Quick hit: What’s with all the naked dudes?

I have a piece at the Australian site Daily Life today, about the increase in the amount of substantial male nudity on offer in romantic comedies lately.

Before 2009, shirtlessness was pretty standard for men in romantic comedies (why do you think chronic shirtophobe Matthew McConaughey makes so many rom coms?) But in the last two years, we’ve seen the barely-clad bodies of Justin Long (Going the Distance), Jake Gyllenhaal (Love and Other Drugs), Ryan Reynolds (The Proposal), Ashton Kutcher (No Strings Attached), and Justin Timberlake (Friends With Benefits). In What’s Your Number?, producers appear to have forgotten to make room in the budget for a wardrobe for Chris Evans, who spends most of the movie stripped down to his birthday suit.

Before you press “Print” and run to your nearest video shop with the above list in hand, let’s take a moment to ask ourselves: what’s going on here?

What’s going on here? Well, for one thing, it would seem that the straight women who are the target audience for romantic comedies are now allowed to publicly enjoy looking at naked dudes. But only if those dudes look a certain way. And we need to consider the possibility that the pressure to look that way is going to mess men up as badly as it’s messed women up.

You can read the whole thing here.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

Read more about Chloe

Join the Conversation