Candy Canary

Many female bodybuilders have other careers besides their athletic pursuits. For some, it is just an intense hobby. Yet, there was one athlete that was both a pastor and a female bodybuilder. Candy Canary was an iron pumping pastor who was active in the mid-2000s. Although she did not make it to the Olympia stage, she demonstrated that even amateur can be high quality performers. The NPC bodybuilding pastor was active between the years of 2006 to 2009. This was a short period of time, but Candy Canary built an impressive physique. She could have been a major star on stage. However, after giving birth to her third child , she decided to be a stay at home mother. Candy stopped training and competing, but fans still have plenty of photos. She explained on her website she had another trajectory in life and thanked fans for their support. Candy was born in 1974 and during her youth was active in cross country. Her athletic abilities were seen in her track performance in high school. She also was in the US Air Force and then became a pastor with a passion for bodybuilding. Candy Canary during her bodybuilding career was also doing missionary work. During her military service she was awarded The Air Force Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service. Born in Oklahoma City, she lived mostly in Tulsa during her bodybuilding career. A Guthrie High School graduate, she described her athletic participation as demanding. As she described ”  during track season I ran the mile, quarter mile and was a leg on the relay team.” She explained further : ”  during cross-country, I switched gears and ran distance.” The exercise regimen Candy said in an interview  “we often ran five miles a day and ran hills for endurance.”

Her coach demanded the best performances, but this drive would later help Candy in her bodybuilding competition. Candy’s story about joining the military is an interesting one. She explained that her father wanted a boy,so that they could follow in his footsteps of military service. As a favor to both her father and grandfather she joined the Air Force.  The day after she graduated high school she was in boot camp. For 14 years Candy served in the US Air Force. Originally she trained to be a medic and then was an Air Force Reserve Recruiter. A car accident resulted in her medical discharge in 2003. She retired as an E6 technical sergeant. Her education is extensive going to medical school in the Air Force in 1992. She would later go on to graduate from School of Aerospace Medicine. Candy also had other educational endeavors : ”  In 1994, I attended Rose State College in Midwest City, OK. ” Candy Canary did not finish past her first year. Around 1999 she then attended  Air Force Reserve Recruiting School in San Antonio, Texas. Candy Canary attended School of the Local Church (apart of Grace Fellowship Church) in Tulsa, Ok. Going from soldier to pastor  bodybuilder is a eclectic mix of pursuits. Her rise began in 2004 when Candy competed in the Lonestar Classic. Coming in last place she blamed that on water depletion and poor dieting. However, she learned from this experience. Blake Brownlee assisted her in improvements. A dedicated training partner, helped Candy Canary build a stronger physique.

ramsey30d Candy Canary was at a early age interested in preaching. One of her personal maxims was “I see every day as a blessing from our Creator.” A person of strong faith and opinion she has articulated ” some people are shocked and disagree on how I share Gods Word… but I simply say, God called me to do what I am doing… and at the end of my life, I will ONLY answer to Him. Only God knows a man’s heart and intentions.” While it is doubtful that there is a God or Jesus was his son her missionary work did provide some level of humanitarian aid. Her travels took her to Israel, the Congo, Thailand,and China. There are problems that an athlete faces when traveling. The first is not having access to a gym or training. The other is a reliable supply of protein to maintain mass. Candy Canary stated that she lost 30 lbs of muscle when travelling back to back. Yet, she was able to easily gain it back. Being a heavyweight her total weight was 170 lbs. It seems that Candy was not intending to compete for the long term. Speaking in her Bodybuilding.com interview : “until either the Lord calls me to stop or until I see I am unable to go any higher… due to politics or if I discover I am not big enough to place well.” She emphasized that she wanted to not sacrifice her health for the sake of just trophies. Some athletes push themselves physically to the extreme at the expense of their well being. Candy was competing in the era in which size was emphasized more and there was the introduction of figure. She had the body to go further, but raising a family as well as being a pastor would be difficult.

