T Nation

Body Image in the Media


I am doing a midterm research project about body image in the media. I remember reading some posts about The Rock and he had some implants done. I searched all over tarnation and can't find the article. I think it was in here about a movie he was working on at the time.

Help, project is due on Tuesday.


You want to talk about body type in media, look at the damn comics page. You will find three body types for men:

1) Stick (Beetle Bailey)
2) Fatso (Sarge from Beetle Bailey)
3) Slob (Dilbert)

In no comic other than an action strip is there any man who looks halfway fit and masculine. Oh wait, there's Gil Thorp, but he's a sports guy, so only half credit there. TV is just as bad. No major character(in non-action shows) looks like he has ever done any exercise other than maybe running a 10K. Any minor character who does look strong is ALWAYS put down for it. Name a movie, other than an action flick, where the male lead is at all strong or in shape. All the ones I can think of have a physical theme(Western, etc.)Your usual male lead gets out of breath running from the bad guys.

Can't say if it's a plot to wimpify us or what, but there's some body image propaganda for you. It's so pervasive we don't even see it.


If you'd like an anecdote...

When I was young, probably around 4 or 5 years old, I collected pictures of models so I could copy certain things about them - their smile, hair, posture, etc. I wasn't trying to lose weight at that age, but I certainly was aware of social concepts of beauty, and I didn't even watch that much television compared to most kids.

If you'd like an idea to maybe explore further...

I think children's programming has a lot to do with the attitudes we develop about body image. The protagonists of cartoons, Disney movies, etc., are generally beautiful and thin or handsome and muscular, while the antagonists are ugly and/or fat. I personally believe that what I watched as a child strongly influenced my perception of beauty.


The Rock had liposuction to get rid of his gyno. I am not aware of any implants he has had.


He hasn't had any. You forget that rumors are often spread by people who don't have a clue what they are talking about. I still don't understand how gyno surgery turned into "implants". I guess the concept of lifting weights to build muscle is a concept too heavy for people to bear.


Heh heh . . . get it?



What about Ms. Buxley? VavavaVoom!


Must be steroids or implants or creatine or something. Lifting weights doesn't build muscle, does it?


The "Metrosexual" Paradigm.

Next motherfucker that tries to push the collar on my button-up shirts gets fucking wrecked.


An interesting book I read a few years back on this very subject is called "The Adonis Complex". I would recommend it for research and to anyone else who frequents this site. Quick synopsis, the Adonis complex is what we would probably call "bigorexia", or more properly body dismorphic disorder. Incidentally, in the book there is an enlightening exercise(mental, not physical) showing in outline a male figure in increasingly more muscular vesiage. They asked you to pick out an "ideal", the body form which can usually be obtained through natural training. Both my friend(who frequents this site) and I were able to pick out the appropriate figure. The majority of resondents however pick out a grossly hypermuscled, comic book type figure. I was left wondering how I had escaped the mind warping effects of our popular culture.
The point I mean to make with this overly long post is that the pressures we face as men American culture is towards the more muscular end of the body continuum. We are a culture obsessed with youth and vitality. The metrosexual look is pushed by fashion concerns and really does not influence the population at large. Heroes are buffed and burly. Nobody wants run from the bad guy, they want to stand there and beat the hell out of them.


Prof thanks for clearing that one up for me. I recalled something on here about it but not the details.

I have the in print section covered. Just grabbed some images from GQ in particular Calvin Klein ads (scary) and some from Muscle and Fitness. Along with stats from the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgeons.

Thanks for the comics idea. If I run short on time I'll throw some in my powerpoint to make sure I run the appropriate length.


Check out Chris Shugarts Blog. He's got a thread started in there called "Bones are in". Seems relevant to your research.


Ditto. I also read the book... ...Unfortunately, I picked the hypermuscular figure.... I wrote a report on this subject for a marketing class in a minor. A pretty rich subject these days...


there's an interesting book called "remote control" it talks about how TV has influenced the brain development of your kids

may be of interest