The tight jacket is a tricky choice for men. If the body is trim and well proportioned the tight jacket shows it to good effect but if if its not then the man can end up looking like he’s in the process of exploding out of his body – right now. Step back!
But this jacket is also indicative of the pressures that modern men are willing to put themselves under. The tight jacket is the male equivalent of the push up bra and just like that old advert it says “Hello Girls (or Boys)’ in flaunting the well defined chest, shoulders and arms. Its the gym body thats on show here and the tight jacket is a loud gym membership card. It means ‘this man looks after himself- look! See!’
But it might also imply that this man is willing to restrict his movement in an effort to look finished and pristine. It is about being looked at and not being (although looking capable of being) a man of action. Its the fixed pose. The icon of masculinity has to work its power in the face of any real threat. The well sculpted body is not about being ‘tough’
Body mutilations in the name of fashion and desire go back to the foot binding of Chinese girls – an effort to restrict their movement and maintain the sort of fragile dependent feminine that men were said to need. The nineteenth century corset also attempted to shape the body by emphasising the waist thus demonstrating the lengths women would go to in order to maintain the correct shape. Compared with these tortures the tight jacket is a modest contribution but it bears the same logic – sacrifice to become an object of desire.
It’s a sad comment on identity politics that after all the advances of feminism men are being led down the same dark roads in the name of consumer identities. But with the combined forces of the market and a deep ideology that insists that we are all responsible for ourselves first and foremost it takes a genuinely strong man to resist.
These men are probably not in the gym.