Why are men so obsessed with big chests and broad shoulders? One new study tried to get to the bottom of it.
To come to this result, researchers studied the eye movements of 82 male undergraduate students. Specifically, the scientists watched the men’s eyes as they judged male and female 3D models on the basis of attractiveness. In the end, men tended to favor other men with larger pecs and a higher shoulder to hip ratio.
“Our study showed that men rate men with larger upper body sizes more attractive and rate women with smaller shoulders (smaller upper body) more attractive, while women preferred an intermediate size of shoulders for both men and women,” said researcher Farid Pazhoohi to PsyPost.
He then added:
“Gazing results showed that only men attend to variations in men upper bodies. In sum, men are more concerned with men’s upper bodies, suggesting they desire more masculine body forms for their mating success as well as in making the assessment of other men’s formidability.”
That said, the original study was focused on straight men. So how does it relate to GBT men?
Unfortunately, these results don’t surprise anyone and may actually be more relevant in terms of gay spaces than even straight ones. While straight men might find objective attractiveness in men with big chests and broad shoulders, men who have sex with other men are drowning in a society that celebrates bigger bodies. Whether it be the muscular bodies found on Instagram or, frankly, pictures on gay news sites, there’s a constant pressure to idolize muscular bodies. And even further, gay internet users/readers support muscular bodies more than others.
According to Pink News, a 2017 study found that this reality has led to gay men also being more attracted to men with bigger and muscular bodies.
As lead author Adrienne Evans noted after the study, “although it appears as though we have moved forward, our desires are still mostly about money and strength.”
She then added, “From smart-suited city workers to toned gym-goers flashing their flesh, the men featured in the photographs on Tube Crush [the social media program used to conduct the study] show that as a culture we still celebrate masculinity in the form of money and muscle.”
These studies recognize that when it comes to objective and societal thoughts on male attraction, muscles are still the defining trait. But can we change that? Is there a way to take down the praising of unrealistic muscular bodies and celebrate average and large bodies?
One true solution is to simply celebrate bodies besides the “cherished” muscular one. Overwriting society’s coding on this issue with bodies more realistic to everyday life. If you want to start, click here to read all of our posts about bear culture, enjoy this story about Big Boy Pride, or my personal article about finding self-love with a flabby body.