Posts Tagged ‘tom daley’

tom daley


It’s hardly surprising an 18 year old, who is currently – er – splashed all over our TV and media, would usurp ageing David Beckham as the king/queen of metrosexual masculinity. So Heat’s latest list  of ‘hottest hunks’ is just reflecting public opinion. But, the Daily Mail, which I find much more positive in general about metro boys than other papers (especially the Graun) has felt the need to frame this event in a very ‘heterosexist’ way. According to the Mail:

‘And it seems that Tom Daley’s grueling work-out regime has paid off in more ways than one after coming top of Heat Magazine’s annual ‘Hottest Hunks’ poll.

The 18-year-old has toppled heartthrob David Beckham from the number one spot after gaining a legion of female followers thanks to his toned torso.’

I guess it is also not surprising that the story of Daley’s ascendance would be accompanied by some metrosexual denial. But following the #Splash twitter hashtag, it is clear that Daley has plenty of men fans, and that even if young men are not lusting after him but rather aspiring to be like him, it is his tits and abs they are emulating, not his backwards pike.


The 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, but only inbetween photoshoots, ad gigs and… er… this little self-promotion pic.

Ostensibly Tom’s ‘cheeky pic’ is inviting us to follow him on Keek, yet another social media site which involves sharing photos and videos. But MetroAuntie gets the impression that the bronze medal winning diver has another aim in mind. He, like many fit young metro boys, takes any opportunity he can to show off his body. And why not?

Well, as Nadal who was nowhere to be seen in the Olympic tennis competition has done, Daley could be seen to be prioritising his rampant narcissism and self-objectification over his sport. And though the results are lovely to look at, one does wonder why a top tennis ace is advertising a poker gambling company when he could be practising his backhand.

Back in February this year, Tom’s coach warned that the young diver’s media career and metrosexual antics could cost him a gold medal in the Olympics. The lad seemed happy with his bronze, and maybe he has weighed up his options and decided he prefers to be a world-beating tart and forgo some sporting gongs.

I am interested in the ongoing tension between ‘active’ and ‘passive’ masculinity, a tension which Daley embodies quite poetically.  But which one will win through? Only time, and a few more sponsorship deals will tell.

The most metrotastic moment of the Olympics Opening Ceremony last night wasn’t Becks in his boat, or Daniel Craig and his Bond routine, it was the entrance at the end of the athletes’ parade of Team GB.

The 500+ strong team, with cyclist Chris Hoy bearing the flag at the front, entered the stadium in a sea of white and gold. Their tracksuits were retro-metro stylie, like something Ali G might rock up in!


With the TV camera often lingering on Tom Daley, the young high diver with a perfect tan and winning smile, metrosexuality finally seemed to be taking centre stage as it should. Actually, Danny Boyle’s extravaganza seemed a bit more dowdy and old school in comparison to these sporno heroes. Paul Mccartney and Kenneth Branagh are not exactly pin-up hotties these days.

But there were two nice links between the contemporary metro imagery of Team GB and the music, film and pyrotechnics. One was that the tracksuits the athletes were wearing (with men and women all wearing trousers unlike some of the other countries and their ‘traditional’ gendered fashions) reminded me distinctly of rap culture, which WAS featured in Danny Boyle’s show.


Kanye may not have been there to outdress and outbling the British sports stars, but Dizzee Rascal’s performance of Bonkers was great, and showcased urban rap, youth and pop culture brilliantly. Also the song Bonkers could be seen as a bit of a ‘metrosexy anthem’. Because he is singing about being a young man doing what the hell he wants, regardless of how ‘society’ and other people see him.
Some people think I’m bonkers

But I just think I’m free

Man, I’m just livin’ my life

There’s nothin’ crazy about me

The second link between the metrosexual styles of the British team, and the spectacle of the Opening Ceremony is the technological and ‘social media’ phenomenon they both display. All through the parade, athletes were taking photos and videos of themselves(!) and the stadium. The video at the top is TV footage taken on someone’s phone from the comfort of their living room, and uploaded onto youtube within hours of the ceremony finishing. And in Boyle’s set there was a tableau featuring young people and their relationships being played out on facebook and mobile phone technology. Not to mention the fact that Tim Berners Lee, the ‘inventor of the world wide web’ also had a cameo role in proceedings.

So, my verdict is that the Opening Ceremony WAS a showcase of metrosexual talent. But it was the fashion-conscious and self-loving athletes who really made the metrosexy grade. Team Italia were indeed decked out in Armani, but the sheer bling and bravado of Team GB means MetroAuntie awards them GOLD.

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!