Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Robin Riner

Second Advisor

Maggie Stone

Third Advisor

Kristi Fondren


This study examines the bodybuilding community by conducting interviews and watching the bodybuilding documentaries Pumping Iron, Pumping Iron II, and Generation Iron. Bodybuilders’ performance of the body is not solely acted just on stage for competitions. Rather, bodybuilders are continuously redefining limitations of what we determine a ‘normal’ body looks like. By using the concept of the gaze, I analyze bodybuilders’ bodies as an oddity on and off stage (Mulvey, 1989). The oddity of their body transforms the space it takes up into a stage for entertainment. I then examine gender performances of female and male bodybuilders within the traditionally masculine sport. I argue that although female bodybuilders are participating within a sport that is socially identified as masculine, they are not challenging femininity but representing a particular form of it. I also argue that female bodybuilders expose the fluidity of gender while reflecting various forms of feminine gender performance.


Women bodybuilders.

Bodybuilding for women.