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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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78 Responses

  1. Bushfire
    Bushfire May 9, 2011 at 5:05 pm |

    Yep. If this was a woman, there would be people trying to fire her, calling her a slutty whore, etc. Other people would be trying to find any conceivable imagined bodily imperfection and saying she’s fat. Other people would be putting down her character in rather arbitrary ways, “she’s irresponsible”, etc. I almost wrote a satirical rant about how slutty this guy is, but it would feel disgusting to even write that.

  2. Adult Child
    Adult Child May 9, 2011 at 5:09 pm |

    Am I the only person who finds abs unappealing? They just look really weird to me.

  3. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. May 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm |

    On the same day we learn that HRC has been ‘shopped out of the Situation Room photo. Nice juxaposition that.

    http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/

  4. Ashley
    Ashley May 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm |

    One picture is whatever. But if he continue to put himself up for display as a sex object, I have to say it would discourage me from taking him seriously, be it a man or a woman.

  5. Nahida
    Nahida May 9, 2011 at 6:04 pm |

    SLUT.

  6. ecb
    ecb May 9, 2011 at 6:32 pm |

    Sad thing is, plenty of people will read this article and say, “Yeah, but Palin was in a more provocative pose,” or some other BS, and they’ll never recognize that it’s just their double standard talking.

  7. April
    April May 9, 2011 at 7:05 pm |

    Ashley:
    One picture is whatever. But if he continue to put himself up for display as a sex object, I have to say it would discourage me from taking him seriously, be it a man or a woman.

    Whether or not a person who shows off their body should be taken seriously in politics is beside the point. The point is that a female politician wouldn’t even get one chance to pose like that in any magazine, regardless of how “tasteful” or “in the name of health” it was, without dealing with, as the post says, relentless criticism, usually centering around her sexuality.

  8. LoriA
    LoriA May 9, 2011 at 7:49 pm |

    Thank god Ashley doesn’t read my blog. She would be rolling her eyes right out of her head.

  9. La Lubu
    La Lubu May 9, 2011 at 7:50 pm |

    This guy is a scumbag. I miss being in his district by a matter of blocks. He’s an archconservative who is decidedly to the right of say, Mike Huckabee.

    Anyway, that’s what this is about. Pure marketing. He plans on running for the Presidency (not the upcoming one, but a little down the line) and he’s marketing himself as the young, physically-fit arch-conservative who will live a good long life. I’m serious folks—he’s aiming to be the youngest President.

  10. Nicholas
    Nicholas May 9, 2011 at 8:02 pm |

    To be fair, his aereolas are covered rather artfully.

  11. Paraxeni
    Paraxeni May 9, 2011 at 9:05 pm |

    if he continue to put himself up for display as a sex object, I have to say it would discourage me from taking him seriously, be it a man or a woman

    Wow. My home-made time machine really WORKED, YAY! 1950 is so cooool, and a lot more like 2011 than you’d think.

    @Adult Child – I’m strictly a woman-only person, and I find bodies like the one in the pic curious, because they look like they’ve been carved or sculpted. Obviously as a WSW I have no attraction to guys, but I do find them kind of interesting to look at in a “Wow, that’s different” sort of way, because they’re not the type of bodies I’ve experienced.

  12. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe May 9, 2011 at 9:13 pm |

    I wonder if this is going to hurt him with the Republican base? I mean, he’s fit, and Michelle Obama is making fitness her thing. That’s some dangerous collaboration right there.

  13. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 9, 2011 at 9:15 pm |

    Can I just say I love that weird pelvis muscle guys get sometimes if they’re jacked like Representative Whoever-the-fuck up there?
    I have no clue how you would get that kind of definition. Like, is that from crunches? I do crunches and I don’t have that line.

  14. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. May 9, 2011 at 9:27 pm |

    Could it be ‘shopped? Not to disparage any body type or anything, but covers do get shopped all the time.

  15. Brett K
    Brett K May 9, 2011 at 9:36 pm |

    Kristen J.:
    Could it be ‘shopped?Not to disparage any body type or anything, but covers do get shopped all the time.

    It’s definitely at least a LITTLE bit ‘shopped. Airbrushing isn’t just for the ladies! And seriously, I have no doubt that all the dudes who pose for Men’s Health are in phenomenal shape, but no one who is not a bodybuilder and/or professional athlete looks like that.

    On topic, though: Double standards suck so bad, and having abs doesn’t make this guy less of a douche.

  16. Tony
    Tony May 9, 2011 at 9:49 pm |

    It’s Alien. It’s going to burst out of his stomach at any moment now and we’ll be looking at Special Election IL-18.

