Oliver Ciappa Photograph
French Olympic swimmers Florent Manaudou and Frédérick Bousquet have posed for an intimate photo in a campaign against homophobia started by photographer Olivier Ciappa.

Admiring the Male Physique and Other Politically Incorrect Thoughts

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This ad is circulating across the blogosphere. It’s a statement aimed at the homophobes in France. Two beautiful men, caught in a private moment. The men are neither gay, nor was the moment private. They are two of France’s most talented Olympic swimmers, lifelong friends willing to push the boundaries of polite society to promote a cause they believe in. Love and beauty cross boundaries; kudos to these guys for standing up.

And then there is this.

I saw this ad and all I could think was ‘damned, those guys are gorgeous’. Forget the politics, forget the social statement, just let me revel in their manly beauty.

I suspect many of our female readers are thinking the same thing. The cool thing is that women, and perhaps even gay men, can think these things and even say them out loud without fear of reprisal. Straight men cannot.

How unfair it is that straight men cannot publicly appreciate male or female beauty; how unfair it is that we push heterosexual men into the closet whenever they dare to speak aloud about the feminine form. Granted there are cads or worse, and certainly, as women we want to be appreciated for more than our beauty or our reproductive capacity, but why is it so difficult for us to accept that men might find women attractive simply because they are attractive? Why won’t our feminist sensibilities allow us to be appreciated for our outer beauty?

I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I think in our efforts to be treated respectfully and equally, as we should be, we have shut down a very important part of human relationship – beauty. We have created a generation or more of women who are so conflicted and confused about beauty that they can neither see their own beauty nor accept from others that they are beautiful.

How many among us cannot accept a compliment without adding ‘but, I’ve gained so much weight’ or ‘but, my _______ (fill in the blank) looks bad’ – how many of us?

Of the male readership, how many of you have stopped offering compliments, perhaps even stopped seeing female beauty at all, in your day to day engagements?  How many of you judge beauty or only appreciate it privately with porn or other overly contrived and plastic views of female sexuality?

An interesting set of questions that far greater minds will have to answer. For the time being however, I am content to stare at this photo and appreciate the human form in all its majestic beauty.

http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/2762737/frenchswimmers.jpg
French Olympic swimmers Florent Manaudou and Frédérick Bousquet have posed for an intimate photo in a campaign against homophobia started by photographer Olivier Ciappa.

 

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Chandler Marrs MS, MA, PhD spent the last dozen years in women’s health research with a focus on steroid neuroendocrinology and mental health. She has published and presented several articles on her findings. As a graduate student, she founded and directed the UNLV Maternal Health Lab, mentoring dozens of students while directing clinical and Internet-based research. Post graduate, she continued at UNLV as an adjunct faculty member, teaching advanced undergraduate psychopharmacology and health psychology (stress endocrinology). Dr. Marrs received her BA in philosophy from the University of Redlands; MS in Clinical Psychology from California Lutheran University; and, MA and PhD in Experimental Psychology/ Neuroendocrinology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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