Recently – about a year ago – there was a medium media hype around a guy who re-created American Apparel photo shoots – of females. [x]
Is this pose sexy for a man? I will exclude this topic for now, because it’s an emotional and highly individual one. Yet what can generally be said is that the pose is objectifying and severely distracting from the shirt American Apparel wants to sell.
The re-creation of the photo campaigns created such a buzz because it shed a light on unequal treatment of males and females in the media, and in a way people could have a laugh, and not feel lectured.
When I saw it, my first thought was that Groucho Marx would now be smiling down benevolently from his cloud, because he has done the same, once, around 80 years ago. (I don’t know when the picture was shot precisely.)
Of course this is not the way men are depicted in promo shoots of the time. The picture (as does his stage persona) is incorporating many cliché male features, like the stache, the suit, and the cigar), but the pose is distinctly not male. The coy glance up, the smile, the showing of a bare leg (complete with garter [Am]), the bent-over pose. And his smile shows off that he knows exactly what he’s doing.
The picture is funny because it anticipates the reaction “No that wasn’t what I meant when I told you to pose sexy!” Yet why not exactly? And that is what Groucho leads into thinking about. Because Groucho doesn’t need to flaunt bare skin to be acknowledged? Because as a male he is expected not to pose so devoutly? He doesn’t have to encourage wishful thinking by a turned out backside? All of the above. Groucho is grumpy, quarreling with everyone in the movies, can be a gentleman but mostly is a self-sufficient dick. His value isn’t determined by how desirable he appears, and more, how devout and manageable.
The picture shows how conscious he is about his own privilege. Did I mention how much I love him?