  17. Avida Quesada
    Avida Quesada May 9, 2011 at 10:05 pm |

    Totally agree. A women could not do that. But I believe there is multiple sides depending on who see the picture:

    1. A woman can’t do that due to shamming.
    2. A woman will not be taken seriously because she will be accused of selling herself to the patriarchy.
    3. A woman will not be taken seriously just because she is a woman.
    4. She will be perceive as a victim. She had to do that
    5. A man can do it because is a men.
    6. A man can do it because he is “breaking barriers” (since when men need permission to go topless??? we need).
    7. Cosification and in general degradation of men is seem as inherent just “the have it coming”

    Frankly I don’t like it, He looks nice don’t get me wrong but I am not that convinced about the message is sending to boys. Go the sex sale side. I will not care if he was a model or and actor but a politician using sex as a tool is rare. My six sense also tell’s me that there is a under the radar insult to women: They will vote for him because he is so gorgeous.

  18. Jim
    Jim May 9, 2011 at 10:56 pm |

    Bushfire: Yep. If this was a woman, there would be people trying to fire her, calling her a slutty whore, etc.

    Whereas if he’s a man, there would be people assuming he’s gay:http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/05/the-schock-of-the-abs.html. Gay-shaming, the straight man’s equivalent of slut-shaming.

    Ashley: But if he continue to put himself up for display as a sex object,

    Sex object or youth object. I agree with Brett, that the shot is probably shopped; his head is out of proportion ot his body, and that kills whatever sexiness his hairless body might have had. (And it sure could have had.)

    La Lubu: This guy is a scumbag. I miss being in his district by a matter of blocks. He’s an archconservative who is decidedly to the right of say, Mike Huckabee.

    Tust you to come in and say something adult with an observation like that that, right to the point. Buzzkill. His assholish politics are the real issue with him.

  19. Ted
    Ted May 10, 2011 at 12:50 am |

    Have to disagree with you here. Scott Brown’s old Cosmo spread was dragged out and became an issue in his campaign. It was certainly talked about and used to bash him far more than Palin’s or Ball’s pics were.

  20. Sonia
    Sonia May 10, 2011 at 1:46 am |

    This is just USian prudishness. There are parts in the world where strippers and porn stars have run in elections.

  21. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho May 10, 2011 at 1:47 am |

    Since he’s a politician, you know that this was not done without some sort of motive to get people to vote for him. The question is, is it “women will vote for a hot man” type marketing, or “men will vote for a ‘virile’ man” thing? Or some combination of both. Kind of like how they always show guys getting hit on by women in beer commercials. Being in advertising, I bet it’s a bit of both, but more so trying to get the ‘lady vote’.

    I work in a dirty, dirty industry. Don’t even get me started on cat food ads.

    And finally, I have to say, that guy should lay off the Muscle Milk, eat a dozen cheeseburgers, half a dozen carnitas burritos, and a couple cakes, and THEN he can call me.

    I’ll still hang up on him, but, you know….

  22. jennygadget
    jennygadget May 10, 2011 at 2:37 am |

    Avida Quesada

    I think another really big one is: the audience is always assumed male.

    I think that’s part of where the homophobia comes from in the first place. Schock’s pose isn’t seen the same way that Palin’s is because the default gaze is male. And so of course either Schock’s photo is non-sexual while Palin’s is provocative (straight male gaze, no gay panic) or Schock posing like that is totally gay (according to the kind of people who think being gay is an insult) and Palin is still provocative.

  23. Natalia
    Natalia May 10, 2011 at 2:59 am |

    One picture is whatever. But if he continue to put himself up for display as a sex object, I have to say it would discourage me from taking him seriously, be it a man or a woman.

    Good thing we ain’t friends on Facebook!

    Also, I find abs like that kinda weird as well. I understand that people put a lot of work in them, but they’re still not quite my thing.

    Also, Photoshop.

    Also, remember the hysteria over Hillary Clinton’s cleavage? Yeah.

  24. martian
    martian May 10, 2011 at 3:12 am |

    I’m from the area, too, and La Lubu is dead on. Schock is hardcore conservative and highly driven. Been hearing about him since I was a kid and so was he. Schock got elected to the school board when he was still a teenager and has been honing his image as a conservative wunderkind and role model ever since. I remember the glowing newspaper stories about his work ethic, saving every penny, and buying his first real estate at 18. He’s one to keep a wary eye on.

    Jim: Whereas if he’s a man, there would be people assuming he’s gay:http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/05/the-schock-of-the-abs.html. Gay-shaming, the straight man’s equivalent of slut-shaming.

    Haven’t read the Sullivan article yet, but, as to rumours that he’s gay, that’s been going around locally since forever — this beefcake cover won’t be the start of it. Whether this cover stirs things up further for sexist/homophobic reasons, I don’t know, and I don’t believe local Republicans care so long a it stays a rumour and doesn’t come out of the closet as a fact. Something similar happened, though, with Sen. Scott Brown’s old Cosmo spread, didn’t it? What happened there could be called gay-shaming, I think. Also, I think it unlikely that a woman with Brown’s history could get elected to the Senate.

    Oh, and going by my local Republican relatives, I’d bet this won’t hurt him in the least with the base. I’m going to send it to one of my aunts to tease her, actually, since she’s such a fangurl over him. Schock has been overtly working the sex appeal thing for a while, imo. Were this “Erin” (R, IL-18) rather than “Aaron”, I’m sure it still wouldn’t hurt with those same relatives because IOKIYAR. Were “Erin” a Dem however… And, you know, that holds if the actual Aaron were a Dem, too. I suspect the rule for men is, half nekkid Rs are virile, manly men, but half nekkid Ds are ridiculous, metro-sexual peacocks. Seriously, does anybody think a Dem congressman wouldn’t get laughed out of town for that cover? The ridicule would be bipartisan, too.

