The researchers wanted to determine how physically active men from the cultural and financial upper class view themselves and other people. For the study, a total of ten Norwegian men were interviewed about their attitudes towards the body, nutrition, and physical activity. Five of the participants were mainly directors and executive in the private business sector with high income, while the other five came from the cultural upper class and were either professors within the humanities, famous artists, or leaders of established cultural institutions.
The participants were shown a range of male bodies of various shapes and sizes. They also asked them whom they would prefer to hire, and whom they were reluctant to hire.
In the interviews, the men from the financial upper class clearly expressed that physical exercise is something everyone is responsible for individually, which also indicated that they had negative attitudes towards people who do not exercise. They also ascribed certain qualities to people with particular body types. People with fit bodies were perceived to be ambitious, goal-oriented, disciplined, and positive. In addition, the body is considered in hiring processes. However, the interviewees from the cultural upper class said that they put more value on formal requirements instead of training and body.
“The body, and your bodily movements, is perceived as the most individual aspect of yourself. This is precisely why it is so interesting to study the body within a class perspective, which has received little scholarly attention thus far,” said Lisa M. B. Sølvberg, one of the authors of the study.
Earlier studies have found that physical activity and interest in sports are essential for resourceful men, both privately and in a professional context.
The participants from the cultural upper class believed that they might all be good candidates because the body in itself does not say anything about the person. However, a few were skeptical towards hiring a man with very defined muscles, whom they associated as being self-absorbed. They explained that a muscular person spends more time on their own body than intellectual pursuits. On the other hand, the financial upper-class participants were inclined to choose those with normal weights, seeing them as a safe bet because they had control over their own body. (Related: Maintaining a healthy weight as you age is about more than quality of life; it can save you a LOT of money.)
“It is important to emphasise that the findings in our study are not necessarily representative for everybody among the upper class, but we throw light on differences related to lifestyle. We also see that these differences have real consequences when it comes to producing, reproducing and legitimating social inequality,” explained Sølvberg.
The research was a part of Sølvberg’s master’s thesis work and was co-written by Vegard Jarness.
Your posture also affects how others perceive you
In addition to body fitness, body language also greatly influences how people see you. Your posture can define you, projecting more than you might think. Having a good posture radiates confidence, highlighting your best parts. It promotes good breathing and increased levels of energy. It also lowers the chances of a painful life.
Read more news stories and studies on men’s fitness by going to MensFitnessFocus.com.