The Dark Side of the Male Fitness Internet, Explained | Internetting Season 2
bodybuilding.com is one of the most popular fitness Forums on the internet and the most popular profile on bodybuilding.com belongs to this Australian bodybuilder called is on the website’s boards his catch phrases pulse through the conversation Barbara Barbara on Facebook hundreds of fan pages pay tribute band on YouTube images of him flexing and posing a remixed into epic motivational clips he’s also been dead for 7 years he died in a sauna in Thailand when he was 22 years old doctor said that he had an undiagnosed heart condition but only internet he lives on as Meme and inspiration cheeseburger inspired me to do Jimmy just made myself a thousand YouTube videos about this a new tribute is uploaded every couple of hours if Charles Atlas with the bodybuilding King of the 1920s and Arnold Schwarzenegger was the prototypical manly man of 80s movies this represents the quintessential man of the modern this internet he’s got one of the most valuable assets for an online fitness star and insane before-and-after transformation photoset in 4 years flat he went from Awkward high schooler to Myspace Kendall six-foot-one 205 lb 8% body fat a lot of diet and workout Trends pretended their about improving your health and wellness a laser focus on what he called Aesthetics is Persona was never about lifting the heaviest weights or running the fastest mile or eating the most nutritious meals it was about achieving the craziest physique possible he pursued it until he literally died but a lot of other men are still tree dang it to women have always had a version of this they’re expected to idealize certain aspirational female forms and to build communities around wiggling their own bodies in their image keeping up appearances has long been a reality for gay men to objectify and straight-up admire sorry higher each other’s bodies that feels knew this made the male on male gaze explicit it’s interesting that even as men and women have become more equal in a lot of ways idealize images of their bodies are moving more and more gendered extremes psychologists suggest that as men loose status and social power over women are driven to assert their masculinity physically to strive to look like real men even if they don’t always feel like them and on the internet vocabularies and image references are forming to help Men Express themselves in this new mode here everything is Quantified life is a series of steps and Reps and rankings it’s not cooking it’s meal prep not food it’s intake and it’s not breakfast it’s meal one the male body is converted into a math problem to be solved all of this can be totally fine but when you take the quantified-self to its extreme conclusion you find a hellscape of objectification every type of guy can be slotted into his own dehumanizing category virgins Chad’s soy boys tux a man’s stats determine his dad online fitness culture offers men a powerful illusion of control over their own bodies and over other people’s too because I’m bodybuilding.com guys don’t just talk about Fitness they talk about relationships and Paul text and those are easily filtered through this adolescent human ranking system to in these forums Humanity itself is reduced to a hierarchy and the same ruthless logic that lures men to the fitness internet that getting shredded will give you access to some elusive male dominance is also easily exported by people on the political Fringe is this his followers will never achieve his body is ideology and fears that young girls falling prey to pro-anorexia sites where they were instructed how to starve themselves we’re just beginning to realize how these online communities built around male body goals can be destructive to not just for themselves but for all of us hey this is Amanda you see masculinity in crisis or answering the commentsOne of the internet’s most popular fitness personalities is a dead bodybuilder named Zyzz. Is he the key to unlocking the link between toxic masculinity, objectification, and fringe politics?
Want more Internetting? Sign up for our newsletter: https://nyti.ms/2NHvnMZ
Zyzz, The Bodybuilder Who Became A Legend: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2t41n3vGtDECQ2hS4Rksxo
Muscle in the Age of Instagram: https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a18927948/muscle-in-the-age-of-instagram/
Glossary of male internet culture: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Manosphere_glossary
More from The New York Times Video: http://nytimes.com/video
Whether it’s reporting on conflicts abroad and political divisions at home, or covering the latest style trends and scientific developments, New York Times video journalists provide a revealing and unforgettable view of the world. It’s all the news that’s fit to watch.