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Candy Canary also had wonderful performances in 2006 and 2007. She competed in the Emerald Cup and USA Championships. Her presence was important in regards to diversity in the sport. Candy Canary is half Cherokee Indian. There are very few female Native American athletes that get visibility. Native American women face particular challenges that other women in America do not. Having a positive role model can be a source of uplift. With her astounding physique she built in a short period of time many in the female bodybuilding fandom expected her to continue to have a stage appearance in 2008. A big girl like this had to have some incredible strength feats. One of Candy’s most notable was a 315 lbs one leg lunges.   The amazing aspect was that due to her demands of travel her training could be irregular or not specifically set. It seems that good genetics were on her side and having an athletic background helped. Since her 2009 announcement she was retiring from the sport Candy has not made an appearance in the fitness world. Some former athletes do, even when they retire and become promoters. This was just a fun hobby for her not an intense dedication. Even though her competition days are over she will always be the iron pumping pastor.

Candy Canary

Livestrong: Is Lifting Heavy Weights Bad For Women and What Happens To The Muscles After Lifting Weights?

Livestrong published more articles related to women’s fitness and specifically about lifting. A common myth that remains is that lifting heavy is bad for women. This has no basis in scientific fact or exercise physiology. The rumor was that weightlifting is too dangerous and physically taxing for women to handle. When hearing such statements still being uttered it only can be responded to with constant laughter. The knowledge people have in regards to women’s bodies and physiological capabilities is limited. Mainly the fitness industry operates on the notion of 19th century medicine and subtle sexism that women’s bodies are biologically inferior. Jae Allen explains weightlifting is not very dangerous at all. There can be injuries due to accidents or improper technique, but this can be avoided by proper supervision. Lifting heavy has enormous benefits related to health. Always consult a doctor prior to embarking on a new fitness program. Find a fitness professional or personal trainer who is knowledgeable and experienced with weightlifting. Factors such as pregnancy may effect performance, but exercising while pregnant will not cause harm to the child or mother. This is also dependent on the health condition of the woman. There exercise stimuli changes the muscles. These two articles provide a basic explanation of why lifting is good for women and what happens to the muscular system in the process.

           Multiple health benefits can be gained by women incorporating weight lifting into their exercise regimen. Building muscle mass effects metabolism by allowing more fat to be burned. Lifting seems to be a more effective method of weight loss and management compared to cardio or diets alone. Some women wonder why they are not losing weight when making a serious effort. The problem may not be your attempts, rather incorrect methods. Eating less does not help, instead causes the body to store food it consumes. Simply holding to a diet regimen will not be effective without some levels of physical activity.

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Is Lifting Heavy Bad For Women ?
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What Happens To The Muscles After Lifting Weights ?

There are changes to metabolism, which help burn fat. This also prevents and can manage certain conditions related to aging. Osteoporosis could effect women worse, due to lower bone density. A great preventative measure is to lift weights to ensure the increase in bone strength. Although women may prefer lighter weights, there is no reason women cannot handle larger ones. Women need strong muscles to combat sarcopenia which occurs with age. Other major health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or possible cognitive decline can be prevented with some level of exercise. High  cholesterol can be controlled through lifting weights or other forms of exercise. Lifting smaller weights can still be a useful exercise, but will not produce the same results as fast. If the goal is to make muscular gains, lifting heavy would be more effective.

        There has always been the question about how safe it is for women to exercise while pregnant. Livestong holds the position that it is not advised to lift heavy when pregnant. The evidence they use is the case in which Albanian women had miscarriages, premature births, and  perinatal death. The link was according to Medical Anthropology Quarterly was due to high amounts of lifting and physical exertion .  This also contradicts other recent studies that show exercise would not harm a developing baby. The key may just to adjust the amount so that it does not cause the baby or mother harm. Moderate exercise during pregnancy according to a study published in the Journal of American Medicine Association (JAMA) can be safe and beneficial. Women can avoid excessive weight gain and the issue of  fetal macrosomia. Fetal macrosomia describes a condition in which babies are born weighing more than four kilograms.

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Health conditions should be considered prior  to taking up an exercise program. Here a pregnant woman is handling weights easily.
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Some are convinced that if women get pregnant, this will harm their athletic performance. Although there are changes in hormones, it does not reduce women’s fitness capability. Serena Williams continued to play excellent tennis matches.

