In Control of the Body

Brittany Juliano

Within The Rise of the Adonis Complex I saw many, many comparisons between the discussion and Tough Guise 2. I was amazed that I had never before considered that not only are the men within the documentary promoting violence among men and aggression towards women, but they are also promoting a body image. To me the images of violence are much more serious, but a different focus may prove very useful. The capability scale of muscularity among men was very useful to better understand the range of what can be achieved naturally and what requires frequent drug use to maintain. The men within the huge industry of the WWE are not, it seems, within the physical ability to produce that amount of lean muscle naturally and are therefore giving a huge audience of men misleading models. Not only are these misguided models of violence, but false Ultimately, the use of steroids by men in the WWE along with other frequently viewed bodies within sports or magazines communicate an image of a desirably masculine man without mentioning that the only way to achieve that ideal is by “’roiding up.”

I find this message extremely unfortunate as a woman because I do not see the appeal. Throughout the chapter, The Rise of the Adonis Complex mentions that muscularity is the ultimate sign of masculinity, especially because “as women have advanced, men have gradually lost their traditional identities as breadwinners, fighters, and protectors” (51). First of all, I think that this is walking the thin line between supporting an argument about a widely expressed boy image concern among men and stating that women are depleting men’s masculinity: simply because women have become more self-sufficient over recent decades, does not mean that the biggest sign of masculinity is muscularity. This would suggest that huge, aggressive and violent men have become the ideal man that appeals to women in a hetero-normative world. I disagree. Masculinity stems from much more than a muscular and artificially proportionate body type. Powerful, strong, and efficacious men—as the article states are masculine qualities represented in muscularity—can manifest within so many other ways that are much more preferable to simply physical strength.

On a very different note and reading experience, the chapter, PMS As a Culture Bound Syndrome, was thoroughly entertaining to me. Overall, I like that the reading discusses PMS as a social phenomenon in which women frequently attribute small illnesses or symptoms into one category attributed to their gender. This categorization of any sort of ailment around the time of menstruation is fascinating because it ultimately makes women feel more in control. By human nature, we like to categorize things, to make more sense of the information we take in. This is the same phenomenon that happens when women refer to PMS. My favorite part of the chapter’s discussion was the “out of control feeling” that women get when they are in or around menstruation. From personal experience, I find this to be very true. Most of the time, people are trained to be in control of their lives. They must consciously manipulate their day-to-day lives in order to succeed or else fail in the eyes of those around them. The social phenomenon of PMS allows women to allocate emotional and physical ‘ailments’ to a particular category that excuses their behavior. Essentially, this widespread social category gives a reprieve to women, allowing them to release their controlled behavior and deem their out-of-control behavior to PMS. I found this discussion fascinating because it is absolutely true!

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3 thoughts on “In Control of the Body

  1. Luis Ramos:

    I agree with the point you made about muscularity and masculinity. It’s a shame that masculinity is basically defined, better yet, represented and portrayed by the idea of physical strength- who has the most muscles or even who is the most powerful? Body image has definitely been one of the most important aspects of a man’s life, especially for men who might not necessarily be “fit” or “athletic”. I don’t think masculinity should be determined through physical strength, especially when there’s not correct nor universal definition other than the one that was socially constructed. In that case, I’m less of a man because I’m not “fit” whatsoever, there’s not an “athletic” bone in my body, and I’m not planning in becoming “muscular” any time soon. Oh well…

  2. I agree with you about the idea of the excuse that women have for their out of control feelings. This was a huge part of the reading for me too. When women behave outside of their quiet and reserved expectations they are believed to have something wrong with them, as Chrisler says. Then whenever a woman is angry she is considered to be in her premenstrual week, because it would be completely unacceptable otherwise. So even though women have the advantage of an excuse at times for their behavior, they are for the most part constricted to their sphere of emotions, while men on the other hand may show as much anger or frustration as they want anytime.

  3. The way that men in the media use steroids to gain muscle but pretend to the public that they did so naturally reminds me of the way that models are airbrushed to look even thinner than they really are. Nowadays we alter bodies on both ends of the spectrum; make men unnaturally larger and women unnaturally small all the while pretending that you too could look like this if only you tried a little harder. The images constantly being broadcasted to the public are not honest and cause people to feel bad about themselves because they do not look the way they think they should according to these distorted images. People are already calling to the end of photoshopping of female models, but it is important to also recognize that men’s bodies in the media are being altered too

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