Monday, August 15, 2016

"Austerity linked to rise of the 'spornosexual'"

From the American Academy for the Advancement of Science's EurekAlert:
The economic crisis and austerity are having an unexpected consequence: more young men striving for gym-fit, photo-perfect bodies that they use to create a social media brand.

That's according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA), which suggests traditional routes to success and power have been eroded in 'Austerity Britain', causing young men to seek value instead through their bodies.

Since the 2008 financial crash, there has been an empirically observable rise in young men sharing images of their worked-out bodies on social media platforms, said the study's author, Dr Jamie Hakim. His paper, 'The Spornosexual': the affective contradictions of male body-work in neoliberal digital culture', is published today in the Journal of Gender Studies.

Dr Hakim, a lecturer in media studies in UEA's School of Film, Television and Media Studies, said: "One of the most interesting aspects of this development is the power-shift of a segment of society who have historically defined themselves through their mind, whilst at the same time defining those they have subordinated - women, gay and working-class people - through their bodies. The former group has historically been employed as high-paid decision-makers, whilst the latter have had to rely on their bodies for low- or no-pay work, such as manual and domestic labour, slavery and sex work.
"Austerity has eroded young men's traditional means of value-creation so they have become increasingly reliant on their bodies as a means of feeling valuable in society. In theoretical terms, so-called 'spornosexuality' is an embodied response to material changes brought about by neoliberal austerity."

The term 'spornosexuality', a portmanteau of 'sports star' and 'porn star', was coined in July 2014 by media commentator Mark Simpson, in an article in The Daily Telegraph about the rise of men attending the gym primarily for reasons of appearance, rather than for health or fitness....MORE
HT: Economist's View