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    Home / College Guide / Exposure of the Male Body in Pageants
     Posted on Saturday, July 31 @ 00:00:07 PDT

    Last year there was a large debate on female body exposure in pageants. One of the questions posed was why is it that male pageant candidates are more ‘sexualized’ than females? Why is it that it was okay for male pageant candidates to show off more skin than women pageant candidates? This is the writeup you’ve been looking for… Before we begin, let us first be realistic on two things: 1) Male pageants are mainly geared for gay and female audiences, and 2) Male attractiveness is tied to one’s fertility/ virility, physical fitness and wealth. Male Pageants are geared mainly towards the Gay and Female Audiences During the early stages of our Instagram page, we have been posting on a regular basis our #MANicMonday posts which feature mostly shirtless photos of male pageant winners and candidates. This was in direct contrast on our page where we would only do male pageant related write-ups occasionally. Observing how our stats and page followers grew, we noticed that our Instagram #MANicMonday posts contributed greatly to the increase of our IG followers, specially for male accounts. Although we cannot say for certain how large is the gay percentage of that population, we can at least contrast the male versus female following on IG versus FB.

    For our Facebook page, there is a 50-50% split between two sexes. However on our Instagram, the split is 60-40% in favor of males. Studies show that more masculine faces are considered to be more attractive by gay guys. New research suggests that regardless of sexual orientation, men prefer sexual dimorphism in faces. This study finds that gay men preferred the most masculine-faced men, while straight men preferred the most feminine-faced women. The findings suggest that regardless of sexual orientation, mens brains are wired for attraction to sexually dimorphic faces -- those with facial features that are most synonymous with their gender. The research is currently published online in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, and was led by Aaron Glassenberg, while completing his masters degree in the Department of Psychology at Harvard. Our work showed that gay men found highly masculine male faces to be significantly more attractive than feminine male faces. Also, the types of male faces that gay men found attractive generally did not mirror the types of faces that straight women found attractive on average, says Glassenberg. Thus the #MANicMonday post was geared to cater towards the gay male followers of the page.

    Virility, Strength and Dominance are key towards Appearing Attractive It is also observed that there are far more engagements from male accounts than there are on females whenever we post #MANicMonday posts. Between shirtless and even at times risque images of male pageant candidates, there is generally more likes, saves or shares on topless photos than of those when they are fully clothed. This is no surprise as a study shows that gay men are attracted to cues of fertility as below: Homosexual men view both highly fertile women and men as more attractive compared to women and men who are less fertile, according to new research published in Personality and Individual Differences. The findings suggest there are basic evolutionarily-rooted mechanisms that influence men’s perception of potential partners, regardless of their sexual orientation. This is further illustrated in the TubeCrush study below: TubeCrush confirms the stereotype that men need to be rich and physically fit to be conventionally attractive to prospective partners. TubeCrush.net users send in photos of men that have left them feeling a little bit flustered during their travels. They then have the opportunity to rate or comment of photos that other users upload.

    City banker types in suits and extravagant watches feature heavily on the website, while men in gym and workout wear also make up a large proportion of the images on TubeCrush. Bulging arm and chest muscles also feature heavily. Users leave comments and captions on the images such as Hey sexy workout man — protein powder is working well for you! and This guy, fresh from CrossFit it seems, is so beautiful, fulfilling the stereotype that conventionally attractive men should be physically fit and wealthy. Men are more sexualized in male pageantry due to the normalcy that the pageant audiences attach to it. Such low threshold on nudity is reinforced by what gay men and female audiences consider as attractive. Any exposition of a handsome, virile man is therefore considered attractive and the visibility of muscles is even more welcome to the intended audiences. Hence it is widely more popular to see male pageant candidates’ photos in provocative outfits and poses due to the two above reasons. Unfair? Definitely! Why should men be allowed to be more sexualized than women? Society’s dicta on what is acceptable and not on exposing the male body is a complex system of ideology, social construct, and environmental conditioning.

    It is unlikely that the bounds of what is acceptable or not will change overnight. The concept of modesty is different for each social group, what is deemed acceptable in one group may not be acceptable in another. Overtly sexy images may be fine for male pageant candidates but not for female pageant ladies. Having different standards between male and female pageants is more likely dictated by its target audiences. Female pageants are geared towards family-friendly audiences while male pageants are mainly geared for more mature gay and female audiences. They cater different market needs and therefore have different ways of how it is marketed. Unless male pageants evolve and is aimed at more family-friendly audiences, there is little doubt that things would change and adapt the same standards and expectations as female pageants do. Let us know your thoughts on this issue on the comments below… SOURCES: - Harvard University (October 31, 2009). Gay Men Prefer Masculine-faced Men, Study Suggests. [https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091030125044.htm] - Dolan, Eric W. (November 17, 2020). Study finds gay men are attracted to cues of fertility — just like their straight counterparts.

    [https://www.psypost.org/2020/11/study-finds-gay-men-are-attracted-to-cues-of-fertility-just-like-their-straight-counterparts-58569] - Edsor, Bobbie. (November 15, 2017). TubeCrush has Revealed the Traits Women and Gay Men Find Attractive. [https://www.businessinsider.com/tubecrush-has-revealed-the-traits-women-and-gay-men-find-most-attractive-2017-11]

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