by Cade Thomas
It’s been relatively common place for bodybuilders to be made fun of for a long time now. Terms like “meathead” and other non endearing descriptions somehow slid under the radar of political correctness while other stereotypes were taken off the acceptable list. The general consensus in the minds of the uneducated public is that anyone who has big muscles is probably dumb with not a whole lot going on upstairs.
Movies, TV shows, and commercials have perpetuated the stereotype for decades now as seemingly every muscular character who makes an appearance in mainstream entertainment is portrayed as missing some brain cells or at the very least being simple minded and narcissistic.
There definitely is a lot of stupid bodybuilders out there, but is this really that accurate in our current day? Athletes, especially big ones, also deal with this stereotype (think giant linebacker characters) and is it the fact that people draw a correlation between bodybuilders and the utmost extreme of jock culture?
If you were to objectively analyze different demographics, you would assume that overweight people would be considered to have the lower intelligence because they use the least amount of thought in regards to their body and are generally ignorant of anatomy and nutrition. To me, the concept of an obese genius seems quite hard to wrap my head around; I know there are some out there with very specialized knowledge who also tip the scales at whopping amounts, but it’s not a common link.
Most of us know that obesity and ignorance go hand in hand. Areas with poor education or at least low intelligence generally have higher rates of obesity. And vice versa – In most forward thinking modern areas, people also tend to be much more conscious of nutrition and staying fit. Following in this line of analysis, someone who takes nutrition and exercise to extreme levels would have to have some base of intellect due to the attention to detail needed.
Somehow, none of this matters in the mainstream. It’s now considered wrong to portray overweight people in a negative light but dumping on muscular people is still accepted. Who ruined it for us? Were there any specific individuals who had a ripped physique that publicly tarnished the whole thing? My instincts tell me that isn’t the case, and it simply boils down to insecurities. Many people consider themselves “too busy” or too consumed with their daily life to have time to put into their bodies. In their eyes, someone who clearly has made the time to invest in their appearance must not have the same amount of “real world” responsibilities. I hear it all the time – “It must be nice to have all day to workout and look like he/she does”. Many times I hear people make assumptions like this that the person obviously doesn’t have a life…yet the person they are talking about runs their own business or might be a mother of 3 young kids.
In the end I think it boils down to most people’s denial that someone has the same capacity to be productive in business/social situations AND also develop an impressive physique. For them to admit that someone might have both, would mean that they are lazy or that their excuses for not achieving their physical goals are not valid. No one wants to hear that their excuses are not valid.
In my experience, bodybuilders tend to be some of the most open minded and intelligent people I interact with. I am not saying all of them are, but a solid amount. One thing most “meatheads” have in common is that they are obsessed with self improvement, and even if their brains are tunnel visioned on the goal of physical improvement, the fact is their brains are still very active.
Maybe one day society will accept the fact it’s more difficult to develop a diet and training program to lower body fat and build muscle than it is to just shovel random shit down your throat. Hell, throw drugs and supplements into the mix and it’s hard to argue that intelligence doesn’t plays a vital role in bodybuilding.