Home Celebrity Natalie Portman’s Thor arms and the chequered history of female celebrity muscle

Natalie Portman’s Thor arms and the chequered history of female celebrity muscle

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nAtalie Portman’s arm. Saying these three words in a normal voice is impossible now.Since the picture first appeared on Thor: Love and Thunder, No one knows exactly what to do. Everyone was hooked. Here’s a sample set of responses from Twitter: “Fill out passport papers. Religion: Natalie Portman as Mighty Thor.” “I won’t write about Natalie Portman’s horny s*** on the arm” . and “Natalie Portman please slap me in the face”. (I mean, sure, but did you see the weapon? She’d actually kill you.)

For her role as Jane Foster in Taika Waititi’s sequel, Portman said she was “asked to be as big as possible” — and she did. According to her trainer, Naomi Prendergast, she did a 90-minute workout at 4.30am for 10 months to get in shape. What Portman said was “very interesting.” But then again, she’s an Oscar-winning actress. She drank a protein shake. She lifts heavy objects. She got the gun. And, actually, doesn’t it make sense? Finally, we have a female superhero who looks like she can actually throw giant hammers at bad guys’ heads.

It’s interesting that the response is so overwhelming. When it comes to physically strong women, that’s usually not the case. The You Look Like A Man Instagram account documents the vulgar things people say about women in athletics. “Leave the hand to the men,” “You look like you’re dripping bacon grease,” “Good luck with arthritis,” and “Guys don’t want to date their dads” are among the few choices. Madonna was criticized for her muscular arms at the end of the last century, with celebrity gossip site TMZ describing them as “creepy veiny corpse arms” and “creepy muscular arms” [that] It appears to have been reassembled from the bones of a dead cow”. Women are not generally allowed to violate the template of ideal femininity. Of course, Madonna sins both physically strong and fifty-something.

There is a precedent for Natalie Portman’s arm.when linda hamilton first appeared on screen terminator 2, the first photo we see of her Sarah Connor is of her gleaming, taut, bulging biceps as she does pull-ups on a metal bar. Her appearance was so different from the female body of 1991 that fans gasped. However, the fondness for Portman’s arm comes at a time when attitudes to female power are changing. More women are lifting weights; Instagram has 32.4 million posts under the hashtag #girlswholift. It’s accepted for many reasons: In addition to helping build muscle, it can improve your cardiovascular, bone, and joint health. Khloe Kardashian’s personal trainer, Gunnar Peterson, recommends lifting weights as the first way to lose weight.

“Muscle pays for the party,” he said. “Muscle is burning all the time. Lifting weights means, after a workout, you’re burning calories at a higher rate than after a straight cardio workout.” Even the hottest babes who are least likely to wear a sports bra do it: “I’ve always been a little bit afraid of lifting weights, But it turns out I love them. I even have those special gloves to wear!” Victoria Beckham recently told Grazia.

In terms of cultural portrayals of strong women, however, glamour always seems to come from the fact that they are still so rare.Or, as Holly Black says in Elephant Magazine: “The term ‘female power’ is a load… Physical toughness is a recognized aspect of male gender roles, but it’s still hard to find an equal female counterpart”. Sometimes, it comes close to a fetish. When Barack Obama left office, Fashion Mark the moment with “Farewell to Michelle Obama’s Flawless Arms”. Her “surreal” arms “increasingly represent her personal dedication to fitness: they’re also a physical reminder of her ability to roll up her sleeves and get the job done” – apparently.

For much of the world, a woman’s appearance remains the number one indicator of her worth. In fact, women continue to win Oscars for “ugly” — adding weight to a role, or burying their face in a prosthetic. When celebrities like Adele and Rebel Wilson lose weight, the world is on edge. A woman with muscular arms is a curiosity, but as long as she’s still beautiful, that’s fine. She is piercing the accepted template of femininity without destroying it in the most fundamental way—becoming unattractive to men. In that sense, let’s be honest — Portman’s weapons are basically pretty good marketing.

There is danger here. Women are already navigating a world filled with Instagram’s version of the ideal of women. Mimicking their quest is expensive and futile—in Naomi Wolf’s ’90s feminist classic, A beautiful myth, She writes: “Ideal beauty is ideal because it doesn’t exist; action lies in the gap between desire and gratification… In consumer culture, this space is a profitable one.”

question? Capitalism and patriarchy are a deadly combination. The never-ending quest to create a perfect self is only amplified by social media, which gives users the illusion of autonomy as it feeds them expensive trends. In her article “Always Keep Optimizing”, New Yorker Writer Jia Tolentino describes the tyranny of life as women in late capitalism, caught on hamster wheels chasing rigid ideals. Barre classes — an expensive, efficient, painful and results-oriented form of exercise — may make women feel good for the wrong reasons, she suggests. “What it’s really good at is adapting you to hyperaccelerated capitalist life.”

Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2: Judgment Day

(StudioCanal/Shutterstock)

But what if our changing relationship with female power was a way out of some of these things? Writer Casey Johnston started weightlifting after realizing that she could “get stronger and faster than I thought; weightlifting is probably the most fun and effective workout I’ve ever tried” form”.In one of her Ask a Swole Woman columns (now continuing her she is a beast Substack Newsletter), she offers liberating advice to her readers. One wonders how to lose weight; Johnston revisits the question. “What I want to give you is a kinder, more generous, broader goal than the ‘weight loss’ goal the world has been trying to give us,” she wrote. If you follow her philosophy, then in one way or another In a culture that promotes women, being strong can mean having your own agency and taking care of yourself.

This sense of meaning and empowerment is echoed by author, journalist and weightlifter Purna Bell.She recently won the 2022 Sports Performance Book of the Year stronger, her memoir recounts her journey to being able to lift twice her body weight. “Weightlifting is not just a sport for me, it’s a metaphor for life,” she wrote on Instagram. “It gives my body sanity and purpose in a world that strives to strip me of both.”

In fact, Portman would agree. “In order to have that reaction and be seen as big, you realize, ‘Oh, this has to be so different to walk the world like this,'” she said. “For the first time in my life, I felt powerful, and it was crazy.” That almost seemed radical in a world where women’s body autonomy was no longer guaranteed.

Thor: Love and Thunder is out now



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