Christopher Hines follows up his documentary, "The Butch Factor" with "The Adonis Factor" which looks at the ways that some gay men are obsessed about the way that they look. The film focuses on body image and shows that some gay men care more about the way they look than they do about their masculinity. We see a cross section of different types of men from different parts of California and Atlanta as he examines the issue of appearance. This is a fascinating documentary as we take a good look at the importance of body image. And how it affects the status of gay men.
Through intimate interviews with men across the United States, including several from the Bay Area, Hines uncovers the very common, often unsettling reality of how many gay men struggle to achieve and maintain a particular image in order to be accepted. Hines speaks with experts and everyday folks and we learn how body discrimination can lead to feelings of inadequacy, as well as issues such as drug abuse and severe eating disorders that are certainly not unique to the gay community. I found myself thinking that this all seems so superficial and this was reinforced for me when a really muscular guy admitted that even though he knows it's superficial, he "feels more respected and accepted" when people compliment the way that he looks. Hines goes on to show how the issue of appearance affects other areas in the modern world and he explores this by considering the gay porn industry and a naked yoga class in San Francisco that helps students feel more comfortable with their bodies.
"The Adonis Factor" shows that while beauty is only an outside attribute, it genuinely affects the way we behave. Hines finds men of all walks of life between California and Georgia and asks them how their body images shape their lives. Hines tackles the topic head-on and I love when we hear gay men saying that they "tend to have more of an appreciation for beauty in all aspects, whether it is other male bodies or just antiques." The documentary considers the shallowness of it all and the same time he gives some beautiful men to look at. It seems to me that Hines was challenged and intrigued by the "Adonis factor" because he feels "masculinity is a hot top of debate and division" and indeed it is.