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Why We Celebrate Hot Bodies In DNA

"Summer Feels" fashion story, DNA #234 by Leo Castro.

Why have a Hot Bodies issue of DNA? Aren’t they all hot body issues? 

Yes, every issue of DNA contains hot guys with hot bodies but, recently, some comments I’ve seen online have annoyed me and I want to call them out and challenge the assumptions they make.

DNA is sometimes criticised for the lack of so-called “real” men on our covers. I know what is implied by “real men” in this context: men without the physiques and looks that we choose to feature. What bugs me about this comment is the assumption that the men on our covers are somehow fake, shallow, lacking in substance, less than “real”. 

They aren’t. Our cover guys – and most are not models – are very real people. Most of them have “real” jobs in the real world, and many are not just blessed with good looks but brains, too. Our cover guys have included chemical engineers, investment bankers, fashion designers, business owners, teachers and servicemen. 

Denis Suraev by Stas Vokman.

They’re men who have been genetically blessed and have worked damn hard with diligence and self-discipline in the gym and on their diet to achieve the bodies they have. 

“Same old PhotoShopping,” was a comment I saw recently online. Of course we use PhotoShop. Everyone who posts a selfie to Instagram is putting the shot through some sort of filter these days. But the post-production techniques we employ are not about creating exaggerated, unnatural body shapes in the way that women’s magazines, Instagram influencers and advertising does. We clean up blemishes, rebalance colours, fix awkward shadows… things we all do all the time on social media. The bodies in our images are the product of hard work on the part of the model, not the result of PhotoShop reconstructions!  

Caue Frias by Esa Kapila.

To me, these criticisms often feel like an inverted homophobia. How dare we celebrate and adulate these beautiful men! Where is our gay shame? Shouldn’t we feel bad about idealising the masculine form?

No! That kind of thinking leads to censorship, and there’s already enough of that inflicted upon us. 

 The female nude is a staple of art and photography, but try publishing an artful image of a flaccid penis, in print or online, and see how fast your social media account is closed, your sales channels are shut down or your holiday snaps are reported as inappropriate to the Facebook thought police.

It was the American beefcake and physique magazines of the post-war era that helped liberate gay men, giving them permission to sexually objectify other men, giving them a chance to express and experience their sexuality. Today, there are forces that still wish to shame us.

I’m not suggesting we’re living in a Handmaid’s Tale Gilead dystopia, but the gay male gaze is still a contemporary threat to the status quo. It’s a threat to the patriarchal hierarchy, which requires that women be objectified, not men. And it’s a threat to some quarters of feminist thought, which sees all sexual objectification as a form of pornography. 

Stas Tikonov by Serge Lee.

It’s no surprise to me that Israel Folau’s “repent or burn in hell” message to homosexuals comes from a man playing a game in which men throw their bodies at other men and attempt to physically dominate them. Homo-anxiety is highest in the most homo-erotic sports. Tennis players, golfers and cricketers don’t appear to have the same anxieties as Mr Folau.

So, we salute all the real, hot-bodied men of this issue: ballet dancer Caue Frias (The Secret Of Flight), Simon Dunn (in his fitness column), cover model Stas Tikhonov, porn star Sean Zevran, triathlete Denis Suraev (Slippery When Wet) and Brazilian beach boys Gustavo Naspolini, Mauro Poggi, Sahar Hori, Max Figueiredo, Stepan Perevrzev, Vitor Castro, Bruno Krause, Joao Pedro Aires (the Summer Feels fashion feature). 

Sean Zevran by James Franklin.

And there are other men to appreciate in this issue, too, like Brit musician Davey Boi, Law And Order actor Raul Esparza and soccer player Andy Brennan (Our First Out A-Leaguer).

Let’s appreciate them all for all their achievements.

DNA #234 is out now!

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DNA is Australia's best-selling magazine for gay men. Every month, you'll find great feature stories, celebrity profiles, pop culture reviews and sensational photography of some of the world's sexiest male models in our fashion stories. DNA was launched in Australia in 2000 and is available worldwide in Print (in newsagents and bookstores throughout Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, UK and Europe) and Digital (through DNAstore, Pocketmags, iTunes, Amazon Kindle, Windows and Google Play).

Copyright © 2019 DNA Magazine.

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