In the kingdom of the “bro” | The duty

Appearences are often not what they seem ; I don’t follow them on Instagram to admire their chess hairy Apollo sculpted like a bar of chocolate. The secret of their Caramilk doesn’t matter to me. But for the past year, out of pure anthropological curiosity (ahem!), I have subscribed to certain accounts of young Quebec and American motivators. They pretend to be pirates by eating rare bison steak or raw oysters, with their navels in the wind on a beach, or immerse themselves in an ice bath in their recycling bin with a gladiator helmet on their heads.

It’s inspiring, I imagine, for anyone who has never seen Ben-Hur resumed on Easter weekend. In any case, they have a lot of future as extras when Denis Villeneuve unleashes the storms of pit of sand to devote himself to peplums.

That said, the phenomenon is important enough for us to take them seriously. These guys are our brave modern knights, not the kind cleaning public toilets in the latest Wenders film.

They are legionnaires in the kingdom of bro who torpedo their audience with the word “testosterone”, brandish flags with skulls or Neptune’s trident and give lessons in endurance, discipline and performance by pushing iron or shrivelling their testicles in the frozen water.

Bodybuilding is a drug in itself. Outside of “the mass”, the muscle and the will, there is no salvation. It’s the revenge of the redneck, the K-pop failure and the bro tattooed thoroughbred. And their bromance gym, “spotting”, panting, expiating, glowing and suffering behind an iron circuit, is part of a remarkable Judeo-Christian metaphor of a way of the cross traveled a thousand times. They are the apostles of a needle religion.

Gym Adonis

The film Adonis, broadcast on Télé-Québec this week, gives us a muscular overview of their world amplified by image culture. Anabolic steroids (synthetic substances similar to “test”) make them more ” cut ”, but also at greater risk of violent crime. Andrew Tate – accused of rape and human trafficking – and his misogyny shine through his comments like “all presidents are men” or “a man will make better decisions”.

In a modern society where it is no longer necessary to face saber-toothed tigers or mammoths for food, how can we express our virility?

In his recent essay Praise for small dicks. To put an end to the virilist dictatorship, the writer Octavie Delvaux (a well-known figure in erotic literature in France) mentions: “Patriarchy does not only subjugate women, it subjugates all those who do not fit into the framework of the virile alpha male shaped by history . For centuries, men have been pushed to construct themselves in opposition to women, but also in opposition to other men: the weakest, the least muscular, the most effeminate…”

We’ll praise small dicks another time, if you don’t mind.

In the test The muscle factory (L’écuée, 2022), Guillaume Vallet, an economics professor, establishes a link between this fabrication of the body and capitalism. “As with any process of economic growth, the goal is to increase the quantity of material […]. Particularly in the age of social networks, where the material of the produced body is consumed through its presentation in virtual interactions. »

The author explains “the myth of economic growth”. “Applied to the body, this logic leads to considering nutrition and supplementation as inputs of matter making it possible to construct a new matter like output, that is to say the body. » Followers eat up to nine meals a day, 6000 calories, 600 grams of protein, etc. We gain “mass”, we “ beef up “.

The author evokes a feeling of control, security and efficiency. The gym mirrors become a reflection of the pain generated in sweat. “I suffer, therefore I am. »

This meritocracy values ​​investment in and through the body as a new philosophy of life, a source of a certain social justice consecrating hard work.

A popular militia

If all this was just a joke on TikTok, still move on. But transposed into a world in crisis where truckers can block a capital (Ottawa, 2022) and farmers paralyze highways (Europe, at the moment), in a country where there are more weapons in circulation than citizens who are going to vote (our neighbors to the South) and where cartoon Vikings can attack the Capitol encouraged by their commander-in-chief (January 2021), there is reason to be concerned about the codes to which the “ crew » (crew) like those who follow Taylor Morgan. This former “marine” has become a life coach in the broad sense, a fan of ice baths, weight training and testosterone. A people’s militia is available at the click of a thumb.

In his excellent essay The myth of virility. A trap for both sexes, the philosopher Olivia Gazalé makes several connections between the moral virtues of the soldiers and these diligent weightlifters: “The portrait of a new man then emerges, at once a saint and a warrior: the athlete, who, in the words de Coubertin, “exalts his homeland, his race and his flag”. »

She devotes a chapter to “the fascist drift of the warrior model”, after the First World War, associated with this ideology where “paramilitary militias and other far-right youth movements were born, which resurrected the warrior ethos by going to stifle the worker revolts. The pagan cult of muscle, hardness and strength is put at the service of a revolutionary political ideology, even of a new religion, as idolatrous as it is vindictive.” We talk about “carapace”, “muscular armor” and eliminating inferior beings.

This boys’ club in ” wife beater » (tank top) finds its power in a tacit complicity, that of bros gyms who share their “ bro science “. “Alone, we are nothing, together, we are invincible,” continues Olivia Gazalé […] Discipline and training through physical exercise would aim not so much to cultivate power as to repress the feeling of powerlessness and fragmentation of the self. »

The philosopher concludes that the virilist myth of the superman leads to dehumanization.

Better not to be too paranoid…

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