Thursday, August 07, 2008

Speedomania! The Swimsuit Gay Men Love

Men and masculinity. Men and fashion. Men and body image. Gay men and straight men. The intersection of what it means to be an American male today is revealed in an article by Brent Hartinger. Here's an excerpt:

Brent Hartinger writes:
For most of the world, Speedos still remain the swimsuit of choice for most men today. In Australia where they’re particularly popular, they’re called sluggos, banana hammocks, or budgie smugglers. And you’d make a fool out of yourself wearing baggy trunks on a beach in Brazil.

But the United States? Well, not so logical. The 1970s saw the start of a major Speedo backlash. Why?

The growing sexualization of men’s bodies, and of the Speedo in particular. While the media certainly played up the rise of male sex symbols, in particular athletes like Joe Namath and the Speedo-clad Mark Spitz, it didn’t take long for the public to realize that it wasn’t just heterosexual women who were appreciating their bodies. This was too much for Puritanical, homophobic American men. It was one thing for straight men to sexualize bikinis, “camel toes,” and the female form; but what was good for the goose was certainly not good for the uptight gander. READ MORE