"Weakness is a crime, don't be a criminal" : the construction and dissemination of body images in Physical culture magazine
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This paper examines the ways in which Bernarr Macfadden constructed and manipulated notions of male and female ideal body types in his magazine, Physical Culture. The medium of the magazine and advancing techniques in printing allowed Physical Culture to contain a variety images that had the potential to reach a large, national audience. After the Introduction, the first section looks at Bernarr Macfadden's early life and how it influenced his career path and convictions, which serves as a foundation for the magazine and the various issues it addressed. Chapter 3 explains the larger social context in which the magazine was published, including the attitudes and beliefs of late nineteenth-century American culture. The paper then delves into a close examination of Physical Culture, with Chapter 4 devoted to ideas of classicism in the magazine, and Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 investigating the representation of males and females in Physical Culture, respectively. A discussion of the controversy surrounding issues of nudity and prudery in the magazine concludes the paper. This thesis examines Physical Culture not only as a product of contemporary late nineteenth and early twentieth century American society, but also as an active agent in contributing to the constantly shifting ideas and character of American culture.