When Did Being a Muscular Man Become a Requirement?
What’s the Latest Development?
Gone are the days when men and women were condemned to live pasty and scrawny lives. Quirks of nature can now be overcome by a gym membership, and in the gay community particularly, emphasis seems to be placed on having an ideal physique. “The tendency of gay men to emphasize physical appearance is ‘hard to dismiss,’ says Dr. Duane Duncan, Research Officer at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society. In his article ‘Out of the Closet and Into the Gym,’ Duncan acknowledges that the idealized male physique is ‘a major point of cultural reference in the dominant representation of gay men.'”
What’s the Big Idea?
Homosexual sociologists have put forth several theories as to why the gay community idealizes the male physique, each more politically incorrect than the last, says The Atlantic‘s Brandon Ambrosino. Dr. David Brennan, clinical social worker from the University of Toronto, suggests a view most notably argued by A. Klein in a 1993 book titled Little Big Men: “After the AIDS crisis, he says, many gay men hit the gym to avoid looking thin and frail, which might have been taken as signs of being diseased.” Another theory goes that gay men seek to overcome the homophobia that saw gay men as weaker than their straight counterparts.
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