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Laura Perrins: I am more likely to be rescued by a macho man than a ‘spornosexual’


If we want to know how bad things are in the academy then look no further than this gem of a report from Dr Jamie Hakim, a lecturer at the University of East Anglia’s School of Film, Television and Media Studies and published in the Journal of Gender Studies (!) on the rise of the ‘spornosexual.’

Supposedly, we are to believe that the rise and rise of ‘spornosexual’ men, who are inspired by porn and sports stars to buff up at the gym, is due to the recession and austerity.

In these poor financial times, men feel emasculated so they have decided essentially to buff up their bodies. It pains me to think that some people are going into debt to study at this department and pains me even more to know that their options will be either to become a social justice warrior or pursue a career in media.

I doubt either career will result in them paying their full student loan back so ultimately the pain is all ours- the taxpayer who must pick up the bill for this kind of nonsense.

It is unlikely that Dr Hakim’s theory will stand up to examination. It is just as likely that these young men are raging against the metrosexual so beloved by the feminists. You know the type – they watch Nordic Noir, while whipping up a carbonara with a baby on the hip. Tiresome, but there it is.

In fact, it was not that long ago, before the metrosexual, before the spornosexual, there was the macho man. That is just a man to you and me. They existed.

I had the pleasure of watching said macho men while on holiday and found a DVD at the back of the cupboard. It was the classic film Backdraft.

Do you remember Backdraft circa 1991? It was a film Ron Howard could direct before the feminists came and took over Hollywood. It is beyond doubt the greatest film homage to firefighters ever made.

Set in Chicago, it tells the story of two feuding brothers, the McCaffreys, who lost their firefighting father when they were just children. We are supposed to believe the dark and brooding Kurt Russell and William Baldwin are of Irish decent. Neither of them looks Irish to me, but then their habits are decidedly Irish: they drink, they settle any dispute with a fist fight, and they swear a lot.

The great thing about Backdraft, as I have said, is that it was made in a different time – 1991 before the feminists had keyboards. So the movie is wall-to-wall men – the women get about five mins of airtime literally out of a running time of two and a half hours.

These men rescue women; save the lives of babies; bash down doors; fall through burning platforms; and hang on to flaming handles with one hand while their fellow firefighter dangles from their other hand, all above the blazing inferno.

Crikey, I thought half way through, this is one macho film. It is just dripping with testosterone. They just don’t make films like this anymore! So it came as no surprise when I read in the production notes that the screenwriter said Chicago was chosen as the location and fire department because it was ‘one of the most macho in the country.’ Chicago Fire Department was, he said, ‘slow to change.’ Slow to change to what, was not explained.

I am not too sure if they are called firemen now. It is probably all firepeople or some such these days. But I have no doubt that majority of firefighters are still men, risking life and limb to save the lives of others. And this is the sad point about the rise of the spornosexual – ultimately this bodybuilding is in service to themselves – most of the images are posted online to improve ‘their brand.’

These misguided chaps have missed the point of ‘macho’ man. Those men were macho by necessity, namely by undertaking strenuous manufacturing jobs, joining the army or indeed firefighting. They did not improve their physical strength solely for their own bodily glorification. They did it serve others, not themselves.

(Image: Martin de Witte)

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