Glen Powell Proves Masculinity Is Hot

Although the classic rom-coms featuring two gorgeous leads used to dominate Hollywood in the early and mid-2000s, it feels like we’ve been missing out on these types of movies for a little while now. That is, until “Anyone But You” showed up at the box office, starring Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney.

By Gina Florio3 min read
Getty Images/Dia Dipasupil

Anyone But You swiftly emerged as one of the most eagerly awaited romantic comedies of the year since its announcement in January 2023. The buzz surrounding the film largely revolves around its lead stars, Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney, whose on-screen chemistry was anticipated to be electric. With glimpses of their dynamic shared through initial on-set photos, fans were envisioning a delightful performance from the duo. Positioned as a modern adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Anyone But You is an R-rated romantic comedy directed and co-written by Will Gluck, acclaimed for his work on Easy A.

Set against the backdrop of a destination wedding, the plot revolves around two former adversaries who find themselves compelled to masquerade as a couple. Released on December 22, 2023, Powell and Sweeney delivered the nostalgic charm of classic romantic comedies, complete with their undeniable chemistry. The movie didn’t get the best ratings from critics, but it was a big success at the box office

Powell and Sweeney’s chemistry generated significant buzz before the movie was even released, sparking dating rumors that apparently took a toll on Powell. Revealing on-set snapshots of the stars sparked intense speculation. Compounded with reports of Powell's separation from longtime partner Gigi Paris, the situation became even more complicated. Sweeney, in an interview with Glamour, expressed her sadness over the impact of the rumors on Powell, despite their strong rapport on set. She emphasized her deep care for him and highlighted the challenge of maintaining privacy, especially given her own relationship with Jonathan Davino, a businessperson and producer. Reflecting on the public's fascination with their on-screen chemistry, Sweeney acknowledged the role they played in fueling the speculation but emphasized their genuine friendship. Despite earlier statements downplaying the rumors, she recognized the disorienting and unfair impact they had on Powell.

Despite the brief controversy, Powell has quickly risen to one of the most beloved heartthrobs in Hollywood. There’s something about Powell that makes women swoon, and it’s not surprising considering the kind of characters he has played recently.

Has Glen Powell Quickly Risen to His Heartthrob Status Because of His Traditional Masculinity?

Powell’s breakout role came in 2016 with the comedy film Everybody Wants Some!!, directed by Richard Linklater. Powell's portrayal of Finnegan, a charming and confident college baseball player, showcased his comedic timing and screen presence. Following this success, Powell gained recognition for his role as astronaut John Glenn in the critically acclaimed film Hidden Figures (2016) that solidified his place in Hollywood. His performance earned praise from critics and audiences alike, showcasing his versatility as an actor.

Since then, Powell has continued to rise in prominence, starring in films like the fun Netflix rom-com Set It Up (2018), across from Zoey Deutch, and box office smash Top Gun: Maverick (2022) alongside Tom Cruise. With his charm and talent, Powell has become a sought-after leading man in Hollywood, captivating audiences with his on-screen presence and winning personality. 

Although he has range, Powell soars best when he plays the role of charming, boyish, and slightly rebellious guy. In Set It Up, he was an executive assistant trying his best to get a promotion at work, and his boy-next-door charm won over his love interest even though they only became friends through a scheme they concocted to get their bosses to date. He was fun, adorable, and stepped up to the plate when it was necessary. Not long after in Top Gun: Maverick, he played the role of the masculine, even arrogant pilot who ended up saving the whole day at the end of the movie because he refused to follow orders and went to save his comrades. 

Powell is fit, handsome, and confident, and there’s something about him (and most of his characters) that convinces you he can take charge and lead the way. He seems like the kind of guy who will hold the door open for you and make all your friends laugh when he meets them for the first time. Plus, there’s something refreshing about his free sense of humor. He’s not brooding or moody. He’s lively and full of energy – unlike many of the leading men who have been popular in Hollywood as of late. 

Women Are Longing for More Masculine Leads Like Glen Powell 

The societal landscape has become a battleground for gender norms, impacting both men and women in profound ways. Men find themselves grappling with societal expectations that define masculinity through narrow lenses. Traits traditionally associated with masculinity, such as sacrifice and protectiveness, are now often branded as toxic and sexist. Consequently, men are pressured to reject their innate qualities in favor of conforming to a new standard of sensitivity and emotional expression, sometimes at the expense of their true selves.

The misconception that masculine traits are inherently toxic has created a climate where men are discouraged from embracing their authentic emotions and expressions, and it has resulted in many popular male celebrities adopting the kind of beta male, overly sensitive personality that is often paired with feminine dressing. In 2020, English singer-songwriter and actor Harry Styles garnered significant attention by gracing the cover of Vogue's December issue, marking the first solo appearance by a male on the magazine's cover. Styles made a bold statement by donning a baby blue dress, attempting to challenge conventional gender norms in fashion.

Following Styles' groundbreaking appearance, other male celebrities, including rapper Kid Cudi and actors Keiynan Lonsdale and Ezra Miller, have embraced femininity by donning dresses for various public appearances and photoshoots. A-list celebrities like Timothée Chalamet are known for their sleight frame, softer characteristics, and androgynous outfits. Even Barry Keoghan, who has risen to fame recently, especially with his role in Saltburn, has taken part in feminine photoshoots and lesbian-like outfits on the red carpet. 

It’s harder than ever to find a masculine lead in Hollywood who lands big roles and magazine covers. Meanwhile, Powell is on the cover of Men’s Health and posing for the camera shirtless, six-pack and chiseled. He fixes cars, canon balls into pools, and works out for the camera, doing all the "toxically masculine" things that women love best. He is joining the ranks of Chris Hemsworth and Henry Cavill, mega movie stars who have always maintained their classic masculinity and boyish charm.

Women may claim to love the likes of Timothée Chalamet and Barry Keoghan, but at the end of the day, virtually every woman would choose someone like Glen Powell over a sensitive, artistic type who is quick to try on a dress in front of the camera. Masculinity has always been hot, and it always will be. Powell is living proof of that. With his role in Anyone But You, women are reminded of that fact, and they’re excited to see what else this heartthrob has in store for them. 

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