELY none of the equivalence of immodesty as wearing a mini skirt without knickers! Firstly, there's a difference between a suit and a skirt. The suit covers up most of a person's upper-body, while a skirt covers a person's lower body, with abit of leg exposed, depending on the wearer's preference. So let me get this straight.. It's okay for women to wear mini-skirts as long as they wear undies underneath (Well DUH!), but it's not okay for men to wear suits without ties? I have heard men say they wouldn't even have the confidence to pull off Chris Pine's V-neck look on the cover of GQ, because it is too "show-offy", and daring. (And they say men don't have body issues, huh) Well if Chris Pine's look is extreme, then I can't imagine what they'd say about mine. Far as I'm concerned, most younger women's gowns still show off a hell lot more skin than that "male cleavage" look, so really; HOW is men's skin in any way "indecent"?You see what I mean? We condemn the Fundamentalist Muslims for keeping their women practically under wraps, due to female bodies being "obscene sexual objects", which must be kept away from "indecent exposure", but notice how similarly we regard the male body? My point is; we men should be outraged! Outraged that we are being told to cover up for the sake of "decency" by the very women who wouldn't take kindly if a Fundamentalist Muslim man had given them the same advice.
Also, when Sacha Baron Cohen posed nude for GQ's comedy issue (See? They just had to put the naked dude on the "comedy" issue; what a coincidence!), the bottom half of his body was censored in some parts of the U.S. as it was considered too obscene for decent society. (while pics of nude female shots were not given the same treatment)
And as for men's clothes? GOD! Except for tank tops and deep V-necks, there simply is no such thing as "provocative" men's clothing! People seem unaware that men also desire to be admired for their aesthetic beauty; women have in the last hundred years vastly expanded their wardrobe and made it far more elaborate, interesting, adventorous and racy than their grandmothers (I saw a wedding at Melbourne and the bride's dress was this REALLY elaborate knee-length chiffon-colored strapless gown, very flamboyant, very sexy, showcased the female form SUPERBLY), but men's fashion has remained more or less just as militaristic and ultra-conservative. Flamboyant, sensual and sassy straight men like ourselves (I like to think of myself as a male version of Mae West) are assumed to be non-existant, as it seems that the fashion industry is only targetting the traditional, Mad Man (ala Don Draper) type of guy; dapper, crisp, sharply dressed, but not "sensual" (think Greek toga). Fashion has done wonders for the female form, but the same cannot be said for what it has done for the male form. In fact, I posit that the current extremely restricted and ultra-conservative variety of men's clothing actually does a grave injustice to the male form, and doesn't provide men with the same avenues to display their beauty as women do.
It makes me sick to jump from one department store to the next, to find the EXACT same repressive 1950s variety in the men's department. I am so sick and tired of going from one store to the next, only to find the same narrow range of plainly colored and drably-patterned lumberjack outfits, with ABSOLUTELY no DRESSY sleeveless tops! (Because apparently men in Western society arent supposed to go sleeveless because it looks "cheesy" on men, but it's okay for women)
And then GQ has the cheek to say that tank tops on men are "inappropriate" at dinner, or any other place that might be construed as "civilization". So i guess that they do not count gay clubs or Mardi Gras movements as part of "civilization", eh? Homophobia coated in sickeningly sweet, artificially flavored raspberry syrup, is what I call it.Besides; don't blame guys like me for wearing tank tops all the time; if the men's section did produce dressy sleeveless tops, we WOULD be buying them. Women have dressy sleeveless tops and classy sleeveless dresses, but men just don't have an equivalent, so we have to make do with the limited resources we've got in order to capture that particular aesthetic that we love (the flamboyant, provocative yet classy arm-baring aesthetic like Mrs Michelle Obama is so fond of).
John on September 09, 2012:
Great article Berenice, it articulates my thoughts perfectly!
I have expressed the opinion that male fashion circa 2012 in the Western world is restrictive/repressive, but a lot of people don't seem to take me seriously. 'Yeah, but men are allowed to topless on the beach, women aren't' seems to be a common response. Mentioning short shorts just gets the typical conservative response, even, surprise surprise, from supposedly straight women. If they were really straight, wouldn't they want to see more male skin, at least a fit, attractive male? I've also noticed that 'sexy' shots of men seem to almost always JUST portray the torso/upper body...why don't women find our legs, butt, let alone genitals, sexy?
