Several rows of men on a stage at a bodybuilding competition. They are all in tiny tight pants with bulging muscles all over the bodies. They are very oily and shiny. The front row of three men have their hands on the hips in fists to accentuate the muscles in their torso and arms. The two on the left and middle are smiling, the one on the right has his cheeks puffed out as if he is straining. The rows behind are stood more casually waiting their turn. The layers of bodies and muscles in the picture blend together making it difficult to differentiate between each person. Their backdrop is plain black.
A row of body builders from the website

Did you know that when you look up synonyms for the word ‘athletic’ it suggests; ‘frail, weak, infirm, delicate’.

Antonyms include, ‘muscly, well built, strong, fit, healthy’ and… ‘able-bodied’..

As if to suggest that disabled people could not also be athletic or hyperable at the same time, that they are mutually exclusive. Of course we know this not to be true but we rarely see examples of this in mainstream media, unless it is for inspiration porn.

This is why I have chosen to use the term, ‘hyperable’ instead of the word ‘athletic’. Too often this body type is considered the norm, the average or what is considered ‘healthy’ in our Western society and media. Everyone else’s experiences of their body, who don’t fit into this category, are somehow deemed less than. I want to highlight, through the language and terminology that I use, that all body types are of course valid and that being athletic or hyperable is a choice to push your body into a form that is in most cases, beyond what is necessary to survive. You have made yourself, in some way, ‘hyper-able.’

Bodies are more complicated than the binaries of athletic or weak, fast or slow, healthy or unhealthy. They are soft and leaky, strong and vulnerable, uncooperative and reliably inconsistent. They contain emotions and memories. We can adorn them with the symbols of who we are and connect with ourselves and others through them. Where are the celebratory arena sized events for these bodies? The non-normative normal bodies.  

Besides, the word athlete comes from ancient Greek words that mean, ‘one who competes for a prize’ so in some sense we can all be athletes if we really want to be. I won a goldfish on the fair once.

< Back

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.