'Flexing muscles'. L’ambigüitat de gènere en el bodybuilding, entre la pràctica esportiva i l’exploració artística

Fontbona Mola, Isa
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This research studies how the body resulting from the practice of bodybuilding can become an element of transgression of traditional gender roles. To do so, we focus especially on the potential we find in the case of female bodybuilders, analyzing their presence in the competitive arena, and especially on how this is (re)interpreted from the artistic scene; but we also talk about their male counterparts and people of non-binary identity. Throughout the different chapters and sections I have analyzed how their corporealities have been seen and worked beyond the sporting arena, in the field of representation and exploration in the artistic context; and how they can be interpreted as an element of gender transgression and as a tool to generate a critique of various aspects of our current society. However, and using theoretical formulations such as the figure of the ‘drag’ defended by Judith Butler to interpret these bodies, we study how also in the competitive framework itself and taking gender roles to the point of exaggeration, a form of criticism can also take place in terms of gender roles. Our study focuses on the period from the mid-twentieth century to the present, although mention is also made of the precedents and origins of these corporealities. We have analyzed several of the artistic gazes (mostly in the photographic framework) that have been given throughout history regarding muscular bodies, ranging from fascination to criticism. We have debated the rules and the industry of this sporting discipline to discover its ambiguities. And finally, we have presented various artistic and activist proposals born from the muscular corporeality itself that have the intention of rethinking, and potentially transgressing, what has to do especially with gender discourses ​
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