  25. martian
    martian May 10, 2011 at 3:36 am |

    Wait, correctiion for needless accuracy’s sake, I haven’t been hearing about Schock since I was a kid – I’m a lot older than he. I just confused it because I’m always back home hanging with the family when reading and hearing about him. And I guess being back home just makes me feel like a child. Hrmph. Must think about.

  26. Jared
    Jared May 10, 2011 at 3:46 am |

    First time I saw “archconservative”, I read “anarchoconservative” Spent a little while trying to figure out what that would be like….

  27. rkel
    rkel May 10, 2011 at 4:10 am |

    PrettyAmiable:

    Can I just say I love that weird pelvis muscle guys get sometimes if they’re jacked like Representative Whoever-the-fuck up there?
    I have no clue how you would get that kind of definition. Like, is that from crunches? I do crunches and I don’t have that line.

    You get that with age and longer term exercise; older men get a bit thicker than younger men in the abs, especially over a long period of time doing exercises like squats, deadlifts and other ultra-core intensive lifts.

    Its not genetic, but having those crazy mesomorph genes and a zero-fun-permitted carb-less diet (no kidding, some guys eat less than 50 grams of carbs over the entire weekday period to keep their abs like that; bit excessive if you ask me…).

    martian:
    I’m from the area, too, and La Lubu is dead on.Schock is hardcore conservative and highly driven.Been hearing about him since I was a kid and so was he.Schock got elected to the school board when he was still a teenager and has been honing his image as a conservative wunderkind and role model ever since.I remember the glowing newspaper stories about his work ethic, saving every penny, and buying his first real estate at 18.He’s one to keep a wary eye on.

    Haven’t read the Sullivan article yet, but, as to rumours that he’s gay, that’s been going around locally since forever — this beefcake cover won’t be the start of it.Whether this cover stirs things up further for sexist/homophobic reasons, I don’t know, and I don’t believe local Republicans care so long a it stays a rumour and doesn’t come out of the closet as a fact.Something similar happened, though, with Sen. Scott Brown’s old Cosmo spread, didn’t it?What happened there could be called gay-shaming, I think.Also, I think it unlikely that a woman with Brown’s history could get elected to the Senate.

    Oh, and going by my local Republican relatives, I’d bet this won’t hurt him in the least with the base.I’m going to send it to one of my aunts to tease her, actually, since she’s such a fangurl over him.Schock has been overtly working the sex appeal thing for a while, imo.Were this “Erin” (R, IL-18) rather than “Aaron”, I’m sure it still wouldn’t hurt with those same relatives because IOKIYAR.Were “Erin” a Dem however…And, you know, that holds if the actual Aaron were a Dem, too.I suspect the rule for men is, half nekkid Rs are virile, manly men, but half nekkid Ds are ridiculous, metro-sexual peacocks.Seriously, does anybody think a Dem congressman wouldn’t get laughed out of town for that cover?The ridicule would be bipartisan, too.

    I agree with this.

    Republicans really try hard to play on the macho virile man. Even the ones who are clearly not remotely athletic like to pretend they fit the stereotype of hegemonic masculinity. Pandering to the white male, middle America base?

    Its quite frustrating, this continued trope of ‘pussy’ liberals/progressives. Who knew that measured approaches and less John Wayne bullshit instantly made you a woman. Seems like a convenient way for some conservatives to instantly dismiss arguments.

  28. Eve
    Eve May 10, 2011 at 6:43 am |

    Jim: Sex object or youth object.

    The term “sex object” has a long and storied history, with a lot of reflection and study behind it, and reflects how women are seen/represented as (quite literally) “objects” or “items” for the purpose of sexual consumption by men.

    WTF is a “youth object”?

  29. La Lubu
    La Lubu May 10, 2011 at 7:45 am |

    WTF is a “youth object”?

    Eve, that’s his schtick. He has always promoted his youth as his advantage in the political arena. He is presenting himself as the younger, stronger, hardcore conservative with the stamina to create and defend a long-term conservative dynasty. As President (yes, he has made no bones about the fact he has his eyes on the Oval Office), he will pack the Supreme Court with people just like him—extreme Right, and as young as possible.

    Go check his voting record. Or over here. He’s highly anti-gay, anti-labor, anti-woman, anti-environment, anti-immigrant. He voted against CHIP (children’s health insurance) and even the heavily-watered-down national health care bill. He voted against the DREAM Act. He doesn’t believe in global warming, and votes against any environmental regulation of greenhouse gases. He believes “life” begins when a sperm fertilizes an egg (not at implantation). He voted against the extension of unemployment benefits. He voted against strengthening the Mine Safety Act. He voted against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He voted in favor of prohibiting federal funding to Planned Parenthood. He voted against food safety regulation amendments. He voted against tribal law enforcement amendments that included requiring multidisciplinary teams to address child abuse, domestic violence and sexual violence. He voted against every employment discrimination amendment that addressed pay disparity.

