Australian rape trio part of hyper-masculine bodybuilding subculture video

Fairfax Media

In exchange for their freedom and to avoid trial, three Melbourne men agreed with Croatian prosecutors to pay the victim $31,594 and pleaded guilty.

The "aesthetic one" trained for six days, shredding that chest and torso, and on the seventh day, he did some light cardio.

Not too much; just a little beach volleyball with a bevy of Victoria's Secret models, or some one-on-one hoops with the boys. Perhaps stopping a moment to "refeed" his exhausted frame with some greasy food. (Three burgers and a thick shake would be an ideal "cheat meal" – gorging without derailing his plan to put on four kilograms of lean bulk.)

This was the Adriatic vacation regimen of Melbourne man Dylan Djohan, one of three men who pleaded guilty to gang raping a Norwegian girl, aged 17, in Croatia last year.

Waleed Latif, Ashwin Kumar and Dylan Djohan in Croatia.
Picture from social media

Waleed Latif, Ashwin Kumar and Dylan Djohan in Croatia.

The men avoided trial by paying $30,000 to the victim. The fury over that outcome has inadvertently shone a light on the strange and hyper-masculine subculture of amateur bodybuilding – of which Djohan, 23, Ashwin Kumar, 23, and Waleed Latif, 21, are all members.

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Barman and part-time model Dylan Djohan, from Sunbury, pictured on a wall in Dubrovnik.
Picture sourced from social media

Barman and part-time model Dylan Djohan, from Sunbury, pictured on a wall in Dubrovnik.

As viewed through the lens of Djohan's social media posts, it is an existence obsessed with a dysmorphic idea of the male figure, namely getting "jacked as f---".

"It used to be about getting shredded for the females, but these days it's all about building and becoming the best version of myself possible!" Djohan wrote. "Also females."

Matthew Dunn, a senior lecturer in public health at Deakin University who has done extensive research on bodybuilding and body image in men, said the phenomenon of sharing and promoting a shredded lifestyle online only recently moved from the back forums of the internet and into the mainstream."

"Some of the bodybuilders I follow have tens of thousands of followers," Dr Dunn said. "You see their posts: 'Follow my shredded friend.' They get free supplements from supplement companies. Free T-shirts.

"Previously you went to Stereosonic and guys were walking around with their shirts off, but now it's on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. They have all these outlets all the time – it's like the Kardashians."

Sunbury man Dylan Djohan, who was among three men who recently returned from Croatia after pleading guilty to rape.
Picture sourced from social media

Sunbury man Dylan Djohan, who was among three men who recently returned from Croatia after pleading guilty to rape.

In many ways, men posting flexed selfies are no different than women pouting in bikinis online. The problem lies in the skewed cultural construction each represents – masculinity as muscle and strength, femininity as coquettish passivity. 

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Nicola Henry, a senior lecturer in crime, justice and legal studies at La Trobe University, said the Djohan posts reflected typical issues around masculine entitlement and the objectification of women.

Take this post: "Let me teach you the secret to living a 10/10 heavenly blessed life; Disregard work, acquire attractive women."

Or this one: "Ahhh, blondes or brunettes? The age old dilemma. Here's my take on it, both are equally appealing but always grab an extra hot blonde because, you know, why the f--- not?"

Dr Henry said such comments call to mind the recent furore over the Return of Kings "neomasculinist" group in offering a peek into a misogynistic world.

"I think we get a glimpse of it through social media, where there might be less inhibition and more male peer support," she said. "It provides this space to consolidate distorted views around gender and sexuality."

There is also an odd tone to the grandiose vanity of the posts.

"Pick up a dumbbell and join me in Valhalla!" Djohan writes. "Summer's over but the glow of the gods remains with the aesthetic ones."

Djohan variously refers to his "beard of the Valkyries" and "jawline carved out of granite by Zeus himself".

"My gift from the gods was this blessed block of heathen marble. My curse from the gods is that I must sculpt it with my bare hands."

He lifts weights to wield Thor's hammer, and shreds to look like Adonis, and yet he never mentions the one mythological figure that suits him best: Narcissus.

Narcissus was unable to avert his gaze from his own reflection, and dies in spite of himself, in sight of himself, while drinking in his own image. Djohan, though, is cool with showing off that body.

"Wellllll mate," he wrote, "you don't work hard as f--k for years to buy a Ferrari and then keep it hidden away in the garage do ya?"

 - Sydney Morning Herald

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