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What, you thought Hugh Jackman – in his 40s – got that vascular just by choking down chicken breasts?Even then, those perfect muscles and idyl male beauty get an assist.What strikes me about these stories is how they play into a new and pernicious narrative – the new standards for male beauty and how the quest to live up to them has been taking a deadly toll on men.In his article The Rise and Rise of the Spornosexual, writer Max Olesker decided he wanted to explore what he saw as the new trend in young men – predominantly men in their early 20s, but many ranging up to their 50s – to sport bodies reminiscent of modern porn-stars, sports heroes and of course, movie stars.Of course, Bieber’s legal team went into overdrive, insisting that the “before” pictures were the altered ones and forced Breathe Heavy to retract them.
Witness the so-called “King of Instagram” (there’s that “alpha” leader title again), Dan Bilzerian.Just as with women, those men are given a boost with some traditional Hollywood and Madison Avenue magic – carefully planned lighting, artfully applied make-up and, of course, Photoshop.Moreover, even the celebrities – again, whose it is to model the ideal – don’t look like this year round.The work that women are expected to put in to chasing the ideal is expected to be invisible.
The “cool girl” rant from captures the dichotomy perfectly – they should be drinking beer and eating steaks yet look like they exist exclusively on salad. Men need to be muscular but lean, able to party hard and guzzle booze and beer like their bros on The Jersey Shore or The Only Way Is Essex but still maintain those perfect abs.
Zac Effron traded in an almost feminine beauty in his younger days to look like something that – quoting Seth Rogan’s character in – a gay man designed in a laboratory.