I do agree a lot of it is a result of the male-centric heteronormative paradigm that dominates society and culture. Ever since the commercialization of sexuality for advertising etc, the female as sex object as been shoved in all of our faces, male, female, young, old. As the blogger in the article 'Women seeing women as sexier than men' has observed this has not surprisingly effected women's sexuality, how they see themselves and who and what they associate with sexuality...as for your idea that Ancient Greece was dominated by gay men. I don't quite agree. I mean in some ways, I think this society is actually dominated by a female perspective/point of view/experience: look at all the top pop stars, for instance. Yet this female viewpoint is largely still influenced by the patriarchal tradition. Anyway, I think the ancient Greeks just had a different perspective towards aesthetics: I just want to say it's perfectly possible to be a straight male and find the male body as aesthetically pleasing as the female, and be able to separate what turns you on from what you think is beautiful. For some reason, men have trouble calling another man 'beautiful' without the fear of feeling some sort of attraction to him.
But yes, it's an insidious double-standard/example of sexism (and there are many cutting BOTH ways, even today, we've still a long way to go) that not many people realise or even seem to care that much about. Most men seem content to be not seen as sex objects, to have the burden (and in some ways power) of being sex objects squarely on the shoulder of women. I think this is leading to inequalities in the dating world and is somewhat related to bisexual/lesbian chic among women, which I believe mirrored the situation in Ancient Greece when male bisexuality was rampart and the male form was the 'body beautiful.' Has anyone else noticed this?
DMVmimay on September 06, 2012:
Thanks for the very wonderful hub for sharing! you did a bang-up job posting topic like this.. supahhlike :)
BereniceTeh90 (author) on September 05, 2012:
Thanks bro! I think MOST heterosexual men would have struggled with this issue at some point of their lives.
You're most welcome, thanks for the tip; i'll remember that for future blog posts =)
assimilated on September 04, 2012:
A very interesting hub. When I was struggling in puberty I despised my face and also my body. It seems I can call myself lucky to love my body today!?
Thanks for writing down your thoughts and sharing them with us.
PS: Your (great) content would be easier to scan and read if you used some sub-headings in your article :-)
BereniceTeh90 (author) on August 11, 2012:
Thank you so much, Luana; you don't know how much better you make men who are in doubt of their own aesthetic worth feel =) I just wish there were more women like you. I even read on a forum once by this female porn star saying something like, "Women do NOT want to see the male body, and as for male anatomy, it's like watching the last chicken dangling in the shop!" But considering she works in the porn industry, she is PROBABLY suffering from, well... psychological "issues". Because i think no matter how prudish she is, any heterosexual woman with a healthy sexuality, if she is to be honest, will admit to wanting to see a fit, healthy male body displayed openly.
Yes, i suppose it isn't a bed of roses for women either. Kind of like a "you're damned if you do, you're damned if you don't" kinda thing. A woman who is overly modest and covered up, who for some reason or the other hides her curves and figure in relatively loose, baggy clothing, e.g. Ellen Degeneres might be labelled a butch, while a woman who shows "too much" skin, e.g. Lady Gaga, Pamela Anderson might be labelled a "slut". I know exactly what you mean. I think rather than try to dictate what we find attractive in the opposite sex as if our tastes are universal, we should just "live and let live", so to speak. I will never understand why they ("butch women") would not want to flaunt their curves and figures if they've got it, but i don't want to come up with value judgments, e.g. it is "bad". Because they have their reasons for doing it, and even if i am not attracted to them, there is bound to be someone who will be.
I think the prejudice against male sexuality stems from the idea that women don't want to see men's bodies. It's an outdated idea, and one that should have gone extinct in the 1950s, yet for some reason mainstream men's media (e.g. FHM, GQ, Askmen.com), which just so happen to be run MAINLY by straight men, keep championing that 1950s idea.
