No Jack, your junk doesn’t arouse me

Put it to you, you were married to a gay man.

Put it to you, that this hypothetical gay man were to say, “Darling, I love every single aspect of you, except your body. I’m just not aroused by it. But I love everything else about you, except your body. It does nothing for me.”

How would you feel? Exactly how most heterosexual males in our culture feel, I can say with good authority. You see, many men are convinced that their bodies are somehow less “sensual”, and less “aesthetically pleasing” than the female body, having been indoctrinated by numerous cultural messages which dictate that women’s bodies are just “sexier” than men’s.

Well you know what? You guys have been living a lie. In this post, I am going to do what I’ve always been doing: Deconstructing the contemporary Western cultural myth that only women’s bodies are “sexy”, and that men’s bodies are functional at best, or comical at worst.

The bodybuilder Charles Atlas sold a physical training course, which was supposed to “manufacture weaklings into men”. Atlas’s target audience were skinny, flabby unfit young men, who would apparently grow into mega-hunks by taking his course. His ads usually depict a frail-looking young man named Jack, who takes a girl out for a date. The couple is then confronted by a huge muscular thug, who beats Jack up, humiliates him and steals his girl. Jack then buys Atlas’s course, pumps himself up, and in no time becomes a mega hunk. He then proceeds to work his primordial revenge on Mr Bully, by beating him up and stealing his girl back. Atlas’s ads played on a man’s insecurity at not being able to “protect” his (preferably female) partner.  Jack’s revamped body is not an object of “aesthetic beauty”; it is not a “sensuous object”. It is strictly functional in the same way as a jeep, to quote Elaine from Seinfeld (whose script, was not surprisingly written by Larry David, a straight male).  It is what makes him a “full man”, as opposed to “half a man”, yet it is not portrayed in itself to be an object of aesthetic pleasure, in the same way 1950s films portray Marilyn Monroe’s body as an object of aesthetic pleasure for the male gaze. It is objectified no less, but not as something “sexual”, but rather, as a mere tool whose only function is to clobber jackasses, make babies and kill saber-toothed tigers.

I came across this blog by a lady who was saying that most of the women (including her) she asked on whether they found the male or female form more “sexy”, “sensual” and “aesthetically pleasing”, would pick the female form, and she was also musing on how women could never appreciate the male form in the same way men appreciate the female form due to cultural conditioning in modern Western society (women over-sexualized, men under-sexualized, hence no erotic pics of men), and how men’s bodies just don’t have any effect on straight women due to that so-called “conditioning”.

Some quotes from her blog include:

“While in surveys women say they find men sexier, when they are wired up, their vaginas say something else. I’m sure this is cultural and not biological.”


“While I would call the female body more erotic, I’ve never wanted to have sex with a woman.”


“… If I’m secretly lesbian because I’ve been bombarded with sexualized images of women that make me see sexually-dressed or posed women as sex objects (who I don’t want to have sex with) then pretty much all women are. All women in the study I cite were more aroused by a nude woman than a nude man. That doesn’t make sense biologically. Biologically most women are hetero. Seeing woman as sexier only makes sense in terms of socialization that comes on top of biological preferences.”


(To a woman who said she could appreciate the male form erotically and aesthetically in the same way as men appreciate the female form):

“But strong patterns do arise among humans of similar cultures, and according to research you’re quite unusual. Sounds like you’re even unusual among your friends and acquaintances.


That’s neither good nor bad, but you’re an outlier, and you shouldn’t be accusing others of being crazy for living in a culture that teaches them that women are the sexy half of the species.”

As someone who once worked on a stint at Madame Josephine’s (topless waiter), I take Broadblogs’ articles on the female gaze (or lack thereof) with a pinch of salt. In fact, I’m almost afraid of hearing Broadblogs’ take on gay male sexuality. It’s depressing enough for straight men to go through their entire lives thinking that their bodies are “asensual”, that they can be desired for their intellect, or their resources, but never for their bodies. It’s extremely depressing for men to hear such quotes from an apprantly heterosexual woman, and frankly I think all this “Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars” faux lesbian bullshit needs to come to an end.

Let me tell you something: As a heterosexual woman, each time you denounce the male body as “less sexy” than the female body, or “non-sexual”, or “not arousing in any way”, you are marching to the tune of (that’s right) the patriarchy. Although you may not be aware, the idea that women’s bodies are someohw more “sensual” and “beautiful” and “interesting to look at” than men, is exactly what the patriarchy expects you to parrot. It’s a male-centric theory that straight men have subscribed to for generations and it’s been that way for over the last hundred years. If you were to ask Darwin, he would tell you that in human society, men pick their mates through fertility cues (e.g. big eyes, muscle tone, wide hips, long legs, fair skin), while women on the other hand look for resource cues (e.g. nice car, stable income, thick wallet). Now on the surface, we believe it to be true, and there’s nothing wrong with being attracted towards resource cues; point of fact, money is sexy. Yes, very sexy. I like money, and I love buying and wearing pretty things, like most humans do. But the problem with this theory is that while women may appreciate a man’s ability, intellect, etc, the idea is that she can never “desire” him physically, and the only function of his so-called “junk” is for “continuation of the species”, but it can never be desired aesthetically in its own right. While Darwin was doubtless a pioneer in the advancement of the human race, there are two problems with this theory.

1. It’s worth noting that for all his brave and novel ideas, Darwin was still a product of his time. As we know, the Victorians (at least straight guys) had a “Mars and Venus” take on sexuality. (Bear in mind that Victorian society was male dominated) Men were assumed to be “visual”, while women were not. Men were assumed to be the visually stimulated beasts of humanity, who would go crazy over the sight of a woman’s exposed body, while women were the asexual little angels who had no desire for sex or the male form, sex in that theory being like childbirth in a sense that women had sex not for pleasure, but strictly for the continuation of the species. Till Eugen Sandow the Father of Modern Bodybuilding came around and challenged this theory that most heterosexual men believed, and what “respectable women” were supposed to. In fact, rich women literally paid hundreds of dollars each just to go backstage and stroke his muscles! Note that Darwin being a straight male, and probably having no openly gay friends (homosexuality was still taboo back then) to tell him otherwise cannot be blamed for subscribing to the “Mars and Venus” theory.

