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.