Other health issues that arise from pregnancy could include pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, lower back pain, pelvic pain, and urinary incontinence. Exercise is not the culprit in terms of pregnancy complication. There has even been debate on whether the caesarean section is really safe. Health complications for women who are either overweight or obese are particularly troubling  when pregnancy also enables more weight gain. There are some exercise that should be avoided due to safety concerns and the risk to the developing child. The biggest threat is merely falling, which can be avoided. Live strong wrote a statement that does not correlate to scientific fact. Women lifting heavy would not harm them during pregnancy, rather too much intensity. A top performing athlete would have to reduce their intensity to avoid harm or injury. This means a pregnant woman can lift heavy weights, just as long as it is not too intense. Considering the changes in endocrinology, it is best to do moderate amounts and when hormone levels return to the same state prior to gestation it will not effect progress of gains. More scientific investigation is required to ensure the best fitness program for soon to be mothers.

        Prior to embarking on any exercise program a doctor should be consulted. This is not only for legal reasons to protect the makers of such fitness programs, but to also assess how to approach particular goals. Lifting heavy may not be for everyone. Certain conditions do not make it feasible. If a person has high blood pressure or Willebrand disease it is not advisable to lift really heavy. Willebrand disease is genetically inherited which results in the difficulty of blood clotting. The Willebrand factor protein is absent in the human body, which means a cut could be devastating.   Arthritis or bone related diseases could cause issues. Those recovering from surgery should be careful. The live strong statement  about seniors can be challenged. Lifting weights could be good for the elderly, if done with proper instruction. Hernias could be a risk no matter what age. Orthopaedic injury can also be a factor in how much one can safely lift. Having knowledge of your health condition will allow you to design a proper fitness regimen.

         There are basic safety measures all people should take when exercising with weights. Doing such protocols will vastly reduce the risk of major injury. Over training should be avoided at all costs. Livestrong recommends that a person should lift weights that you can easily lift between 12 and 15 times. Starting out with ones that are too heavy may cause injury. There should be a gradual build up to larger weights. If they are too small, it may not produce the results you want. Correct form is important for joint, tendon, and ligament condition. Breathing also contributes to the exercise . The proper shoes also can help. Wearing shoes with a high amount of traction will ensure that one does not slip during a training session. Women can handle heavy weights and not develop poor health. Done correctly it can be an effective method of weight loss.

         The human body responds to exercise stimuli. The muscular system does under go changes from training with weights. Although we cannot see this process immediately microscopic tears arise in the muscle from load bearing exercise. The fiber and connective tissue will grow stronger with proper rest and nutritional consumption. The body gradually recovers a week or more with stronger muscle grown. Some erroneously believe that the more a person works out the bigger they will get. Skipping a rest day is not only ineffective and could be damaging to the body. Being too intense could result in a syndrome of rhabdomyolysis. A direct or indirect muscle injury could result in muscle fiber death and the release of their contents into the human blood stream. The danger is that this could cause damage to the kidneys or renal failure.

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The exact pathology of rhabdomyolysis
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Exercise is good for your health, but too much could do harm. Rest is just as important as activity.

Too much intensity and no rest can be a hazard. It is avoidable however, if a training program is planned for the week. Muscles have the ability to rebuild themselves during the recovery and rest period. Old tissue is replaced with stronger muscular tissue. Protein becomes very important in diet. There is both a healing and growth process which requires the consumption of fat and carbohydrates as well. Without enough protein, muscles will not achieve enough fuel for muscular hypertrophy. Lifting does cause a level of pain, mainly due the fact the body is undergoing a long period of physical exertion. After training, it is not unusual to experience soreness 24 to 72 hours after a training session. There still remains debate on whether it is just the build up of lactic acid or the micro tears beginning the process of repair. Athletes and casual exercising gym goers can experience delayed onset muscle soreness. Commonly referred to as DOMs this is different from the pain from a tissue injury. Muscle strain and repetitive strain injury have different symptoms.

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The causes of delayed onset muscle soreness.
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DOMs are what happens after workouts.

Delayed onset muscle soreness seems to be an annoyance for every athlete and casual exerciser. Livestrong also discusses endurance. Training for muscular strength and endurance are two different elements of fitness. It can be build with weights as well. Smaller weight with more repetitions may build more endurance. Larger weights with a lower number of repetitions will build strength. The reason soreness appears in tense in beginners or a longtime athlete is due to starting a new routine. The most sore areas will be the parts of the body not accustomed to new or intense work outs. As time goes by the muscle will get stronger in response to training stimuli.