2. The tragic fact of the matter is that during Darwin’s day, in Darwin’s society, women were considered the property of men. (first their father, followed by their husband) Many women did not get a say in who they were to marry, as it was usually decided for them by their parents, and marriage considered the mark of a respectable woman. Thus, many women, probably even closeted lesbians forced themselves into loveless marriages out of duty. The fact is was that during Darwin’s day, it was considered a woman’s RESPONSIBILITY toward her family to pick a suitor with the best resources, regardless of whether she liked him or not. Hence, the theory that women were not “visual” would have been superficially proven correct by the fact that rich, obnoxious men with nothing to offer in the physical department (e.g. guys like Rush Limbaugh) would have been able to find wives.

It is these cultural messages that cause feelings of inadequacy among heterosexual men, believing their bodies go be “asexual lumps of flesh”, so to speak. Thus, women are enculturated by patriarchal norms to express their utter asexuality towards the male form, and men are conditioned to unquestioningly believe this to be gospel truth. It’s an unspoken rule in patriarchal society – That no “normal” woman can feel anything for the male body (as Broadblogs seems to imply), sort of like how no “normal” person should have the cheek to criticize their host’s cooking in front of their face.

It’s a loss for women, but it’s an even greater loss for heterosexual men. The reason I say this is because gay men have escaped this crushing indoctrination, by virtue of being born gay. Gay men are perfectly aware that the male body is in no way inferior to the female body, and that women are just as aroused by the male body as heterosexual men are aroused by the female body. Thus, gay men have been able to experience the things that many heterosexual men have been sorely deprived of: The feeling of their bodies being “sensual”, of being desired in a physical sense, of being longed for and lusted after, and placed on a pedestal for their beauty. But while it’s easy for a gay man who is completely aware of his own “sensuality” to scoff at the ludicrousness of Broadblog’s post, for an impressionable young heterosexual boy to read stuff like that can be extremely demoralizing for his own self worth and body image. We talk about teaching women and girls to love their bodies, espousing the importance of women’s self-esteem, but I find it strange that we don’t do the same the same in men.

I did however find a post by the Australian journalist Clementine Ford, called Why naked men don’t sell, and Ford seems to have a more sensible take on it. Rather than just dismiss women’s desire for the male form as non-existant, Ford says that it’s there; women love and are as enchanted by the male form as much as men are by the female form, but are just too shy to admit it, for fear of being thought of as “sluts”. (That’s basically the gist of her article)

I rather like Miss Ford’s take on it better; i felt really depressed after i read Broadblogs’ post last year, but when my mum showed me Ms Ford’s article the other day, my mood lightened up alot. To me, Ms Ford seems alot more honest, and comfortable with her sexuality than Broadblogs is. I think Broadblogs is still in a way, loath to admit the truth about heterosexual female sexuality, for the sake of social respectability. (e.g. a “nice, NORMAL woman” shouldn’t see men in a sexual way) The fact is that there is absolutely nothing “unusual” about a heterosexual woman being visually drawn to a man’s muscles, his smile, or his V-shaped torso. It does not make them “outliers”, unlike what Broadblogs seems to suggest. It makes them normal. It is outdated, Neo-1950s literature like this that is what makes heterosexual women feel guilty about lusting for the male body. It is outdated, anachronistic rubbish like this which in itself keeps women’s sexuality repressed; it’s a vicious cycle of sexual repression that keep heterosexual women  unable to express their desire for the male form, for fear of feeling like abnormal “outliers” (As Broadblogs so prudishly seems to imply), and keep heterosexual men sadly unaware of just how happy their bodies can make women. Truth be told, there is nothing “abnormal” about appreciating the beauty and sensuality of the opposite sex. We are all human after all. We desire, and desire to be desired.

Let’s just hope that the days are still coming when heterosexual men can revel in their own physical desirability, and be aware of just how much women love their bodies. Until then, this will be nothing but a fantasy for most straight men; the longing and quiet desperation to be seen as “beautiful”, so to speak.


Well what do you know? Deep V necks and tank tops are gay!

Apparently my love for flamboyant, skin-baring clothing, coupled with my relatively muscly frame, makes me a raging homosexual. =)
I suppose I ought to take that as a compliment?
(Not that there’s anything wrong with being a homosexual man; just saying)

The Malaysian Department of Education last week released a set of “guidelines” in order to identify gay and lesbian children, so as to curb the “social problem of homosexuality”. Among the ridiculous and comically stereotypical guidelines included:

(To identify gay guys)
-Likes wearing deep V-neck T shirts and sleeveless tops (e.g. tank tops, sleeveless tops, etc).
-Attracted to men (Wow, what a surprise!)
-Enjoys carrying handbags (I think they are referring to manbags)

(To identify lesbian girls)

-Attracted to women (Well DUH!)

-Prefers the company of women to men

-Shows no affection whatsoever to men

Last year, the department caused a furore for sending several “feminine” Muslim schoolboys to a so-called reform camp in order to “straighten them up”. The rationale for such a camp according to the director of the Education Department Razali Daud,

“The severity of the symptoms vary, but the 66 schoolboys were showing behaviours that is [sic] not usually displayed by a normal male of their age… As educators, we have to do something about it before the young ones misunderstand people and reach the point of no return…We are not intervening with the process of nature as we are merely trying to guide these students to a proper path in life.”

