Muscles and money are qualities gay men and straight women find attractive, according to a new academic study.
Researchers from Coventry and Aberystwyth universities analysed posts and interactions on Tube Crush, a website where people post unsolicited pictures of men seen on the London Underground.
The study found that white men were by far most popular with users, despite London being an ethnically diverse city.
The most popular attributes in a man were largely unchanged from decades ago, which the study, published in Feminist Media Studies, says illustrates the ongoing power of white male privilege.
Conducted in three years since 2014, photos and comments focused on the men’s biceps, pecs and chest as well as perceived sexual ability.
Items which suggested the person was wealthy were also commented on – such as phones, watches and suits.
“This celebration of masculine capital is achieved through humour and the knowing wink, but the outcome is a reaffirmation of men’s position in society,” lead author Adrienne Evans from the Coventry University’s Centre for Postdigital Cultures said in a statement.
The problem, she says, is that “although it appears as though we have moved forward, our desires are still mostly about money and strength.”
Evans continued: “From smart-suited city workers to toned gym-goers flashing their flesh, the men featured in the photographs on Tube Crush show that as a culture we still celebrate masculinity in the form of money and muscle.”
Privacy concerns were raised about the website last week.
While the website has been live around for six years, launching in 2011, new privacy concerns have been raised.
Critics have said the website promotes sexism against men.
The founder of the website, Steve Motion, has defended the site, saying that people featured on the site can contact administrators to have their photos taken down.
“If someone wants their photo removed we will 100 per cent take it down.” He said.
He said that “it is different in our society for a woman to have her picture taken compared to a man.”
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Adding that he had originally intended to include pictures of women on the site, he said he did research when launching the site and decided against it.
A Privacy International (PI) Solicitor Millie Graham Wood told the Evening Standard that: “Apps like TubeCrush may give the appearance of being innocuous and harmless. That is rarely the case where data is the new oil and we are the product.”
“Further, they create an onerous process for individuals to remove their data.”
One of the men featured on the site, Harry Janes, 23, told the Standard that he had been informed he was featured on TubeCrush by a girl he was dating.
“To be totally honest I thought it was absolutely hysterical. I’m not particularly sensitive so it was really just water off a ducks back.
“It did make me question what else might be lurking on the Internet that you don’t necessarily know is there though,” he said.
But he added that while he thought it was “funny” at the time it was posted, he has since said he thinks it is “incredibly creepy”.