Physique Contest: Harmless Fun or Dangerously Inappropriate?

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     A couple of years ago, four boys, clad in nothing but board shorts, walked onto the football field during a school wide assembly. They then proceeded to flex their muscles, for both the school and a panel of judges, all as part of a physique competition. At the time I was a freshman and going through a culture shock. I was completely surprised that MHS held such events at an assembly. And, apparently, I wasn’t the only one. After, mixed reviews rolled in, criticizing the event. However, at the time, the audience and participants alike were able to get a good laugh out of the proceedings, enjoying the routines the four boys put together to show off the various muscles they developed. This year the weight training class hoped to bring this event back to the public, hosting a voluntary competition after school in the gym for those interested. However, this idea was shut down after a complaint was filed, garnering the question: are these competitions harmless fun or dangerously inappropriate?

     A major issue with this competition was the dress code. In order to show off their muscles — the whole point of the competition — the boys only wore board shorts. MHS has a detailed dress code, which being shirtless is definitely in violation of. But I think it’s important to remember that it’s not like these people would be walking around campus all day dressed like this. They would have been in the gym, after school hours, participating in a competition. They would be showing off their bodies to show their progress in weight training class — to show the results of their hard work — not to show off their bodies.

     Whether the complaint was issued on behalf of the audience or the competitors, participation, especially this year, is completely voluntary. These people would not have signed up to participate if they were not comfortable doing so. On the same note, if the audience members feel uncomfortable, they just wouldn’t have to go to watch. Nothing about this event is mandatory. If any person at the school didn’t want to be involved in this event, or wouldn’t feel comfortable at this event, they could very easily avoid it.

     No one I have talked to, both two years ago and recently, have ever taken this event as inappropriate. Admittedly, people, myself included, were surprised. This event was different from anything else before it. Especially on such a large scale. But the point of this competition was for the students in weight training to show their progress in a fun way; the boys who participated all put in daily efforts to get their bodies to a point where they felt proud to show it to their peers.

Click links for more:

Physique Contest Survey

Formal complaint cancels Physique Contest (Story)

Survey Results: 

Do you consider bodybuilding a sport competition or sexual exploitation?

Physique Contest Student Survey Video

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Physique Contest: Harmless Fun or Dangerously Inappropriate?