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The ideal male for women - now more feminine?

Here's one of those issues where most people usually end up with the conclusion that there is not one ideal man for all women. What can be ideal for one woman, might not necessarily be that for another. I personally agree, yet it is possible to say what most women find ideal, and that's what this essay will mostly be about. According to Susan Bordo's ''Beauty (re)discovers the male body'', the ideal male has changed through time. Calvin Klein is in the spotlight for a big part of her essay. Bordo insists, that before Klein created advirtisements of attractive men in underwear, it was never intended for women to be so highly attracted to sexy men. A hard working, family providing man was all that was necessary for women for a very long time. In fact, sexy was never a word to describe men with. It would not cross anyone's mind that men would become sex objects ever.

Here is a typical type of ad that a man would feature in for about 50 years ago or so. Bordo mentions in her essay that men were rarely seen in ads and commercials, and when they did, they were always the gentlemen, or working type of guy, rather than sensual body warming models which they turned into after Klein. In opposition, women have always been the ones to be gazed upon, and get the attention of men in a bit more sexual way. Bordo states that men act, while women appear. Meaning, men look at women, women watch them selves being looked at. As this asvertisement presents for us, the man is cleaning the car with whatever product the ad is for. He is acting. While the woman bends over in a slightly sexual way on top of the car, inviting the gaze of a working male, and enjoying it. This proves Bordo's point, the ideal man for women at this time was not the type to be gazed upon, but much rather the ones who paid attention to women, and worked hard to get them. However, sometimes it takes a man to tell women what they really want. In this situation it took a bisexual man. ''Klein's genious was that of a cultural Geiger counter; his own bisexuality enabled him to see that the phallic body, as much as any female figure, is an enduring sex object within western culture'' (Bordo 198). Klein making nude male ads did not only make women see men in a different light, but to some degree also changed the way both gay and straight men see them selves. Most straight men might at that time have seen these ads as motivation, a little something to work on, so they could impress women.

Here is an example. This is not a Calvin Klein ad, but the picture could definitely be used for one. This is Arnold Schwarzenegger back in the days, flexing his biceps while holding a glass of wine with two fingers, showing off his manliness. Meanwhile a very attractive blond girl is on her knees, looking up at him while he is more amazed by the glass of red wine in his hand, which makes him more powerful and indestructible than his muscles already show. Here we see a great difference between the two pictures. It is absoloutely clear who has got the most attention now between the two genders. The male body is now sexy, inspiring, and more feminine. If one does not consider the fact that nude male ads were highly unusual for about 40 years ago, then seing one today does not make them think it is feminine. However, we know now that nudity in ads was a woman's job for a long period, so when men suddenly start doing a woman's job, it is to some point feminine. According to Bordo, women really enjoyed being the ones who gaze, and loved to see men as sex objects for once. We can conclude from this that the ideal male has turned more feminine than before, but there's more. In one of her sections, Bordo tells us about rocks and leaners (203-208). These are terms she uses to describe how men appear in some of the ads they are in.
Whereas rocks are the strong, attacking ones. In some way they challenge you to look away. face-off masculinity is a phrase Bordo uses, and describes it with these words, ''Never reveal weakness. Pretend to be confident even though you may be scared.''(205). On the other hand leaners are more passive, they are relaxed, and invite you to look at them, rather than challenging you to look away. Leaners come out as more feminine than the rocks. Robert Pattinson is a famous actor which is well known to be the ideal man for a lot of women today. I will use him as an example for the ''rocks and leaners'' term.

In this ad for Dior, he seems like more of a rock, as he stares right into the camera, standing straight, and showing no emotions. I believe that the ''rock'' style talks more to mature, more sophisticated women, while the leaner style satisfies the younger ones slightly more.

Another ad here for Dior, but this one is slightly more of a leaner, because he is looking in a different direction with his head tilt a little sideways and his hair is kind of messy. He doesn't care as much, which makes him more inviting to look at. ''I never dreamed that equality would move in the direction of men worrying more about their looks rather than women less.'' (Bordo 227). She insists here that men have turned out to be more feminine than expected, and surprisingly women have turned out to be less feminine. I agree with Bordo on this statement. However I don't find it negatively affecting women in any way. Men being more feminine, gives them a better understanding of women, and in the way of equality, what better way is there than that of men being to some degree more like women, and opposite? Studies say that women like sensitive and caring guys, and that a man must not be afraid to show emotions. In other words, most women prefer leaners, rather than rocks, so yes - the ideal male for women is now more feminine, but my personal opinion is that the perfect man has just about enough rock, and the same amount of leaner in him, and I am certain that a lot of women agree.

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