Venus with Biceps: A Pictorial History of Muscular Women

David L. Chapman and Patricia Vertinsky. Arsenal Pulp (Consortium, dist.), $27.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-55152-370-5
Chapman (American Hunks: The Muscular Male Body in Popular Culture 1860-1970) and Vertinsky (Physical Culture, Power, and the Body) collaborate for a fascinating portrayal of the world of female bodybuilding. For the last century, serious weight training by women has been alternately applauded and decried (mostly decried). Women weightlifters faced accusations of masculinity, lesbianism, and general freakishness; indeed the first home they found was in circuses and vaudeville acts. This pictorial history highlights the shifting attitudes toward these women and offers insights into the changing attitudes about body image. The authors have created an excellent collection of thoughtfully-curated photos and essays; though some could have gone deeper, the result is an intriguing look at a little regarded period in sports history. Photos. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2011
Release date: 01/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 578 pages - 978-1-4596-0838-2
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-55152-385-9
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