So… Time Magazine chose to release “beefcake” photos of Paul Ryan today, the day of the Vice Presidential debate. Photos that they took last year for the “Man of the Year” campaign.
The photos—which caused me to somehow laugh, shake my head, turn red with embarrassment, and clap all at once—are super weird. Paul Ryan on a weigh bench doing curls (Elspeth Reeve from Atlantic Wire explains that they are “what high school gym coaches nationwide call ‘curls for girls,’ bicep curls that make your arms beefy for the ladies but don’t really make you stronger or better at sports.”) and staring into the camera in a way that makes me want to cover my face with my hands and run away.
It’s not Ryan’s fault. No doubt that in December of 2011 the guy wasn’t thinking ahead to his run for Vice President and how that goofy stare into the camera would make him seem… well… goofy. And I don’t think it matters much whether you’re planning to vote Romney or Obama, this feels like a low-blow at a crucial point in the campaign.
I think we need to take a moment here and recognize that as hunky as his biceps may appear in these shots, Ryan is not being overtly sexualized. This series of beefcake photos is embarrassing only in its complete lack of seriousness. We still haven’t seen the elusive (and, at this point, alleged) Paul Ryan six-pack yet, and I maintain that I don’t want to see it. If I want to hate on Paul Ryan, I’d rather do it for his political strategies, fiscal policy, or anything else that actually matters.
I want to see the women and men who are best for their jobs elected in 2012. The ones whom America thinks represent the people best. And I hope we can move past these goofy high school-mentality media pranks and hear what Biden and Ryan have to say about the things that truly matter to the American people.
What do you think of Beefcake Ryan and his “Curls for Girls”? Do you think it was a mistake for him to pose for them in the first place, or is the fault planted firmly with Time Magazine for choosing to publish them today?