Warning!  Potentially unsafe for work!


Beefcake: The Muscle Magazines of America 1950-1970

Holly: I know what you’re thinking.  And you’d be right: this is a book about male standards of beauty. The only thing that makes this an ALB is if it is in a library whose audience has different ideals than this book represents. It’s actually an interesting look at how the idea of the “beefcake” came to be throughout the history of men’s magazines.

Mary: Not to mention easy on the eyes.  Love this post!

Beefcakek cover

Beefcake photos


  1. Does it explain why people find this look attractive? Because, frankly, I’ve never understood it. I’ve always found guys built like this to be quite ugly. I prefer tall, kind of scrawny men. There’s just something so unnatural about the muscle bound look.

  2. Wait, so this book is just being weeded because you deem the audience will be offended? I presume it is not in the kids section, so why not keep it? Are you pulling the books devoted to female pin-ups as well?

  3. Don’t actually ride your hog in the buff, fellas! There’s a reason bikers wear protective gear. ;-D

  4. If the library has holdings of straight soft-core porn, this item would help balance the collection. If not, however, it’s probably outside the scope.

  5. I get the impression that Holly and Mary don’t think this is an Awful Library Book at all… I think they just wanted to post some bottoms… not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  6. I would LOVE to purchase this if you’re weeding it! I am serious; LMK if it’s going away.

  7. Jami, I am ALL ABOUT guys with bodies like this and find tall skinnies gross. But that’s why they say there’s something for everyone. I’d take a guy who spends 2-3 hours a day in the gym over a D&D dork any day. But that’s a common interest they’d have with this gym-rat librarian. I would also really be into this book if I appeared to be of the correct audience. Alas, I am a straight female. 🙂

  8. @Anon – I guess you’re right. It’s just for me these guys are rather repugnant. To me they look as unnatural as Prisilla Presley’s overly botoxed face.

    And of course it doesn’t help that as a kid the guys who were developed like the men above that I knew personally growing up were either massive bullies who made my life a living Hell, or gay. Sometimes they were both bullies and gay. Usually though it was the straight muscle bound ones who treated me like crap.

    Plus with my first crushes being Mr. Spock and The Riddler (Frank Gorshin, not John Astin) I guess I started developing my own version of a male body ideal young. Tall, scrawny, with a big nose. That’s my idea of male beauty.

    Then again, I am considered quite weird. I mean, I’m a grown woman who collects comic books and has a disco ball in her bedroom and is owned by a dog that actually LIKES to wear clothing. So I shouldn’t be surprised that everyone else here thinks the guys above are good looking while to me they look like aliens.

  9. If You are really getting rid of this, I’ll bet the Gerber Hart Library in Chicago would love it.

  10. Wow! I missed the warning, and did my eyes pop out of my head when I scrolled down! How come I never find books like this at my library?!? This is a classic!

  11. @Jami — I (a straight female) agree with you. I find these guys repugnant. I don’t necessarily demand tall and skinny, but too much muscle — eeewww. Disgusting.

  12. Well if your library wants to raise some dough, this is book will no doubt have a huge bidding war (pun intended)!

  13. I’ve seen this title on the shelves at many mainstream and specialized GLBTQ bookstores BTW. Not really sure why you’re weeding it from your collection other than perhaps censorship? Does you library only cater to straight prudes?

  14. Guys like this really only think of themselves, and rarely of other people. So like Jami, I tend to go for the tall, nerdy-looking geeky dork, mostly because they’re way more considerate, and also way more cuter BECAUSE of their geekiness. It’s like the geekiness is a cloak of awesome.

  15. @muppetzinspace–It isn’t necessarily a matter of censorship. In a small library in a relatively conservative community, for example, the odds are highly against anyone ever checking this book out. Those who would be interested would likely be too afraid to have anyone (librarian, other patrons, etc.) see them with it. A library HAS to cater to its patrons, even if they are “straight prudes.” If something will rarely or never get checked out, why keep it?

  16. Oh, anon… How do I break the news? You stand the same chances of successfully dating a bodybuilder that I had (pre-marriage) at consummating my youthful crush on Ellen Degeneres.

    Gay or straight, gym bunnies invariably suffer from a sad mix of solipsism and Narcissistic personality disorder. There is no point in calling any liaison with a bodybuilder a ‘relationship,’ because in his mind, you barely exist.

  17. If you happen to find a female version of this book, please let us know before you weed it. 🙂

  18. Actually, the guy in the boots and hat is built a lot like my husband (yes, even at 58-he runs 2 miles a day), but the guy on the cover in the white trousers looks seriously deformed. A bit of his package seems to be missing!

  19. I don’t think this is an ALB nor should it be weeded. It’s an art book (which Taschen publishes) and it clearly says that it’s showing images from “muscle magazines” from 1950-1970. It’s not as if it’s a book about “contemporary hot men” or something.

  20. It’s not being weeded, but if it were, it would only be because nobody has checked it out in forever. Some people are reading a bit too much into this post! I don’t think this book could ever be disposed of!

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