Sports and American Society

In the book Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture, the scholar Amy Farrell explores the history of the “war on fat” in the United States and argues that anxieties about the ideal male and female body have deep roots in American history and have had major ramifications on American society. Using Farrell’s work as a starting point, explore and analyze the history of physical fitness and exercise in the United States. How have Americans’ attitudes about fitness and the ideal male and female body evolved over time? And, in your opinion, how has the history of American sports, exercise and fitness mirrored broader cultural and social trends in American society? When applicable, use direct quotes from Farrell and other class readings to substantiate your argument.