Jennifer Hawkins and the Naked male, and a question.

Recently former Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins posed nude on the cover of Australian Marie Claire, the shocker was that she did so un-airbrushed in aiming to promote positive body image. It’s caused a bit of a stir. Here is an example of the commentary around the issue.

Now, as this blog is ostensibly concerned with masculinity I’ve got to tie Ms Hawkins into the naked male referenced above. Not as hard as it seems.

You see, an Australian Newspaper, The Age  published an article talking about men and body images, because the toned figures of Men’s Health aren’t exactly representative of the normal male body either. Michael Bachelard disrobed (that’s the image shown here) owning all his ‘flaws’ and celebrating his (and urging others to do likewise) less than magazine perfect body.

Now the third part of this is a question: What do you think about images of male bodies in popular culture, is it comparable to the levels female objectification and unrealistic expectations that are depressingly familiar, or is it a bit of a beat up?

Please have your say in the comments.

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3 Comments on “Jennifer Hawkins and the Naked male, and a question.”

  1. JNgaio Says:

    Well… I can’t say for certain because my experience is very much that of a woman. However, I honestly do feel that women are subjected to far more images of “perfect” bodies in popular culture.

    One only needs to look to Hollywood and television to see this. For example, look at how many movies and shows are out there where the man is “average” in appearance, middle aged, etc etc yet has a tall, slim, conventionally attractive wife. Off the top of my head. I can’t think of anything where this is the opposite.

    Then there’s the prevalence of eating disorders in women. Of course, this could be due to the fact that women are pressured to be thin whereas perhaps male body pressure is more to be “buff”. That doesn’t feel like enough of an explanation to me, however.

    There are a million examples I could list, but I do feel that in popular culture, beauty tends to be praised as the highest possible ideal for women whereas men are valued for their sense of humour, their power, whatever. This is why I tend to get frustrated by many a Hollywood film – where female characters are only there to be love interests, where their personality seems to be lacking, yet they are incredibly stunning and this alone gives them the greatest value a woman could possibly offer. Pardon the rant, I’m just thinking of a certain Ricky Gervais film I saw recently that made me want to throttle him. You let me down, Gervais!

    Hmmm, actually, now I’m getting entirely off topic but I often think about humour and how comedy is dominated by men, how the class clowns almost always seem to be boys, etc. I first became aware of this when I first moved to Australia and noticed that here, men often do the joking and women do the laughing. Not that I’m saying men don’t appreciate a woman who can joke – but I’d certainly be interested to hear your take – if you have one – on why comedy seems to be dominated by men.

    Uh, now back to your original question, yes I really do think women are under more pressure than men to achieve physical “perfection”. I think the pressure is increasing for men but based on personal experience and observation (which I realise doesn’t always produce the most trusty data) I think that women feel more pressure. This is why I have to repeat the mantra in my head almost constantly “short and chubby is hot!” and have it shattered almost every day as I pass billboards of tall, blonde somethings trying to sell me things so I’ll look like them.

  2. Benny Says:

    Women’s bodies are subjected to more criticism, hands down.

    Some people say that’s because “Men care more about looks, but women care more about personality,” and “Men and women are turned on by different things.” That could potentially explain it, but I’m still not sure I buy it.

    I do, however, believe that men’s status is objectified in a similar manner to women’s bodies.

    No… objectified is not the right word. Commodified is the word. Sometimes it’s something as simple as money, and sometimes it’s something more vague, like talent or strength or toughness… or the elusive “sensitivity.” Many women immediately disqualify a male teacher if he’s in competition with a doctor just as many men immediately disqualify a woman with an average body if she’s in competition with a “perfect 10.”

    So my conclusion is that, yes, women’s bodies are more commodified than men’s. An average male body is indeed less looked-down upon than an average female body. But I also felt a need to point out that that doesn’t mean men do not suffer from commodification any less than women do. (Objectification, maybe not so much, but commodification, yes.)

    If a woman brings home a balding doctor, she won’t be laughed at. But if a man brings home an average-looking woman who he finds interesting or attractive for some other reason (maybe she’s a doctor, maybe she’s a good storyteller, who knows), he just might be.

  3. Jewell Says:

    Silly question. I mean, come on, you know the answer.

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