American Hunks: The Muscular Male Body in Popular Culture, 1860-1970

Overview

The "American hunk" is a cultural icon: the image of the chiseled, well-built male body has been promoted and exploited for commercial use for over 125 years, whether in movies, magazines, advertisements, or on consumer products, not only in America but throughout the world.

American Hunks is a fascinating collection of images (many in full color) depicting the muscular American male as documented in popular culture from 1860 to 1970. The book, divided into specific historic ...

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Overview

The "American hunk" is a cultural icon: the image of the chiseled, well-built male body has been promoted and exploited for commercial use for over 125 years, whether in movies, magazines, advertisements, or on consumer products, not only in America but throughout the world.

American Hunks is a fascinating collection of images (many in full color) depicting the muscular American male as documented in popular culture from 1860 to 1970. The book, divided into specific historic eras, includes such personalities as bodybuilder Charles Atlas; pioneer weightlifter Eugene Sandow; movie stars like Steve "Hercules" Reeves and Johnny "Tarzan" Weismuller; and publications such as the 1920s-era magazine Physical Culture and the 1950s-era comic book Mr. Muscles. It also touches on the use of masculine, homoerotic imagery to sell political and military might (including American recruitment posters and Nazi propaganda from the 1936 Olympics), and how companies have used buff, near-naked men to sell products from laundry detergent to sacks of flour since the 1920s. The introduction by David L. Chapman offers insightful information on individual images, while the essay by Brett Josef Grubisic places the work in its proper historical context.

David L. Chapman has written many books on male photography and bodybuilding, including Comin' at Ya!: The Homoerotic 3-D Photographs of Denny Denfield.

Brett Josef Grubisic is author of the novel The Age of Cities and editor of Contra/Diction: New Queer Fiction.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551522562
  • Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 10/1/2009
  • Pages: 316
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

David L. Chapman is the author of 11 previous books, including Comin? at Ya!: The 3-D Photographs of Denny L. Denfield (Arsenal 2007) and Adonis: The Male Physique Pin-up. He also writes for various bodybuilding magazines. He lives in Seattle. Brett Josef Grubisic is the author of the novel The Age of Cities (Arsenal, 2006) and the editor of Contra/Diction: New Queer Male Fiction (Arsenal, 1998)and co-editor (with Carellin Brooks) of Carnal Nation: Brave New Sex Fictions (Arsenal, 2000). He teaches English at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 7

Introduction 11

Flexed for Success: Consumer Goods, Pop Culture, and the Selling of Heroic Masculinity Brett Josef Grubisic Grubisic, Brett Josef 15

The Pioneers: 1860-1914 29

Hunks Make the World Safe: 1914-1919 67

Jazz-Age Athletes: 1920-1929 95

Depression Physiques: 1930-1940 131

Supermen at War: 1941-1949 189

The Age of the Chest: 1950-1959 247

Muscles a Go-Go!: 1960-1969 301

Conclusion 343

Index 349\

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