Well of course she has to say that! This is GQ MAGAZINE. IT'S A CONSERVATIVE STRAIGHT MAN'S MAGAZINE. Her boss is probably some conservative straight man, and what better way to advance in your career than to live by the rule that "the boss is always right?" But one wonders if she really feels that the male body is... Funny?
Luana on August 08, 2012:
That's me again; I'm really into your texts.
I'm one of those women that LOVE the male anatomy (well, most heterosexual women do, right?), and I'm very outspoken about it. The male body is the most beautiful, attractive, lustful thing in all of creation. I adore every inch of it. :)
About male sensuality (demeanor)... I find it ridiculous that a woman can, is expected and encouraged to be sensuous and provocative, "passive", seductive and insinuating (without being too aggressive, of course, unless you want to be taken and treated "the wrong way") even dance/strip to her male... but men should never do that to their women (heteronormative here, because society would accept easier or understand a lot more a gay/bi man being sensuous and/or dancing/stripping to his male partner)! Now I don't think anyone "should" do anything... but the prejudice against male sensuality is gross and castrating. Well, sexism is one of the most horrible things in this world.
BereniceTeh90 (author) on July 27, 2012:
Dark Penguin: My dad still wears speedos! lol, and I wear those short athletic shorts when i'm sun-tanning. =)
I think there's definitely an element of homophobia in all this speedo-shaming. Do you know who the joke was on when the movie Bruno (2009) came out? Nup; it wasn't the homosexuals, it was the homophobes that we're supposed to be laughing at! You see; Bruno in his skintight revealing clothing is not a REAL gay man, he's a PARODY of a gay man! Although skintight revealing clothing on men is in Western society associated with the homosexual male community, the truth is that clothing has NOTHING to do with anybody's sexual orientation! There are some gay guys who have more conservative tastes in clothing (e.g. Anderson Cooper), just as there are some straight guys with more flamboyant and daring tastes in clothing (e.g. Cristiano Ronaldo) There are straight women with very conservative tastes in clothing (like the Downton Abbey girls), and there are lesbian women with ultra-flamboyant tastes in clothing (e.g. the lipstick lesbians) Who knows? Your conservatively-dressed boss could be gay. The point is; that the only difference between gay guys and str8 guys is who they'd prefer to ram. Clothing is a TERRIBLE indicator of one's sexuality, because really; taste in clothing has NOTHING to do with it! It's helpful to know that in the 70s, short shorts, cut-off shirts, and tight tank tops for men were all the rage, with gay guys and straight guys alike. But in the conservative 80s era, there were two important socio-political phenomena that caused current men's fashion to revert back to 50s conservatism. (e.g. Open up a men's style magazine from today e.g. FHM, Details, GQ and compare it to an issue written in the 70s. There are a lot of things from the 70s that would be considered "inappropriate" for a man to wear, e.g. low-cut necklines, short shorts, tank tops, speedos, unbuttoned dress shirts (ala John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever), etc In other words, the style DOs and DON'Ts have become A lot more uptight and conservative in these recent years)
1. Reagan and his conservative "family values" preaching, which was not in agreement with the homosexual community and their "alternative lifestyle"
2. A huge backlash against this "family values" preaching, which considered of numerous mardi gras events.
(You know how mardi gras events are full of guys walking around in skimpy clothing?)
Anyway; that was when revealing clothing somehow became associated with the gay guys, when in fact, it was actually a fallacious association. (Because as I said; sexual preference has nothing to do with one's clothing!) So in order not to be perceived as "gay", guys from our generation, straight men and gay men alike abandoned their speedos, abandoned their short shorts and colorful tank tops and sleeveless tops, and traded it in for a more conservative 1950-ish look, which was what eventually became the only acceptable style for straight men from the 90s onwards. And you know the saying "When America sneezes, the whole world catches the flu"? Yep; you know what I mean. My taste in clothes happens to be a little, more... "Fleshy", for lack of a better word, but I certainly have no sexual interest in another man. Heck; I know gay guys who dress more conservatively than I do! The point is, clothing is a TERRIBLE indicator of sexual preference!
