According to my textbook, the eighties and nineties saw a departure from the musclebound look for men…
Big flaw in that assertion: They completely ignored the vast popularity (box office $$$!)of muscular action movie stars during that period, with Arnold leading the pack!(and Arnold has inspired untold numbers of dudes to take up the iron)…
I agree that people have and will always be impressed by Arnold. However, I don’t know that Arnold necessarily represented the physical ideal that most men yearned for while they were watching him.
I was considering everything that has been said here and thinking about whether or not this assertion is true.
To disagree with many of the above posters, I think that class and mass go together, at least to a point. One example of this is the new James Bond movie. I would make any assertions that Daniel Craig is huge or jacked or anything to that effect. He does, however, have a physique that I consider fairly respectable. If you compare him to say, Brad Pitt from Fight Club, we’ve come a hell of a long way. I think one of the characters in the movie even makes a comment to the effect of “I see you’ve taken good care of your body, Bond.” while admiring his physique.
Although I don’t think a single James Bond movie serves as the proof text for this argument, I think it is representative of a growing respect for the muscled physique. I postulate that if you asked a body of average men whether or not Craig’s physique in the movie is ideal, many of them would cite it as such.
Additionally, I think that this notion of muscularity coupled with the prevalence of instantaneous gratification explains the bench and curl phenomenon. In a quest for instant “jackedness” misled men journey to gyms and exercise the muscles they believe will allow them a respectable physique.
Seeing an individual in public that is well built betrays a number of things about them. A. he or she had the time and energy to build this physique B. he or she has discipline C. he or she can afford a gym membership D. he or she has the wherewithal to correctly build a human body.
Just a thought.