Jacob Elordi attends as Tiffany & Co. Celebrates the reopening of NYC Flagship store, The Landmark on April 27, 2023 in New York City. Source: Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tiffany & Co.

We're Entering the Era of the 'SoftJock.' What will this Mean for Gay Men?

Jake Myers READ TIME: 4 MIN.

Move over Tom Brady and A-Rod...a new era of jock is upon us.

For the last few decades (or some might say, the beginning of time), heteronormative culture has elevated the archetype of the masculine, sports-playing, "jock-bro" to the top of the food chain. Jocks, as obnoxious, entitled, and full of toxic masculinity as can be, have often been given a pass in our culture. Praised for their athleticism, prowess, and oozing with testosterone, they've been valued and rewarded in our society for their dominant male energy, aggressive game play, and often douchey behavior. A-listers like Jennifer Lopez, Gisele, and the Kardashians have all gravitated towards them.

But, is all this about to change? Post-#MeToo, it might be time to evolve, especially since it's pretty clear that reverence for the alpha male is deeply rooted in misogyny.

Welcome to the era of...the "SoftJock."

Coming on the heels of TikTok's "Sassy Man Apocalypse," a recent exposé on Bustle describes "SoftJocks" as "athletes (or athletic-looking men) who choose to forgo alpha-maledom and instead embrace sensibilities their teammates might once have decried as 'beta.'"

Too good to be true?

Take a look at some of the biggest male stars today. There's the very "babygirl" (thanks, "Saturday Night Live") Jacob Elordi, who is not afraid to play with his queerness in roles like "Euphoria" and "Saltburn." But does he still read "jock?" His tall 6'5 frame would say so, but Elordi combats that by carrying a designer purse on his shoulder and showing off his obsession with reading.

Then we have Paul Mescal, who Bustle says, "pairs his hulking thighs with a deep appreciation for sad girl music, regularly posting Mitski and Ethel Cain songs on his Instagram stories."

The author is also quick to point out the very cozy, "almost queer-baiting" behavior that both these actors exhibit on the red carpet when it comes to canoodling and flirting with their respective costars, Andrew Scott (who is openly gay) and Barry Keoghan (who is straight and dating rising pop singer Sabrina Carpenter). A far cry from the homophobic days of yore.

Just to be clear, the SoftJock is still a masculine dude, but he's able to show a sensitive, non-threatening side of male behavior that was once considered too "effeminate." Sure, he can still be into his fantasy football league, but he also loves the "Barbie" movie. He may have played "Grand Theft Auto" with his bros earlier today, but when home with his girlfriend on the couch, he's sobbing to episode three of "The Last of Us," or secretly counting the days until Anne Hathaway's new romantic comedy.

by Jake Myers

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