    What’s he in favor of? Guns. He wants guns protected from bankruptcy proceedings, and he wants a national concealed-carry act.

    He’s a rising star in the Republican Party. That’s why he’s on the cover of this magazine. He is promoting himself using the best tool in his toolbox—his physical appearance. Everything about his image is meticulously engineered.

  30. Beefeater
    Beefeater May 10, 2011 at 8:04 am |

    I understand and agree with those who have pointed out the double standard/slut thing. Still, I have to say I approve what this guy is doing: It’s about time we het women got some pretty bodies to ogle for our enjoyment. The ubiquitous cheesecake really, really (eh) grates me.

    (I don’t mean to put down anyone’s sexuality or anything, though. Also, my approval doesn’t extend to his politics.)

  31. Ashley
    Ashley May 10, 2011 at 8:22 am |

    April, yeah I agree that a woman wouldn’t even get the chance to pose this way without the critcism.

    LoriA, you are wrong.

  32. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar May 10, 2011 at 8:54 am |

    Jill, I think it’s interesting that you describe visible ab definition as “super-masculine.” Not that I’m necessarily disagreeing, just that I’m interrogating that. It’s not that uncommon for athletic women to show separated abs … in fact, the pattern you describe, with more fat in the buttocks and thighs even when the abs are separately visible, is probably more common. So perhaps it’s “super-masculine” only in the sense that mass media depictions emphasize abs as a symbol of masculine boldily perfection, but deemphasize and decline to show them on women.

    Athletic bodies come in lots of shapes and sizes. See here. How we understand them is a strongly cultural overlay.

  33. Lu
    Lu May 10, 2011 at 9:53 am |

    jennygadget:
    Avida Quesada

    I think another really big one is: the audience is always assumed male.

    I think that’s part of where the homophobia comes from in the first place.Schock’s pose isn’t seen the same way that Palin’s is because the default gaze is male.And so of course either Schock’s photo is non-sexual while Palin’s is provocative (straight male gaze, no gay panic) or Schock posing like that is totally gay (according to the kind of people who think being gay is an insult) and Palin is still provocative.

    This is a really important point. Thank you for making it!

  34. Verity Khat
    Verity Khat May 10, 2011 at 9:54 am |

    Any Him: “Vote for me, I’m fit and attractive.” Everyone assumes his physical prowess means he’s also mentally competent and scampers to the polls.

    Any Her: “Vote for me, I’m fit and attractive.” Everyone assumes she’s a flake who can only get by on her looks and makes with the slut-shaming. Because, as we all know, pretty women can’t actually be smart, but ugly women are worthless. *rolls eyes*

    Oh, the damages of a visual-media-driven society. Especially one that got saddled with the damn Puritans.

  35. Treefinger
    Treefinger May 10, 2011 at 9:56 am |

    I don’t disagree with anything here but I still hesitate to id as sex positive. In my experience of reading sex positive bloggers they ended up excluding more people even as they make every effort to include everyone, and simply didn’t live out the principles of this post. I actually find it less offensive as someone who is kinky, trans and queer to read anti-porn, anti-bdsm radfems and what they have to say about sex, because their starting position of “all sex has been made problematic by the patriarchy” seems more honest (and equal) than reading someone like Susie Bright who supposedly follows the laws of the post but will then make a sweeping statement about anorexia being the antithesis of sexuality or something like that (in my experience of the disease, the fact that I was erasing the desirability of my body was actually what made me feel more sexual at the time- allowing me to focus on my own desires rather than other people’s desires for me).

  36. Treefinger
    Treefinger May 10, 2011 at 9:59 am |

    I might’ve commented in the wrong thread- I’m stuck in moderation so I can’t actually tell- but if I posted my thoughts on how I relate to sex-positivism in this thread by mistake, it was meant for the post by Clarisse Thorn.

  37. La Lubu
    La Lubu May 10, 2011 at 10:01 am |

    I live in Illinois. Local interviews of Schock about this cover feature quotes of him referencing “personal responsibility” for our “individual choices” about our health. He’s marketing his abs as Exhibit A for why the US doesn’t need national health care—just more discipline and bootstraps.

    I dislike the guy who took the 17th (I voted for Phil Hare), but with the loss of population in Illinois due to our abysmal economy, there’s talk of abolishing the 17th—redistricting. Depending on how that works out, that could be bad for Schock’s political ambitions (while being good for Illinois, the US, and global humanity). The 17th has traditionally been far more liberal than the 18th.

