Milk, Modernity and Muscles: Raw Dairy and Bodybuilding in 1960s America

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In the mid-1960s, bodybuilding coach Vince Gironda began promoting raw milk. Done alongside nutritional supplement entrepreneur Rheo H. Blair, the pair claimed raw (unpasteurised) milk was the most anabolic and ‘pure’ substance available to men. Accordingly, raw milk and cream were presented as effective as anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders. Studies of milk have often focused on the manufacturing, trading and politics surrounding the foodstuff. Few studies have associated milk with masculinity in the same way that scholars have done for meat. This article examines Gironda and Blair's nutritional plans with reference to modernity and masculinity and highlights the hyper-realised masculine bodies and personalities linked to raw milk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)881-895
Number of pages15
JournalGender & History
Issue number3
Early online date19 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Gender & History published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • History
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Gender Studies


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