Bench Underwear Ads and the Male Body


The essay problematizes the representation of the Male Body in contemporary Philippine urban culture as simplistic index of sexual relations based on residual notions of patriarchy complicated by hegemony heterosexism and emergent homoeroticism, as exemplified by the Bench underwear billboard ads for men between 2003-2004. This representation is said to be derived from the industrialized mode of image consumption produced in the global capitalist fashion industry that fails to negate the states of its diffracted audience as empowered consumers in either hetrosexist, feminine, or queer modalities. Its massified production and display nonetheless question the nature of Philippine sexual culture as homogenous and uncomplicated and reveals relations of power embedded in an eroticized display of male embodiment.