I’m still struggling to find a way to be a sexy man. One of my major stumbling blocks is that the foundation of heterosexual male attractiveness in our culture is masculinity, which is always coded as dominant (among other things.) In preparation and inspiration for this post I read another post over on the good men project The Codes of Gender.
Transcript of the video here.
The post and the video have a ton to say about how the culture, specifically advertising classify gender. What is really interesting to me in particular is what it says about masculinity and sexiness. Since advertisers recently started selling the idea of sexiness to straight men it is a useful place one can look to see what the culture considers sexy for a man.
…these images look a great deal like the world of gay male fashion, which for a much longer time has been focusing on men’s bodies from a perspective of desire – rather than identification… So how do you deal with this conundrum? Well, there are a couple of options. First, you introduce women into the pictures so that this can be transformed from a potentially homoerotic tableau to a more conventional heterosexual one… The second strategy used to play down the potential of homoerotic aspect of these images is to make sure that the male bodies that you put on display are not weak and powerless but powerful. And you do this by focusing on muscles, especially abs – the sixpack. This is not just a body to be looked at; this is the body of an athlete, of someone who does things. Unlike the bodies of objectified females, these are not bodies that you mess with
So, what is a single straight submissive boy to do? Get a six-pack is apparently first on the list. Beyond this I have very little guidance as to how to make myself desirable as a submissive man in this culture.
I am legitimately baffled as to where the fuck I’m supposed to fit myself into this mold. I’m doing my best to chisel my body into a muscular beefcake, but only because I want to be made into a woman’s play-thing.
I want to be submissive, passive, I want to feel safe enough to be vulnerable with her someday. Yet these are not masculine things, and beyond my desires in the sexual arena there is nothing really about me that’s feminine, nor do I have any desire to be (or be perceived as) feminine.
I think I need to find a way to project both my masculinity and my submissiveness if I’m ever going to find a compatible match.
My guess it that the advice I’m most likely to receive in this matter is just to be myself, and face it that’s really the only option anyone has. I’m just concerned that sense straight male submission is so unusual in the mainstream that I’m going to code as something other than what I am. Maybe established dominant women will be able to see what I am and appreciate the beauty of it, but will vanilla dominants?
That may be the crux of my issue here, while submissive men in the scene may not be valued as they should, outside the scene submissiveness is not an attractive or good quality for a man to have. I still live and move through the vanilla worlds, I’m expecting that a good match for most of my needs can only be found there. I need to be attractive there, but also give of the subtle signal to woman that I make a better follower than a leader in a way that isn’t entirely off-putting.