Basically the gist of Mr Daud’s rationale was that the boys needed to learn what “proper behaviour” was, and that the department was trying to curb the possibility of them ending up either gay and/or transsexual. (Funnily enough, most of my gay friends are happy and proud to be men, and hardly desire a sex change)

Now let’s get something straight. Malaysia has never been a platform for LGBT rights. Not only is homosexuality illegal in Malaysia, the fact is that discrimination against homosexuals is so widespread, even in the private (non-governmental) sphere, which reflects a troubling shadow of homophobia that extends across the nation. Consider that we only got independence from the British less than a hundred years ago (1957). Prior to that, Malaysia has been a British colony for the last 300 or so years, and as you know, the old-school British (think Downton Abbey and their highly priggish approach to propriety and gender norms) were extremely particular about gender roles. Although it is not a spoken rule, many traditional employers in Malaysia still frown upon female employees wearing pants, which explains why the great majority of Malaysian ladies still maintain extremely traditional gender roles and presentation. Growing up in Malaysia, I did notice one striking difference between Malaysian and Western ladies is the fact that the former wear skirts much more often. In Malaysia we have a pervasive “Tai Tai” (trophy wife) culture similar to the era of Mad Men, and generally speaking, most Malaysian couples operate alongside stereotypically 1950s gender norms. Hell, my mum’s friends once even had a lecturer back at uni who didn’t let the girls come into class wearing pants, and if they did they would receive a stern piece of her mind about “proper decorum”. (Though mind you, she was from the Downton Abbey generation so it’s totally understandable)

I once went to a popular Malaysian nightclub called Ministry of Sound. Now just for the record, I never ever go to nightclubs; this was two years back, when I was in my second year of uni, and I still thought clubbing was “cool”, until I discovered the sleazy nature of many of those establishments, which will be elaborated in further paragraph.

You see, Ministry of Sound has a very unique dress code, which prohibits men from wearing any sleeveless garment whatsoever, yet permits women to come in looking like they’ve just rolled out of bed, in camisoles and booty shorts. I once asked a bouncer to brief me on the dress code, to which he replied, “Well basically, no sleeveless for men.” And I was like, “What about the women”? And he said, “Oh; for women, going sleeveless should be okay”.

To me, this was all very peculiar. If the management had made a gender-neutral dress code, which prohibited BOTH men and women from coming in in tank tops on the basis of decorum, it would have been understandable. However, the funny thing was that, as I have just said, only the men were subjected to the no-sleeveless rule, and the fact that EVERY single sleeveless garment, including classy and tailored Jean Paul Gaultier men’s sleeveless tops to Greek togas would have been banned on men, but permissible on women, obviously shows that MoS was banning sleeveless men not on the basis of decorum, but on sexuality. A man could come in in a casual $10 T shirt, and they would have let him in. But had he worn a $100 Jean Paul semi-formal spring sleeveless top, the bouncer would have barred him from entering on the basis of “not following the prescribed dress code” (no sleeveless tops for men)

Hence, we can see that it is not an issue of formality, class or decorum, which has caused the sleeveless ban, but something much more malicious: Homophobia. It’s not only the education department that associates sleeveless/skin-baring garments on men as a symptom of homosexuality; the fact is that numerous people make the fallacious association between flamboyant clothing on men and homosexuality, when the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Sexual preference is sexual preference is sexual preference. It has NOTHING to do with the way one dresses, or the kinds of clothes one prefers. Rachel Maddow and Ellen Degeneres would still be dressing that way even if they were straight. Unfortunately, the Bruno and the Butch stereotype prevails, showing the degree of ignorance among the mainstream community.

As I’ve mentioned, the dress code is both homophobic and sleazy. Think of it this way. Why do you think nightclubs tend to give preferential treatment towards women, e.g. free entry, liberal dress codes, etc? (So long as they are at least relatively attractive)
It’s because women are bait. They are bait, to attract sad, desperate heterosexual men to come in and buy drinks for them, hoping to get laid. Of course, equally sleazy women will revel in this mutually beneficial unspoken arrangement, and happily sit around waiting for free drinks from suckers hoping to get into their pants. But you see, vaginas have no more power over homosexual men than dicks have over heterosexual men, as this gay man makes it very clear. Furthermore, due to the fact that nightclubs tend to be a favourite haunt for young Bogan men pretending to be posh, it would be understandable why the management would want to limit the inflow of homosexual clients as much as possible, for fear of offending their key clients, the Great Malaysian Bogan. (It’s no secret that Bogans tend to be homophobic) So really; when you read between the lines, it makes perfect sense for the management to screen potential clientele through their dress sense, e.g. If he’s wearing something sleeveless, there’s a good chance he’s a homosexual; I can’t make much money off gay guys, since they won’t be going around buying drinks for women, so I better make a dress code which increases the likelihood of my patrons being straight men. So, no sleeveless tops for men. That should put off the flamboyantly gay guys at least)

As far as the LGBT situation goes, Malaysia is where America was in the 1950s. In fact, as far as acceptable gender norms are concerned, Malaysia is lightyears behind compared to most of the developed world. As for my last point, I think it’s time to grow up Malaysia; this is 2012, not 1952.

A brief summary on the Male Body in Western Society

(Photo courtesy of Jezebel)

Men’s bodies are lumpy and dumpy and bland
Compared to the ladies’ which are ever so grand
They say we should keep ourselves well under wraps
Sequestered away under jackets and caps

At black tie events you can clearly see
The dress code for men’s pretty hijab-y
They say that men’s bodies are awkward and plain
Compared to the ladies’ which aren’t such a pain

Believe it or not tis sheer lunacy
A lie spun up by the patriarchy
Yes women have curves and soft supple arms
But men have got muscles and nice hardened bums
Yes women have breasts, and apple-shaped butts
But men have got pecs, and rotund, hard guts

Some women will even go on to say
That men should not put their chests on display
Apparently heavage makes them go “ew”
And cause them to gag and obtain the damned flu

To which I reply tis but sheer hypocrisy
Parallel to Fundamentalist Muslim society
In which men get to dress to their heart’s desire
But women must cover or come under fire

If a man’s bare flesh makes you truly go “ew”
Then there are two possible ways to describe you
Either your libido’s down in the dumps
Or you’re so deep in the closet, you’ve got laundry and pumps!


