COST-2606EL Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Richard Dyer, Henry Cavill, Lionel Messi

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Week 10:
Super Bodies
Guest Speaker Neil Shyminsky (Professor of English at Cambrian College)
"Shredding the Superhero Body Myth" - J. Bryan Lowder
"Building a Better Action Hero," Logan Hill
"A sharply defined inguinal crease - the twin ligaments hovering above the hips that point toward
a man's junk - is as coveted as double-D cleavage"
Cleavage is genetic/bought, inguinal crease is not natural and has to be earned
"Muscle matters more than ever, as comic-book franchises swallow up the box office, in the
increasingly critical global market...Thor-like biceps and Captain America pecs are simply a job
"Being reminded of the time - and pile of money - that's required to look like Henry Cavill in Man
of Steel is liberating"
Is he right, is this "liberating"? Or does it just put more pressure on men to achieve perfection?
We know it's impossible but we still feel bad
Does the impossibility of maintaining the superhero body damage its power?
"Knowing that the chiseled torso on screen is completely ephemeral - literally impossible to
'achieve' in any lasting sense in the real world - doesn't totally undermine the damaging power
of male beauty ideals, but it does help disrupt them to a degree"
The Built Body
In the book White, film professor Richard Dyer describes a) what muscular bodies in film signify,
and b) how white bodies are treated differently from non-white bodies
Think about how white and black athletes are discussed differently in the media
How does the media describe the bodies of white and black athletes differently?
White bodies are hard workers and smart, black bodies have natural talent and are gifted
How does it talk about their minds?
Key and Peele: The Racist Sportscaster
Richard Dyer, on the built bodies of action heroes in American film
"The built body sees the body as submitted to and glorified by the planning and ambition of the
"The built body...speaks to the notion that white men are distinguished above all by their spirit
and enterprise"
Do Dyer's quotes about "planning and ambition" and "spirit and enterprise" remind you of the
racist sportscaster's language?
Work hard at it, achieve, product of the mind
Merely muscular bodies were born that way, inherited
Yes, when we see one kind of body as a product of their mind and spirit, we see it as better
In movies, the built bodies are almost always white bodies
Some people had to earn their super bodies = better person
Three commercials:
Lionel Messi (Adidas)
More human, rich
Michael Phelps (Under Armour)
Working hard, dedication, training
Adrian Petersen (Nike)
Animalistic, natural talent
Grunting, growling, thumping heartbeat
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