‘Fit is the new rich’: male embodiment in the age of austerity

Jamie Hakim

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Since 2014 there has been a significant rise in the amount of young men going to the gym to fashion spectacularly muscular bodies and then sharing images of them on social networking sites. Cultural commentator Mark Simpson has called this phenomenon ‘spornosexuality’ – a portmanteau of sportsman and porn star. This article asks, what can the rise of spornosexuality tell us about living in the current historical conjuncture? It argues that spornosexuality can be understood as an attempt to embody neoliberal ideals in the constrained spaces of austerity culture; seeing it as a limited form of value creation when the means that young men have traditionally relied on to feel socially valuable are being diminished by post-crisis austerity policies. By drawing on interviews with men who engage in spornosexual practice the article concludes by intervening in current debates about what structure of feeling dominates the present moment and thinking where it might be most effectively contested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-94
Number of pages11
JournalSoundings: A Journal of Politics and Culture
Issue numberWinter
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • the male body
  • masculinity
  • austerity
  • neoliberalism
  • digital media

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