The advent of feminism spawned the rise of a male counter-movement, known as “Men’s Rights Activism”. A few years back, I used to consider myself a men’s rights activist. I mean; women were now expanding their roles, norms, and general acceptable forms of self-expression, and becoming more “liberated”, so to speak, so why couldn’t men do the same? But then I would have a revelation on the true nature of their movement. You see, when MRAs talk about “men’s rights”, many of them actually mean “hegemonically masculine” men’s rights; in other words, the right of “hegemonically masculine” men. Furthermore, even as non-feminist male, I found myself highly put off by their misogynistic and stereotypical 1950s concepts of women, and their seeming inability to discuss issues which affect men without putting women down in one way or the other.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the portrayal of women in GQ magazine (whose hetero-normative and bigoted politics in which I have ardently expressed my distaste). Now as I said; I’m no feminist, but I do find it a strange coincidence that of all the “Women of the Year” GQ places on its covers, not a single one of them has clothes on, while the men are fully clothed. To me it all comes across as being more than just a striking coincidence, considering that in all these years since GQ came about in 1931, they could have placed anybody from Hilary Clinton to Ellen Degeneres, to Oprah Winfrey or Aung San Suukyi or Lady Ambiga, but that’s never happened.

The MRA’s school of thought goes something along the lines of, “GQ is a man’s magazine; men are drawn to nude women, but the male body does not have the same effect on women, hence the reason why they always showcase naked women and fully clothed men.”, or “Men like seeing women naked/in revealing clothes, but for women, it’s a man in a nice suit, hence the reason why men are covered up and women nude.” Many of the comments dropped by heterosexual men defending GQ (No doubt many of whom are passionate subscribers of GQ) in this lady’s blog is reflection that the female gaze on male beauty is believed to be absolutely non-existent, as far as the typical straight male is concerned. (Perhaps these men don’t like the idea of women possibly physically comparing them to other men, the way they compare women)

I find it a little sad that in all these years since the repressive 50s, many heterosexual men still cling to the erroneous notion that “men’s bare bodies don’t have any effect on women”. Not only do these men deny themselves the pleasure of being an object of (tasteful) voyeurism typified by the flamboyant metrosexual; they seem to subscribe to the traditional 1950s patriarchal theory of only women’s bodies being sexual objects, while jeering at men secure enough in their sexuality to display their physical beauty openly. Here’s what a passionate reader of GQ, Rusty Moore had to say about short shorts and tight tank tops on men.

To me, it seems that what most MRAs want, is not for an expansion of the acceptable forms of self-expression for men, but rather for the gender norms, both male and female to go back to the repressive 1950s, where men were obviously free to ogle and women were obliged to be ogled. (Women were expected to be “feminine”, which included dressing and behaving unnaturally “girly” for the heterosexual male gaze)

You see, many men these days are confused. I don’t mean sexually confused, or confused about their gender. When I say “confused”, I mean that they are confused about the time period in which we live. When I flip open contemporary mainstream “boy media” such as, GQ or FHM, I am bombarded with notions that should have gone extinct by the 60s. The notion that women do not gaze at the male form in the same way as men do the female formImage

The idealized 1950s gender norms of the typical “Men’s Rights Activist”, the idea that women are there to be passively ogled and fondled, while it is the men’s “right” to have the monopoly on ogling and fondling. Classy, GQ.

is an outrage – Yet time and again GQ continues to perpetrate this fallacious 1950s straight male cliché; that only women’s bodies are “pretty”, and “sensual”, and worthy of display, while men’s bodies are “junk”. Believe it or not, when a man hates on another man for wearing a tight tank top/V neck shirt/short shorts in public, it stems from two things: Male chauvinism and homophobia. Male chauvinism, because it presupposes the notion that women ‘s bodies are somehow more “sexual” and “display-worthy” than men’s, and that it is a woman’s role to display her body and the man’s role to look, and homophobic, because of the obvious discomfort stemming from viewing another man’s body in public, and anything associated with homosexual men. In other words, most MRAs from what I’ve found, will support a man’s right to ogle women, but will fiercely contest his right to BE OGLED, or be the sort of man that doesn’t fit within their narrow definition of masculinity, as is reflected by this MRA’s (Mark Mc Allister) comment on boys who want to wear skirts:

“No, I don’t like this…further kowtowing to 3rd wave Feminism; all the Women who lied and said this was ‘sexy,’ should write a future apology note to their daughters for when they meet this Man’s son and he breaks their heart because they found his dress collection and ‘other life’.

“…it’s the erosion of gender reinforcement that makes a son grow up thinking it’s somehow wrong to display masculinity…and thus when you eventually get mugged or attacked with your new metro-sexual Man-child, and lose respect for him because he ran and left you to be raped. Remember he grew up in estrogen soaked society and thought girls would like him better if he didn’t take karate.”

Has it ever occurred to you Mr Allister, that perhaps some boys just don’t feel comfortable emulating the so-called “role models” on Mad Men and GQ, any more than many women feel comfortable emulating the so-called “role models” on Cosmopolitan Magazine? This boy is just being himself, so let’s stop with all the hate for people who simply express themselves differently from us.

Needless to say, the typical MRA’s ideal society is shit. It’s shit to men who don’t meet the rigid and inflexible notions of masculinity in Anglo-Saxon society, e.g. Don Draper, James Bond, Tony Abbott, The GQ editors, and it’s shit to women who don’t fit within the realm of hegemonic femininity (the GQ man’s hyper-sexualized woman).

If the MRAs had their way, we would all be going back to the repressive 1950s, hence destroying all the good that feminism has fought so hard to achieve for women (and to a certain extent, men). While I am hesitant to call myself a feminist, I do NOT want to live in a society crafted out by most of these so-called MRAs. Needless to say, as for women, homosexuals, minorities, and any man who does not meet GQ’s approval (e.g. the “geeks” and the “nerds”, feminine men and the “nice guys”); it would be a terrible place to live in.


