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Full Version: The objectification of Nick Jonas by Nick Jonas
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Quote:...“He smelled so good,” a young girl barely in her double digits whispered to her friend. They were dressed identically, save for a set of colorful braces, in plaid midriff-baring crop tops, black spandex pants and white Converse sneakers.

Once a third of a boy band perhaps better known for purity rings than God-fearing hits, the youngest Jonas brother is now flashing his abs (and a lot of more) in gay clubs, in fashion spreads and on TV.

He is also popping up at events as disparate as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and an anniversary celebration for the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Arkansas, as he remakes himself into a risqué pop provocateur who owes more to the rule book of Britney than Bieber.

Not surprisingly, showing off is paying off. “Jealous,” which was released in September, just went platinum. (His last Top 40 hit was five years ago, when he was still with the Jonas Brothers.) In April, he will open for Iggy Azalea on her “Great Escape” tour.

...Similar to the way Mr. Jonas and his management team enlisted producers like Sir Nolan and RoboPop for his adult-leaning sonic makeover, they approached Wilhelmina Models in August to discuss marketing the singer’s untapped lack of modesty. During their first meeting, Mr. Jonas said, he discussed the growing pains associated with “the need to be transparent and lay it all out.”

Taylor Hendrich, the head of the agency’s men’s division, which signed the singer, took his words literally. A call was immediately made to Flaunt magazine, a fashion and pop-culture magazine in Los Angeles, to conceptualize “some sort of major editorial that would be really forthcoming and open Nick up to who he is today versus who he was as a Jonas Brother,” Mr. Hendrich said.

The result was Mr. Jonas wearing only a baseball cap and white underwear (his jeans were pulled down to his knees) as he grabbed his crotch in a homage to the 1992 Calvin Klein ad starring Mark Wahlberg.

...The public striptease continued. The next month, he appeared in Details magazine glistening in sweat as he showed off his shirtless workout regimen, as well as in Attitude, a British gay magazine, in which he flexed his muscles yet again and said that being hairy was a “beautiful part about being a man.”

The racy images’ viral magic has ensued ever since.

...“A lot of male celebrities don’t give themselves the freedom to be who they are, but Nick has grown up, and this is who he is presenting now,” Mr. Hendrich said. “I mean, what can you say? He’s hot.”

Not since the R&B singer D’Angelo appeared in the buff for his music video “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” 15 years ago has a male pop act been so at ease objectifying himself.

No other crooner on today’s charts sells his sexuality as overtly as Mr. Jonas, whether it’s on his personal Instagram account (a belly-button-baring post from September received over 278,000 likes), ripping off his shirt while being interviewed for “On Air With Ryan Seacrest” or paying a visit to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” with no pants on.

Then there is his burgeoning acting career. He stars in the new DirecTV series “Kingdom,” in which he plays a (usually shirtless) gay mixed-martial-arts fighter struggling with his sexuality. In addition to his many bedrooms scenes, there has been much conjecture about a future scene in which Mr. Jonas may appear completely naked.

“Your body is a healthy thing to be comfortable about,” he said. “And I didn’t only want to talk about being comfortable in my skin, but show people the transformation I’ve made, too.”

Cultural gatekeepers have taken notice of his sexual metamorphosis.

“I had some ambivalence at first because no one can capture how perfect Marky Mark looked in 1992 with that body,” said Mel Ottenberg, a stylist for Rihanna and the fashion director of 032c, a magazine. “But in this era where people’s attention span is zero, if everyone stops and thinks about what you’re doing, you’re doing it right.”

Mr. Jonas is not the first man in pop music with an exhibitionistic streak. Prince was notorious for wearing itty-bitty black undergarments. Adam Levine and Kanye West (who showed off his pecs during Paris Fashion Week) have no problem flaunting their physiques. Justin Bieber is often (inexplicably) shirtless. Justin Timberlake showed some flesh for Arena Homme magazine in 2001 and a year later for Rolling Stone.

...What sets Mr. Jonas apart from other beefcakes is his understanding that social media has expanded the possibilities for expressions of male sexuality in popular culture. While Mr. Jonas is straight (he is dating Olivia Culpo, Miss USA 2012), he proudly kowtows to demographics outside his female fan base.

In September, he showed up at a gay Sunday night party at Up & Down, a club on West 14th Street, where he happily obliged a request from a drag queen to lift up his shirt. He also stopped by BPM, a gay club in Hell’s Kitchen, where he unbuttoned his shirt entirely while Levi Karter, an adult-film star, danced in his underwear alongside him. At one point, he even tweeted, “I love my gay fans.”

His courting of gays has sparked some debate. A recent article in the NYU Local, a college newspaper, accused Mr. Jonas of “queer baiting” and “cashing in on something he’s not.”

...Mr. Jonas stands out by embracing the homoerotic undercurrents inherent to pop superstardom.

“Nick is the first straight male in the past few years to let himself be sexualized by gay men and not just be O.K. with it, but promote it,” said Mitchell Sunderland, an editor at Vice who recently wrote an article for the magazine about Mr. Jonas. “Although there is a profit-based motive, it’s still pretty revolutionary.”

This approach appears to be more aligned with the calculated coming-of-age-by-stripping-down blueprint formulated by female image makers such as Britney Spears (another former Disney performer) and Miley Cyrus (a girlfriend of Mr. Jonas during her “Hannah Montana” era).

...For his part, Mr. Jonas is characteristically transparent.

“I think it drives people to the music, and that’s really where my focus is,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’m just having fun.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/25/fashio....html?_r=0

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