Term Paper: Weight Lifting to Build Body Image

By | April 27, 2011

Sample Term Paper

Term Paper: These trainers were more akin to weight lifting than cosmetic body building, and thus the latter did not get prioritized until much later in the century. While people struggled during the 20s to come out of the stigma associated with body building that deemed it just a hobby, Bernarr “Body Love” Macfadden launched his physical fitness magazine. This was the first publication fully devoted to health.

1939 saw the inauguration of Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, California which took the fad to another level leading to the launch of the Mr. America contest the same year. However, muscle building and body toning still went unheeded by sponsors and prize money never exceeded more than a few thousand dollars all the way up to the 70s. Arnold Schwarzenegger only won $1,500 as Mr. Olympia in 1976.

Misconceptions about muscle building were gaining momentum through this era. Gluttony was the central focus and the media went through its phases advertising against it. Vegetarian diets were advertised as preferable but hardly ever adhered to. In the 20s, Hollywood sprung into action with movie stars who were young, healthy and presented an aura of sex appeal.

Since movie making had shifted from the East Coast to California, physique became all the more popular and being slim was an essential part of being on film, “because cameras automatically added twenty pounds to actual weight” (Luciano, 2002). Movies brought slim and healthy aspirations to the common citizen and American men began associating healthy lifestyles and perfect physiques to success.

The wealth of advertising and national health-campaigns has made obesity a thing to fear. The phobia of fat has developed into such a prejudice that people who are obese, especially if they are of the female sex, develop a very poor body image so much so that it is linked to health concerns such as anxiety and depression. Women who are obese tend to develop worse chronic illnesses that have causal links with depression. Such a trait is only found in societies with fat-phobia and those that do not exhibit this phobia are found to have normal healthy women. Thus, the aggressive health campaigns may have in turn led to another problem of social depression (Fox, 1997).

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