The idealized 1950s gender norms of the typical "Men's Rights Activist", the idea that women are there to be passively ogled and fondled, while it is the men's "right" to have the monopoly on ogling and fondling. Classy, GQ.

The idealized 1950s gender norms of the typical “Men’s Rights Activist”, the idea that women are there to be passively ogled and fondled, while it is the men’s “right” to have the monopoly on ogling and fondling. Classy, GQ.

A rebuttal to Jess Cartner-Morley’s “The Male Cleavage: put it away, boys!”

A rebuttal to Jess Cartner-Morley’s “The Male Cleavage: put it away, boys!”

Let’s face it.

We all know that Western Society frowns upon men displaying their bodies openly in public more so than it does on women’s bodies. Now before you label me a privilege-denying male bigot, first hear me out. A female professional who wears a knee-length skirt at the office, for instance, wouldn’t be construed as “unproffessional”, but a man who wears anything other than long trousers would be criticized as being “too casual” (Funnily though, prior to the 1920s, a knee-length skirts, just like knee-length shorts were considered “immodest”, and “too casual” and not suitable for any respectable woman to wear. But thanks to the Flappers, women can now choose between knee-length or long skirts, or even (feminine) trousers for formal events, while men are stuck with the long trousers, even on a blazing hot day). While there’s no denying that Western society criticizes women who dress TOO modestly and baggishly e.g. Ellen Degeneres as being “butch”, or “masculine”, did you know that the inverse was also true for men? Men who do not dress MODESTLY enough stand a good risk of being labelled all sorts of nasty things, e.g. “Slob”, “Homosexual”, “Douchebag”, “Cheesy”, and so on and so fourth. A man who breaks past the purittanically rigid and conservative dress code that society sets for men (e.g. T-Shirt and Jeans for casualwear, Suit, tie and long pants for formalwear) will be criticized by the guardians of Victorian conformity, who want to keep the status quo of Western society intact. (e.g. “Sexy” dressing for women and women only) An obvious example of such hypocrisy is demonstrated in the men’s magazine GQ, in which Ceri David, the deputy editor of GQ Australia quotes:

An overly deep V-neck – I simply don’t want to see that much chest. It’s verging on the pornographic.”

Pornographic, ey? Rather ironic don’t you think, considering that GQ is a magazine that’s filled with pictures of half-naked bikini-clad women posing in provocative poses? And they actually have the cheek to call a man who shows a little bit of skin “pornographic”. HAHA. HONESTLY: What’s more pornographic? A man who shows a little bit of skin, or a magazine that fills its pages up with half-naked women posing in submissive and provocative poses? A 12 year-old could answer that.

I wrote a little rebuttal on Jess Cartner-Morley’s article “The Male Cleavage: Put it away, boys!”.
Basically, Cartner-Morley wrote about how uncomfortable she was with men showing TOO much skin, and how they need to start learning how to dress better. Now here’s the kicker: I wouldn’t have been half-offended if she was an ultra-conservative purittanical lady, who covered up her entire body from head to toe day in, day out. But you see, Ms Cartner-Morley is clearly NOT an ultra-conservative puritanical lady, as is obvious by her profile pic, in which she sports a low-cut top with a black suit, and (GASP), a pair of jeans! Oh, my; my conservative 1940s sensibilities are SHOCKED, Jess. Other times, you will see her in dresses that show SOME degree of skin, e.g. sleeveless dresses, knee-length dresses, etc. So really; her asking men to cover up is pretty much the epitome of hypocrisy: The “I have the right to show skin because I am a woman, but you don’t because you are a man and men aren’t supposed to show skin” kind of attitude, so to speak. The only way I can possibly bring myself to take Ms Cartner-Morley seriously would be if she were willing to abandon all of her cocktail dresses, her sleeveless dresses, her low-cut tops, and ANYTHING that she would deem “indecent” on a man. (if a man had shown an equal amount of skin) If she condemns men for showing “too much skin”, yet reserves the right to wear these fashions for herself, then it’s hypocrisy. Plain and simple. Let’s look at the definition of hypocrisy, shall we? According to the Google Online Dictionary, hypocrisy can be defined as “The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.” So as I said; unless she is prepared to give up her cocktail dresses, her sleeveless dresses and her low-cut tops, then she really has no business telling metrosexual men that they are exposing TOO MUCH skin, because to do so would be just plain hypocritical. It’s perfectly understandable why an attractive woman might feel threatened by men like those described in the article. You see, in patriarchal society, women have been conditioned to believe that beauty and sex appeal should only be a “female” quality, and that men who possesses there traits are a threat to the patriarchal structure from which they sponge off (I wouldn’t be surprised if Ms Cartner-Morley stood to benefit from the patriarchal social structure, as most trophy wives do, hence the hostility towards these “beautiful men”). As a fellow who is very fond of the plunging neckline look, I personally took a great deal of offence at her article. I mean how would SHE like it it a MAN had told HER to cover up? Oh that’s right; if that were to happen, that would make him a “misogynist pig who hates women”. So what do we call a woman who treats men that way?

The male cleavage (or "heavage"), as shown by metrosexual actor Hrithik Roshan has come under alot of fire for "indecent exposure". I highly doubt a woman showing the same amount of skin would be called out for "indecent exposure".

The male cleavage (or “heavage”), as shown by metrosexual actor Hrithik Roshan has come under alot of fire for “indecent exposure”. I highly doubt a woman showing the same amount of skin would be called out for “indecent exposure”.
Jess Cartner-Morley, fashion editor of the Guardian UK, who criticized the male cleavage as being sloppy and indecent. Well I guess she'd beter start burning all her cocktail dresses and low-cut tops then, if she wants to practice what she preaches..

