Believing Is Seeing Lorber Analysis

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Social forces are common in cultures all around the world. Whether it is the compulsion of women to get married and have children or the thrust upon men to be adequate in supporting such families, there is clearly a boundary line that has been created between genders and what is expected of them. Judith Lorber’s “Believing is Seeing: Biology as Ideology” claims that gender is socially constructed. This theory illuminates a study on recreational steroid usage by Matthew Petrocelli, Trish Oberweis, and Joseph Petrocelli, titled “Getting Huge Getting Ripped: A Qualitative Exploration of Recreational Steroid Use.” By using Lorber as a frame to analyze Petrocelli’s work, I have concluded that expectations embedded in bodybuilding result from…show more content…
When dieting, training and legal supplements all failed to produce the magazine-like results, respondents realized that they would need illegal supplements to achieve their goals” (758).
Therefore, such social standards can make an individual feel inadequate, and, as a result, turn to steroids.
The relation between cultural expectations and recreational steroid use can be further examined in the aspect of one’s desired love life or partner. Woman are a huge contribution to a man's ego. Lorber suggests,
“Bodies differ in many ways physiologically, but they are completely transformed by social practices to fit into the salient categories of a society, the most pervasive of which are ‘female’ and ‘male’” (728). Lorber supports that women are socially constructed into being fragile, thin and needy. Therefore they are attracted to the opposite group, men who are big and protective. This theory sheds light on Petrocelli’s report that recreational steroid users felt that “being ripped increased their confidence and love life” (759). After reading Lorber’s article, one may believe that men have a desire to be big and strong because society tells them that is what a man should look like, particularly in order to be desired by a
…show more content…
Individuals desire to be able to compete with one another, particularly in bodybuilding. As Judith Lorber points out, there are social pressures on each gender to play their expected role, which is clearly seen in the studies by Petrocelli. Although it is unclear whether nature or nurture is more influencing, it is obvious that cultural expectations play a role in the pressure to use steroids. As suggested by Petrocelli, it would be beneficial to examine such muscle magazines that “did not produce the effects promised in words and pictures” to “shed light on an industry that is not known for its truth in advertising” (763). Although it is difficult to understand why someone who lifts weights as a hobby would take such drastic measures to be good at it, a look around at all the thriving products that rely on low self esteem is quite an enlightening view on our culture and the pressures to be someone we are

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