The Adonis Factor is brought to you by the same team who shot the documentary The Butch Factor, but unlike that well done examination of gay men and masculinity, Adonis falls far short.
Adonis spends a good amount of time during the first-half of examining the mentality that if you want to be accepted readily in the gay community, you’ve got to be hot. This segment of the documentary focuses mainly on interviews with men who are in the California area. The documentary does venture into the city of Atlanta where it makes the same point of hot equals greater acceptance, but adds onto this, the materialistic status as well. In both of these examinations of the culture, Adonis does little to examine just why this is so. There is some brief explanation that men are more visual and advertising contributes to this hot-body culture, but it is mainly telling us things that we already know. It never goes much deeper to as why or to really challenges that question to the interviewees. They answer that you want to look good to have friends and sex, but the documentary never delves deeper into the men’s answers to find out what may be the reasons that you want to be so desirable or appealing to others.
There are a couple deviations from the hot men theme. Bear culture is examined with men telling their tales of being accepted into that community; a discussion of what counts is what’s on the inside; and an interview with Clint Catalyst, a throw-back David Bowie, androgynous, avant-garde model, who discusses going from being an outcast in his hometown to finding acceptance of his look within the modeling world when he moved to California. Clint’s story is the most interesting of these because it gives another perspective on the spectrum of the community and how you can find acceptance somewhere.
And this is what’s really missing from The Adonis Factor. Gay men cover a wide spectrum of looks and communities, each with its own idea of what is attractive. Had The Adonis Factor included more of these other communities in examining gay male body image along with what makes beauty in the eye of the beholder, it would have been a much better documentary. Unfortunately, its focus is so narrow that it never gets the beyond the superficial; much like the subject matter that covers.