Jess Cartner-Morley, fashion editor of the Guardian UK, who criticized the male cleavage as being sloppy and indecent. Well I guess she’d beter start burning all her cocktail dresses and low-cut tops then, if she wants to practice what she preaches..
Ceri Davis, the deputy editor of GQ Australia describes the man cleavage as "verging on pornography". But wait: Isn't GQ full of cleavage-bearing women in provocative poses?! Tsktsktsk, pornographic, isn't it?

Ceri Davis, the deputy editor of GQ Australia describes the man cleavage as “verging on pornography”. But wait: Isn’t GQ full of cleavage-bearing women in provocative poses?! Tsktsktsk, stay classy GQ.

Was Henry VIII a closeted homosexual?

I once had a heated discussion with my history tutor Carol (who happens to be an alumni of Oxford University) about Henry VIII, in which I maintained that Henry VIII was probably a closeted gay man. Of course, she took my theory with a pinch of salt, but also added, “I’ve thought many things about Henry VIII, but NEVER this! Maybe you could write a PHD on this.” And you know what? I actually might. I think most of us have heard of the Showtime TV series The Tudors, which stars the absolutely gorgeous (hey just because I’m straight doesn’t mean I can’t have a man crush on JRM!) Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the fabulously flamboyant and outrageously arrogant King Henry VIII of England. If you haven’t seen The Tudors and you’re a history buff, that series is a bloody excellent show in itself, as both a historical drama and academic supplement. The following facts are of Henry:

Made homosexuality a crime punishable by death

Henry VIII’s reign was possibly the most violent period of British history. Not only did he legalize the capital punishment of boiling, as well as the execution of the insane; he also made homosexuality a crime punishable by death, an overt expression of homophobia, or hatred towards homosexuals. Contemporary research has shown that extreme cases of homophobia is in many cases, a sign of denial by closeted gay men who are ashamed of their sexuality, and attempt to disassociate themselves from homosexuality by expressing their outright disgust and repulsion towards homosexuality. David Karofsky on Glee should give you an idea.

Was aggressively masculine and bad-tempered

Many contemporary academic sources also maintain that many closeted gay men attempt to disguise their sexuality by taking up extreme, aggressive sports, e.g. Football/Muay Thai/etc and buying monster cars (He must’ve had a monster-sized horse!). Besides that, they may attempt to police other men to hegemonic masculinity (e.g. Men’s magazine editors of FHM/GQ/etc), and scorn men who do not fit the traditional notions of Anglo-Saxon masculinity. Henry’s insecurity with his masculinity, as can be seen in his persecution of homosexuals, as well as his aggressive promotion of hegemonic, pencil-straight masculinity in order to disenfranchise himself from anything non-mainstream

Six wives yet no erection

Many gay men marry women in order to fit into hetero-normative society, but 6 wives makes it seem as if he was trying to prove just how “straight” he was. Another thing worth noting was that Henry was mainly interested in a son. Part of the reason for Henry’s numerous female partners was his anxiousness at having a son to succeed him. It was the obsession with having a son, which was the reason Henry kept re-marrying younger and younger women. His second wife Anne Boleyn was known for her extremely sharp tongue and recklessness, displaying an utter lack of political savvy by exclaiming publicly that the king was “not able to satisfy a woman, having neither the skill or the virility.”  This phrase of hers no doubt contributed to sealing her doom, but perhaps it may say more than intended on Henry’s sexuality. (Can you imagine a gay man trying to make love to a woman? That would be the equivalent of a heterosexual man trying to make love to another man! No doubt it would be an awkward and uncomfortable experience for the subject in question.)


Of course, if we are to confirm the true nature of Henry’s preference, we are going to have to take a time machine back to the past and ask him ourselves. For the sake of argument, let us assume that he truly was a gay man. Even if that were the case, he cannot be blamed for going all out to conceal his sexuality. Remember that back then (and in many parts of the world today), homosexuality was considered a “sickness”, and a “sin against nature”, and homosexuals “evil”. If he truly was gay, it is therefore understandable why he would want to take his sexuality with him to the grave.

How you guys can pull off cleavage – And look sharp!

I confess the title of this blog post might have been a little misleading, as it seems that most of us automatically associate the term “cleavage” with women. However, seeing as most of you ladies have been getting the flamboyant chest-baring look right, I thought this post would be more appropriate for the guys, who want to partake in the fun as well. You see, I have a confession to make. I NEVER wear ties. None, zilch, nada! To me, ties have something of an ultra-conservative old-school patriarchal Mad Men 1950s vibe, that simply does not gel with my flamboyant, youthful and progressive persona. I suppose for me to wear a tie, would be almost like a woman wearing a Hijab (Muslim headscarf); I simply don’t like the aesthetic of a tie, any more than most women like the aesthetic of the Hijab. When it comes to my taste in clothing, I’m alot more progressive than most of my male brethren. The only time I might be willing to put on a tie is:

1. If I have lost a bet. Well people do ALL kinds of crazy things after losing bets. Some guys do drag, others wear their wives’ Sunday best out in public, I wear ties.

2. I am attending a funeral of a very conservative person. ANYBODY’s funeral – But my own. 

Hence the phrase, “I wouldn’t be caught DEAD in a tie.”

So… What does this have to do with you? In this article, my friend, I am going to teach you the ESSENTIALS of pulling off the latest craze in flamboyant metrosexuality – Male cleavage. What? Male cleavage you say? Why; good sir, for that almost sounds like an oxymoron, if I didn’t know any better! For only WOMEN’s bodies are aesthetically worthy of being put on display like that; men are better off covering up in the entire drab predictable Victorian ensemble: Tux, TIE (Ew) and long pants.

