Friday, May 8, 2015

Beefcake: Then and Now

Burt Reynolds' notorious Cosmo Magazine centerfold from April, '72

It occurred to me recently that a good deal of my social media presence is NSFW. For example, there's an author I follow on Facebook who maintains a private page wherein, twice a day, 365 days a year, she posts pictures of nearly-naked men. And some of them skip the 'nearly'.

And Sunday is Peen Day.

I'm going to let your imagination take care of that one.

My Pinterest stream is loaded with masculine beauty. I figure it's an occupational hazard of being a romance writer. Some of the pictures are just pretty to look at, but some can be quite inspiring. I wrote a whole book - and potentially a series - because I needed to tell the story of the guy with the bird tattoo.

Eric Dane - source unknown

Also, I'm pretty sure this young man with the dark hair and tatts is Joey, younger brother of Ryan from King Stud. (Okay, yeah, he's not really Joey. His name is Atle Petterson, and he's from Norway's X-Games. Jump HERE to read more about him - but make sure your googletranslate is working, because the article is in Norwegian. But the pictures are pretty.)

Between authors posting photos to Facebook and Pinterest, and photographers like Michael Stokes sharing their work on Facebook and Twitter, I sometimes think that buffed young men could give cat pix a run for their money for internet popularity.

But has it always been this way?

I actually did a google search, looking for some scholarly paper that might explain why it seems we're having something of a heyday for photographing men. The closest I came (and I might not have looked that hard) was the Wikipedia definition of 'beefcake', where they state that while the cheesecake pictures of women were always more popular, as far back as the 1920s some actors were designated beefcake and photographed with their shirts off.

The Bergland Brothers vintage beefcake - 

And then there were men who were photographed for the enjoyment of other men. Because I don't think teenage girls from my mother's generation hid these beauties in their high school lockers.

Forrester Millard and John Tristam photographed by the Althletic Model Guild

So maybe there have been two changes: the number of photographs of men intended primarily to glorify their beauty, and the audience for those photographs. Because up until Playgirl Magazine in the '70s and '80s, women weren't really allowed or expected to want to see such things.

And now we have Magic Mike...

Who knew Channing Tatum could dance like that?

I totally agree, Marlon. Totally.

So I'm not sure what I proved here today, other than that men have been handsome for at least as long as people have been able to photograph them. Ah well....I hope you enjoyed the view.

Happy Weekend!


  1. I remember that Burt Reynolds photo and I've always loved it. It seems men with hair on their chests have gone out of style, but I think Burt looks very beefcakie (sp??)

    For some reason, men decided that women didn't want to ogle err…look at naked men. Maybe they were a little insecure??? But as long as men have been handsome, women have appreciated them just as much as men appreciate beautiful women….

    Just saw the new Vacation movie trailer and this time there is a little something for the ladies as well. Can't post a picture here but let's just say Chris Helmsworth has a 'large part' in the movie :)

    Here's the YouTube video - Chris isn't until the end.

    1. Beefcakie. Perfect word!
      And while I don't have time to watch the trailer right now, I believe I caught a photo of Mr. Hemsworth's Large Part, and it's worth the price of admission.
      Thanks for stopping by...

  2. now you're going to make us lose time checking out that trailer!
    Seems like modern beefcake is 'more'...more muscle definition, more rippling body parts...not sure if the 'appendage' is more, I haven't looked that far. My preference is for slightly more subtle, such as your blond male picture. Let's hear it for different tastes!
    As far as the hair, I am definitely a fan of tactile experiences

    1. Yeah Mona, that trailer's two minutes of your life you'll never get back....but I bet you enjoyed it.
      YES on the different tastes. I'm apparently attracted to scruffy intensity.
      And tattoos.

  3. I remember that Burt Reynold's one -- created quite a stir at the time. As to the modern day photos, it might all this change where women are coming out and speaking up. When I was growing up, things for women tended to almost be treated as second class, or with a sneer, like it wasn't good enough because women liked it. There's been a lot recently where it is apparent women have a voice.

  4. Women are finding their voice - although much of popular culture would still prefer we sit in the corner and look pretty. I do wonder if anyone's taken a serious look at the popularity of male images on the internet, who's looking at them, and what it means. Women, and some men, complain about the objectification of women. Are we doing the same thing here?

  5. Now, I'll expose myself as someone who haven't read your books (yet) but I really got curious about the story with the guy with the bird tattoo. I'd love to read his story. What book is this?

    1. Thanks for checking out my post, Ellie! The guy with the bird tattoo is Eric "Dr. McSteamy" Dane, and he stars in my book Hell...The Story, an ironic urban fantasy that's sort of a mash-up of Sookie Stackhouse & Christopher Moore. Sadly, it's not published yet, but when I do contract it - or decide to self-publish - it'll be good for many, many blog posts. Thanks again!