SWIS OZZIE TALK2016
From booming numbers of new dietary supplements to the rising celebrity status of social media’s fit-bodies, the popularity of today’s fitness industry is unquestionable. While current fitness trends provide for a greater social tolerance of muscle, there remains continued cultural condemnation of bodies that are arbitrarily deemed as ‘overly’ muscular. The boundary between what is defined as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ muscle is further complicated by problematic perceptions of anabolic steroids. In fact, the automatic vilification of the drugs has shaped popular representations and misconceptions of the hyper-muscular body with devastating results. Regardless of the lack of academically sound and clinically applicable information on anabolic steroids, suspected users are often viewed as social sinners, demonized, and in some countries arrested and prosecuted based solely on a muscular physique.
Guided by a critical socio-cultural historical perspective, this project explores how, overtime, the muscular body has become ridiculed, condemned and criminalized. Through the use of several examples, including the rise of criminal anthropology in the late-1800s and the evolution of the ‘evils’ of anabolic steroids use, within this project I challenged popular perceptions of muscle and identify the impact of these powerful and inescapable stereotypes for contemporary fitness culture.
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