It’s no secret that we live in a body conscious society. As a woman consistently hanging out with other women worried about appearance, body shape, double chins, and cankles I am well aware that this is a problem that’s not going away. The beauty industry which includes but is not limited to cosmetics, fashion, skin care, hair care, cosmetic surgery have most women believing that they aren’t good enough, sexy enough, and that there is always something better around the corner to strive for.
We are muses for artists (men), sirens, goddesses that hold sway over men with our beauty (power) but not because of any other aspect of ourselves. Along with the constant reminders that women should fit a particular mold, there is the simultaneously socialized belief that because women should and do “maintain” this precious beauty that we are in fact the supple, sexier of the sexes.
Okay, I’m not going to lie. I appreciate female beauty in every way. I happen to be bisexual and have dated people from both sides of the aisle and am not opposed to dating transgender people either, but what’s going on? Why aren’t men just as sexy and why isn’t it okay for more women to say that they long to see the chizzled lines of well-formed abs gracing more than a few magazine covers?
In my younger days I took a course in understanding the Male Gaze through media. A quick synopsis of it is that men and women both look at women through the male perspective, generally a term used when studying media. This gaze is why I generally believe that woman actually have a hard time “seeing” men because they are socialized to see women instead.
“More than just being an object of a gaze, the women in advertisements become what’s being bought and sold: ‘The message though was always the same: buy the product, get the girl; or buy the product to get to be like the girl so you can get your man’ in other words, ‘Buy’ the image, ‘get’ the woman” (Wykes, p. 4)’” If you want more info on the male gaze, check out this article. but hey I’m not here to create some discourse on this topic.
What am I here to do? I’m here to talk about the beauty, majesty, and grace of the male form aka Men’s Hot Bodies. Also a little about changing the perspective and really creating an independent female gaze. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go that deep, but I did do some informal interviews with a few friends that have varying opinions on how they feel about the male body.
The other day I had the opportunity to feel present in something that doesn’t often happen in a large gathering of females; we fully objectified male bodies in a way that I generally only hear men do with women. We were taking a gander at a zine owned by one of my friends called P33nZine.
P33nzine or PeenZine is a local Seattle male porn zine run by Sue Ellen Crandall, specifically catering to straight females. I insert straight here because most male porn mags are geared toward gay men. The six ladies at the table that night scrolled through and array of photos, while one lady yelled out, “More Dicks! Show me more dicks!”
We actually gave ourselves permission to judge the beauty of these men, every tuft of hair, every tattoo, every chizzled muscle. I can hear some of you groaning and saying, “but why would you want to judge? Why would we want to males to deal with similar objectification to females? Isn’t this just going to cause increased self-loathing amongst men?”
I definitely understand your questions and concerns, but… the real point is that women as a whole are often made to feel bad about even talking about and enjoying what the male body has to offer. We are not brought up to appreciate the male body as much in media as we are the female body. Often, I think it makes it hard for women to know how to appreciate it because it’s not supposed to be thought about.
When I say judge though, I should also say that many women outwardly judge men differently than they would judge women. While going for the jugular with women, “look at her rolls! Look at those thighs! What’s up with her eyes?” The way men are judged is markedly different. If someone couldn’t appreciate something about one of the men, most would just avoid saying it and find something they found attractive about him instead of tearing down what was wrong with him. Though… it could just be that I have awesome friends and they probably wouldn’t go after women anyway because they’re not dicks and actually appreciate beauty in all women.
Were we actually looking at peen’s you wonder? Yes, actually we were because that is kind of the point of a zine called PeenZine. However, that’s not all we were looking at; there are usually bodies attached to them. I think it’s important to speak about the penis, dick, cock, prick, whatever it is you want to call it. It’s this thing that helps women procreate, have great orgasms, be jealous of because men get to stand and pee anywhere at a whim, yet so many women I know are disgusted by them when it comes down to gazing at them. What is this about?
I went to a Passion Party once that a friend of a friend was throwing and I was greatly disheartened when I heard ladies talking about closing their eyes and slathering up peen’s with a variety of flavored lubes so they could pretend when they were sleeping with their partner’s that it was a strawberry lollipop or something. Way to be sex positive people. Instead of instilling in women that dick’s and ball’ are gross, let’s talk about why they’re not and understand why they are a work of art.
