Chapter

Male Bodies between Associative Life and Consumer Spectacle The Mass Press and Popular Practice

Joan Tumblety

in Remaking the Male Body

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199695577
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745072 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695577.003.0004
Male Bodies between Associative Life and Consumer Spectacle The Mass Press and Popular Practice

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This chapter shows how the 1920s and 1930s saw grassroots sporting practice and spectator sport vastly overtake the kind of gymnastics routines favoured by physical culturists proper. It grapples with the place of masculine ideals in the evolving relationship between these two manifestations of athleticism amid the consumer culture that had built up around them. At times, different sections of the sports movement — Catholic or communist for example — sought to defend their chosen activities against a denigration of less manly others. The chapter also demonstrates that concerns about male bodily failure and the ‘improvement of the race’ were routinely expressed by the sports press and sporting intelligentsia in these years. The last section explores male subjectivity, arguing that memoirs and letters to the editor suggest that French men, regardless of class and other differences, seemed to internalize dominant masculine aesthetic norms and — to a lesser extent — fears of bodily failure.

Keywords: spectator sport; masculine ideals; sport; body culture; subjectivity

Chapter.  18872 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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