What South Africans Think Is The Ideal Male Beauty

American media outlet Buzzfeed ran a poll to find out what different countries find attractive in their local men. The study was done in 12 countries, South Africa and Nigeria represented our continent on the list with each country's individual stats. 

The publications gathered information from professional publications, entertainment, and social media to determine: how have popular culture and media shaped our views on ideal male beauty? Of course relying on these sources in a South African context poses a problem.

Social media and traditional media is not really a true reflection of South African trends. For instance, of the current 5 most followed South Africans on Twitter, only 1 still lives in South Africa. The top 2, Casper Lee and Troye Sivan do not live in this country and I bet 90% of South Africans do not even know who they are. 

I could also go on about how these kind of studies only poll people in big cities like Joburg and Capetown, as well as harp on about the socio ecomonic differences of races and class but just for fun let's just entertain the finding. 

According to the study's finding there is nothing new to gay and bisexual men who, when compared to their straight counterparts, have historically reported higher percentages of eating disorders and generally experience more cultural and sexual pressure to come to terms with their body image, whether it be issues of weight, racial objectification and preference, or masculinity.

These concerns surrounding the “ideal” traits that make a man physically attractive, in no small part thanks to the mass media, are beginning to affect men everywhere, especially young boys. 

The male beauty market has reacted with exponential statistics: The number of men’s beauty products increased by more than 70% worldwide between 2012 and 2014. As of 2013, men’s skin care alone was a $3.3 billion global industry.

Apparently the ideal  “Hottest” male in South Africa is on average a white man. Though according to the 2011 census, blacks made up 79.6% of the population of almost 52 million and white people only 8.9% of the population.

Well, I can believe this in some way. Much of representation in media is directly related to who holds the power. Whites hold that power in Mzansi. It is only in recent times that glamorous brands even considered using black models in their print and tv campaign. The image of ideal beauty has always been pushed as white.  

Money is another issue. The average annual income for a white household is reported to be about R365,000, while the average annual income for a black household was just R60,600.

As I had suspected much of the info for this research was influenced by the pollers looking at the international brand magazines and their local coverage. That poses a big problem for Mzansi. Much of the international magazine brands like GQ, Glamour, Heat, People, Men's Health, etc mostly cover white celebrities and use white local models. 

Over 77% of Men’s Health South Africa and GQ South Africa covers in 2014 featured white male models. Furthermore, the research found that a preliminary Google Image search of “hot South African men” primarily features white South African celebrities. On IMDb’s STARmeter for the most popular South African entertainers, the top 14 are white.

You can sit there and think this is because our media industry is racist and favours whites but the reality is a little complicated. If I am to be honest, South African black celebrities do not take their careers seriously. Majority do not have their own websites, publicity pictures, let alone managers beside their agents.  

Obviously the study is flawed, heavily! Statistically, most South Africans will likely find a black man attractive. However, I also know that most black people find being light skinned more appealing than darkskinned. 

Interestingly, in case you were wondering; The study reports that the " Hottest Male celebrities in South Africa" are Dean Geyer and Devin Paisley ... errr, who?! Ok once you google them you will understand why. They have a big online presence and for an American company that would make sense — but we know better. 

Dean Geyer is more Australian than he is South African. The actor-singer was born in Johannesburg but moved to Australia was he was 15 years old. He came third on Australian Idols which propelled him to stardom and he starred on the American tv show Glee. 

Devin Paisley is a model from Capetown. 

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