Traditional masculine values of “muscles and money” are still what many people deem most attractive, a study has found.
Academics at Coventry and Aberystwyth University analysed data from the TubeCrush website, on which commuters upload covertly-taken photographs of attractive men on the London Underground.
Visitors to the site can then rate the images, either with an indicative thumbs up or a “cute but not my type” thumbs down.
After studying the kinds of images featured on the site and the corresponding comments, researchers quickly concluded that both straight female and homosexual male users were attracted to very particular types of men.
There was a distinct lack of diversity in the entries, with scientists noting that the majority of men on TubeCrush were white, despite London’s multi-cultural population.
They also found that the photos placed an emphasis on muscular body parts, suggesting that many deem physical strength a particularly attractive quality.
Finally, they noticed that the images tended to focus on and celebrate symbols of wealth, such as high-end phones, expensive-looking suits and smart watches.
The study, which was published in Feminist Media Studies, concluded that very few users were drawn to more meaningful representations of masculinity – such as fatherhood.
“From smart-suited City workers to toned gym-goers flashing their flesh, the men featured in the photographs on TubeCrush show that as a culture we still celebrate masculinity in the form of money and muscle,” said lead author Adrienne Evans, senior lecturer at Coventry University.
“They are marking the middle-class, wealthy, mobile and sexually powerful male body, not as a political one as feminists intend it to be, but one that should be actively desired.”
Evans added that these kinds of ideologies are “a problem” because they demonstrate a social regression in terms of how we perceive masculinity, as her findings show that male desire, in terms of TubeCrush, is mostly rooted in “money and strength.”