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Amanda Rohrer Composition I Cooper Sept.

24, 2013 Beauty (Re)discovers the Male Body Response In the essay Beauty (Re)discovers the Male Body, Susan Bordo presents a recent change in how men are seen in society. It has always been that women were seen as a sex object to flaunt around, this is a feminine attribute that has slowly expanded to men also. New advertisements show men half naked and physically appealing. These advertisements would be thought to attract women but some are designed to attract men as well. The advertisements of males can be organized into two distinct categories, the leaner and the rock. The leaners have a typical stance that leans on an object and usually looks away from the viewer in a flirtatious manner. Likewise, Bordo is attracted to this more feminine style of a man which she explains is in a Calvin Klein ad she has kept. The rocks typically stand straight in a balanced position glaring at the viewer. This advertisement is more masculine and geared for men to want to be like them, a real man. However, this real man is depicted by a gaze that everyone has. This gaze effects everyone in it positively or negatively. As a result, either consciously or not people change to suit a specific gaze. Bordo in this essay has a very direct approach in trying to convince the reader that sex sells in this society. However, though it may be direct, she writes in a fun conversational way that many would challenge to say crosses the line, especially for a woman. Bordo uses slang to communicate her personal thoughts on a mans body and gives great detail so that the reader can

easily picture what is being pointed out. She uses logic in real life examples of how these advertisements have effected people, women and men, gay or straight. Not only in advertisements but in movies also. One example she used was John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. He is a heterosexual in the movie but there was much emphasis on him sexually as never really seen before in a movie as a male. As a female, it had been perfectly fine to be seen naked but a male semi-naked on television brought up questions. Emotionally, Bordo is very committed to her arguments about the male body. She gives examples that portray her attractiveness towards a particular body type, the slightly feminine erected male. This leaves the reader in an awkward emotional stance. Overall, Bordo explains in a way so that the reader emotionally understands her point and can form an opinion like her own. I find Bordos arguments about the beauty of the male body quite interesting. She is a female author but she has a tendency to write in a more masculine form. I believe that this concept, that can confuse the reader, can also be used to emphasize the gender role issue society has and how the lines have been blurred between feminine and masculine in some senses. I also agree with Bordos concept of the gaze. I feel as if everyone has at least one gaze that influences them in some sort, if not more. Sometimes this gaze benefits and some it hinders like how society views feminine males or masculine females, I think it just depends on how you take it as a person. This gaze the Bordo talks about is very apparent if you look for it now and in the past. For example when Africans were taken as slaves, society thought that they were uncivilized and inhuman, animal like. In reality, the total opposite was true. Everyone was influenced by this one opinion, one gaze and the result was horrific to say the least. I personally did not like the conversational type of writing Bordo used to write Beauty (Re)discovers the Male Body. The fairly detailed examples and slang made me feel quite uncomfortable. I found myself getting

caught on the fact that she was talking openly like a man and not focusing on the argumentative topic at hand. I did however like how the examples she used benefitted her arguments in such a way that it was hard not to be convinced. Bordo did a very convincing job with her arguments about the beauty of a male body and the gaze they live in. She made me think of the stereotypes we as people give the more feminine males and the more masculine females. I also came to realize that we unconsciously stereotype these people as are gaze is on them as who they should be verse accepting them for the beautiful person they are. Bordos detailed examples helped me see males in advertisements a new way, not just from my own perspective. I can see how society has influenced them in a certain way with what they do in the ad and who it is directed for. Besides personal examples, Bordo uses history to prove the societal influence of how the male should view himself and those around him. This key point establishes that it is not just an opinionated debate but it shows the cultural change throughout the years.