I love watching certain sports; it’s a great way to “see” how specific activities, with excessive focused practice, both require and create body types. And, of course, specific results of nature versus nurture. Taking into account sports mythology, there are many paths to Olympic success: a child having an illness or accident is introduced to a sport as therapy; a child who shows no interest in academics “blossoms” in sports; a ‘knowing” adult coach observes talent, and nurtures the child’s abilities with monomaniacal dedication; a child sees a sport being played and “just knows” it is their destiny.
In all cases, it is sure that physical and mental traits exist first – athletic predisposition. The obvious trend in modern sports is selection for height in basketball, but also in swimming and volleyball. Women gymnasts are short compared to male gymnasts, whose bodies are classically proportioned.
One effect of intense athletic devotion is obvious: women who “use up” their body fat and replace it with muscle mass have no “breasts” – if a female goes below around 20% body fat, it becomes apparent that female human body will shut down reproduction for lack of “resources” to literally build a new human. This does not mean that the gigantic fatty breasts that are culturally desirable, (at least) the U.S., are necessary: this “need” or fetish for huge breasts is a result of neoteny: when was the last time we (males and females) had our heads surrounded by gigantic blimp-like feeding organs? Adult males want to continue the “baby state” of being dependent without appearing to be infantile. The over-emphasis on inflated muscle mass and violent behavior is camouflage for weakness. Depictions of “sex” in pop-culture become ever more tied to violence against women. Women are taught to be everlasting ‘mommies’ who provide men with whatever they want: sexless marriages, over-eating to regain an infant body form, obsession with pornography and other infantile symptoms all point to the physical-psychological juvenalization of modern Homo sapiens.
Watching Olympic events in which women do reduce body fat to a minimum, I have noticed for the first time (probably due to awareness of Aspergers) that these females are “females” – there is no reduction in social behavior. How many times can these top-level athletes group hug, high five, chatter, “self-groom” and yell encouragement over and over? If you’re SO GOOD in your sport that you are in the Olympics, why the need for incessant attention? To an Asperger these tremendously talented women appear to lack self-confidence. But also, this activity demonstrates how vital “social support” is for athletes.
An Asperger female can expect antagonism instead of help and encouragement in pursuit of her personal and intellectual goals. Without the defining “female” social behavior, she will never be considered female, despite having all the “right parts”.
While the Olympics may make obvious the “shaping and forming” of the human body to perform the physics of various sports, the exposure to fit and functional human bodies (even if produced by extreme training) reminds us of how beautiful the human animal can be and how far from “superiority” domestication has taken us.
WOW! Fantastic photos!
The Body Shapes Of The World’s Best Athletes Compared Side By Side, from boredpanda.com
We’ve been fascinated with the ideal human form since ancient Greece and before, although that ideal form has been constantly changing. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why Howard Schatz’s Athlete series is so striking – it taps into the same focus on physical human beauty that ancient Greek sculptures and modern advertisements do.
In Athlete, Schatz explores many different variations of the human physique. We get to see bodybuilders with rippling muscles, bone-thin marathon runners, towering long-jumpers and massive wrestlers – all side-by-side. They are all oiled and all dressed in the same black underwear, giving a standardized and objective context within which we can truly appreciate and compare their different forms. [Read more…]