UPDATED BELOW later this morning, with a link to my New Fave Blog.
Reader & commenter Digger sent this link to Men-Ups, which is clearly a feminst commentary on the work of midcentury pin-up artists like Gil Elvgren, whose cowgirls and other cuties I use here ironically to illustrate this blog. I like the way artist clickandclash made the photos look creased and well-worn. However, the comparison is pretty tame by my lights–for example, these d00ds are showing too little skin and are wearing way too many clothes. I also think that the artist could have done better with the hair–for example, not covering it up with caps and hats, and also depilating her models in the way that the idealized Elvgren models are depilated. These guys look far too natural, when of course the point of the pin-up is the commodification of denatured women. Maybe the artist thought that more skin and depilation would make her photos look like gay pin-ups? (And the weightlifting guy with the sideshow performer beard? Please, boys: there is nothing flattering whatsoever about those unkempt crazy Amish chin slinkies that are so fashionable these days. WTF?)
I’ve been thinking about the subject of male beauty lately ever since Spanish Prof said in a recent comment, “[T]he biggest mystery to me is why American women would consider [Mitt Romney] or [Rick] Perry handsome. Seriously, I don’t get it. John Hunstman is OK (among Republicans), but Romney and Perry?”
First of all, girlfriend: John Huntsman? Srsly? Do you still harbor that crush on someone’s dad when you were in junior high school?
I thought about Spanish Prof’s question for a little while, and while I do think that Rick Perry in particular is almost too handsome for politics, I also thought that her question and my harping on Perry’s looks exposes a real divide in the way that beauty works for male pols versus women pols. (I know: big surprise!) In Perry’s and Romney’s case, their good looks are almost always portrayed as an asset–the fact that they look the part of an American president when Hollywood casts the part. Whereas in the cases of Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and Hillary Clinton, beauty (or the failure to look like a movie star) have worked quite differently in their political careers. In Bachmann’s and Palin’s cases, their gorgeous looks, bodies, and hair are used to impeach their seriousness as pols. In Clinton’s case, the fact that she is in her 60s and looks like a woman in her 50s instead of Geena Davis or Jennifer Aniston was also used to denigrate her candidacy in 2008.
So, consider my constant harping on Perry’s good looks and great hair just a little dig at the reverential seriousness that greeted his candidacy. Longtime readers here know that I frequently complain about the double-standard for men and women in show biz–e.g. the fact that guys like Paul Giamatti or Philip Seymour Hoffman, two of the most unprepossessing men I have ever seen, get cast in any movies at all, let alone consistently get interesting roles, whereas Aniston has to do yoga 8 hours a day and dog knows how much botox and she’ll still end up cast at age 45 as the mother of the 32-year old slobby male star of a Judd Apatow movie. (If you haven’t seen it yet, see Mindy Kaling in last week’s New Yorker about how the only movie roles for women are for characters who don’t exist in real life.)
UPDATE: Speaking of hotties and history, anonymous points us to my new favorite blog, My Daguerrotype Boyfriend, whose tagline is “where early photography meets extreme hotness.” Thanks, anonymous!