chapter  13
14 Pages

‘Man-breasts’: Spaces of sexual difference, fluidity and abjection

Men with breasts shape and are shaped by a range of complex material, discursive, and psychoanalytic spaces. In relation to material spaces many are uncomfortable at swimming pools, beaches, changing rooms and other places that require exposing their naked torso. In relation to discursive spaces men are being ‘encouraged’ by men’s magazines and the health, fitness and beauty industries to look like GI Joe Extreme action dolls but the average weight of people in the food-secure West is increasing. Obesity is on the rise. This means rather than having toned pectoral muscles many men have soft, sagging breasts. In relation to psychoanalytic spaces breasted men disrupt understandings of sexual specificity because they are coded as feminine-fluid and as abject bodies that are subject to loathing and derision.