Analysis of Susan Bordo's The Male Body Essay

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As you begin Beauty (Re) discovers the Male Body your read of author Susan Bordo spilling her morning coffee over a shockingly sexual advisement of a nude man. Initially, I rolled my eyes and settled in assuming, I was going to read about the tragedy of how men are now being objectified and exposed in adverting like women. As I flip through the pages looking at the scantily clad images I’m not really shocked; this essay was written fifteen years ago; I see these kinds of images going to the mall. What was shocking, however, was how Bordo a published, woman philosopher born in 1947 wrote about these images. I felt myself blush as I read “it seems slightly erect, or perhaps that’s his nonerect size, either way, there’s a substantial presence…show more content…
These differences aren’t biological as some researchers lead us to believe, claiming that men are more sexually stimulated by images, making it natural for women to be gazed at. Bordo argues that our culture determines what if acceptable for “women learn to anticipate, even play to the sexualizing gaze…in the process we learn how sexy being gazed at can feel-perhaps precisely because it walks the fine edge of shame” (135). Yet, with the use of erotic male images and her clearly sexually reaction to them, Bordo pushes readers to question why there are differences in how men and women are viewed and view each other. Who decides what is acceptable? Looking back on history men’s and women’s roles haven’t always been divided; both genders were needed to work and provide and until the fourteen hundreds, they wore the same clothing. Men’s fashion developed to show the reality of their bodies with apparel such as tights, while women’s bodies were accentuated in tight bodices. Bordo shows us that as men’s clothing became more comfortable and utilitarian their role in society followed suit. Men today are supposed to be active; they are workers, the penetrators, the ones in control. Advertisements in the essay show us men continually portrayed as “rocks,” aggressively facing the camera or actively working. When women appear, they are simply to be gazed at and admired for their beauty. The images of men acting coincide with society’s standard of men being the
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