Readers, honestly, is this your kind of thing?
I have always found physical culture -- pumping iron, oiling up your muscles, posing hairless in a thong -- to be a bit of a joke. And it has nearly always been represented that way in pop culture: big beefy muscles = dumb cluck. The stuff of high camp.
|Name that Mae West catastrophe!|
I was perusing this Pinterest board the other day (and all Philip's boards are fun, imo), and I couldn't help wondering what this bodybuilding-taken-to-the-extreme thing is all about? Who are these guys and what are they doing it for?
I came up with the following:
1) There's the whole "90 lb. weakling" thing -- the kid who got sand kicked in his face who swore he'd show them who's a sissy! Charles Atlas, I'm yours!
2) On a related note, I've always suspected that men who work out to this extent are trying to prove something -- not so much to women as to other men (and perhaps themselves). Let's call it "masculinity anxiety."
|Future Hercules, Steve Reeves.|
3) Some of it probably comes out of the original health craze of the early-to-mid-Twentieth Century, John Harvey Kellogg, Gayelord Hauser, all the way up to Jack LaLanne and the Arnold. This began back when nobody worked out or worried about their fat intake and the few gyms around were for physical culture enthusiasts rather than yuppies.
Parenthetically, does anybody say yuppies anymore?
As fewer men held manual jobs, there was less overall fitness in the population (though probably greater than today since there was no fast food and most people had to actually walk places) and some of this was in response to those social changes.
What's interesting is that, in Hollywood, "he-men" actors rarely gained fame beyond the sword-and-sandal gladiator movies or other Saturday morning kiddie films, the target audience being 14-year old boys (which is the target audience for nearly ALL mainstream movies today).
Most female audiences were more interested in romantic, generally clothed, heartthrobs like Tyrone Power and Robert Taylor, whose bodies were basically normal. One possible exception: Victor Mature, a cinematic Samson even in his Betty Grable musicals.
As you can see, I'm more a Tyrone Power. (Who just laughed? Why I oughta'...)
|It's hard to look hunky in vintage Forties underwear.|
Readers, what are your thoughts about all this? Do well-oiled male muscles in spandex thongs turn you on? Do you pursue a similar physique yourself?
And who watches those greasy Mr. Universe competitions -- do you?
The beefcake aesthetic -- YEA or NAY?