Dudeoir is the new pinup. (Photo: Masika May via Facebook)
Boudoir and pin-up photo shoots have been popular with women for a while. Some consider them a great way to document how they look when they are young or in great shape. Others see them as an exercise in empowerment. It turns out, that the it’s not just women who want to take sultry photos for their partner, guys have been signing up for ‘Dudeoir’ photoshoot too. While women’s boudoir photos seem to favor soft lighting, gauzy outfits and professional makeup application, the men’s version appears to be more about natural lighting and getting comfortable in one’s own Dad Bod.
When Dudeoir photo shoots first burst onto the pop culture scene in 2013, GQ magazine and other men’s media outlets called them a manufactured trend—something that almost no one was actually doing. It turns out, however, that plenty of photographers offer these services, and that they’re popular. “Guys have been using these pictures as gifts or even in social media for ages,” Max Woltman, a photographer in Albuquerque, NM, who offers Dudeoir shoots, tells Yahoo Beauty. “For many of my clients, it’s a way for them to show off what they’re proud of, especially if they work hard and take care of themselves.”
But this trend isn’t only for gym buffs. In fact last week, photos surfaced of a man with a bit of a Dad Bod in Langford, British Columbia, who had posed in bikini briefs and laid provocatively on a bed all for a photo book he’d made for his wife, whom apparently loved the gesture. And since the photos went viral, Masika Allan (the photographer who did the shoot) has had over 60 inquiries from men interested in booking a Dudeoir session for themselves. “People are always talking about how the women in ads and magazines aren’t typical or representative,” Allan tells Yahoo Beauty. “And yet not as much is said about male models not representing all men either.”
Who doesn’t love a dad bod? (Photo: Masika May via Facebook)
But don’t get excited about this baby step toward gender equality just yet. Allan’s photos have been called “risqué” and even “slightly ridiculous” by media outlets—and that’s where the controversy comes in. Because why is it ridiculous for a man to pose this way, when it’s beyond common for women? In fact, Allan’s Dudeoir photos were actually flagged for nudity and removed by Facebook, yet photos like this of women are a dime a dozen on the site.
Also interesting to think about is how this trend relates to the fact that men hitting middle age are often given a bit of a free pass as they get “softer” and older. Their bodies might age, but yet they’re still routinely paired with Hollywood’s youngest and hottest new ingénues. In contrast, middle age women are trying to—and expected to—look younger and fitter longer than ever thanks to ageless celebrities like Cindy Crawford, Christie Brinkley and Elle MacPherson.
Maybe it is time that the world gets a better look at what the average guy looks like. “This is a good thing,” photographer Max Woltman says, “because it’s exposing our culture to a range of male body types and questioning what we expect of men.” We’re our own worst critics after all, and looking at ourselves more than ever thanks to social media, which has contributed to an uptick in men’s cosmetic treatments and plastic surgeries. But while a surge in Dad Bod-esque photos could potentially change the way people see men’s bodies for the better, ultimately these photos are done for a variety of reasons—fun, confidence, intimacy are just a few of the motivations. Fitness blogger and author James Fell tells Yahoo Beauty, “If Dudeoir is about expressing yourself—not inspiring guilt or shame in someone else, or captioning the images with ‘I look like this. What’s your excuse?’—then it’s not really anything to worry about.”