Atlas, Charles



As early-twentieth-century industrialization brought more women into areas that were traditionally male, men began to depend on physical development to maintain a sense of power and manliness. Mechanized production, decreases in the need for skilled labor, and the mass influx of immigrants all challenged traditional notions of masculinity. During this period, the bodybuilder Charles Atlas preached that the road to economic and social success began with physical improvement. Atlas's popular fitness and health program offered a way for millions of young men in factory and office jobs to achieve this new masculinity through exercise.

Born Angelo Siciliano in Acri, Italy, Atlas immigrated to the United States in 1904 with his mother after his parents separated. A physically weak young boy, Angelo worked in a women's pocketbook ...

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