Sunday, November 9, 2008

ON GYMING IT UP an essay in many parts #1

while I was at University I wrote many essays , it's comforting to know that this type of important work is going on in academia...

“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise saves it and preserves it.” -- Plato[1]

The modern male is a complex entity. This essay will peer into one of the great developments of the late 20th and early 21st century, in regards to masculinity: that most manly of institutions, sometimes referred to as a health club, but better known as a gym. In these pockets of society – some dingy and dungeon like, others polished with the sheen of corporate culture – you will find matrices dedicated to the development of the perfect male form[2]. The dual sites under investigation are the gym and man (women not included, sorry). We will investigate how men utilise gyms in an attempt to simulate a cultural ideal: the visual ideal of male perfection. First, we will examine how our modern concept of manliness originated by taking a brief detour through the Enlightenment. Secondly, Plato and Baudrillard will help us to tease out what an ideal social form is and how it is that we go about simulating one. Finally, (with the necessary theoretical ground work laid) we will step into a gym and observe in that context how the male body can be read as a text, which simulates the ideal form that society has constructed for it. Let’s begin to disentangle some of that complexity and see if we can’t make some sense of these manly pursuits.

break parallel back squat 60*5,100*5,120*5,130/2*5
power clean 60*5,80*5,90*5
inc press 70*10
chins (n-grip) 97*10


[2] The same can be said for the female form but due to space constraints this essay will limit itself to the question of masculinity.

No comments: