Ugly/Beautiful

Posted: December 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

I have been discussing how our fascination with male beauty can go too far. How we can become so transfixed by images of sexy, aesthetically pleasing men, that we forget how they are used in our culture, to sell us a version of the self we really can’t afford and don’t need. I have been trying to find ways to depict the ‘ugliness’ of this ‘beauty myth’.

I think this photo of Brad Pitt achieves that. The gay goatee, the swishy grease-backed hair, the black top (what is it? a jumper or a dressing gown?), the hint of a sneer on his lips.

The ugly face of beauty. One of them.

And Mr Pitt also represents the acquisitory nature of contemporary ‘metro-man’. He has acquired wives, mansions, companies, children, as if his life depended upon it. His ‘sense-0f-self’ must be so very shored-up by his material and emotional/sexual possessions, he never has an identity crisis ever. Or if he does, there will be a therapist, a nutritionist, a personal trainer and a life-coach to sort him out.

Comments
  1. you are right. talking about cul items like the “gay” goatee, I suspect that aesthetics labeled as “homosexual” are just a way for the “average guy” to improve his image suggested by the gays (the specialists) and supported by the information society’s marketed propaganda.

    if we see same-sex desire/behavior as a “specialization mission” for each gender, we see how it comes out so strong in this moment of the species’ evolution… helped by consumistic system “to sell us a version of the self we really can’t afford and don’t need “

  2. interesting way of looking at it, Paolo which differs very slightly from Mark simpson’s metrosexuality analysis. The ‘specialisation mission’ is a great phrase. You write English with a certain poetry, I bet you are amazing in Italian!!

  3. thank you, I’m always so worried about my English, in fear it could sound pidgin.
    as for the male identity analysis, I follow Mark since his “Attitude” era – and you now – with interest and curiosity.
    nonetheless I’m developing a personal, mediterranean approach to the “gay thing”.
    as an example, why in Italy (and some other countries kissed by the sun) so many men do it and so very few admit it? as someone said, it was not the Roman Catholic Church to invent homophobia or sexophobia: they actually jumped on an already running train (Plato, Aristotoles…). since apes became humans istincts face rational approach. the churches, the marketing system and pop culture are trying to squeeze some benefit out of this confusion.

  4. I dont know Paolo, why countries ‘kissed by the sun’ like Italy have more homophobia than others, if they really do, or if it just takes on a different form? But I know there are some links between ‘machismo’ and the repression of ‘male desire’ and probably female desire too. As machismo demands such a public front of heterosexual masculinity and does not make room for how people actually feel very easily.

    But it seems such a shame, when the weather is often so warm and the scenery so beautiful, for people not to be out enjoying each other in the open. Whereas in cold cities like London and New York, men are out on the streets displaying their homosexuality freely.

  5. it only takes different forms. in my country homophobia is swishier, I’d say. or coward, to put it better. they actually “enjoy each other in the open” …i.e. parks, beaches🙂 but they do not admit it, or not enough considering the low number of “self prockaimed homosexuals”.
    on the other hand, forced objectification of your own desires is not necessarily healthy nor sexy.
    that’s why metrosexuality is an option. olé!

  6. and I expect Italian men were ‘metrosexual’ long before many others. I think you are onto something there, Paolo…

  7. hmm says:

    It’s powerfully contagious and hypnotic. Perhaps because it isn’t supposed to be? The image of the sexually self sufficient male (self sufficient because his boundless powers of acquisition are enough to satisfy all his desires) seems to seduce even earthy puritans.

    I was so charmed at the prospect of a spiritual art film in this age of cgi “rides” that pass as movies, with the trailer of terrence malick’s Tree of Life. The classical music and the lack of high octane shaky camera “action” carries you away.
    On second viewing, you see that Pitt’s playing of a 50s peasant american worker is all D&G pose, all false sensitivity couched in safe uber macho stone hearted independence. You see all the consumerist one-designer-level-above-ikea interior decoration. Sean Penn playing an old man is just an old man playing a preening teen sean penn.
    Malick is apparently a highly religious, spiritual, loner, artiste. And yet it seems to have culminated in a fake spirituality, the perfect cover for independent, hollow consumerism.
    What a terror, that even basic humanity can be fashioned into a desirable commodity, an optional consumer good.
    I don’t know if such commodified reality is a terror because it proves that the rustic, bucolic image of “real men and real women” and their discontents was always a sentimentalized idealization of a boring hard life or if it just reminds me how easily even basic humanity can be removed (because there’s always worse pain if you trip up).
    Happy new year.

  8. Thanks hmmm!

    and you really should get your own blog. You have loads to say and some great videos!

    happy new year to you too x

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