I found this image in the very popular Mens Health magazine and it is an advertisement for a perfume Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier. The image has many connotations to the society we live in and is distinctly distinguishable from similar advertisements from the past. The man in the image we can see has a lean hardened body unlike the 80’s macho man image of the likes of Arnold Shwarznegger and Sylvester Stallone which were just brute muscle mass. The man still has some “machoness” about him mainly stemming from the stare that he is giving the camera.
The unimpressed stare which oozes confidence and stature masculinity is however directly opposed by some of the feminine or homosexual connotations that the image signifies. Another sign showing the machoness of the man is the crossed hands signifieng the man is closed off and protecting himself. The kink in the mans neck is a perfect example of the femmeninity that opposes the hardened (erect) body and portrays a more flaccid standing signifieng the homosexual idea that gay men always have flaccid wrists.
The sailor cap worn by the man is directly signifying the mans possible homosexuality. Where as in the past a sailor was regarded as a tough manly soldier who was nobly defending ones country these days due to the Village People and the constant news reports of weird initiation ceremonys with sexual connotations on battleships and the fact that the sailors would be out in sea with no contact with females for some time with undeniable sexual urges and frustrations points to the fact that the man might be gay.
This is also backed up by the effeminate tattoos which cover the mans upper bosy.
Tattoos such as doves, flowers, butterflys are generally seen as images that would drape the body of a woman and not a tough sailor which generally we would excpect tattoos of anchors etc.. ala Popeye. The flower tattoos around the mans nipple are also indictive of this as the nipple is an erotic zone linked to women and not straight men. The (possibly) waxed chest of the man and such thing as his manicured fingernails, plucked eyebrows connoite societys shift from the mach men of yester year to the metrosexual phenomenon of the late 90’s and early Y2K.
The advent of the metrosexual which is a man who takes pride in his appearance so much so that designer clothes are a msut have, shopping is no longer a choir, skin and hair products are no longer just reserved for women , has been very evident. Thanks to the likes of David Beckham whos hairstyles whilst at first were probably laughed at but now are being imitated by most urban men, Ian Thorpe who has gone so far as to start his own fashion label, a fashion label started by a swimmer? Couldn’t have guessed that 10 years ago.
Television shows such as Queer Eye for the Straight guy who portray straight men as slobs who take no pride in their appearance and have no idea about what is fashionable and must be shown the light by gay men also helps us understand the reasons why homosexual connotations have been used to help sell this perfume, because after all of a gay man tells us that its fashionable then it must be, right? Finally we can see that the name of the perfume is Le Male indicating that it is the essence of man. That man being the metrosexual, homosexual man of todays society which is the fashionable thing to be .