  38. samanthab
    samanthab May 10, 2011 at 10:08 am |

    Thomas, I’m with you an not with you. I get pretty defined abs from yoga, but it is true that women are genetically pre-disposed to have higher body fat than men. I totally agree that we deserve to see a range of women’s bodies depicted in the media, but I’m not going to dismiss the evolutionary value of fat storage. It’s not feminist per se to want to mimic male bodies in women. Mia Hamm has serious abs, but she’s got some body fat in there, too: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.wildsound-filmmaking-feedback-events.com/images/mia_hamm.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.pinoyexchange.com/forums/showthread.php%3Ft%3D497993%26page%3D181&usg=__b_HlFFpUYSEtbqlXx-wtWcCkD18=&h=355&w=350&sz=29&hl=en&start=0&sig2=hqsy6_q9eMYKHDLP2YPpEw&zoom=1&tbnid=rfkztm15t6FFlM:&tbnh=122&tbnw=120&ei=mVTJTf_TA4zpgQe_oLztBw&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dmia%2Bhamm%2Babs%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1G1GGLQ_ENUS291%26biw%3D1280%26bih%3D558%26tbm%3Disch0%2C183&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=799&vpy=56&dur=313&hovh=122&hovw=120&tx=115&ty=143&page=1&ndsp=26&ved=1t:429,r:15,s:0&biw=1280&bih=558

  39. belle
    belle May 10, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  40. Elisabeth
    Elisabeth May 10, 2011 at 10:41 am |

    At first I thought his name was “Schlock” and I am seriously disappointed it’s not.

    With muscle definition, genetics and sex hormones play a role. Mesomorphs can get muscle definition much more easily than those with different body types, and those born biologically male have far less body fat than those born biologically female and an easier time building muscle. Very few cis-gendered women can develop full on 6-packs, and it’s not recommended that you try, healthwise.

  41. LoriA
    LoriA May 10, 2011 at 10:57 am |

    @Ashley

    Uh, about what? That your eyes stayed in your head even though a woman who does porn also writes, like, serious things?

  42. The Necromancer
    The Necromancer May 10, 2011 at 11:01 am |

    You make a good point…And those are some sick abs. I guess Baptists do lots of sit-ups?? Is good core strength essential to reaching the rapture?

    I don’t know, but the questions certainly go well beyond the issue of sluttyness…

  43. Aletheia
    Aletheia May 10, 2011 at 11:37 am |

    I think another really big one is: the audience is always assumed male.

    I think that’s part of where the homophobia comes from in the first place. Schock’s pose isn’t seen the same way that Palin’s is because the default gaze is male. And so of course either Schock’s photo is non-sexual while Palin’s is provocative (straight male gaze, no gay panic) or Schock posing like that is totally gay (according to the kind of people who think being gay is an insult) and Palin is still provocative.

    In fairness, Schock was posing in a magazine directed at men, while Palin was posing in a running magazine that was not being marketed to any gender in particular. Also, the caption for Schock’s picture is “America’s fittest Congressman,” while the caption for Sarah’s was “how do you solve a problem like Sarah?” The “how do you solve a problem like Sarah?” quote is a reference to a song in The Sound of Music titled “how do you solve a problem like Maria?” The song is about “Maria,” a nun who is overly happy, exuberant, and outgoing compared to the other nuns in her convent. Maria is not outgoing in a sexual way, although she does put more effort into her appearance than the other nuns.

    I feel like the photo of Sarah was intended to be slightly sexual, while the picture of Schock was not. Given the magazine containing it, Schock’s picture was directed mostly at men (the large majority of whom are heterosexual) while Palin’s was directed at no demographic in particular. I guess the reason I think hers was supposed to be a tiny bit sexual was the reference to Maria. But maybe that doesn’t make any sense… I don’t know.

  44. Aletheia
    Aletheia May 10, 2011 at 11:39 am |

    I think my comment went into the spam filter.

  45. jennygadget
    jennygadget May 10, 2011 at 12:04 pm |

    ” In fairness, Schock was posing in a magazine directed at men, while Palin was posing in a running magazine that was not being marketed to any gender in particular.”

    Yeah, but as someone who keeps trying to find a halfway decent women’s fitness/sports magazine, I’d just like to point out that this set-up itself is not entirely unrelated from the whole issue of the male gaze. It’s not like the short-lived Women’s Sport’s Illustrated is still around for Schock to pose in. And while it actually might make more sense* for Palin to pose for Women’s Adventure than Runner’s World, I have to go to REI to pick up the former, so she wouldn’t have gotten as much exposure.

    Also, I seriously doubt Palin would have gotten less flack if she had posed for Women’s Fitness or Fitness Magazine, seeing as they tend to be overly concerned with the male gaze themselves – despite the audience rarely being male. In fact, I rather suspect posing for the mixed-gendered audience of Runner’s World possibly toned down the pearl-clutching, as Runner’s World’s male inclusive audience makes the magazine seem more serious and gave legitimacy to her claims that it was about fitness.

    And that, I think is the important take away message. That Men’s Fitness, Women’s Fitness, and Runner’s World need to all cater to the male gaze, but they do it in different ways because of the different demographics they sell to. And it is Women’s Fitness that is seen as the most sexual because it involves women competing for the male gaze (just through exercise rather than make-up).

    (note: I’m sure there are plenty of women that read Women’s Fitness because they are concerned with actual, you know, fitness. But that isn’t really how the magazine is perceived or, quite frankly, presents itself.)

