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Sociological Imagination: Western’s Undergraduate Sociology Student Journal

Abstract

The current 'ideal' male body is a product of a compounded virtual social identity which has been in development for centuries. It is shown that the current views on the male body are an aggregation of past cultural products, with a trend for muscularity beginning in Ancient Greece leading to the present day. From Ancient Greece to the Renaissance, Art was a manufacturer of the stereotype. In the modern era, media has replaced the role of art and the artists, delivering messages about the body through movies, magazines, and advertisements. Due to the power of these cultural products expressing the views of moral entrepreneurs in the social construction of deviance, males face an extreme pressure to comply with the societal ideal. While lean muscularity is an ideal prescription in society, it is clear that the results of the prescription are anything but ideal. Males face substance abuse and risky health behaviours when attempting to comply to the standard.


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