      There are several conclusions that can be made. The most obvious is that exercise and in particular weightlifting is not harmful to women’s health. Women will find this beneficial to fighting osteoporosis, sarcopenia, or excessive weight gain. Lifting increases strength and muscular endurance depending on approach. Women should not have to worry too much about exercise during pregnancy. Much of the information surrounding that topic is based on either false conceptions or Victorian Age medicine. It was though at onetime any amount of physical activity could harm a pregnant mother.  More importantly, lifting does have a benefit for some women of improving body image perception. There are still a portion of women who are either afraid to get muscular or think it is not appropriate. These are irrational positions, considering the multitude of health benefits. With correct instruction fitness goals can be reached. A person embarking on a new exercise program should have an objective in mind prior to staring. Livestrong does provide some basic information, but it is also important to consult other sources.

Livestrong: Is Lifting Heavy Weights Bad For Women and What Happens To The Muscles After Lifting Weights?

Women Show Sexual Preference For Tall, Dominant Men- So Is Gender Inequality Inevitable?

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Women show sexual preference for tall, dominant men – so is gender inequality inevitable?

There are multiple explanations for why there is gender inequality. Institutional practices such as discrimination or income inequality are major contributors. Culture and society in terms of behavior such as arranged marriage or lack of reproductive rights are a hindrance to women’s progress. Lack of access to education and gainful employment reduces the level of freedom a person can experience. While some nations there are efforts to reverse these practices with success, there remains a terrible problem. It persists even when women have freedom of choice in their lives and protection of political rights. Women’s gravitation to men who are dominant, physically powerful, or have some form of high status makes the feminist vision seem next to impossible. The idea that women who have a large amount of independence select partners who are abusive is even more puzzling. This study and observation should not justify simple generalizations. It is not saying all men are abusive to women or that all women are just victims. There is a mixture of human evolutionary history and environmental factors contributing to a problem more complicated than previously thought. For all the vociferous objections to what some call toxic masculinity, it seems to be more of an embarrassment that women find these qualities attractive. The nature of sex politics becomes more complicated with these lugubrious facts. It can no longer be denied that biology has influences human behavior. Culture can change, but unfortunately tradition is difficult to discard.

             Sexual dimorphism  continues to influence human behavior. According to a study from the Journal Personality and Individual Differences women prefer men who are taller. Another study confirmed this in 1996. These are just two studies with a certain sized sample set, but common experience shows that there is an element of truth. Women may prefer larger and stronger men due to humanity’s evolutionary history. Sexual dimorphism describes the differences between the sexes in one species of organism. Women’s mate choice is an example of sexual selection. Mammals normally have the male sex larger than the female. Other organisms such as spiders, female are larger in size. The reason is related to the production of offspring. Spiders have to carry and lay large amount of eggs. The method is to reproduce large amounts as a survival tactic. If women had more than one babies in large amounts, this would require a bigger body. It is very rare that women have triplets or quadruplets . Sex selection and mate choice  operates differently in primates. Males grew bigger due to the fact they either had to compete for mates and territory. This can be seen in our closest relatives the chimpanzee, the Orangutan, and Gorilla. Greater male strength may have put women at a disadvantage in the regard they could be physically dominated. If evolutionary history were different, that means women would be larger to enable the production of offspring. Behavior is more complicated because it involves the study of both psychology and biology. Men would probably not be less aggressive even with the change in body size.

    Role reversal may not happen even if women were to become bigger and stronger than men. Gender roles were the product of civilization and rising permanent settlement. As time passes and technology becomes more advanced physical strength or fitness seems to matter less for daily survival. Depending on where you live there is access to hospitals, supermarkets, and various goods that would not have been available during the Paleolithic Age. Women who live in the West enjoy more safety and rights compared to the developing world. There are still possibilities of danger and harm from other men. However, this can be countered. Behavior is difficult to change because women still want to be with a man the presents an image or actually has power.

