Intervention – Working the Body

    • Lucca November 2017
    • Presentation speakers
      • Isabel Fontbona Mola, Theories of Contemporary Art Group, Universitat de Girona, Spain


    Short intervention about the discipline of working the body in female bodybuilding competitions by Isabel Fontbona Mola. With a sports career as a natural bodybuilder competitor she will illustrate the discipline of performing the sculptural body in female bodybuilding competitions.

    It is true that the image of female bodybuilders manages to totter the gender schemes which, despite knowing that they are totally surpassed, are still encysted in the mind of most of the citizens of our society governed by this grammar of dichotomies, but it is difficult to get away from them. Their decision, to empower their body through musculature, leads them to a new slab of control, both with respect to the metamorphosis and the maintenance of this body, as well as in the way in which it is governed to be displayed. We can say that the importance of the gesture of the woman bodybuilder lies in the fact that it eludes, destabilises, the normative traditional prototype of a woman. From this position, the position of the ‘other’, disorientation is created, which is what makes it subversive. It is modified to provoke shock; to disassemble the predominant normative binomial feminine/masculine. As within the context of competitions, it is difficult to be able to talk about the feminine corporal identity, another form of femininity, as a break away from the dichotomy, as we have seen with limitations that the competitive regulations impose on it. However, we can consider that other forms of performing based on this body, as in the case of Heather Cassils, lead to another interpretation and way of generating a break away in this discourse that is so deeply rooted in the traditional patriarchal context. Therefore, possibly, it is not just a question of creating this sculpture with one’s own flesh with the aim of empowering oneself and holding the reins of one’s own body through modelling it, but one must also be quite clear which form of performance to carry out to overcome this climate of submission, docility and tyranny.