Visible Difference and Flex Appeal: The Body, Sex, Sexuality, and Race in the "Pumping Iron" Films Author(s): Christine Anne Holmlund Reviewed work(s): Source: Cinema Journal, Vol. 28, No. 4 (Summer, 1989), pp. 38-51 Published by: University of Texas Press on behalf of the Society for Cinema & Media Studies Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1225394 . Accessed: 09/11/2011 22:43
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Visible Differenceand Flex Appeal: The Body, Sex, Sexuality,and Race in the PumpingIron Films
by Christine Anne Holmlund
Pumping Iron (George Butler and Robert Flore: 1977) and Pumping Iron II: The Women (George Butler: 1984), two documentariesabout bodybuilding contests, provide an ideal opportunityto look at the relationshipsoperating between body, desire, and power in the United States today. Taken as a pair, these films are a veritable melting pot of sex, sexuality, race, and sales. Intentionally and unintentionally, they reveal how the visible differences of sex (to have or have not) and race (to be or not to be) mesh with ideology and economy in contemporaryAmericansociety,and within film fictions.In both films sexualityis adroitly linked with sex and race at the expense of any reference to history or class. The body is marketed as a... [continues]
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