Mar 6, 2017

Bullfighter Beefcake

Bullfighting, known in Spanish as corrida de toros, or "running of the bulls" is a spectacle of man against animal, or rather male against male, since both the toreros and the bull evoke powerful masculine energy.

It dates back to ancient Roman times, when devotees of the god Mithras sacrificed bulls, but the modern bullfight, with the torero on foot, dates only to the 18th century.    It is popular in Spain, southern France, and the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America.

Juan Belmonte (1892-1962) is credited with developing the popular bullfighting technique where you stand nearly motionless and invite the bull to approach, moving out of the way at the last moment.

The bullfight is a highly stylized ritual, with three parts and multiple players, including picadores, banderilleros,  and various assistants, but the star is the matador.






The chief torero, the matador, wears a traije de luces based on the flamboyantly feminine costume of the 19th century dandy: glittering sequins, gold thread, tassles, and ultra-tight tights that place his sex organs in obvious full view (most too explicit to show here).  What Ernest Hemingway, in his classic Death in the Afternoon, called a "male figure complicated by femaleness."

The bull's sex organs are in full view, too.  Its penis when erect is 2-3 feet long.  And it's often erect as it charges the matador, making you think that it intends a sexual assault.

Thus the spectacle becomes a ritual triumph of civilization over savagery, artifice over nature, complicated by gay symbolism.



Although toreros live in an ultra-masculine world, surrounded by other men, most aren't "really" gay.

But the spectacle has more than a few gay fans.  A number of toreros have posed for gay magazines, and in 2009 a European company struck a deal with matador Joselito Ortega to advertise an energy drink called Gay Up on his cape.

Purists were outraged -- not because of the gay ad, because he was lowering himself to product placement.

There are bullfighter bulges on Tales of West Hollywood.

Also check out the anti-bullfighting protests, including the Running of the Nudes in Pamplona.

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