          There remains more questions that arise from the theory of women’s attraction to male dominance. If women like strong men, were does this place men who like strong women ? There are men who have multiple preferences for women who are either tall, strong, or bigger than themselves. Size would almost seem not as important just as long as both parties that are involved are capable of sexual reproduction. It the goal is to propagate as many healthy genes as possible being too selective may be costly. It would seem that it would make more sense from an evolutionary perspective, that the strongest man and the strongest woman would be more willing to produce offspring with one another.

However, there is the question of food management. Early hominids may have selected smaller females for the sake of managing food between offspring, the mate, and themselves. Having no access to modern agricultural production meant that resources were limited. Selecting a woman that was smaller could mean more food for offspring and the male would was doing more physical work. Fighting for access to mates was of high importance. Another problem with such a  hypothesis  is lack of genetic variety. If only big strong people remained, that would mean they could be susceptible to genetically inherited diseases. To an extent genetic diversity counters that possibility, but mutations can be random. There is still much to learn considering the possibilities that neanderthals, Denisovans, and early homo sapiens may have been cross breeding. Gorillas and Chimpanzees are the only primates that can be observed that are close enough to humans to get an idea about behavior of  our hominid ancestors. Sex selection in humans has strong ancient biological roots. Sexual size dimorphism was present in australopithecines ( 30%) and homo habilis ( 60%)  . Homo erectus and ergaster  were closer in terms of difference in size between males and females at 20%. The difference is size has been reduced overtime and modified through environmental change. Further study of human evolution is required to make final conclusions.

         Modern society or at least in stable nations, women do have a high amount of security. Yet, they still show a desire to be attracted to dominant men. It is simple to fall into the trap of presenting such behaviors as stereotypes or generalizations, but it contains a lugubrious amount of truth. Jorden Peterson once claimed that women dislike harmless men. It is not that they despise them, rather they just do not care about them. Nor would they consider such men either husband or boyfriend material. The stock image that appears in one’s head is either the attraction to the bad boy, the jock, or  wealthy businessman. All men are not abusive, but the most powerful may have a predilection to be violent assuming the world should submit to them. Women gravitate to men who fit this abusive description thinking that it will ensure protection for them and their children. The idea is that their partner will protect them from other men. However, it is more likely that their husband or boyfriend will inflict violence against them. At the most extreme it results in murder. This is how chivalry is actually keeping women prisoner, even in societies where they have the most freedom. Any woman, even the ones assumed to be strong willed could be stuck in an abusive relationship.

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Abuse does not always have to be physical. There can be emotional abuse and draconian control over a woman’s life by her intimate partner.
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Male advantage in physical strength means women would be at a disadvantage when attacked.
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There are women who are strong enough to hurt men.Yet women only represent a small percentage in the domestic abuse data as perpetrators.

The real tragedy is that some women will go from one abusive man to the next. The common image is of a low self-esteem and emotionally fragile woman, but even high power women at the highest levels of society seek the most powerful men. This once more makes women vulnerable to abuse. The reason that #Me Too may face failure is because it does not want to address certain realities about female behavior. If women gravitate to men who are more than willing to be violent to maintain gender role norms, all efforts are futile. If women accept sexual harassment from a man who they like or is attractive  then that negates the movement. Poor treatment is okay unless it advances you to a certain position. The dominance of high status males will only end if  female behavior changes. It is obvious that male behavior must change and so far it seems that even minor behavior is now considered inappropriate. Hugs could be considered a form of sexual harassment in some workplaces. Extremes like this are not helpful and only become ludicrous distractions to a much larger issue. Third wave feminists face a dilemma in which biology contradicts their ideology. One proclamation just seems devoid of logic in the debate :  “so the fact that women prefer male partners who can – and often do – dominate them does not mean that women want to be dominated.” May be we should just assume that women are not capable of making rational decisions. Genetics and biology are powerful forces, but human beings still have free will and thought. That means women willingly take a risk when selecting a large brute, believing he will be her protector. There are certain conditions that may direct women to horrible decisions.

