Look around. Everywhere you turn, the male form is being idealized, commodified, fetishized. On TV screens (the ripped vampires of True Blood), in Hollywood (Ryan Gosling's toned torso lifting Crazy, Stupid, Love to the top of the box office), and on billboards (towering images of chiseled men in briefs), laptops, and smartphones (the appendages of Weiner and Favre). Now look in the mirror. (And we know you do.) We've all become body-conscious to the core (not to mention conscious of our core). Working out more, eating better, dressing in slimmer clothes, getting the hedges trimmed (and maybe even a nip or a tuck). Because, in the end, we all want to look as good as David Beckham does in briefs. Have we entered a grand age of self-improvement? Or is it narcissism? Or homoeroticism? It's all those things, and more—41 in all. These are the moments that changed the way we see the male body.
America's New Male Body Obsession
It's official: The male gaze has turned upon itself, and American men are focused on their physiques as never before. From Marky Mark's abs and the transformation of Marc Jacobs to the rise of Abercrombie & Fitch and the fall of Anthony Weiner, here are the 41 moments that changed the way we look in the mirror.
4. Lifeguards Get Their Own Network TV Show
Picture David Hasselhoff. Is he shirtless and tan, in red trunks, running into the surf in slow motion? How about David Charvet or David Chokachi? Saving lives was always secondary. Burning imagery of the beach body in your brain—that was the job of Baywatch.
Photo: Everett Collection