Get PJ Media on your Apple

PJM Lifestyle

Get Fit or Die

A new book on fitness history says a lot about marketing

by
Hannah Sternberg

Bio

March 26, 2014 - 2:00 pm
Page 1 of 2  Next ->   View as Single Page
via

Pudgy Stockton (via)

Do we work out for health or beauty? Yes.

I’m in the middle of reading Making the American Body: The Remarkable Saga of the Men and Women Whose Feats, Feuds, and Passions Shaped Fitness History by Jonathan Black. (Full review to come.)

So far, it’s enormously entertaining and enlightening, and I’m recommending it to friends already. Interestingly, it focuses more on the clash of personalities (and marketing styles) than on the fitness methods themselves. But what stood out to me is how so many marketing campaigns for fitness regimes, dating all the way back to the nineteenth century, played on fear and shame. Apparently every era of American society has teetered on a crisis of emasculation and/or unhealthiness. And that crisis also happens to necessitate buying lots of new equipment, accessories, and specialty food, so we can fit into the clothes that exalt the body type that the fitness trend tells us we must have.

Another thing that stood out to me was the changing shape of the “ideal” woman. One of my favorite stories from the book so far (and a welcome note of positive, encouraging marketing) was that of Pudgy Stockton. Pudgy’s nickname originated in her chunky teen years, but she shed the pounds and gained a very different reputation on Santa Monica’s Muscle Beach. A smiling, playful fitness icon, Pudgy is credited with demonstrating to women of her generation that females can lift weights without losing their femininity — and that lifting can even enhance their womanly curves. It was refreshing to see a female fitness icon who didn’t look like she could fit through the eye of a needle — but was still healthy, attractive, and feminine.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
God bless the curvy woman.

As a healthy male, let me assure you many of us are not interested in the stick-woman. Pudgy looks fantastic in that photo, and I wouldn't doubt she could easily rock a little less muscle and a little more padding just fine.

Hour glass figures are awesome! No need for a flat butt to be attractive. It pains me to read articles like this, because it's certainly not men like me driving these "fashion trends", or whatever you might call them. My guess is it's homosexuals who want women to look more like men, or stick-women who want others to see them as beautiful.

In any case, my wife definitely has more of the old pin-up girl shape. Cheers to you, Hannah!
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
There is definitely not an overabundance of fit women OR men in the US. Quite the opposite. And fit women are just as attractive today as they were in Pudgy's day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zvqNHDTf8Y
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
I got fit, really fit, ruined my health and mind. I daily squated with 630 pds, dead lifted 500 pds, and bench pressed upto 430 pds. (My 22 year old grandson just pressed 455 pds.) Result: A healthy package of muscles (not too much smaller than Arnold) with a very ruined skeleton, back and legs. So I read with trepidation, particularly as a (macho inclined) male, reflections on "fitness" as being "fit" can hurt. So my advice is: Train according to fitness and leave SUPERoverfitness to nuts like myself. Good luck!
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
You're one really strong dude, but a question: you say you did this DAILY?

Did you mean that?
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you weren't healthy, then you weren't fit. And if weightlifting ruined your skeleton, you did it incorrectly.

Read Mark Rippetoe's series on PJ Media.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
For a guy who lifted "incorrectly," Prof. Iw had spectacular results. Unless he mis-typed, the only "incorrect" thing he did was lift daily, which I find hard to believe.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Weight training performed with correct technique does not result in "a very ruined skeleton, back and legs". Again, I'll refer you to Mark Rippetoe's series on PJ Media.

http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/03/13/the-deadlift-3-reasons-why-just-picking-up-heavy-things-replaces-most-of-your-gym/?singlepage=true
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, the problem we have in America is just too damn many rail-thin women ... and men. We should be looking at Samoa to show us the way. Now talk about curves. And even curves on the curves.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
"creative shoppers learn to find the pieces that work for their bodies"

Gi Joes? In the pup tent section?

"It’s not just the constant barrage of images of rail-thin women"

I don't think I'm seen more than a couple of those in the last 25 years. These days there are a lot more women who look like about 3 or 4 rail-thin women stuck together.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't think there is a problem in America with many women looking like sticks. Or being too fit. Take the bus or go watch a movie, you'll see plenty of overweight women looking like pears. Fat blobs wearing spandex, their butts looking like two bulldogs fighting in a garbage bag. And I can tell you they are absolutely unconcerned by what society's norms are on beauty. Most are married, so do not give a crap about their looks
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
God bless the curvy woman.

As a healthy male, let me assure you many of us are not interested in the stick-woman. Pudgy looks fantastic in that photo, and I wouldn't doubt she could easily rock a little less muscle and a little more padding just fine.

Hour glass figures are awesome! No need for a flat butt to be attractive. It pains me to read articles like this, because it's certainly not men like me driving these "fashion trends", or whatever you might call them. My guess is it's homosexuals who want women to look more like men, or stick-women who want others to see them as beautiful.

In any case, my wife definitely has more of the old pin-up girl shape. Cheers to you, Hannah!
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
View All