       Environment and sociology are major factors in particular human conditions than just biology. Women are just as impacted by one dimensional sex stereotypes  and this may alter what they think men should be. The strong dominant image is a paradigm that appears in popular entertainment and media, which influences women’s selection for partners. The image of male attractiveness is that of a large and muscular physique. Obviously, all men are not tall and powerful. This is an unrealistic standard similar to the demand that women look like life sized Barbie dolls. Men are experiencing body image issues and when such an image is of reach it projects itself in others ways. If a man cannot attract women through appearance, they either do in competition in other areas. Financial status becomes more important than  muscles . What this is a relationship based on material or societal status. Love has nothing to do with it, but in nature no such thing exists. The goal is to produce offspring, which is why women could go to a man with more resources no matter what their character or ethics. This has nothing to do with biology ; its a projection of  certain values in a neoliberal capitalist society. Men are not the only ones who can be shallow. Besides personal choice, the legal system needs examination. It was only a recent development in human history in which beating your wife was considered a crime. Some parts of the world still accept wife beating. Domestic violence laws have improved women’s lives, but that is negated if they continue to return to their abuser. Women’s shelters and rape crisis centers are helpful in providing refuge for women escaping their abusive relationships. The most difficult part is breaking the psychological hold of battered wives syndrome. Women are just not taught to assert themselves and that being agreeable all the time is proper behavior. This only enables them to be bullied, dominated, or attacked by the men in their lives. Culture can be changed, but the biology of behavior may not be so simple to alter.

           A question was asked regarding sexism. Does biology make us inherently sexist Beatrice Alba inquires in the conclusion. First there needs to be a clear definition of sexism. Sexism can be defined as ”  prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.” This type of intolerance also believes that one sex is superior to  other.Nature seems to put women at a disadvantage. Sex selection and natural selection does have a role in the animal kingdom. It is not predetermined,but there may be a goal. Richard Dawkins calls this concept the self gene. Certain traits and genes are constantly being spread to new generations. The need for genes and traits to be spread can be seen in other species. As time has past, humanity has not been able to escape its biological evolutionary past. Female behavior or male behavior may not be able to be changed no matter how much environmental modification can be done.

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The physical changes in human evolution. Through these changes, sexual dimorphism remains. 
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Some cases of domestic violence go to extremes. Sally Mc Neil shot her husband for alleged physical abuse in 1996. She is now serving jail time for the murder. This is a case of women taking means into their own hands to end abusive relationships. 
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Learning self-defense is a practical method to counter male violence directed at women. 

Laws and new attitudes in regards to women’s rights are helpful. There really is no need for women to gravitate to violent and dominating men especially in a civilized society. There remains flawed thinking from people who mean well : ” we can foster values that purposefully compensate for the flaws in our nature.” If a portion of our nature is flawed as well as biologically based, then no ideology can change that. What is more disturbing is a distorted conclusion : “this might lead to a more equal society, where women won’t even feel they need protecting.” The pathway to an equal society is that women take their own security into their own hands. Learning self-defense, building physical skills, and realizing that all men are not going to help you will be a true liberation. Rejecting the embrace of the machismo model of masculinity would be more beneficial. The term toxic masculinity has been used, but that is an error for several reasons. It demonizes what was once considered traditionally masculine and it thinks that masculinity just fits into one paradigm. If the term toxic femininity was used, there would be not question about the misogynist overtones of it. The only solutions would either be to place women under guardianship of male relatives or to impose sex segregation for their safety. Both of these proposals are impractical and limit women’s freedom. One does not have to be a slave to their impulses or biology; it starts with rational decisions. The answered to the question of gender equality may be an unsatisfying one. As long as women select dominant and violent men as husbands or boyfriends gender equality will be out of reach. There will be some advancement in education, employment, and basic rights yet the  threat of male violence will always be there.

Women Show Sexual Preference For Tall, Dominant Men- So Is Gender Inequality Inevitable?

Princess of Prowess

Princess of Prowess

There’s a new web comic that should be of interest to regular readers here. This is  the story of a princess in a Medieval period in which magic and fantasy are a normal part of life. She is no ordinary princess, though. This woman has the strength of 100 knights. Princess Stephanie is a woman of physical prowess. What she does not know is that her evil stepmother is plotting her death and conquest of the kingdom. A Snow White or Rapunzel she is not, taking matters into her own hands. Princess Stephanie will become the kingdom’s strongest hero. This action adventure comedy is a mix between Disney animation tropes, familiar fairy tales, and Disenchantment. This is an enjoyable read with a strong female protagonist. Rarely do you see a web comic with a physically powerful female protagonist. Princess of Prowess is updated on Tuesdays. Show your support and become a reader.