Not so my friend, not so. If DONE RIGHT, male cleavage worn correctly can be just as captivating and enchanting as a nice, juicy set of b**bs on a woman in a modern cocktail dress. Straight men often are under the impression that the male body is somehow less aesthetically pleasing and less “sexy” than the female form, and that heterosexual women can never gaze at the male body in the same manner in which heterosexual men gaze at the female body. Not so, my heterosexual friend. Not so. BUT of course, as with any style, there is a tasteful way to pull it off, and a tasteless way to pull it off. 

You have to understand that the “man cleavage” look has gotten a VERY bad rap in recent years. Critics have described it as “tasteless”, “sloppy” and “under-dressed”, not very flattering terms indeed. Of course, technically to call any man showing abit of skin “sloppy”, while condoning a plunging neckline on a woman in a cocktail gown shows blatant sexism. (the notion that the beauty of men’s bodies should be covered up and not displayed openly) The fact is, if pulled off right, the look is HARDLY sloppy, and makes a refreshing change from the strict, hyper-conservative Victorian dress code that contemporary Western men are currently being subjected to, thanks to aggressively conservative and conformist media like GQ and, which highly frown upon this look. But just like alcohol, we mustn’t ban it completely, unlike what mainstream men’s media (and some women) seem to suggest. That would be equivalent to the Fundamentalist Muslims banning alcohol completely, just because of a few irresponsible drunks. Instead of denying men the pleasure of showing off their physical beauty, why not teach them how to do it in a tasteful way, rather than insisting that they wear that somber Victorian noose? (the tie) Men have chests and collarbones too, don’t they? Are men’s chests and collarbones simply less “pretty” than women’s chests and collarbones? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

So… For the cream of the cake: How then, can a liberated metrosexual man display his flamboyance when it comes to showing off his figure, yet toe the fine line just before trashiness? A few basic tips to remember: (REFER TO PICS BELOW!)

1. Wax/shave/pluck. DO NOT wear this look with an ultra-fuzzy chest!

2. Get pumping. Although a nice, normal chest is okay, a toned muscular chest would look EXCEPTIONAL if it had that “cleavage line” in the middle, look at bodybuilders for instance – They all have one thing in common; that “cleavage gap” in between their chest. Make sure you grow out your chest with exercises like Bench Press and Dips, and you’ll see it.

3. Make sure you keep your collar INSIDE the suit if you’re wearing a jacket. Take style inspiration from Alexander Skarzgard/David Beckham/Hrithik Roshan, but NOT John Travolta in Saturday nite Fever or Al Pacino in Scarface! The 70s gangster look is NOT what you are shooting for!

4. For God’s sake, man; DO NOT over-expose when you’re out of the gym! (No more than 60% of your chest should be on display; show too much skin, regardless of whether you’re a man OR a woman, and people will take you a little less seriously than they would otherwise)
(PS yea; I’m an old-fashioned man. I would certainly tell my daughter the same thing about her low-cut tops and gowns, hahahaha)

When in doubt, observe the best-dressed ladies. They either have nil cleavage showing, or just a hint to tantalize, but not over the top flamboyance that screams, “LOOK AT ME!”

But at the gym, yea; wear what you like! haha

5. Make sure your shirts… FIT! Man-cleavage worn with a baggy shirt gives the impression of sloppiness. It’s the same with women; if she’s gona wear a low-cut top/dress, it should be form-fitting so as to give the impression that the bare chest is intentionally flamboyant, not accidentally sloppy.

6. In case you forget everything, at least remember #1, that’s the MOST IMPORTANT rule!!!

This is a picture of my glorious chest, just after getting a good pump at the gym! Note that only about 45% is being shewn

This is a picture of my glorious chest, just after getting a good pump at the gym! Note that only about 45% is being shown

Yep; Hrithik does a fine job at displaying his chest in its blazing glory; note he has a slick V, and doesn't have more than 30-40% of it on display (But for events of a more formal nature, I would keep the upper abs a little more concealed =))

Yep; Hrithik does a fine job at displaying his chest in its blazing glory; note he has a slick V, and doesn’t have more than 30-40% of it on display (But for events of a more formal nature, I would keep the upper abs a little more concealed =))

Unfortunately due to shows like Scarface and Saturday Nite Fever, the popped collar heavage has gained a "gangster" rep

Unfortunately due to shows like Scarface and Saturday Nite Fever, the popped collar heavage has gained a “gangster” rep

The ex football captain David Beckham has got it just right - Collar tucked in, just the right amount of skin, and a nice "V", with a form-fitting jacket

The ex football captain David Beckham has got it just right – Collar tucked in, just the right amount of skin, and a nice “V”, with a form-fitting jacket

Or if the plunging neckline look is too gauche for your taste, but you want something less "stiff", "stern" and "Victorian", then skip the tie and wear it Lee Kangto style! (the protagonist of my FAVORITE K-Drama, Bridal Mask) Collar stays tucked

Or if the plunging neckline look is too gauche for your taste, but you want something less “stiff”, “stern” and “Victorian”, then skip the tie and wear it Lee Kangto style! (the protagonist of my FAVORITE K-Drama, Bridal Mask) Collar stays tucked
Another snappy chappy; This guy's got it right; note the "line" in the middle of his chest. There is nothing "douchey" about this look. The only people who call it that are PROBABLY politically correct homophobes.
Another snappy chappy; This guy’s got it right; note the “line” in the middle of his chest. There is nothing “douchey” about this look. The only people who call it that are PROBABLY politically correct homophobes

Why every man must watch Downton Abbey

Why every man must watch Downton Abbey

This is going to be a fairly refreshing change from my usual gloomy hardcore lefty aggressiveness (I’m libertarian verging on fanatical liberalism), so don’t stop reading just yet! Today I am going to discuss with you why as a man, gay, bi or straight, you MUST (not should, MUST) watch Downton Abbey!

What’s it about?