  46. Real name
    Real name May 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm |

    You’re a woman and you look at this cover and the first thing you think of is how it is emblematic of a double standard? That proves your point. If women aren’t focusing on how hot his body is, why would the media. The media is driven by viewers and men obviously don’t care about this, so if women don’t either than it’s a non-issue. In regards to Sarah Palin, men thought about her sexually in that photo and do so even when she’s wearing a lot more clothing. And women will have opinions as well. That brings the media attention. So you’re choices are to either to talk about his abs or get men to think about sex less, or at least express their thoughts about it less often.

  47. harvey
    harvey May 10, 2011 at 12:12 pm |

    …and as much as he protested on TV that the photos weren’t air-brushed, he certainly shaved himself totally and unnaturally hairless for the occasion — a very passe gay boy technique that isn’t even done in West Hollywood any longer.

    Aside from the obvious sexism and narcissism, he’s under-nourishing himself to uncover his abs — you can see it in the extra thin, gaunt face & neck.

    Clearly this poor closeted gay guy would be happier in LA than representing ridiculous Republican “family values” in the Heartland.

  48. Lu
    Lu May 10, 2011 at 12:44 pm |

    And also, Aletheia, you’re conflating the magazines’ target audiences with the people who commented on the cover photos. The second group is much larger than the first, and boy did they have a lot to say about Sarah Palin’s slutty, half-naked ;-) appearance in her athletic togs.

  49. Lu
    Lu May 10, 2011 at 12:46 pm |

    Yeah. Stop talking about sexism; you’re only making it worse.

    Real name:
    You’re a woman and you look at this cover and the first thing you think of is how it is emblematic of a double standard? That proves your point. If women aren’t focusing on how hot his body is, why would the media. The media is driven by viewers and men obviously don’t care about this, so if women don’t either than it’s a non-issue. In regards to Sarah Palin, men thought about her sexually in that photo and do so even when she’s wearing a lot more clothing. And women will have opinions as well. That brings the media attention. So you’re choices are to either to talk about his abs or get men to think about sex less, or at least express their thoughts about it less often.

  50. groggette
    groggette May 10, 2011 at 12:48 pm |

    Must not feed the trolls. Must not feed the trolls.

  51. groggette
    groggette May 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm |

    aw fuck it.

    Hey harvey, you’re body snarking and gay snarking aren’t welcome or appreciated here.

  52. groggette
    groggette May 10, 2011 at 12:52 pm |

    *your

    goes back to not feeding the trolls

  53. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date May 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm |

    He’s a “conservative Baptist” now, but he grew up as an Apostolic Christian.

  54. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm |

    I wonder if people look at me and think my face looks gaunt. And then determine my sexuality based on my perceived nourishment levels.

  55. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 10, 2011 at 1:07 pm |

    Hm, orientation, though I’m curious about the sexuality question too.

  56. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil May 10, 2011 at 1:09 pm |

    Mia Hamm has serious abs

    That’s Brandi Chastain. And she got some serious flak for taking off her shirt when the US women’s team won the world cup even thought that’s what male soccer players do all the time. Wikipedia actually refers to it as “The Sports Bra Episode.”

    I guess that just proves that this isn’t even a new double standard.

  57. groggette
    groggette May 10, 2011 at 1:10 pm |

    Actually that’s kind of brilliant PrettyAmiable. I’ve been losing my winter fluff recently and maybe now as my face gets more gaunt I can get all the lady loving I craved while dealing with my un gaunty winter face.

  58. martian
    martian May 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm |

    I went to the link to see what went on with Krystal Ball (her parents should be shot, for starters) and, wow, do I feel sorry for her. Those pictures were so… nothing. And the writer overheatedly described them as “Christmas/Fetish Party pictures” and was oh so scandalised at a photo of Ball leading around her future husband on a leash in the tamest way imaginable. Women have to have the most unrealistically pristine personal histories before they even think of entering a career in public service — at least Democratic women do — yet David Vitter can wear diapers and be spanked by hookers (allegedly!) and even be called to testify at a madame’s trial yet go on his merry, Family Values way with his head unbowed. Not that I care if he lets his freak flag fly — that’s amongst him, his wife, random consenting parties, and his voters — it’s the fundamental unfairness of the social bargain here that’s so galling.

  59. Ashley
    Ashley May 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm |

    Lori, did I miss something? Who are you??? Quit trying to bring attention to yourself and assume I wouldn’t like you, what you do in your life, or your blog. I don’t know you nor do I really give a damn who you are or what the hell you do.

  60. samanthab
    samanthab May 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm |

    Fashionably Evil, I linked to a picture of Mia Hamm. They both have serious abs. I’m not sure why you would go to the trouble of correcting someone without making sure that they’re wrong. But, yeah, I agree that the Brandi Chastain story is illustrative.

  61. jennygadget
    jennygadget May 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm |

    Must not feed the trolls. Must not feed the trolls.