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Princess of Prowess

Psychology Today :Do Stronger Muscles Mean Better Brains ?

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Stronger Muscles Mean Better Brains?

Brain health and cognitive function has become a large area of study in health science. Psychology has interest in brain anatomy and neuroscience to fully investigate the attributes of the human mind. Recently studies have been investigating the connection between exercise and mental performance. Psychology Today poses the question does a stronger and fitter body correlate to a better brain. This is a fascinating question and it makes many in various sciences related to the human body. The common stereotype is that jocks and  jockettes  are not the most intellectually inclined. Stereotypes do not reflect reality, however. Psychology and neuroscience have not even determined a specific definition of intelligence. Rigorous debates have been conducted about its attributes and characteristics. Controversy surrounds academic investigation due to the connection with eugenics and pseudopsychology. The hereditarian theory of IQ does not have a scientific proof to support its claims, but it is still accepted by small circles. While incorrect theories can be discredited, serious investigation must continue. The importance of brain health  must be a priority. As the world population ages dementia and Alzheimer’s disease become a bigger threat to public health. Exercise can improve health for multiple organ systems. The brain can also benefit in relation to a healthy circulatory system. Yet, one must question the results of research and scientific studies.

          Gretchen Reynolds wrote about a study by Claire Steves, which involved British twins. She writes many pieces related to health science and exercise physiology for the New York Times. Twin study has been used in both psychology, sociology, and genetics to understand the influence of environment . She claims that there is a correlation between muscular health and mental acuity. The data was extracted from the TwinUK registry. It was composed by both non-identical and identical twins. The reason it was composed of both was to not have genetically inherited diseases effect the data. This could not be eliminated completely seeing as there may not be complete family trees of all the twins registered. Gretchen Reynolds even states ” these studies have limitations and one of them is that some people may be luckier than others.”  She delineates further : “they may have been born to have a more robust brain than someone else.” Just like some people are born to be taller or stronger, our neurological attributes differ. This explanation is not completely genetic.  A combination of genes and environment can change health outcomes : ”   their genes and early home environment also might have influenced those exercise habits, as well as how their bodies and brains responded to exercise.” A general summery of this would be genes and the changes in environment can confound  results of an experiment.

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Lifting weights is good for the skeletal and muscular system.
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The basic structure of the human brain. It controls body  motion, organ function, thoughts, emotions,memory , cognition,  senses, and our consciousness.
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The major arteries of the human brain are essential. Poor artery circulation or blockage may lead to stroke or aneurysm. Risk factors increase with age.

Scientists in various fields have the tendency to emphasize genes or environment, when it is a combination of both. Twins show that there is an interactionist theory between environment and genes . If twins share the same home and genes, this makes it easier to observe changes. When a divergence happens then there is indication lifestyle and habits are influencing health. What Claire Steves of  King’s College London did was to study the thighs of the twins. The muscles of the legs are the biggest in the body. Strong legs means better mobility, especially in old age. The study found that  that it appeared as if  the people with stronger legs were sharper.  The subjects for the study were 162 middle aged women who were twin pairs. Some were either identical twins or not. Scientists also sought subjects who had done computerized examinations( ten years previous ) that tested memory  and problem solving skills. Metabolic health and leg strength was also examined . Exercise habits were not included mainly because it would not give an exact measure of strength. Unreliable data of the frequency of exercise regimens would have altered results. However, it was noticed that subjects who did report more exercise had stronger legs. The cognitive tests were repeated and subjects were given brain scans.

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What was then done required to comparing leg power with the present and ten years in the past. According to the study, the women with the sturdiest legs of the 324 had the least decline in thinking skills. A difference was noticed in twin pairs that the stronger one was the better thinker later according to the cognitive tests ( also related to memory) . The performance difference was 18% compared to the weaker twin. The brain imaging of identical twins also revealed that the twin with the stronger legs had more brain volume. Gretchen Reynolds stated ” over all, among both the identical and fraternal twins, fitter legs were strongly linked, 10 years later, to fitter brains.” There are some problems with this study. The sample only included middle aged female twins. Men were not included in the experiment. It would be fascinating to see if the results would be similar based on sex. If men’s body composition is mostly muscle then the males twins should outperform the stronger female twins in the cognitive tests. Another issue was that it did not take into consideration the changes in health condition of the muscular system. It really does show the effect of exercise on the brain. As far as one can tell, building muscle power does not build brain power.

