i Navlepilleri, Samfund

The Marvelification of man

Nu er Odsherred jo som bekendt en nærmest 1:1 karbonkopi af London, så jeg lytter altid ekstra opmærksomt, når Financial Times’ ‘How To Spend It’-redaktør Jo Ellison identificerer en tendens. Denne gang i den, nuvel, angstprovokerende klumme ‘The Marvelification of man’:

When did everybody start looking like Chris Hemsworth? Walking around the City during this recent hot spell, I have been struck by a distinct shift in the thirtysomething male physique. A great many young men seem to have undergone some sort of pneumatic transformation: it is now customary to boast biceps that strain one’s shirt sleeves and shoulders so hench they burst the seams.

That’s if they wear a shirt. Walking past St Paul’s Cathedral on my commute last week, I was beset by dozens of running, shirtless beefcakes all sporting smooth, hairless, bionic chests. Each had extraordinary muscle definition, every contour was exactly bronzed. Dressed in my sad goth summer office outfit, I felt like a weedy extra on the set of Avengers: Infinity War.

City bros pumped on power and muscle have been around for a long time: Tom Wolfe first observed his “masters of the universe”, those buffed titans of Wall Street, in The Bonfire of the Vanities back in 1987. Likewise, the extremely gym-hewn have been a staple of gay-friendly metropolitan centres for decades. Today, however, it has become routine to see young men of every persuasion, from Cupertino to Chelmsford, looking as though they’re mid-transition from puny man-child into the Hulk.

Allerførst: jeg elsker at hun er iført et ‘sad goth summer office outfit’. Vi kunne alle have brug for mange flere sad goth summer office outfits i vores tilværelse.

Dernæst: JESUS KRISTUS OG DEN HELLIGE GUDS MODER, hvordan skal jeg kunne konkurrere med pumpede city bros og de ultratrænede Himbos? Ellison hjælper mig ikke, thi nu er det også min tur til at blive tingsliggjort:

It’s a cruel corollary of the gender-equality awakening that men now feel compelled to aim for completely unrealistic body goals. There are currently alarmingly high rates of body dysmorphia and disordered eating among young men. The ubiquity of social media apps for dating has also revealed cold, hard truths. These are difficult times for the bow-legged and the paunchy: our sex lives increasingly depend on a snapshot that will be examined for an instant before being swiped away. And while women may be expected to resemble Emily Ratajkowski, men must now embody an outlandish standard of perfection that sits somewhere between Love Island contestant and cartoon demigod.

It’s sad, unfair and facile, but men are just as vulnerable to the ills of objectification. You can bring the intellect and deep conversation, but no amount of quoting Dostoyevsky will likely get you laid.

Hvad med bell hooks? Amia Srinivasan? Giver det slet ikke noget, at jeg ved hvem de er? Hallo? Se lige mine bøger? Kan vi ikke tale om det? Hvad med alle mine dyyybe interesser og alle de omhyggeligt opbyggede narrativer om mig selv? Nej? Behøver jeg virkelig det her:

According to my personal trainer, Peter Cobby, mere mortals can obtain the Marvel bod. “That kind of body shape requires seven-days-a-week training, a huge amount of weightlifting and a very prescriptive diet,” he tells me. “However, you’ll find a lot of these guys are cheating and doing three days a week, plus steroids.”

Steroid use is now pretty commonplace among those looking for instant muscle. Certainly, that might help to explain the sudden explosion of he-men in this part of town. Meanwhile, I plan to monitor the situation very closely, as part of an ongoing study on the fallout of the gender wars. Himbos, next time you see a sad old lady staring at you — feel free to remove your shirt.

Oooook. Mere rolig nu. Ikke meget, men dog mere. Jeg må nok blot lære at acceptere, at givet at jeg A) ikke føler et akut behov for at ødelægge vitale kropsfunktioner med steroider og B) trods alt har andet at lave end at sidde hver dag i et sørgeligt træningslokale i Højby og løfte ting, så må jeg parkere Himbo ambitionerne for nuværende. Og så må jeg vel blot håbe på at mine omgivelser stadig vil kunne lide mig i den korte tid der går inden at alle andre mænd får forvandlet sig til Chris Hemsworth.