To all you gym-bro haters amongst us, come, be seated. This one's for you. Science—objective, empirically tested science, the science that tells us that the ice caps are melting—has confirmed what many of us have long suspected: Gym bros are right-wing jerks.
New research from Brunel University finds that physically strong men who regularly go to the gym are more likely to be right-wing and support social and economic inequality than weaker men. This explains a lot, like Trump's weird grab and yank power handshake—he's just trying to assert supremacy over his fellow uncaring assholes!
A research team led by Dr. Michael Price assessed 171 men aged 18-40, collecting data on their height, weight, waist size, hand grip, muscularity, and arm and chest strength using a 3D body scanner. They also analyzed their political and social views, asking them whether they supported the redistribution of wealth (a key tenet of socialism) or believed that some social groups should have dominance over others. Participants were surveyed on how often they went to the gym and their personal wealth. Additionally, the men were categorized according to their facial attractiveness and perceived masculinity and dominance by a group of independent assessors.
"I've always been interested in the evolution of human morality," Price tells Broadly. "Over the years I recognized there's strong correlation in male body size and shape with moral and political attitudes, and I wasn't finding them in females. So I wanted to do a large-scale study looking at men's physical shape in relation to their egalitarianism."
The new findings build on previous research, he adds, that suggests that muscular men are more likely to support militarism and war. In the past, researchers discovered a significant correlation between men who were physically formidable and their belief that some social groups should dominate other social groups.
Price's findings? That rich muscle dudes are the worst! Under those rock-hard abs lie the rock-hard souls of men who doesn't believe in spreading their riches around. "It's basically your tolerance to the idea that wealth shouldn't be redistributed," Dr. Price explains. "Some people thought it was horrible; some people thought it was fine."
Fascinatingly, the longer men spent in the gym, the more likely they were to have less egalitarian socioeconomic beliefs. But is the gym turning men into entitled, unempathetic jerks—or are they in the gym because they were born that way? It's a real chicken (breast) and egg (white omelet) conundrum, to be sure.
Watch: LA Gym Bros: The Men Behind The Muscles
"What you get is a positive feedback loop," Dr. Price argues. "The standard conventionalism is that people are adapting their morality to their physical nature. What comes first is that you're big and strong you find yourself in this big muscular body, and other people are intimidated by you, and you have status and tend to win—so I like inequality, because inequality suits me."
As Orwell might have put it: Muscly bros: Bad! Scrawny dudes: Good!
Pleasingly, it seems women are exempt from this general rule. "Women's physical attractiveness or formidability isn't related to their egalitarianism," Price confirms. In short, keep lifting that weight, sister, because pumping iron has little effect on how much you want to help lift your fellow citizens out of poverty.
Sadly, Price doesn't want us to hate on self-involved assholes reading a copy of The Fountainhead in between reps. "I'm just trying to illuminate the source of people's moral views," he says, "to help them to be more reflective about it."