Man-Slut Pop Stars

It’s so annoying how most of these teen aged pop singers assume the way to present a “grown up” version of themselves is to appear half naked on album covers or sleep around. But I suppose they get these stupid ideas from culture, which seems to equate being sexual with having sex and in turn with being an adult.

(Link):  For Nick Jonas, Showing Off Is Paying Off

Excerpts

  • …Once a third of a boy band perhaps better known for purity rings than God-fearing hits, the youngest Jonas brother is now flashing his abs (and a lot of more) in gay clubs, in fashion spreads and on TV.
  • …Not surprisingly, showing off is paying off. “Jealous,” which was released in September, just went platinum. (His last Top 40 hit was five years ago, when he was still with the Jonas Brothers.) In April, he will open for Iggy Azalea on her “Great Escape” tour.
  • …In October 2013, Mr. Jonas approached his two older brothers about disbanding the Disney-rock trio so he could go solo.

    “In the past, there was certainly less freedom,” he said. “I wasn’t able to be as vocal about certain things.”

  • …For Nick Jonas, striking out on his own meant ditching Christian guitar riffs for a flirty soul-pop sound injected with body-positive bravado. On the track “Wilderness” from his current album, he sings, “Naked as the day we were born/Did you know it could feel like this?”
  • ….The erotization of young male pop stars can still make stars and their fans uncomfortable. Take the recent hiccups surrounding Mr. Bieber, whose “Beliebers” were criticized for defending their idol through homophobic language.

  • Louis Tomlinson, a member of One Direction, took to Twitter to defend his heterosexuality after a journalist from The Independent reported that a T-shirt Mr. Tomlinson wore was in solidarity with Apple’s newly out chief executive, Tim Cook.
  • Mr. Jonas stands out by embracing the homoerotic undercurrents inherent to pop superstardom.
  • ..The public striptease continued. The next month, he appeared in Details magazine glistening in sweat as he showed off his shirtless workout regimen, as well as in Attitude, a British gay magazine, in which he flexed his muscles yet again and said that being hairy was a “beautiful part about being a man.”
  • Not since the R&B singer D’Angelo appeared in the buff for his music video “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” 15 years ago has a male pop act been so at ease objectifying himself.

    No other crooner on today’s charts sells his sexuality as overtly as Mr. Jonas, whether it’s on his personal Instagram account (a belly-button-baring post from September received over 278,000 likes), ripping off his shirt while being interviewed for “On Air With Ryan Seacrest” or paying a visit to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” with no pants on.

    Then there is his burgeoning acting career. He stars in the new DirecTV series “Kingdom,” in which he plays a (usually shirtless) gay mixed-martial-arts fighter struggling with his sexuality. In addition to his many bedrooms scenes, there has been much conjecture about a future scene in which Mr. Jonas may appear completely naked.

  • …Mr. Jonas is not the first man in pop music with an exhibitionistic streak. Prince was notorious for wearing itty-bitty black undergarments. Adam Levine and Kanye West (who showed off his pecs during Paris Fashion Week) have no problem flaunting their physiques. Justin Bieber is often (inexplicably) shirtless. Justin Timberlake showed some flesh for Arena Homme magazine in 2001 and a year later for Rolling Stone.
  • And of course there was Mr. Wahlberg, before he made the transition from ’90s hip-hop performer to Hollywood actor.

    What sets Mr. Jonas apart from other beefcakes is his understanding that social media has expanded the possibilities for expressions of male sexuality in popular culture. While Mr. Jonas is straight (he is dating Olivia Culpo, Miss USA 2012), he proudly kowtows to demographics outside his female fan base.

    In September, he showed up at a gay Sunday night party at Up & Down, a club on West 14th Street, where he happily obliged a request from a drag queen to lift up his shirt. He also stopped by BPM, a gay club in Hell’s Kitchen, where he unbuttoned his shirt entirely while Levi Karter, an adult-film star, danced in his underwear alongside him. At one point, he even tweeted, “I love my gay fans.”

    His courting of gays has sparked some debate. A recent article in the NYU Local, a college newspaper, accused Mr. Jonas of “queer baiting” and “cashing in on something he’s not.”

  • ….“Nick is the first straight male in the past few years to let himself be sexualized by gay men and not just be O.K. with it, but promote it,” said Mitchell Sunderland, an editor at Vice who recently wrote an article for the magazine about Mr. Jonas. “Although there is a profit-based motive, it’s still pretty revolutionary.”

    This approach appears to be more aligned with the calculated coming-of-age-by-stripping-down blueprint formulated by female image makers such as Britney Spears (another former Disney performer) and Miley Cyrus (a girlfriend of Mr. Jonas during her “Hannah Montana” era).

    “I think Nick is more in tune with what is selling with the kids, and his openness will be a model for other guys in the industry to follow because it’s been so successful,” said Bradley Stern, an editor for the music website Idolator and founder of the pop blog MuuMuse. “Considering how much people bemoan the fact that female pop stars are forced to be sexy to sell, it’s interesting that no one feels very much pity for Nick Jonas.”

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Related:

(Link): Nick Jonas Losing Christian Image as ‘Racy’ Music Video Set to Release

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