BereniceTeh90 (author) on July 27, 2012:
Socially acceptable in CERTAIN* places, like the beach
BereniceTeh90 (author) on July 27, 2012:
ACK, stupid hubpages; i tried editing my previous comment but didn't work, i suppose i'll have to write it here:
" I think the reason for men walking around half-naked is mainly because it is more socially (legally) acceptable in most places for men to expose their bare tits. (Because heterosexual male-dominated patriarchy assumes that women don't look at men's bodies in a sexual way; hence they don't need "protection" from leery, lusty women)
Also, when men display their half-naked bodies like that, most of the time it is done as a symbol of power and masculine authority, but not for the reason of "desiring to be physically desired".
The bodybuilder Charles Atlas often posed in skimpy speedo outfits
but this was not done with the heterosexual female/gay male gaze in mind - It was more a way of trying to look as intimidating as possible, so as to get guys to buy his product, buff up, and look just as intimidating, not to look "sensual".
BereniceTeh90 (author) on July 27, 2012:
Thanks for pointing out those important points. =)
Yes, I think the reason for men walking around half-naked is mainly because it is more socially (legally) acceptable in most places for men to expose their bare tits. But you will only see that on places like the beach, etc. Wheareas in MOST other circumstances, ala places that require clothes, and have dress codes, e.g. the office, black tie events, weddings, nightclubs, etc, you will notice that as a result of double standards in social convention and dress codes (conservative dress code for men and liberal dress code for women), it is the men who are much more covered up than the women (in most black tie events, jacket and tie and long trousers is compulsary for men, while women may come in with a sleeveless gown/a blouse, blazer and a knee-length skirt/backless cocktail dress; hence my "reverse burqa theory", while in the Middle East it is the women who are obligated to cover up, in the West it is the men). I was also disappointed to flip through contemporary men's magazines, like FHM, GQ and Details, only to find them strongly discouraging men from expressing their personal style. There are so many "style rules" these people set, e.g. no short shorts, no sleeveless tops, no tights, no suit without tie, no deep V-neck tees, no plunging necklines, no tank tops, etc that by the end, you're left with only a few rigid choices only the most conservative man would want to chain himself to. Whereas for the more flamboyant, sexually liberated men like myself, we can't really take fashion advice from these men's magazines, because they sorta "cramp" our style, you know what I mean? And when you try arguing against these double-standards, you'd typically get either 1 of these 2 responses from most straight guys:
1. The female body is much more aesthetically pleasing. Which is why men need to cover up
2. Only a gay man would want to show off his body like that. Showing skin is how women attract men, not how men attract women. Women aren't visually stimulated in that sense.
But it never occurs to them that sometimes, a straight man might want to display his beauty not because he's trying to hook a mate, or get laid, but simply because... He enjoys the attention! Just like how young women going to nightclubs in skintight revealing clothing aren't necessarily going for sex/finding a partner; they just love the attention they get for their beauty! Straight guys like me are the same; we like expressing ourselves in that way, and it is truly hard for someone with no concept of his own aesthetic desirability to understand! Gay guys have no problem understanding what I mean, because they understand that the male body is in no way aesthetically inferior to the female body, and if presented with tasteful displays of the well-developed male frame, heterosexual women WILL react positively! But for most straight guys, who have been fed the lie that women don't have any interest in looking at the male body, this can be abit hard to get their heads around.
It's rubbish like this that makes straight guys think that the male body is aesthetically inferior to the female body, and better left covered up. What a load of bull, it's as if the authors have been left behind in the repressive 1950s! I'm almost afraid to ask how these people would explain gay male sexuality. =S
Aaron on July 26, 2012:
Hi I'm a gay male and I thought this was a great blog!
I'd like to blog about this sometime.
I've actually noticed that men are more likely to go naked or half naked than women. I also have seen men moon more. I don't know why it seems to be far more of a male thing to expose that part of the body. I actually haven't noticed many men saying they think the male body is disgusting more just not sexually exciting or interesting. Actually in primitive societies only the males are allowed to be naked. I would like to mention that I find both women and men to be aesthetically attractive. Would that make me bisexual? No it doesn't appear to be b/c I've never had an erection to a woman or the thought of unclothing her as much as straight men have or even men unclothing other men even though they say they're completely heterosexual!
I sometimes think a lot of straight guys I grew up with are more gay than I am straight by their actions.
