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Beauty (Re) Discovers the Male Body, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 884

Essay

This 45 page essay by Bordo talks about an aspect of advertisements bearing men pictures when naked. Earlier it had been the women, who were on the ads nude, but then the photos of men started entering, and groups of gays in those days seem to have gained an interest in. the female body had been common in fashion photographs, movies and playboy including its imitators. For Bordo; “Fashion had been on the lead and movies had followed. The interjections present in the essay make it a bearable one to read. For instance, Bordo dives into a personal story on how she had wanted one of her lovers, to strip but felt embarrassed to ask the man to do so. This takes place immediately after telling about the Gucci in the essay where she says that in the first ad “the Gucci was a young naked man holding his underwear and the photo was shot from behind. The author tries to relate the phenomena of nude men on the ads back to the cultural model ideas and the sexes’ accepted behaviors. Instead of dealing with homosexuality in one section, the author spreads the topic in the entire essay.  Bordo avoids boredom to any reader by spreading this topic of homosexuality throughout the essay. The essay starts with homosexuality, then later Calvin Klein’s bisexuality and how the condition influences the choice of advertisements features. Bordo then gives a description of androgynous learners then she later deals with Symposium talks and the plot of homosexuals. She includes the practices of homosexuality accepted in ancient Rome.

Susan Bordo claims that the advert of Calvin Klein “made her feel she was an adolescent”( Bordo, 2004). She took the ad for women during lectures to seek their opinions regarding it. The women also saw some sexual elements in the ad just like Bordo had felt. The point she is making is that the ad was a man masculine for sex, and she mentions that it contains a real penis and not a symbol, which one could see clearly through underwear. She also argues that the photo looked ‘feminine’; that one could easily rip the underwear unlike Kowalski, which was the original ripped-underwear poster boy. She claims that the male body has a glorious and long aesthetic history whose masculinity could work double, triple or quadruple task with various consumers; gay and straight, males and females. According to Bordo this was not difficult for the culture prevailing during the time she wrote the essay.

According to Bordo (2004) it looks odd for one to stand looking at ones underwear. The point she stresses here is that instead of the underwear on the butt of the lad, it is on his hands. As she was writing, it was quite a new motif in mainstream advertising to have ones bottom entirely naked. The action of photographers eroticizing the male body, male potency and male sensuousness and penises had been in the closet before, but when the author is writing the essay these had taken root began in the society. Bordo quotes John Ashbery in the New York Times having said that it was natural for women nakedness but for men they appeared undressed. She argues that present male photo ads communicate more sexual themes than what the intention. In addition, to face-off in the available male body posture, in the ads, today, there is another element, which the author calls “the lean”. Bordo (2004) argues that in the Calvin Klein “Escape” advert we get a notion of advocacy of men indulging in pleasures, which should be for the women alone. This meant that the men were tired of doing much in initiating and pursuing sex.

It was not a common thing to have the male body naked in the ads. Instead, it was that of women which was common. When Susan Bordo wrote, there was increasing number of gays and photographers were using naked men photos as they could find a ready market in the gays. The topic is crucial for the author as it shows a new phenomenon in mainstream advertisement. The author criticizes the phenomenon of naked men in the ads. It is evident that, during her writing, the view of the society regarding the male body was changing. Photographers who had been hiding the photos of naked men had then come out to expose the nakedness of men.

I support Bordo’s criticism of exposing male body nakedness through the ads as indeed these had a role of luring people towards sex bringing immorality to the society. However, I would say I differ in not supporting the use of naked women either. In the essay, there is a scientific view that the male hormone, testosterone can easily be stimulated by sight. This means that men can easily be lured by sex than women, and thus the photos of naked women lead to immorality just like that of naked women. The author ensured that she wrote exploring all aspects of the topic and gave a detailed description. She shows a lot of passion in writing about the topic. The long essay becomes manageable for the author through dividing into smaller sections. In general, the essay is so captivating.

Reference

Bordo, S. (2004). Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. [Edition2]. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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