Rise In The Fitness Culture Essay

1669 words - 7 pages

“Do you even lift bro?” has become the new slang phrase in this period where fitness has become a popular trend across the globe. It has become apparent that fitness, for the most part, dominates many aspects of social media – from infomercials on the best workout videos to the plethora of “how to” fitness videos on YouTube. However, the cause of this fitness boom has been debated for quite some time. Many people assume that the rise in fitness occurred because of its correlation to longevity, but I believe that fitness became popularized through social media. Through the help of celebrity-athletes and the advancement of social media outlets, the public’s perception of fitness (mainly aesthetics) changed from being only for the select few to the obtainable goal of the average citizen.
Celebrity-athletes like Arnold Schwarzenegger unleashed the caged world of fitness from the elite few to the general public. Before the 1970s, physical fitness was closely related to bodybuilders and athletes, but certain athletes were able to break down the barriers that separated the sports industry from the media entertainment industry. Such an athlete was Austrian-born bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger started his bodybuilding career in the late 1960s, a time where it was considered that only the lower class admired extreme muscularity in men (Sailer). Here, Schwarzenegger redefined the level of competition in bodybuilding with his tall physique anchored with large aesthetic muscles, but then also surprised the world by crossing over to the movie industry. Even with his thick Austrian accent, Schwarzenegger had made himself the biggest movie star in Hollywood by the late 1980’s and reinvented masculinity in his own “bulging, brutalitarian image” (Sailer). Arnold’s leap from the bright lights of bodybuilding to the movie screens of Hollywood increased his publicity, and by extension his ripped physique. With the added exposure through movies, Arnold was able to progressively change the public’s perception of beauty and success, which then provides the public with a goal to reach and a standard to compare themselves to.
The only way that Arnold Schwarzenegger was able to change the public’s perceptions was through movies, a social media outlet. The advancement of social media outlets aided celebrity-athletes in changings the public’s notions of beauty and success. The most advanced forms of social media outlets came about in 1997 with the first social networking site (SNS), the New York-based SixDegrees.com, that resembles the social networking present today (Facebook and MySpace) (Clemmitt, SN). Even though it was not as popular as the current social networks sites, SixDegrees.com still garnered 3.5 million users by 199 before shutting down in 2001, proving that the public did like the aspect of online social networking but wanted a more advanced and cheaper version (Clemmitt, SN). Between 1999 and 2002, multiple online social networks appeared...

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