If you look back at the centuries of Western art, you’ll notice a ton of female nudes but very few male ones. The Leopold Museum in Vienna has organized a new exhibit, “Naked Men” to bring those few paintings to the public.
But the question remains: why are there are so few male nudes out there? The Wall Street Journal took a stab at explaining it. One reason stated is that nude pics of men conjure up images of sexual abuse. Another explanation: the male nude was associated with male independence and heroism in the 19th century. But by the 20th century, “male heroism was faltering to the brooding introspection.” So, fewer and fewer images were created.
I must add another reason: homophobia. I think the male nude stirs up so many conflicting sensations among men that it scares them. So many men fear feeling any homosexual stirrings lest they be “found out” and ostracized. By the “Naked Men” exhibit sharing images of male nudes, they are essentially reminding us that men’s bodies, like those of women, shouldn’t be considered objects of aggression and fear, but rather beauty.