QDoc Saturday film review: ‘The Adonis Factor’

It's hard to be pretty when being pretty makes you hard.

The Adonis Factor, a film by Christopher Hines, is a look into the objectification and beautification inherent in the gay male world. Hines also brought us the movie, The Butch Factor. Both films discuss social and personal roles and image in gay culture. However, The Adonis Factor focuses more on beauty and image expectation.

I love queer documentary. I forget how narrow my perspective can be as a lesbian, and I’m always thrilled to find new beautiful pathways, and dark alleys in which to peek. I do kind of feel, that when I opened the door on this documentary, all that stood before me were boring pant suits. The emotional standpoint attempts to create empathy towards muscle ridden gay men, and remind us all that “beauty is a curse”. I can understand that breaking your back to reach a social expectation is grueling, but I’m not so sure sitting and watching an entire documentary on this one issue is eye opening.

I found the perspective narrow. Midway through, I got a sense that these men felt their pressure to work out and starve themselves was exclusive to them. There was an attitude that maybe straight people and other queer communities don’t have it quite as rough with pressure to be perfect. I did find some of the interviews to be interesting, but I couldn’t help that “I’ll give you something to cry about” feeling welling up inside me like an angry demon ready to devastate some carbs.

Throughout the documentary you hear men complain about the stigma of needing to be hot, while unknowingly dismissing the more balanced queers around them. The air created is a bit fowl, and the assumption that EVERYONE wants to be them is quite nauseating. Any culture can fall prey to believing the airbrushed ads around them are a reasonable standard for their personal appearance. But what about the artsy individuals that give the finger to all that? Most of the gay men in my life struggle with their body like anyone else does, but can laugh… take it with a grain of salt… or burn it with their magical gay man brassiere.

I did take a few things away from this movie. I also got to say, “Woah! Look at HIS neck!” lots of times. I did not walk out believing that the beauty and fitness routines being forced upon gay men is a stop what you’re doing and hug a muscle man kind of ordeal. Self loathing plagues every community. We need to celebrate acceptance, and the climb to the ambiguous A-list deserves scrutiny. Any five minutes of this film is as effective as any other five minutes. I can’t relate, but I do validate the life journey of even the most superficial of fellow queers.


The Adonis Factor screens Saturday June 4th at 6:30p at the Clinton St. Theater (2522 SE Clinton)

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