Heavenly Monsters: The Politics of the Male Body in the Naked Issue of Attitude Magazine

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Abstract

The male body in contemporary gay culture is subordinated to distinct aesthetic and ethical norms that reflect an all-male idolization of the young, muscular, smooth, and transcendent physique. The queer body is manipulated in different techniques including daily work at the gym, diet, hair supplement/removal, tanning, and dying. Liberating the body from heteronormative oppression does not necessarily guarantee the liberation of the (gay) body from other powerful systems that produce and commercialize body fascism. This article problematizes these body politics and economy of identity focusing on the naked issue of Attitude (October 1999), a six-year-old British life-style glossy magazine. This analysis mainly focuses on the illuminating interview with five gay men who express their intimate feelings and criticize the body worship in the gay media: an over-weight man, a skinny man, a psoriasis sufferer, an old and heavily tattooed and pierced man, and a bodybuilder who works as an escort.