- TubeCrush.net lets users post photos of “attractive” men on the London Underground.
- Users then rate and comment on the photos.
- Physical attributes including signs of wealth and personal grooming are among those highly rated by users.
- TubeCrush confirms the stereotype that men need to be rich and physically fit to be conventionally attractive to prospective partners.
A website where women and gay men secretly capture – and rate – photos of men they find “attractive” while riding the London Underground has been analysed by scientists at the University of Coventry – and there were some obvious trends that emerged.
TubeCrush.net users send in photos of men that have left them feeling a little bit flustered during their travels. They then have the opportunity to rate or comment of photos that other users upload.
The majority of the photos that are highly rated on the site seem to favour signs of wealth.
City banker types in suits and extravagant watches feature heavily on the website, while men in gym and workout wear also make up a large proportion of the images on TubeCrush.
Bulging arm and chest muscles also feature heavily. Users leave comments and captions on the images such as “Hey sexy workout man – protein powder is working well for you!” and “This guy, fresh from CrossFit it seems, is so beautiful,” fulfilling the stereotype that conventionally attractive men should be physically fit and wealthy.
Photos are shared on the website along with the tube line the “crush” was spotted on, the name of the spotter, and a caption.
According to the site’s guidelines, all photos must be on an identifiable train on the Underground network or a commuter train pulling into London. No photos taken on buses, trams, train platforms, or any trains in cities outside of London are allowed.
The website has a strong social media following on Facebook and Twitter, collecting 11,000 and 10,000 followers respectively since it launched in 2011. The website was set up by accountant Steve Motion who wanted to “pay ‘Homage to the Hommes’ on our infamous transportation infrastructure.”
Researcher Dr Adrienne Evans at the University of Coventry – one of the scientists who carried out the study – has been interested in TubeCrush for the last few years, and is especially intrigued by the way Londoners manage busy lives, work schedules, and their effect on the way we find people attractive.
The role of physical attributes which display signs of wealth and signs of personal grooming (tans, good hair, and shapely beards and often complimented) are among her fields of interest. Evan told Business Insider that the behaviour displayed by TubeCrush users is “ahistoric” in the way it creates higher expectations of men and the way they present themselves.
While the website sexually objectifies its subjects in a way more often associated with objectifying women, the subjects are still largely white and middle-class, and users’ attraction is frequently based on consumerist items the men are carrying – whether that’s a sharp-fitting suit or a designer satchel.
“It’s transformative, but also at the same time it shows we’re still very much fitting into the same boxes and conventions when it comes to beauty and attraction,” Evan said.