I discovered this image of Arnold Schwarzenegger on a body building blog. It features Schwarzenegger in the center of the image, taking up nearly the entire frame. The image is a long-range shot photographed from eye-level, directly in front of the models. In the background, sand covers the ground and the ocean extends into the distance. Additionally,the sky is a lighter shade of blue than the water. In the foreground, a smooth and shiny yellow material wraps around Schwarzenegger’s hips and his skin is tan, but some areas reflect a golden-orange color from the natural lighting of the environment. Schwarzenegger’s has visibly thick bulges that protrude from his arms, legs, chest, and abdomen that cast many shadows. His gaze is pointed up towards an object pinched between his right index finger and thumb, his dark brown eyebrows are straight but slightly angled, his mouth is a closed line, his brown hair sweeps away from his face, but a few sections are sticking straight out of the top of his head. His upper arms extend straight out from his shoulders, but his forearms point to the sky at about ninety degree angles, hinged at his elbows. His fists are clenched except for his two right fingers that hold a clear, reflective, cup with a wide base and short stem; inside the cup appears to be a reddish brown liquid. The skin is smooth over the bulges of his body, but his right inner forearm shows shadowed striations down the sides.
Kneeling beside Schwarzenegger is a blonde model, whose face is angled up towards him. Her eyes are also fixated on Schwarzenegger, her small nose points upwards, and her lips are parted slightly. Blond strands of hair hear her face point away from her face in horizontal lines and the rest of her hair falls straight down to the middle of her back. Her skin is a light flesh-colored almost peach which also reflects golden light in some areas. She is wearing a purple bikini made of smooth material that clings tightly to her body. Her entire body faces Schwarzenegger, her upper arms extend in a horizontal line towards his body, her forearms angle up at about a seventy-five degree angle, hinged at her elbows, and her fingers and hands lay flat on Schwarzenegger’s side.
These observations allow me to ascribe value to what is depicted in this image. I can deduct that Schwarzenegger is a large, muscular, man, flexing on a beach while holding a wine glass above his eye level. He is looking at the wine glass with a smirk on his face while wisps of his hair are tousled by the wind. The sun casts shadows on his muscles but also highlights them with golden rays. Schwarzenegger looks powerful and assertive, whereas the woman below him looks passive and fragile. The pretty model looks up to Schwarzenegger while clinging to his upper thigh and hip. Wind is blowing loose strands of hair away from her face and the sun catches her light skin, giving it a golden, glowing appearance.
This image embodies a stereotype of bodybuilding through use of ideologies and discourse. Schwarzenegger is photographed looming over a kneeling woman, which allots him power over her. She clings to his side as though begging for something, entirely at his discretion. I once heard a guy say, “More curls, more girls! More plates, more dates!” This is the perfect exemplification of discourse reinforcing the ideology that being a big buff body builder will make girls want you. However, the sexuality of this body type is gendered; extremely muscular women are not perceived as sexy, but extremely muscular men are. By glorifying Schwarzenegger’s ideally strong body, this image connects masculinity to strength, power, and sexuality. The image also praises the “body as machine” ideal.