Only Eye Candy? Original Plumbing Magazine's Remodeling of the (Trans) Male Pin-Up

E. Steinbock*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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the participation of trans masculine models and photographers in the visual economy of pin-ups is particularly evident across the ten years and twenty issues of original plumbing (op), helmed by coeditors amos mac and rocco kayiatos. Steinbock proposes that as “eye candy” that serves up a visual treat and seems intellectually undemanding, these trans male pin-ups have sweet-talked their way into a hostile phallic economy, and a community into seeing themselves as sexually desirous. In doing so, the notable invisibility of the eroticism of trans men, ftms, nonbinary masculine folks, genderqueers, and more has been reversed. The pin-up, with its cheesy yet celebrity-chic conventions, can upend what steinbock summarizes as the “phallic economy of the gaze.” trans male models have much to teach visual culture scholars about arriving on the scene of visuality in ways that circumvent the binary of the active/masculinized look and the passive/feminized gazed-upon body. Through comparisons with cheesecake, beefcake, publicity shots, and nudes, the article demonstrates how op remodeled conventions of masculine posturing, heterosexual assumption, and pop culture grammars. Further, steinbock attends to the ways in which heterosexual masculinity is imbricated with whiteness, youth, and muscularity, a phallic paradigm that is critically reframed by the collaborative labor of trans male photographers and models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-63
Number of pages5
JournalArt Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2021


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