Jun 24, 2014

Loki: Beefcake and Gay Rivalry in Norse Myth

In Norse mythology, Loki was a trickster god with a dark side.  Jealous over the attention that the other gods were giving Baldur the Beautiful, Loki arranged for him to be assaulted by a spring of mistletoe .  Jealous over the attention that Baldur the Beautiful was receiving from the other gods received, he arranged for him to be assaulted by a sprig of mistletoe, the only thing that can kill the God of Beauty.

Lots of gay symbolism there:
1. Loki is upset over the attention that other men were giving a male god.
2. The male god can only be killed by a symbol of male virility,  Maybe a symbolic rape?

Outraged over the murder of thee most beautiful man in Asgard, the other gods tied Loki naked to a rock, where a serpent drooled venom all over him.  His wife Sif took pity on him, and captured the venom in a bowl.  But every now and then she has to be gone for a few moments to empty the bowl, and Loki's agonized thrashing is the reason we have earthquakes.

The story may have a heteronormative end, but it's inspired many male artists to emphasize masculine beauty by painting a  muscular, naked man next to a fully-clothed lady.

Such as Marten Eskil Winge (1863).

Or Christoffer Eckersberg (1810)

Or Karl von Gebhardt.(1891)

Ernst Hermann Walther (1851) gives us a Loki with no Sith.

19th century writers often reformed Loki, making him a friend to humans and bringer of fire, like Prometheus.

But more recently, he has been demonized again, appearing in movies and comic books as a god of evil who wants to destroy the world. Some notable Lokis on film have been played by Tom Hiddleston (top photo), David Blair, and Jayson Sloan.