Real Guy Fitness

Material: Arduino & sensors, Netlab Toolkit, dumbell, projector and see-through mirror.

Media Installation
Video: 3 min

Social media facilitates the spreading of male vanity and renders male body vulnerable. Constant self-awareness of body images are the products of gendered social media representation. As a result, masculinity is facing crisis. Can feminism activism on social media makes a sensitive male much stronger?

Real Guy Fitness sourced the social media personal stories on Tumblr around marginalized masculine practices, and crafted a dedicated training environment to restore the strength from the online spaces to the performer's body by weight-lifting in front of the mirror. The performer lifted the dumbbell to consume curated social media feeds. In return, this new digital consumption produced physical and mental strength for the performer. Thus, masculinity is a product. This performance reconstructed a masculine performance based on Taoism perspective of “Real Man’s” (“大丈夫”) personal traits: solidness with softness, to address contemporary american adolescent boys’ issue and pave the way beyond a two-side idea of masculinity.


The relationship between the user and social media fits the dynamics between inclusion and exclusion based on the Taoism mysticism.
Real Guy Fitness: "You can still be a man" explored the tension between physical body image, embodied visuals, and teenage fears, within the ways youth consume social media content. Paying explicit attention to the fear of "less-man figure" and construction of teenage psychology, this project speaks to the fragility of adolescent masculinity and identity confusion in high school.






The image below shows the minium setup to bring this interactive experience to life.

The image below shows the proper prototype environment based on two key points mentioned above.