Art/Aesthetics · Human-ities · Performativity

Hunks: How Ripped Became an Ideal. A historic look at images of masculinity

Not all purveyors of art think the male form gets enough attention. Exhibitions like Sascha Schneider’s show at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art have highlighted the importance of the male nude and its relationship to history; but others, including the recent “Masculine/Masculine” retrospective at the Musée d’Orsay, have prompted the question: “Why had there never been an exhibition dedicated the male nude until … last year?” The answer: Unlike female bodies, which are supposedly mysterious and full of secrets, male bodies are boring—or at least they’re presented that way. A new book, Universal Hunks: A Pictoral History of Muscular Men Around the World, 1895-1975, provides a little more perspective.

In Hunks, authors David L. Chapman and Douglas Brown trace the origins of the sculpted, nearly nude, or totally bare male silhouette across the globe. Their journey begins in Europe with Anglo-German “physical culturalist” Eugen Sandow and ends in South America with a snapshot of Hercules Cement—not because the West is the fount of all masculine identity or idealization, but because it was a tremendous exporter of those concepts at the time. The “male body factored prominently in the construction of modern national identities,” write Chapman and Brown, and as the imperial powers of the day disseminated their own religious and sociopolitical standards, they also strove to shape the actual bodies of the people they encountered.

Still, the exchange (or replacement) isn’t so cut and dry.

Text and Images via The Atlantic. COntinue THERE

Human-ities · Science

Men and women are from Earth: Examining the latent structure of gender.

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In a recent study published at The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Bobbi J. Carothers of Washington University in St. Louis and Harry T. Reis of the University of Rochester say:

“Although gender differences on average are not under dispute, the idea of consistently and inflexibly gender-typed individuals is. That is, there are not two distinct genders, but instead there are linear gradations of variables associated with sex, such as masculinity or intimacy, all of which are continuous.”

Analyzing 122 different characteristics from 13,301 individuals in 13 studies, the researchers concluded that differences between men and women were best seen as dimensional rather than categorical. In other words, the differences between men and women should be viewed as a matter of degree rather than a sign of consistent differences between two distinct groups.

Human-ities · Social/Politics

Are we witnessing the decline and fall of men?

Ignore the hyperbolic title. Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men and the Rise of Women is filled with worthwhile insights and raises serious questions about the meaning and implications of shifting gender roles. Rosin, an editor at the Atlantic and founder of Slate’s ‘DoubleX’, has emerged as one of only a handful of American writers who has understood the centrality of so-called ‘women’s issues’ to American culture.

Her thesis goes something like this: our society is in the midst of a whole host of social and economic changes that women are benefiting from more than men, and perhaps at the expense of men. It’s a compelling idea, not least because it seems to confirm what many people have observed in the course of their own experiences.

It is not simply that men have lost their jobs, or even that those jobs are gone for good, or that it is mainly women doing the jobs that are now being created. It is more a sense of creeping demoralisation and ambivalence about the future that is as much in evidence in Charles Murray’s discussion of the decline of marriage, in his book Coming Apart, as it is in ‘The Myth of Work/Life Balance’ debate that appeared in the Atlantic last summer.

Excerpt from an article written by Nancy McDermott ar SP!KED. Continue HERE