Dark Penguin on July 21, 2012:
Believe it or not, I think near universal aversion of men to the idea of wearing a Speedo comes from gang culture. In today's competitive world, hardly any men want to run the risk of being "dissed" over what they wear to the beach. Time was when men's swimsuits, even if they were trunks, were far more revealing than most women's suits, because most women wore one-piece suits. Even surfers wore little short trunks that were hardly more modest than Speedos. Guys did care about being cool then as now, but it was an understood thing that we could drop the attitude at certain times, and a hot afternoon at the beach, or by the pool, was one of those times.
Today young men can never drop the act--not for a single moment ever. During those wistful "liberal" times, nobody much cared what you wore to swim in, or to lie out in the sun afterwards. It was understood that you went to the beach to be comfortable and have a good time--and that was the main determining factor in swimwear. Now, by contrast, we are obsessed with what others think, and how we look to them.
To any women here, I know many of you don't like the way we look in speedos or even briefer suits, but if that's the case then consider: picture yourself at the beach right now; let's suppose it's 85F, the water's perfect, and the drinks are cold. Now, do you want to have yards of extra fabric billowing around your legs, or clinging to them cold and wet when you emerge from the water? Probably not. And it isn't any different for us men.
BereniceTeh90 (author) on July 17, 2012:
Hi Curiouser, sorry for the very late reply! I'm assuming you're a straight male, but correct me if I'm wrong. =)
To answer your first question; Yes, but it will take time for a straight man to get past the social conditioning that the male body is funny, not sexy. Blame the male-dominated media for making the male body into a laughingstock, always portrayed as the butt of jokes. http://yeeeah.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/sacha... I think part of the reason that straight men constantly degrade the male form is because in the Victorian Era, two gay men could be thrown into prison for indecency, while two lesbian women were simply labelled "women with masculine tendencies". The reason I think for this lop-sided homophobia is because modern patriarchy is run primarily by straight men, many of whom see gay men as a danger, but don't feel threatened by lesbians. So you can understand why many men feel the need to act excessively homophobic and repulsed by the male body; it's been culturally ingrained in us for over a hundred years now. But if men were portrayed in a more... Tasteful manner, in a manner which inspired sexual desire, then we would definitely see the male body in a more tasteful light. The current portrayal of men's bodies in mainstream media would be equivalent to posting up pictures of semi-naked women eating spagetthi with their mouths open and spilling it all over the place. It's just not tasteful! Now to answer your second question; yes, women have constantly been evaluating each other's bodies since time immemorial! Men do it too, but not so often; the guys you mentioned are the exception to the rule. If men were to nitpick at each other's bodies/make any comment towards the body of another male, they stand a good chance of being labelled gay, something many straight men want to avoid. Yes; females and males CAN and DO indeed participate in same sex evaluations, but for women it's more socially acceptable.
Hello Laura; thanks! =) Yees unfortunately, you can blame Charles Darwin for that! While I'm not denying the tremendous effect Mr Darwin had on modern society and the scientific community, and how people saw the world, he was still in some ways, affected by the social mores of his culture, which was patriarchal Victorian society. Darwin assumed that universally; men were the hunters who chose the women, and women were the prey who waited to be chosen, and that while women were not "visually stimulated", meaning that they weren't turned on by a man's looks (ala face and body), but his wealth and social status (I'm not denying that gold-diggers exist; but even then, if given the choice, I'm sure they would rather marry a Channing Tatum over a Rush Limbaugh!) men looked out for female fertility cues, e.g. boobs, lips, arms, butt, hips, legs. Hence the "men are visual, women aren't" theory. But it's important to understand that most Victorian men assumed that women were pure, angelic creatures who existed simply to look pretty and pop babies, while men were the not so angelic monsters who lusted after these celestial, asexual, incorruptable beings. (hence the reason why women must cover up their tits on the beach; it's a remnant of Victorian society, the assumption that the female body is sexual, and needing "protection" from horny men, while the male body has no such effect on women) In other words, men (the straight ones at least) had absolutely no concept that objectification could work both ways! They only assumed that women were less than interested in men's bodies, and the only purpose men's bodies served was to make babies, but never as an object of aesthetic longing for the female gaze, since they themselves could never see their bodies in a sexual way. (Well OBVIOUSLY, they were STRAIGHT MEN!) So if you were to ask Darwin, he'd tell you that if a man wears skintight provocative clothing, that man in question would have to be gay, since according to Darwinian theory, there is no biological imperative for a straight man to show off his body. As for your case, I can tell you the exact reason why the back of the neck (the trapezius aka upper back muscle) appeals to you! I think that biologically speaking, shoulders are the male equivalent of breasts, and in the days of Caveman Chris, a large pair of shoulders and a tiny waist would have sent the signal that a man was fit and able to kill saber tooth tigers and protect a woman and her offspring from predators on vulnerable occasions like childbirth.
