Sample Essay

The traditional woman would thus appreciate the male beauty when it’s displayed in its bare form even if it is riddled with flaws. Sartre’s theology would apply here as well. The example listed by Bordo is that of the movie The Full Monty, which follows a story of a group of less-than-perfect men to open up a male strip club. Despite their physiques, the club becomes a hit (p. 135).

Where she pays attention to men in ripped briefs, Bordo also considers the reaction from a nude Gucci ad which depicts a male model attempting to put on underwear. The subsequent follow-up photographs show him fumbling with the underwear while in full view of his backside. The contours of the buns and the chiseled overall shape which appear to be almost crafted for sex arouse her in a way she thought only men were capable of being aroused. With her feelings of sexual arousal she is much skeptical about the widely circulated and studied notion of how men are more prone to being receptive of sexual displays while women are supposedly pickier about their reactions. Considering a study by Deborah Blum, according to which “54 percent of the men were erotically aroused versus 12 percent of the women” (p. 138) to enticing pictures of the opposite sex, she examines the reluctance with which women respond positively to these surveys. According to her, women find it harder to place their positive erotic responses and some may just be outright shy to admit them. The shame factor plays in the mix as well where women in general are not particularly proud of admitting that they enjoy watching a undressed male. The fact that men have taken a longer time to put themselves out in the open unlike women who have been showcased as early as the first half of the 20th century also suggests the reluctant cultural understanding of female arousal, and thus has resulted in these low numbers. After all, men who used to be part of magazines in the earlier days were considered appealing to gay men more than men and looked “merely undressed” (p. 139) as opposed to erotic. The concept of selling sex was only truly put into motion for men in the 70s when Calvin Klein decided to photograph men with perfect form factors in bare underwear. He was the driving source behind this form of depiction. As it happened, Klein’s epiphany proved wonders for business multiplying sales of underwear several-folds.

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