Can muscles be queer? Reconsidering the transgressive hyper-built body
Abbreviated Journal Title
J. Gend. Stud.
ascesis; bodybuilding; gender-transgression; Pumping Iron 2; queer; ethics; Social Issues; Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary; Women's Studies
This article examines the hyper-built body in light of queer theoretical investigations into gender, sexuality, and resistance. It is too easy to claim that female or male bodybuilders are either subversive of, or are upholding, dominant gender systems or heterosexuality. Such declarations do not explain why or how subversions/ shifts might occur. Demonstrating how using a queer theoretical perspective offers some useful shifts in analysis by enabling an investigation into the complex operations of norms that shape the body and its practice, I consider David Halperin's argument that gay muscles are different from straight muscles. Pointing out some of the limitations of such a claim when viewed within the realm of women's bodybuilding, I reconsider the seminal film, Pumping Iron 2: The Women, in order to raise questions about transgression and gender norms that might provide insights into the operations of power vis-a- vis hyper-built bodies.
Journal of Gender Studies
"Can muscles be queer? Reconsidering the transgressive hyper-built body" (2007). Faculty Bibliography 2000s. 7619.