Maybe it’s sunk into our psyche because of characters like Popeye and Johnny Bravo, but it seems like the uber-macho, beefcake-type male is here to stay. Just ask Vin Diesel or Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock). Or Salman Khan and his ilk, if you prefer. Bulging biceps and the six-pack abdomen — the stuff men dream of owning, the stuff female fantasies are made of. Right? After all, Olive Oyl incorrigibly swooned over Popeye and his massively muscular arms. And Johnny Bravo’s incredibly buff physique did help him get his women. No, wait, hold on. Poor Johnny was more of an all-brawn-no-brain kind of guy. Hmm, so the tide’s begun to change in cartoondom. Muscular men come with negative ratings now. Has that trickled into real life as well?
“Muscular men? Eww!” exclaims fashion stylist Isha Bhansali in disgust. “Every time I see one, I wonder: If I poke a needle into his bicep, will all the inflated air blow out?!” She then adds laughingly, “Muscular men equal chances of men wearing deep V-necks and showing cleavage.” Isha is certainly not alone in her views. Collegian Monali Dey concurs, “Muscles are annoying; a well-toned body looks good.”
Interestingly, past research has shown that women do, indeed, find muscular men attractive; just not the overly-bulky, wrestler kind. The biological theory behind this is that muscles and testosterone are a package deal: more muscle signifies more testosterone. Testosterone is not the friendliest hormone to have in abundance — it interferes with the immune system, causing higher susceptibility to infectious diseases. This is the root of women’s dislike for overly muscular men, say some social psychologists.
Opposing opinions have also led to corresponding research. There are those who disagree that women are only attracted to proportionately muscled men. If this theory were true, they ask, skinny guys should have been extinct by now. And if they’re still around, logic states that some women find non-muscular males attractive too. As it turns out, research has shown that women may well be attracted to well-proportioned muscular men, but the association is fleeting. Other factors also come into play.
Think about it: Salman Khan is single and now, so is John Abraham! So men can safely conclude then that there is no need to spend hours at the gym pumping iron in an effort to get buff for the ladies. Being fit and toned is all that’s really required — be it for your own health or to attract the opposite sex.
All this brouhaha over male muscularity might lead one to be curious about what the views on female muscularity are. The verdict, in synchrony with the earlier views, is enough of buff!
Nuff Buff Women
“Muscular women? They would only be acceptable in the case of the WWF and the like. Otherwise you’re just a woman who’s unhappy with your sexuality.”
– Isha Bhansali
“I haven’t seen many muscular women but I can’t imagine how that would be attractive at all!”
– Arjun Acharya
“You want my thoughts on muscular women? Sure, as long as I don’t get beaten up for calling them derby horses or barfing each time I look at them!”
– Purab Mehta
Volume 1 Issue 1