What defines success nowadays?
A few years back the tell tale signs of a successful person could be anything from their flashy car to their insanely extravagant holidays abroad.
But then the financial crash happened, pretty much ruining all of our chances of high-flying success and in turn, ripping away any confidence we had in the process.
This austerity, partnered with the rise of Instagram and the selfie generation, has seen a load of young blokes think that a sign of success in 2016 is having a gym-fit body, new research shows.
According to a study carried out at the University of East Anglia, the rise of the ‘spornosexual’ has meant traditional routes to success and power are slowly eroding. With 16 to 25-year-olds now seeking value through their bodies.
The author of the study, Dr Jamie Hakim, said that their had been a clear increase in young men sharing images of them working out and their bodies since the economic crash in 2008.
Austerity has eroded young men’s traditional means of value creation so they have become increasingly reliant on their bodies as a means of feeling valuable in society. One of the most interesting aspects of this development is the power shift of a segment of society who have historically defined themselves through their mind, whilst at the same time defining those they have subordinated – women, gay and working-class people – through their bodies.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, you may have seen the ‘war’ of nude pictures between Justin Bieber and Orlando Bloom, something which Hakim says is a prime example of this phenomenon.
The term ‘spornosexuality’, a combination of ‘sports star’ and ‘porn star’, was first coined back in 2014 by media commentator Mark Simpson about the rise of men attending the gym purely for appearance reasons, rather than for health or fitness.
However, Dr Hakim said that there’s a lot of work involved in maintaining the perfect physique, but it offers very little reward, unless they work as fitness professionals, models or personal trainers.
But because there’s not much else available in the current economy, young men feel compelled to continue working out and improving their physique.
Through his interviews with young British men who regularly use the gym and built a social media ‘brand’ based on their worked out bodies, Dr Hakim found that each guy spoke about how important it was that their friends reacted to their pictures online.
Dr Hakim added:
They continue to addictively pursue these fitness goals because the joys of accumulating spornosexual capital are one of the few remaining for young men in Britain’s post-crisis austerity economy.
We can only hope that young men of the future will have more opportunity to thrive and not just have to rely on their looks and physique to succeed.