Redefine Health and Fitness: Blakely Thornton
“Strength can turn to violence, courage to recklessness, assertiveness to abuse.” Blakely Thornton on the PROS and CONS of masculinity. The former college football player also discusses his relationship with health and fitness, Cardi B and the lack of endoresment for diversity in the queer community.
Shot by Nicolas Bloise @papi.prada
Growing up did you have a queer role model and how did your relationship with health and fitness develop?
I grew up in Texas in the 90’s. To be quite honest, I didn’t have any queer role models in my immediate social circle or in the media. I connected with the characters in “Will and Grace” but didn’t consciously know why, and I knew I loved Fiona Apple, but I did not see myself in anyone else or anything.
I’m a (former) competitive athlete, so health and fitness have always been a part of my life through training. I played tennis until I was 17, and then during my junior year of high school I tried Football. I went on to play football for the University of Pennsylvania.
That one exercise you love/hate performing?
I love doing anything explosive because I get bored easily and always want to make the most of my time when I’m in the gym. I also HATE heavy squats because they give me flashbacks of training during football practice.
If your life was a Cardi B track, which one would it be and why?
“I Do” ft. SZA because I do indeed do what the fuck I like (for the most part).
Fitness and wellness goals for 2019?
I’d like to be able to run a sub 5 minute mile and do a back handspring. This may have something to do with growing up on X-Men cartoons and Power Rangers but I’ll leave that to my (future) therapist to dissect.
“I often find attractiveness confused with fitness/wellness which can create a toxic relationship with food/the gym/self image. I’m not immune.”
Is there a fallacy within the queer community relating to fitness and working out that you would address?
There is a Kardashian on an overseas trip amount to unpack there. If there were a main fallacy I see, it would be that the lack of attention to diversity WITHIN the queer community. Because we are already the minority, less attention is paid to the allowance for different standards of beauty.
I often find attractiveness confused with fitness/wellness which can create a toxic relationship with food/the gym/self image. I’m not immune. My first impulse when asked “what are your fitness goals” was to say “get back under 10% body fat”, but that’s not fitness, that’s looks. People need to be more concerned with wellness/how the body feels than the external, but that’s not easily done.
Three PROS and three CONS of masculinity?
Masculinity is a positive when it is understood as a social construct and not an inherent trait. Traits traditionally viewed as masculine in Western society include strength, courage, independence and assertiveness. When I look into these as a group I see a common theme of being secure, and at its core masculinity is a security in oneself; a quiet confidence.
Strength can turn to violence, courage to recklessness, assertiveness to abuse. When aspects of masculinity are warped through insecurity and the idea that a man MUST or SHOULD show certain traits, the concept becomes toxic/problematic.
What would you graffiti on the back of a toilet door?
Be kind to me or treat me mean. I’ll make the most of it, I’m an extraordinary machine.
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“I Do ft. SZA because I do indeed do what the fuck I like (for the most part).”
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