Why No Swimsuit Issue of Men?

The height of swimsuit fashion in 1937. (Topical Press Agency/Getty)
Men who expose themselves to women are arrested; women who expose themselves to men are paid.

On the happily few occasions when callers to my radio show make a particularly foolish comment, I ask them what graduate school they attended.

When they ask why I assume they attended graduate school, I respond, “Only someone who went to graduate school would say something that foolish.”

Because it is never my intention to humiliate a caller, I always hasten to explain that my comment is not directed at the caller; it is directed at our universities. Moreover, I mean it literally. In order to say certain things that are so obviously foolish, one has to be taught them.

A prime example is a CNN article published to coincide with the release of the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, “Why no Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue of men?”

Without looking at the author’s name or bio, I immediately assumed that a professor had written it.

The assumption was correct.

The article, a compendium of learned nonsense, was written by a woman identified as “an assistant professor of psychology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and a former gender scholar at Stanford University.” (I am not mentioning her name because, as with my callers, she is not the issue; the contemporary university is.)

In order to be labeled a “gender scholar” — especially at a prestigious university — one must have internalized every falsehood our universities teach about men and women. And you cannot get more false, indeed absurd, than to seriously inquire why there is no Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue featuring men in swimsuits.

Yet a Cornell University professor of psychology and Stanford “gender scholar” actually asks: “Why has no one created a counterpart magazine featuring a scantily dressed man? Why are men so rarely offered up as objects to behold?”

Now, even putting aside the fact that the readership of Sports Illustrated is overwhelmingly male, the question is unrelated to reality — the reality that our grandmothers and grandfathers, who never went to college, perfectly understood: In the human species, the visual excites males much more than it excites females.

There is no swimsuit issue featuring men in skimpy swimsuits because the audience for such a magazine would overwhelmingly consist of gay men.

And therein lies one proof of why the Cornell professor’s question is so foolish.

Men are visually stimulated. And not because of “socialization,” as our universities teach, but because it is built into male nature. Gay men prove the point. Gay men are as interested in viewing unclothed fit young male bodies as heterosexual men are in viewing unclothed fit young female bodies. On the other hand, unless a woman knows who the man is, and is interested in him in some way, women are not nearly as interested in looking at scantily clad — let alone naked — male bodies. Women aren’t aroused solely by viewing the leg, thigh, chest, or backside of some male model or some anonymous male. Yes, a favorite actor taking his shirt off can be a turn-on for women. But an anonymous male great body does nothing for most women.

That’s why in real life — as opposed to Cornell or Stanford — men who expose themselves to women are arrested, while women who expose themselves to men are either thanked or paid.

The only question that remains is: Why do the best educated believe nonsense about men and women?

The answer is: because they want to believe it.

Religious people are regularly accused of wishful thinking — of wanting to believe in God, in divinely inspired Scripture, in an afterlife, etc. But the secular intelligentsia never apply this critique to themselves despite the fact that it is at least as true for most secular intellectuals as it is for Jewish and Christian believers.

Regarding men and women, they want to believe that men and women are not only equals (something religious Jews and Christians also believe), but, aside from obvious physical characteristics, the same. Feminists and others on the intellectual Left are frightened by many of life’s truths, one of which is that the sexes are profoundly different.

That is why there will always be a swimsuit issue depicting women as, yes, sexual objects for men to look at, and there will never be a popular issue of great men’s bodies in barely-there swimsuits for women to look at.

That this even needs to be said — and that it will be mocked and dismissed as “sexist” — is one more sign of the intellectual decay at Cornell, Stanford, the New York Times, and just about every other secular institution in America.

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His most recent book is Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at

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