Metrosexual Olympics – #3 The Metrosexy Olympic Body

Posted: July 21, 2012 in Feminism, gaze theory, Masculinities, metrosexuality, Metrosexy, Sporno, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

British hope Tom Daley, the metrotastic diver, is splashed across billboards in next to nothing- again, in the run-up to the Olympics. In a rather apt choice of slogan Adidas are commanding young Tom to ‘take the respect’. Of course MetroAuntie can’t let these ads pass us all by without remarking on just how ‘submissive’ and ‘sexual’ the connotations are: is Tom being told to ‘take it’ like a good ‘bottom’ should?

Apart from the suggestive tone of the text, the main thing to notice about the posters what a ‘passive’ pose the medal-winning diver is in. He is not seen here demonstrating his athletic skill, but rather standing still, looking down, holding one wrist with his other hand. His torso is the main ‘object of desire’.

And a man’s torso also features heavily in this short film by the Guardian celebrating the olympic body through history. Again, rather than showing sporting motion, this film just displays the man’s upper body as if it were a mannequin turning slowly in a shop window. It oozes metrosexuality and  sporno aesthetics.

These two examples of metrosexy bodies put paid to the feminist belief that in visual culture men are presented as active subjects, women as passive objectsEven Lego has been accused by feminist critics of promoting this oppressive, binary opposition, which contributes to a situation whereby the objectification of women is more widespread and more damaging than that of men.

Writing in the Guardian recently, Sarah Ditum (the original ‘mumsy cupcake feminist) did at least admit that sportsmen have been ‘pin ups for decades’. But she still suggested that women’s bodies are scrutinised and policed more than men’s.

But really it is just that men’s objectification is policed in different ways from women’s. The underplaying not just by feminists but by most people, of the  sheer tartiness of contemporary men, is one way of denying the homoerotics and deep self-love involved in metrosexual masculinity. A self-love that can never be entirely ‘straight’.

So,  in 2012, whilst feminists are STILL campaigning against the ‘objectified’ images of women on Page Three, the Sun publishes its list of  Top Ten Hot Shots (sexy Olympian sportsmen who are sex objects in their own right), without so much as a murmur to be heard from the feminists. Here’s David Boudia one of the top ten hotties, looking ready for… uh, anything.

There is no hiding fit young men’s  rampant narcissism, it takes the gaze wherever it can find it. And Tom Daley is a champion in his field…

h/t @zefrog for the Top Ten Hot Shots!

  1. Derick says:

    I fucking love you for exposing feminist garbage.

  2. Papi50 says:

    I love this post, and continue to enjoy and admire this blog. I think that, rather than exposing feminist garbage — not that there isn’t plenty of that! — your blog tries to expand the sort of discourse of which feminists are capable.

    • QRG says:

      Thanks Papi for continuing to read! I dont think feminists want to ‘expand’ their discourse, or to listen to what I have to say. Oh well.

      I am probably having a ‘blog holiday’ in august so that will explain it if I go uncharacteristically quiet for a while! xQRG

  3. Rick Powell says:

    Although I agree with your main point here and delight daily in your feminist bashing, I have a problem with reading every photo of a shirtless guy as “metro.” It’s reductive and seems simply a reactionary reversal of Mulvey’s concept of the male gaze. But representation and objectification are more complex than that and any “text” can have multiple readings. For instance, I don’t read that photo of Tom as passive at all, or at least, not as simply passive.

    He’s flexing, The whole category of flexing photos and videos initiates a push/pull between the flexer and the watcher/worshiper. The positions of objects/subject are not fixed and maybe not even relevant.

    His fists are clenched. Where is he going to put that fist? He’s not looking at the camera, does he even care about anyone’s gaze at the point he’s been captured by the camera?

    As you’ve pointed out many times vis à vis traditional feminists, there’s something authoritarian about insisting that every image of every shirtless guy or gal merely supports one’s traditional way of looking at representation. That goes for you, too, QRG!


    • QRG says:

      HI Rick
      Thanks that is very interesting. I have watched flexing vids, but not in great quantities. I am not sure if Daly is presented as ‘flexing’ though in the way a lot of body builders do. They are often more ‘flamboyant’ he really is looking down, kind of ‘pensive’.

      But yes absolutely more than one interpretation is possible, and likely to be relevant!

  4. […] Olympics may have been over months ago, but Tom Daley hasn’t stopped since.  Is he training for Rio 2016? Is he diving for his life? Well maybe, […]

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