White Man's Muscles Essay

904 Words Oct 23rd, 2006 4 Pages
The White Man's Muscles

In today's society, the naked white male body is found everywhere. It can be seen in print ads, including clothing catalogues, TV commercials, and especially in movies, yet the prevalence of the naked white male body is something that has only been embraced since the 1980s. Prior to the 1980s, half naked white males were hardly ever seen in popular film because of the negative effects it would have on male self-esteem and masculinity.

People in our generation remember watching films such as Rocky, Rambo, and The Terminator, which showed incredibly built and tan white males in some type of extreme action role. However, people would be hard pressed to find a film in which a half naked white male was
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The obvious differences between these men and other men off the street plays into the ideals of masculinity. Only toned bodies, bodies that simulate the ideals of perfection can truly avoid any of the horrors that are associated with coming into contact with femininity and non-whiteness. Men like to see these toned men as opposed to regular guys because they do not need to fear their shortcomings. Only few people can live up to the idea of the perfect man and so seeing them on film is a form of escapism. If real men were depicted, all of their fears associated with being normal would be realized.

The use of bodybuilders in film instead of standard males was a mask to cover up the inadequacies of white men. Using these perfect beings has negative effects even today but it is constantly being reinforced in our society. The ideal of the perfect man being as muscular as Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone has fallen by the wayside however a new ideal of perfection has risen to take its place.

White males are now commonly seen shirtless in films and in some instances completely naked. This is a result of a major change in the ideas about what society thinks is acceptable. Bodybuilders are no longer considered the best representation for masculinity because of the
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