Monday, February 1, 2016

Core Response #1 Dyer and the Dad Bod

Richard Dyer, in his book "Stars," discusses celebrities as models of consumption who society admires through their public displays of wealth.  For example, the extravagant outfits of female celebrities signify that they do not have to "work," or at least their work is not of a laborious quality where it would be restricted by such outfits.  Similarly, "a man's athletic body may be much admired, but only on condition that it has been acquired through sports (a leisure activity) not labour" (39).

This makes me think about the way society's image of the ideal male has changed through time.  A tan and muscular man who today graces the cover of magazines wasn't always the ideal man.  The tan skin and muscles once indicated labor under the sun that only a lower class performed.  A more rotund person was favored because they indicated wealth as they were able to feed themselves abundantly.  A psychology professor at Clark University, Michael Addis (link here) comments, "It's (the contemporary ideal male image) a far cry from the male celebrities of the 1950s -- think Spencer Tracey or Robert Mitchum -- who wore their heftiness as a sign of financial success or a way to demonstrate masculinity."  But perhaps this image is coming back through the recent phenomenon known as the Dad bod.  Described as "a nice balance between a beer gut and working out," the Dad bod is non intimidating and doesn't require women to feel like they have to be toothpicks to impress a guy, when we all know it is harder for women to lose weight than men.

Perhaps, the dad bod phenomenon is an indicator of the model of consumption of which Dyer speaks.  Celebrities such as Leonardo Di Caprio, John Krasinski, and Alec Baldwin possess the dad bod, indicating the "leisure class" and "ordinariness" Dyer mentions.  But will a Dad bod ever be voted the Most Sexiest Man Alive?  Only time will tell, but for now, society's rampant consumerism has finally had a positive impact by giving males and thereby females, an attainable image.  Interestingly, an athletic body can both be acquired through leisure sports or working class labor, and a dad bod can indicate a leisure class, or a lower class that consumes a lot of fast food.  Consumption therefore, does not always indicate wealth when it comes to body image, but the two elements seem to be ingrained, perhaps subconsciously in our perceptions.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.