The cult of celebrity worship is often a strong lure, particularly for those with disposable income and ample time to follow the objects of their obsession, but what draws the attention of women to particular men? Carol Dyhouse’s Heartthrobs: A History of Women and Desire outlines some cultural history behind the stars and figures women have fawned over through the decades.
The role that women have played and their status within society has shifted throughout history. With these shifts, so too did the male ideal they fantasized about morph to accommodate the changing times and desires. Ranging from sensitive men to caveman/alpha males to supernatural beings, there have been rather observable trends of the types of men that women lusted after.
While an informative read, it was primarily a surface level exploration and a sweeping history that doesn’t delve deep into the root of the topic to more fully explain the reasons behind the aspects of men that women dreamed about. There was clearly a lot of research that went in to the development of this book, as evidenced by the myriad of sources given as examples; this could certainly be used as a base source from which to further research the topic or explicate the attributes of a heartthrob that either remained static or evolved to qualify men as a heartthrob through the various eras. I do appreciate that this text offers a counterpoint to the proliferation of material available about the male gaze and addresses the fact that women are also capable of being the person doing the looking and objectifying of men.
Overall, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.