    Butbutbut…it’s so tempting! :P

    I will say that I am always amused when guys point to me not drooling over men that are clearly posing for other (heterosexual) men as proof that I must have no libido. (Politics aside) I’m sure there are gals for whom Schock’s excessive muscle definition and (more to the point) bored and disengaged pose really does it for them, but I am so not one of them.

    Even aside from the fact that sexual attraction is not homogeneous in the way the media likes to pretend that it is, that pose is so clearly downplaying the sexiness that it’s not even funny. And while I don’t dislike muscles, in my experience women tend to be less about the kind of muscles on display here than the media assumes we are.

    It’s rather like all those comic book heroes where the heroes are nothing but muscle. While Schock, being real and not a caricature, is at least still attractive (unlike certain versions of famous superheroes I could name), the excessive focus on really big muscles is still very much about men’s fantasy of who they want to be and how they want male peers to see them. Not so much about what women find sexy, in my experience.

    So, I always find it amusing – in that dear god sort of way – when guys assume that women not drooling over men’s fantasies about themselves to the extent that men leer at their own fantasies of women is proof that women don’t really have mush desire.

    It also makes me want to invite them into my head sometime. I think they will find it rather surprising.

  62. Sid
    Sid May 10, 2011 at 2:12 pm |

    samanthab:
    Fashionably Evil, I linked to a picture of Mia Hamm. They both have serious abs. I’m not sure why you would go to the trouble of correcting someone without making sure that they’re wrong. But, yeah, I agree that the Brandi Chastain story is illustrative.

    It’s because you are wrong. The picture you originally linked to is indeed Brandi Chastain and not Mia Hamm, who has typically shorter, darker brown hair and paler skin, and, perhaps most characteristically, did not take off her shirt when she kicked the winning penalty at the Women’s World Cup. As I recall, some of the flak directed her way was around the commercialization of such a “pure” celebratory moment, as most cameras caught a heavy glimpse of the Nike logo.

    Another example would be Lindsey Vonn who posed in a squat position skiing downhill pre-Olympics for the SI cover and caught a ton of heat.

  63. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar May 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm |

    Samanthab, others noted before I got back to this thread: your link goes to a pic of Brandi Chastain. I watched it the day it happened, I remember it well. Chastain had posed previously for Gear magazine with soccer balls covering her breasts and then pulled her shirt off after taking the winning shot. (The two appear together on a talk show here.) Note that that ask Chastain about that iconic photo, and she says she gets asked about it all the time.

    Samanthab, when you say you’re with or not with me, I don’t understand what you mean, because I didn’t take a position. I just said I wanted to interrogate Jill’s characterization of defined abdominals as “super-masculine”. I posed a question and I linked to a diverse group of athlete’s bodies. No position taken, nothing to be for or against.

  64. Look at that slut.. a daily dose of blatant double standards « hahayourefunny

    […] Look at that slut. — Feministe. Yeah. Aaron Schock is single and a conservative Baptist, and he has some sick abs. Now try to picture Erin Schock, newly elected to Congress, single and a conservative Baptist with some sick abs, on the cover of Women’s Health. Just sayin’. […]

  65. LoriA
    LoriA May 10, 2011 at 5:00 pm |

    @Ashley

    You started in this thread talking about how you wouldn’t take anyone seriously who posed nude all the time. I do that. I also do serious writing. So, you know, it IS about me, and all of the other intelligent, interesting sex workers out there who you think aren’t worth your time.

  66. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar May 10, 2011 at 5:29 pm |

    LoriA has a serious point that I want to amplify. Isn’t it the very height of whore/madonna dichotomy to say that people can’t be serious and sexual? I make it pretty clear on my blog that I do all kinds of very kinky things, and yet my writing is serious. Do people not take me seriously because I’m a sexual being? Or do they put it out of their minds because they can read about it but not watch it? If you know where to look, and care to, you can see Lori naked, and even watch her do sexual things. Should she be taken less seriously as a writer for that? Not by my lights (I’m biased, as a friend and a fan, but I like her writing quite a bit, actually).

    This Congresscritter — well, he’s a Congresscritter, which is reason enough to doubt him, and he’s a conservative. But I’m not interested in judging him for displaying his body. I’m interested in noting opposition to a double-standard that allows him to do it but would punish a woman. And, as I noted above, I’m interested in noting my opposition to body norms that make some bodies acceptable for public viewing and others not, such as this part only looks right on folks with that gender expression or that all body parts have to be a certain shade or look like able folks’ body parts — I’d like to not forget those issues here.)

    I’m not interested in rearranging the arbitrary lines of body shaming. I’m not interested in another version of i-don’t-like-straight-people-PDA-either.

  67. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 10, 2011 at 5:52 pm |

    Thomas MacAulay Millar: Isn’t it the very height of whore/madonna dichotomy to say that people can’t be serious and sexual?

    I’d argue that madonnas aren’t really taken seriously either, usually on the grounds of lack of experience. Really, no matter what your identity (perceived or actual), people are going to be douchebags.

    @LoriA, rock on. I know you’re not the only commenter who has done sex work, and I’ve learned a ton from you guys.