Basically, Downton Abbey is set in the fictional British estate called Downton in the World War I era, and is about the Grantham family; a wealthy but highly disfunctional household. The first episode is set after the sinking of the Titanic in 1914, in which Lord Grantham’s future son-in-law Patrick has (apparently) been drowned. Now as we know in the bad old pre-Germaine Greer days, it wasn’t legal for women to inherit a family fortune. Supposing a man had a daughter, it would be passed down to his son-in-law. Which is unfortunately the case for Lord Grantham, the patriarch of the house, who only has three unmarried daughters and no boys (gasp!). So what moves the series along is mainly the conundrum of finding a bunch of male suitors for the three girls, so as to solve the problem of inheritence. The main characters so far (in the first 2 seasons) include:

Lord Grantham

The protagonist of the series, and the master of Downton, Lord Grantham served as an officer in the Anglo-Sudanese War of the late 19th century. Although old-fashioned and conservative, he is a kind man, and is loved by his friends and employees alike.

Cora Crawley

Lord Grantham’s American wife, she is extremely concerned about finding suitors for her three daughters. Like her husband, her heart is set in the right place and she treats her servants well. Not as class-conscious as her more conservative in-laws.


Lord Grantham’s eldest daughter, Mary is probably the bitchiest of the three. In the beginning of the series, she treats others with disdain and even declared that she wasn’t sad at her fiance’s (apparent) death because she never loved him anyway. She matures throughout the series and becomes a better person throughout the war years.


Lord Grantham’s second daughter, Edith is apparently “the uglier one”. While being a nice and friendly person, she suffers from low self esteem and tends to be clingy and emotionally needy, which frightens guys away. She and Mary hate each other.


Lord Grantham’s idealistic youngest daughter, Sybil strongly believes in a non-judmental world where people are all equally valued. She is a first-wave feminist, and joins the suffragette movement of the early 20th century. She falls in love with the chauffeur, which causes her to be estranged from her conservative father.


A distant cousin of Lord Grantham, Matthew Crawley is a young middle-class lawyer who falls for Mary. Initially she does not like him, finding him too simple and unrefined for her taste (rich b*tch!). He joins the army as an officer during the war, following the footsteps of his uncle.

Why should you as a man watch Downton Abbey?

Now you must be thinking, “It’s great that you love Downton Abbey and shit, but will straight guys actually enjoy it? Isn’t it something like Sex and the City?” NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT! It isn’t rubbish, this is quality stuff and I will tell you why. A great aspect about Downton Abbey is that it isn’t a typically feminist (as most dramas are) piece which portrays everything from a male-oppressor-female-oppressed point of view. Too often we find that mainstream feminist literature cannot discuss issues which affect men without reminding them that they’re still somehow overprivileged and that their issues are less serious than women’s issues. Downton Abbey is unique in that it talks about and critiques the issues women face/faced, but doesn’t sideline the issues that us men face. Men are also victims of domestic/emotional abuse(e.g. Mr Bates and his wife), men are expected to be strong, aggressive and brave, and “wimpish” men (nice guys) who don’t conform to the boy code (traditional Anglo-Saxon notions of masculinity) are despised and marginalized by our society.(e.g. William who is given a white feather of cowardice for not joining the army) Also, men are not simply emotionless drones who are utterly devoid of feelings. We too are living, breathing human beings, but not like Mary is aware of that in the way she treats Matthew in the beginning. Not only is she extremely sarcastic to him (“yes, I agree the whole thing is one big joke”) despite his genuine apology for what he said, she also subtly insults him at the dinner table, comparing him to a “sea monster” of Greek tragedy. Later, to rub salt into the wound, she tells him, “Oh you know what? I really do like you; But um, we’ll have to wait and see if mum’s baby is a boy (her mother becomes pregnant in mid Season 1). Until then I can’t promise you anything.” (the message is that he’s simply a moneybag and nothing more and that she doesn’t REALLY like him, she only wants to marry him for respectability and a patriarchal inheritence). Most people don’t know how hurt men can get at these kinds of things, and Downton Abbey does a splendid job at illustrating the fact that men too have fragile feelings that can be hurt, men need to be able to express their vulnerability, to have a shoulder to cry on, or they’ll resort to other, destructive ways to channel their emotions (e.g. Matthew joining the army and going off to war).

Why do I love it?

But I think the main thing I love about Downton Abbey was that I found myself relating very closely to Sybil. Although Sybil and I (Yes, I’m talking about her like she’s a real person!) come from different socio-cultural mores and entirely different time periods, we’re both the same in that we are progressives; Sybil is trying to expand the horizons of female gender roles in the 1920s, while I am personally striving to gain a wider range of acceptable male forms of self-expression in contemporary culture. In other words, I really like Sybil because I can relate to her, and I think she and I would be good friends if she lived in this time period. Compared to mainstream TV like Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City, Downton Abbey is beautiful in the sense that no matter who you are, you will find a character you can closely relate to, because they are all human. They aren’t perfect, but you realize that they’re just trying to find their place in the world, and I feel our world today is no different; I see myself as the guy version of Sybil, who is bringing revolution to a changing world (with changing gender roles). To me, I strongly, strongly believe that history should be largely taught through TV (e.g. The Three Kingdoms, Downton Abbey, The Borgias, The Last Emperor, Jodhaa Akbar, etc). The beauty is that the facts will be more memorible because the historical figures in question aren’t just pictures in a textbook; they’re living, breathing human beings with unique personalities and problems just like us, and students will also get a hands-on view on things like power, class distinctions, gender and sexuality and how these things shaped the world we live in. So when somebody says he/she hates history, it means they haven’t been learning it the right way!

Watch it Man, you won’t regret it!

A Brief and Sordid Poem about Men’s Ties:

This sombre noose clings round the neck
A sad old Victorian artifact
This colored rope we call a tie
Your grandpa wore with one big sigh

Alas the progressive gentleman
Is obliged to play his own hangman
In digging his grave of fashion freedom
One step away from Islamic burqadom

Now the GQ guy would certainly frown
Upon my style when I go about town
But what GQ boy should very well know
Is that his fashion freedom’s been placed on death row!