The rise of sharing images of fit male bodies on social media platforms

Today I was walking in a game’s shop, looking for some presents, when suddenly I noticed a mug.

It wasn’t the type of mug that you would expect to see in a game’s shop, it was a mug for “bodybuilders”.20160911_110527

As a sport lover and a sport scientist, I am quite skilled about sport gadgets but nowadays it is incredible the number of images and commercial brands which underline the necessity to have a “fit/perfect body”. Is it just a coincidence?

Luckily I am not the only one who notices it, in a recent article Dr J. Hakim (lecturer in Media Studies at University of East Anglia) shows how: “since 2008 there has been an empirically observable rise in young British men sharing images of their worked-out bodies on social media platforms (…). Increasing numbers of them are turning to sharing images of their worked-out bodies as a way of feeling valuable”.

The article suggests that this phenomenon can be understood as an “embodied and mediated response to the precarious structures of feeling produced by neoliberal austerity.[1]

But this is not the end of the story. hqdefaultIn July 2014, M. Simpson (who came up with the term ‘metrosexual’ about 20 years ago) coined the term ‘spornosexual’ in an article in the Daily Telegraph[2].

In layman’s word spornosexual is a sort of portmanteau of sports-star and porn-star, it underlines the new men and women’s trend of sharing their athletic bodies in social media. Shall we be worried about this events? I don’t think so, even if there are some points that we, as sport-lovers, should take into account.

Going to the gym primarily for reasons of appearance instead of fitness or health, then sharing images of semi-naked bodies on social media platforms, is definitely not a good behavior. A good example of what could happen has been the story of the Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers, who is probably going to face jail for body-shaming Snapchat post[3].

Another point to take into account is the incredible increasing of supplements market which is growing more than 40% [1,4], which means that more and more people probably take supplements without knowing enough about them. In conclusion, we are facing the spornosexual reality now, let’s hope it doesn’t destroy all the good reasons for which we do practice sports: for health first and then, maybe, for looking good.

PS. At the end I didn’t buy the mug, but you can find it easily on Amazon for your spornosexual friend.




[1] ‘The Spornosexual’: the affective contradictions of male body-work in neoliberal digital culture ( )

[2] The metrosexual is dead. Long live the ‘spornosexual’ ( )

[3] Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers could face jail time for body-shaming Snapchat post ( )

[4] E-cigarettes and sports nutrition products lead grocery sales boost ( )