Opinion: ‘Sexist Man Alive’? not too much
The annual cover is a lightweight honorific that has worked its way into the public consciousness as more legitimate than it actually is. kind of like Golden Globe win.
Think about the inherent ridiculousness of declaring someone the sexiest person alive. Sex, by its very nature, is subjective. So it’s an eye-opening joke that people offer their own tastes as if they were everyone else’s. And by making their subject male, they’re implicitly saying: Look, we’re not targeting women, we’re so evolved. Men can be the object of lust! This might have been (arguably) a subversive statement in the 1980s, when Playboy, Penthouse and other magazines pushed a misogynist ideal of sexuality onto the newsstands. But now? Not too much.
And when you consider man’s enduring ubiquity, its insistence on shaping our taste in men seems less amusing. The magazine’s tradition began in 1985 with a candidate whose appeal, I think we can agree, has not aged well: Mel Gibson, now infamous for his anti-Semitism. It is noteworthy that A bunch of SMAs Subsequently headlined for beautiful cause for concern.
People’s SMA’s are overwhelmingly white, straight men of normal good looks. In its 37 years, the magazine has featured four (also trimmed and straight) black men — Denzel Washington, Michael B. Jordan, John Legend and Idris Elba — and one biracial man, Dwayne Johnson.
No one is disputing that these are handsome men (even those who have proven themselves ugly inside) but their appearance represents the narrowest sliver of humanity’s range.
Where is the sex in this? As Tracy Moore Jezebel wrote“A sexy structureand unfortunately, in this world, it’s a very very very unimaginative, narrow, monotonous one that fails to address many sexy things and focuses on other, boring things that have been sexy for so long that I’m here to suggest they may even have lost some of their sexiness. .” As she notes, “We’re so conditioned to the fake image that it’s been normalized as definitively sexy.”
What if we recognized that there is actually a huge spectrum of what people consider sexy in a man, instead of trying to fit the term into a one-size-fits-all container? Different people are attracted to different body types, different orientations, different representations of gender. Some men’s dresses look really good, just for example. By faithfully proclaiming the same representation of masculinity, as the ideal type, this tradition of SMA is narrowing the many ways in which beautiful men are rewarded in countless ways in our culture.
As a study mentioned, “People think that positive interpersonal qualities and physical attractiveness are systematically linked.” Arguing over the definition of what is sexy might seem silly, but it has real-world implications for anyone who doesn’t adhere to a rigid stereotype about what is or isn’t sexy. A 2020 Research claims that “compared to people of average attractiveness, highly attractive people earn about 20 percent more and are recommended for promotions more frequently.” In less strict economic terms, it stands to reason that reinforcing a status quo about what is acceptably sexy makes people with differing views feel less empowered to be open about it.
Compared to the newer titles, People might seem like a bit of a relic, but it’s the publication that jump-started the business of marketing celebrities to the masses. It is still available in many waiting rooms around the world. So when people pick it up and see that another white, rich, successful, straight, American, able-bodied guy has been crowned The Sexiest, it reinforces the idea that everyone who deviates from this norm is less than them.
A Research has found That “People magazine had an average monthly audience of 81.35 million people in the United States in June 2022.” It has the power to wave its pop-cultural stick and bestow “sexy” status on whoever it wants. (As a tweet keep it: “Imagine if the sexiest man alive was a wheelchair user?”)
Real harm is done when the media continues to idealize masculinity in such limited ways. “The more men cling to rigid views of masculinity, the more likely they are to be depressed, or hateful, or lonely.” wrote Monica Hesse told the Washington Post. The effect, quite possibly, applies to both the reader and the subject.
None of these issues with the title should have any bearing on this year’s SMA, Chris Evans, by all accounts a genuinely nice guy who has long been keen to capitalize on his fame. in advance good reason. But there is an inevitable schtick associated with being anointed at the SMA he plays: “’The Gray Man’ star is also up for some good-natured ribbing from his close friends. ‘Really it would just be a matter of bullying,’ he jokes. ‘It’s ripe for harassment.’” Actors who have been through a long photo shoot and interview and, one imagines, far behind to sort the whole thing out, still have to do amazing work. I’m impressed about showing up for the gig.
Personally, I’d love to see an SMA do an interview where he talks about the increased wealth that comes with the title; What movie doesn’t want its lead actor to be an SMA? Or openly discusses the huge benefits he’s already enjoyed in his career thanks to what mainstream pop culture deems acceptable. Or acknowledge the damage that can be done when the media insists on an inverted definition of masculinity.
now that will be sexy
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