Miss Sue Ellen of P33nZine stated that, “It hurts me when women who identify as heterosexual say that the male sex is ugly. How would they like it if men said their sex- their body was ugly or comical? It would deeply hurt and offend them. A friend of mine once said “penises should be felt and not seen”. What if a man said that about her vagina? We have to start looking at bodies in a different light.”
Okay, how should we look at men’s bodies? We should look at it as a piece of art the same way we look at women. Have you seen the David? Check out this statue to the right. You can google for full body shots, but I want to keep this blog PG-13 at the very least.
Men’s bodies are gorgeous in the way they are made from their more defined jaws, smaller hips, muscular upper bodies, and yes their penises. Obviously every male body is made differently and that is also something to appreciate, many of my female friends have told me they prefer guys with a gut to other ones, because all ladies prefer different things, there is not one type just like there isn’t one type for guys.
I just don’t want to sit around pretending that I don’t look and I don’t want to feel bad for enjoying my gaze as a female. I don’t think there is any one male body that is the ultimate ideal, many different bodies are beautiful for so many different reasons. Yeah, I’m still a lady and personality trumps everything. We’ve all known that guy who was a 10 on the “hotness” scale and then opened his mouth and dropped down to a 1. That shit is scary, but true.
Men’s bodies aren’t some unknown and frightening territory and shouldn’t remain undiscovered. Please, let’s appreciate and not worry so much about what people think about us taking our power and ability to gaze as women and not as men.
The other day this list of the 50 hottest Jewish men in Hollywood came out. Check it out! Ladies like and appreciate all kinds of men.
Here are a few responses to my question from both men and women about the male body from their perspective and how they feel most females perceive the male body? (I have kept the real names of my participants secre).
“I guess I feel bad when I think of how I perceive a male’s body. With all the “ideal” body issues women have to deal with in the world today and struggling with them myself…I’m the one who prefers that “ideal” male body. I’ve not gone on that date with the perfect guy because he was overweight. Does that make me the bad guy? Or in this case the shallow one? I feel like I’ll never know the answer.” – Sara
“Hey, I am not sure how the female mind works in many ways, but in general I think women can overlook things like a little belly if the man is sexy in other ways or has security or capability and sex appeal not based on pure appearance. Women are physical too, but I think maybe less though than men. It depends on the person. I do know with the women I’ve talked to, even if straight they typically say the female form is more beautiful to them, while still appreciating male form in some way.” – Leslie (male)
“I love every inch of it… But I do believe in men landscaping (manscaping) anything they expect my mouth to be on.” – Valerie
“I feel that women as a whole have varying taste in how they feel about the male body. Some are into super buff dudes while other are drawn to frail skinny guys. There’s no rhyme or reason it’s just a matter taste and what tickles your fancy I guess.” – Mark;)
I don’t think about the male body. I like them all, and have pretty much dated every shape and sized man. I wish men were more willing to do this. Women obsess over their bodies all the time. When it appears to me that most straight men don’t ever have to think about it. But i guess if someone asked my ideal, it would be moderately hair, 5′ 10′ or taller, lanky or a little bit pudgy. As for the junk, at least 6″ and tight balls. I hate it when a guys balls can still be in the living room, when the party has moved to the bedroom.” – Hope
“I do not like my body or the male form. I feel like God phoned that one in. I feel gross and lumpy and poorly shaped and often sticky. I don’t know what a good alternative would be though. I think I assume the worst about how women perceive my body or the male form in general. I think I project all the nonsense I just said on to them (which isn’t true or fair).I assume women think I’m lumpy, smelly, etc, or that all guys are, etc. I also assume women primarily like lean, tall, guys with dark hair.” – Jesse
“When I think about a man’s body, I instinctively relate it to strength. But not in an Adonis/Hercules sort of way.
I think about how society has given man the burden of being physically and emotionally strong, and how that must be such a weighty load to carry. To not be able to cry, or waver—that’s got to create a lot of conflict. So, when I am able to observe a man who has learned to be comfortable with his masculinity despite those expectations, no matter what he looks like, or in spite of the conflict he may feel, that creates a respect for both the emotional and physical make-up of a man.” – Zeena C.
What are your thoughts?