Here's the Thai boxing champion Buakaw; check out his traps!
PS You're welcome!
LauraGT from MA on July 16, 2012:
Nice hub! I find it fascinating that the female body has been so sexualized and not the male body. I think women are still not expected to be sexual in the same way as men, so women may not be as open in their expression of desire for men, even though it's there. Too bad for men, as I'm sure this decreases their self-esteem. Just as people like all sorts of female body types (not just the fashion model ones!), I think different male body types appeal to different women (and men). Personally, I have a thing for the back of the neck - don't ask me why! :)
Curiouser on July 15, 2012:
is it possible for straight men to see beauty in another mans physique? I mean many men say I wanna look like that guy; it's a sign of envy yet it covers up the underlying appreciation and desire of the others physique. Do woman do the same thing, do they say OH that girl is pretty, etc. etc? Can males and females participate in same sex physique evaluations?
BereniceTeh90 (author) on July 12, 2012:
These straight men who sneer and jeer at the exposed male form as being "ridiculous"/"cheesy"/"meatheaded"/"gay"/etc are in fact, actually demeaning themselves. If they can laugh at a provocatively dressed man like that, then what does that make them when they're butt naked?
BereniceTeh90 (author) on July 12, 2012:
Nic: But women's bodies ARE sexual objects! As are men's bodies, to an equal degree! From a biological point of view, we're all sex objects no matter what anybody says. =)
Written up: Thanks =D I am glad that I'm the only one that noticed that the peacock has suddenly become the hen, lol
In Ancient Greece/Rome/Egypt/etc, people were far less sheepish about the male body being exposed openly. Togas were designed to fit and flatter a man's torso the way a cocktail dress is designed to flatter a woman's, and men left their bare back and arms open to plain sight. On the other hand, the women's dresses were longer, and exposed less skin than the men's. However, it's completely the opposite today. Men desiring to show off their physical beauty has suddenly become a synonym with "homosexual", because apparently straight men aren't supposed to want to wear skintight revealing clothing. Let a man walk down the street or attend a formal function (e.g. black tie events where the men are all forced to cover everything up) with that amount of skin exposure today, and you'll have people giggling and sneering, "GAY! " at best, and "MEATHEAD" at worst. (Because apparently, only gay men and narcissistic bodybuilders enjoy looking at bare male flesh, while women are turned off by it)
The problem I think, with the gross-ification and stupidification of the male form in Western society (in the Hollywood movies, the male body is usually the object of ridicule, while the female body is usually an object of lust) is because for the most part, the media is still run by men. Straight men who cannot imagine the male body being an object of female desire, since they themselves have no desire to fuck it.
Which is why, in Victorian society, 2 gay men could be thrown into prison for "indecency", but 2 lesbian women were simply labelled "women with masculine tendencies", because most heterosexual men back then assumed that "it's natural for all women to be sexually attracted to the female body; the only reason a woman has sex is to please her husband, it's a chore, a wifely duty. I mean, I wouldn't want to bang or gaze at the male body, so why should any woman want to?" (see what I mean? They can't see beyond their own heterosexual myopia)
Written Up from Oklahoma City, OK on July 11, 2012:
Throughout nature, the male of a species is the beautiful, adorned one. Think the colorful plumes of the peacock as opposed to the plain peahen. The lions mane. Examples are endless, but humans in today's society dress and adorn the woman for show. This was a truly great hub! Very thought provoking.