  68. Ashley
    Ashley May 10, 2011 at 6:07 pm |

    Lori, you misunderstood what I said. Or maybe I just didn’t convey it in the best way, which is very probable and for that, I apologize.

    What I meant by my original post was: This guy is a congressman. Congressmen usually want to be seen by the public as that – a congressman. But if that guy poses for Men’s Health, then another publication a week later, and then another one after that, and so on to the point where he’s putting himself on display as a sex symbol more than you know, working, then I would have a hard time believing that he really wants to be seen as a serious congressman. I would be inclined to suspect he secretly aspires for the Sexiest Man of the Year Award more than anything else. I didn’t mean to say that I don’t take people seriously who pose sexy all the time. I hope that makes sense.

    I am sorry if I offended you. I did check out your blog and I understand that you are a sex industry worker and that’s awesome. I have absolutely no problem with that. I actually admire some of the photos I saw of you on your site. They are creative and you are beautiful.

  69. women fitness
    women fitness May 10, 2011 at 8:34 pm |

    Hey harvey, you’re body snaking and gay snaking aren’t welcome or appreciated here. thanks for sharing I enjoy the discussion

  70. zuzu
    zuzu May 10, 2011 at 10:13 pm |

    Aletheia: Also, the caption for Schock’s picture is “America’s fittest Congressman,” while the caption for Sarah’s was “how do you solve a problem like Sarah?” The “how do you solve a problem like Sarah?”

    IIRC, Newsweek was the magazine that repurposed the Runner’s World photo of Palin and used that headline (I think the parent company owns both magazines, or maybe they just stole it).

    But that also points to something about context: the photo of Palin, on the cover of a running magazine, was fine if a little over-posed (she was wearing pantyhose and was not pictured running but instead was posing in a slightly cheesecakey way, which is odd for such an athletic woman). John Edwards had appeared on the cover of the same magazine a few months earlier, also in shorts (though running). It was a way to send a message about youth, vigor and vitality. I mean, you could argue that Palin’s people decided against showing her actually running because they decided it would be unbecoming of a female candidate to be shown sweating; it was enough that she telegraphed athleticism.

    But when the same cover was used on the cover of Newsweek, for a news story, with that headline, it completely changed the whole context of the photo. Suddenly it wasn’t just slightly posey and cheesecakey, it was full-on cheesecake. And it was clearly being used to denigrate Palin.

  71. zuzu
    zuzu May 10, 2011 at 10:43 pm |

    zuzu: IIRC, Newsweek was the magazine that repurposed the Runner’s World photo of Palin and used that headline (I think the parent company owns both magazines, or maybe they just stole it).

    Ah. here’s what I was looking for. It wasn’t used with permission.

    Though I misremembered that Palin was on the cover of Runner’s World; it looks like she was just in a feature article with a slideshow on the website.

    All but the final picture — the one with the flag and the ill-fitting shorts and the cheesecakey pose (and the flag fail — you’re not supposed to be propping your elbow on it like that, but IOKIYAR) — show her in actual running gear, outside. But again, not actually running.

  72. jennygadget
    jennygadget May 11, 2011 at 12:25 am |

    Ashley,

    if your problem is indeed the time he is spending away from doing congressmany things, rather than the sexual aspect of it all, than why single out him posing as a sex object in particular? As opposed to posing for (non-political) magazines in general? Especially as the whole point of the post is that posing in this way for this cover isn’t really seen as all that sexual?

    I’m not doubting your sincerity mind you, I’m just questioning the logic of what you are saying because it doesn’t make sense to me.

  73. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar May 11, 2011 at 9:12 am |

    As far as I can tell, most Congresscritters spend the majority of their time raising money and deal with all that legislative stuff as secondary. But that’s probably OT.

  74. Raymond
    Raymond May 11, 2011 at 2:07 pm |

    Bushfire, did you know that nowhere in the holy bible is there an equivalent word for “whore” that can be applied to a man who acts similarly as the so called woman acts to justify being called that? I wonder, why not? I mean most of the US has a majority religious designation of Christianity, so I guess that would indicate where bias might exist against men acting promiscuously as women in acting similarly. Personally, I learned early on that references like that are wrong and though I am not completely guilt free, I do try to refrain from referring to a woman as a bitch, whore, slut or any other kind of slanted derogatory remark and I aim to continue the tradition. With the House trying to take women back to the 18th and 19th centuries it behooves me to fight against what they are doing. Men, who cannot get pregnant wanting the last word on an issue that will never be a purview of theirs should not even be allowed to vote on issues like abortion. I propose for Congress to be made up of a 50-50 split of women to men. And though women have the vote they are not truly represented in Congress. More than 50% of the population is mad eup of women, And women have to gain the auspices of a man to get their issues votes on. It is unfair for women to still rely on the good graces of men to promote issues that help women.
    Just sayin.’

  75. LoriA
    LoriA May 13, 2011 at 7:51 am |

    @Ashley
    Nice try, but that wasn’t your original argument. If I may remind you, your first statement was merely that you can’t take people who present themselves as ‘sex objects’.

    @Thomas
    I appreciate the supportive words! And I really like “congresscritter”.

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