AskDefine | Define beefcake

Dictionary Definition

beefcake n : a photograph of a muscular man in minimal attire

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

from beef + cake
constructed as an analogy with cheesecake: slang; an image of a sexy young woman.

Noun

beefcake
  1. An image of a muscular, well-built man.
  2. such a man, often seen as physically desirable

Extensive Definition

Beefcake is often used to denote male sexual attractiveness stemming from physical build, but is also used by women and men interested in bodybuilding and weight training, while others consider unnaturally overdeveloped musculature unattractive. While in spectator combat disciplines many fighters choose to make their entry (or even fight if no uniform is prescribed) in elaborate costumes that sometimes practically hide them, others simply display their natural physique.

Actors known as Beefcakes

Beefcake poses by male actors were used far less frequently than cheesecake layouts of actresses, nevertheless as early as the 1920s photographs were taken of such stars as Rudolph Valentino and Ramon Novarro to highlight their physical appeal. Male physique shots of famous stars were even less frequent during the early talking picture era outside of stars of jungle films like Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan) and Buster Crabbe. The 1940s saw a rise in shirtless shots of such handsome stars as Tyrone Power, Guy Madison, Sterling Hayden and Victor Mature; and in the 1950s movie magazines began running swimsuit shots of actors such as Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter, Jeff Chandler, Robert Conrad and Robert Wagner almost as frequently as they would of actresses. This period also included the rise of bodybuilding magazines, which continue to be popular to the present day, as well as musclemen movie stars like Steve Reeves who were often barely dressed in their action/adventure films.

1970 to present

The 1970s proved a golden age for beefcake with the debut of Playgirl magazine and its completely nude pictorials of men, Cosmopolitan magazine's famous semi-nude centerfolds of actors like Burt Reynolds, and the rise of pornography directed at gay male audiences in both magazines and films. Today, it is about as common to see beefcake shots of male sex symbols like actors Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise on the cover of general interest magazines as temptress poses of female sex symbols. While for many actors and models shirtless poses are the least demure in line with their 'conservative' image, for others it looks almost prudish compared to the more revealing, sometimes even pornographic work.
Other actors who have occasionally posed for beefcake shots over the years include Errol Flynn, Robert Taylor,John Payne, Jeffrey Hunter, Rory Calhoun, Peter Lupus,Rod Taylor, Joe Dallesandro, Sam J. Jones, Tom Selleck, Mark Harmon, Victor Webster, former Calvin Klein underwear model Antonio Sabato Jr and Type O Negative frontman, Peter Steele.
In advertisement, beefcake male models have become a popular ingredient for 'spicy' commercial shots and (often humorous) spots, e.g. the British future minor pop star Nick Kamen remains most famous for his 1985 beefcake performance in Levi's "Launderette" TV commercial where he strips down in order to stone-wash his blue jeans in a 1950s style public laundromat while he waits clad only in his boxer shorts, which dramatically increased their popularity; it was selected for "The 100 Greatest TV Ads" in 2000 and followed by many other, often bare-chested, sometimes even naked.
Many professional male bodybuilders advertise their services, offering advice concerning nutrition, training etc., often marketing their videos in which training programmes are demonstrated. Since the late 20th century, it has become more evident that buyers of such videos are attracted not just by a bodybuilder's mere bulk of muscles, but also by his toned body and sexual appeal. Browsing through a number of bodybuilders' home pages, one occasionally finds videos advertised which are said to include "frontal nudity", "sexually explicit material", etc.
A 1998 movie of the same name Beefcake details the history of the Athletic Model Guild, an early company known for their photos of men in various publications.
The origin of "Beefcake," a protein enriched meal supplement, comes from South Africa; ancient tribesmen invented it as a way of gaining weight quickly in order to compete for tribe leader. It is also widely acknowledged that "Beefcake" was consumed for spiritual ceremonies. An interesting fact is that it was not derived from the meat of bovine, but rather that of deer.
beefcake in French: Bellâtre

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Telephoto, Wirephoto, aerial photograph, black-and-white photograph, candid photograph, cheesecake, chronophotograph, color photograph, color print, diapositive, heliochrome, heliograph, montage, mug, mug shot, photo, photobiography, photochronograph, photograph, photomap, photomicrograph, photomontage, photomural, picture, pinup, portrait, shot, slide, snap, snapshot, still, still photograph, telephotograph, transparency
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