Nicoli Clause from United States of America on July 11, 2012:
First off, I enjoyed what I had read. This being said, I didn't read it all. I stopped at 1,000 words. "Why if I enjoyed it" you may ask. Well I believe the problem is you didn't break it up.
My advice is to separate "themes" into different capsules. For example; What is beauty? How is beauty seen in society? Double standard between men and women. Opinions on the web. History of beauty... exc. I believe it will make it easier to follow and much enjoyable.
Next, I am going to disagree with women being able bare themselves in public, despite feminist views. I am no expert, but, I believe it will increase aggression towards women. For the same reason they (feminists) wish to eliminate pornography. Regardless of their views, a majority of men will see women as sexual objects, and will increase problems in society.
I believe this is a good hub and has potential to be better. Hope I helped!
BereniceTeh90 (author) on July 11, 2012:
Oh but it's not ONLY sexually attractive to the opposite sex; the correct term for it would be "beautiful", and certainly the ancient Romans and Greeks would agree that the male body is an object of grace and beauty. =)
androgyne on July 10, 2012:
I think you have confused sexual attraction and beauty.
BereniceTeh90 (author) on May 12, 2012:
Thanks, Mwwa! :) I know EXACTLY how you ladies feel. Well, your wish is my command!
mwwa on May 12, 2012:
and hey we deserve live eye candy as well...why should only men get that satisfaction?! :) Great article!!!
BereniceTeh90 (author) on April 16, 2012:
So true that; it's a myth that keeps getting perpetrated over and over again that women aren't as "visual" as men, that while men look at the naked female body in awe and admiration, women look at the naked male body in humour. It's damaging for young boys to grow up with the internalized notion that "women look at your wallet, and the car you drive, but they don't look at your body. Because it's a man's possessions that make him sexy, not his body." Now i don't mind being rich at all; i think it would be fabulous to be rich! But even if i had all the money in the world, and access to any woman i wanted, i still wouldn't be happy if i never had a sense of my BODY being the object of the female gaze. In other words, I desire for my body to be desired for the sake of being desired. It's damaging because these boys grow up and look at women in their sleeveless, backless gowns and short, frilly cocktail dresses and beautiful glowing skin, and they are constantly reminded that "men like seeing women's bodies in that way, but women find it sexier when you suit and button up", which essentially can be interpreted as "the female body is SEXIER and MORE LUSTWORTHY than the male body, and more worthy of display. The male body is less worthy of display, which is why it is sexier covered up!" I think every man, no matter how rich or successful,wants to have a sense of his own aesthetic worth in the eyes of the female gaze, for his body to be seen as an object of physical desire in its own right.
Nex_monumentum on April 15, 2012:
I cannot but agree with this.I work out a lot. I've got a sculptured body, but not the one of a bodybuilder but the one of an athlete.I've got the v-shape, the muscles and the orderliness. I also put a lot of work in my facial features. And the respose from girls has been huge! When I wear a tight-fitting shirt and jeans that lay emphasis on my super-well-proportioned, slim and gorgeous physique all the girls in the college stare at me, smile at? me and always give me compliments. It has been very easy for me to get a girl because girls ask me out quite often.So my advice to every men outh there: work on your physique, posture, confidence and, quite importantly, on being noble. In return girl will appreciate you highly.
BereniceTeh90 (author) on February 17, 2012:
That's exactly my point! Women need to start being honest about the fact that they desire men physically; if guys hear it from me it doesn't carry much weight, coz i'm not a woman lol
pooilum from Malaysia on February 15, 2012:
It would be great as a guy to hear a woman or the person you love say that. It really boost up the confidence a notch, and it will increase the appreciation too. Great stuff
BereniceTeh90 (author) on January 26, 2012:
Hello Natalie, thanks for the great comment; you may find it hard 2 believe but from an unenlightened straight male point of view, the male body is a hairy, bumbling lump of flesh; the result of The Creator being in a good mood while he created Woman, and a bad mood while he created Man. Glad some women are honest enuf to admit that they enjoy it! :)
Natalie on January 25, 2012:
The male body is much sexier than the female body. Women have ugly lumps of fat on their chest and a bunch of holes for private parts. And we bleed for a week every month. Men have muscular chests and tight asses. :)