It is doubtful that the man with the violin would be able to reach the level of mathematical skill as Maryam Mirzakhani. The results may be different if tested with professional athletes. 

A person who does not think critical about the information may reach the wrong conclusion. One could easily conclude from the study that men would have the better brains, due to more muscle mass. While both men and women are closer to one another in the lower body, women have an estimated  33% less compared to a man. However, it is a myth to say that men have better brains or are more intelligent than women. A more through study would examine the changes across age groups. What is extrapolated from this experiment is that there may be some biochemicals that are released from exercise. This may offer protection at the cellular level. A more complex physiological process is occurring, but more research is needed to explain why.

         Psychology has never agreed to a single definition of intelligence. Numerous theories have been proposed, yet there remains a glaring problem.  Intelligence is not measurable. IQ and psychologists that support them claim that they are accurate. This is an example of reification. Meaning taking a concept that is not measurable and quantifying it. The field of physics measures through scalars and vectors. Personality tests are even questionable. If answers are not given honestly on such a test, it would be difficult to determine someone’s temperament. IQ test do not measure brilliance or genetic ability. The only indications it gives is proficiency in puzzles or a hint at education levels. It seems more like it only shows how well a person can take a test. Mismeasure of Man   describes how eugenicists, biologists, psychologists, naturalists,   anthropologists, and supporters of scientific racism used data and statistics as a means to prove the inferiority of various ethnic groups. It began with racial classification in physical anthropology when Johann Blumenbach stated there were five distinct races . There were Caucasians, Mongolians, Malayans, Ethiopians, and American Indians. It was not accepted that different races of people belonged to the same species. The classification was based on the measurement of skulls and skin color. Craniology was used to determine intelligence and human worth. Paul Broca became the biggest advocate of this pseudoscience in the 19th century. Known for the exploration into the the localization of brain function, he applied crainology in an attempt to prove other races were inferior to Europeans. When craniology was no longer credible, IQ testing took its place. Alfred Binet the original developer of the IQ test never made it to be used for discrimination. It was designed to in his nation of France to identify children who were struggling in school for special education. The concept of IQ was really developed by William Stern. The German psychologist even coined the term intelligence quotient.

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This is an example of bell curve distribution of IQ points. The middle represents average intelligence. The left of the graph is below average intelligence and the right shows high intelligence. One cannot measure intelligence like distance, speed, length, width, height, volume, or temperature.

IQ tests are still used by psychologists, even though the scientific basis is questionable. If it does not follow the scientific method  or produce the same results, then it cannot be designated fact. Understanding that IQ tests were not reliable, psychology developed other means of uncovering the attributes of intelligence. The theory of multiple intelligence claims that abilities could span into various areas. There are also concepts of crystallized and fluid intelligence. Crystallized intelligence explains the application of knowledge and skills. Fluid intelligence refers to the process of logic and problem solving. One would have to find out the basis and true definition of intelligence. This is why the correlation between stronger muscles and improve cognitive function would be difficult to prove.

           There also has to be consideration for how the brain and body processes information. The majority of average people do not get their exercise from going to a gym. Rather their are daily activities that require walking or moving in some way. The brain muscle coordinate all movement in the body, while also acquiring sensory information.Smell, touch, sight, taste, and hearing  are major senses of the human body. The immune system also has a level of complexity. The antibodies present must respond to pollutants, viruses, and bacteria. Through mitosis new cells are generated. Could a change in these organ systems and physiology have an impact on cognitive function ? While health can be altered by changes in the immune system or nervous system this does not mean a person would have higher intelligence. Psychometrics may just be a cognitive fallacy. What needs to be understood is that the body can be viewed as a system of information. Genes, tissues, organs, DNA,  and cells are carrying  information. The body regenerates information. The millions of years of human evolution reveals that the body is like an organic machine. The more complex the organism in terms of  cells, organs , and function the higher probability of disease. So far, it appears that staying in shape can stop cognitive decline. However, this cannot be fully verified. Stronger muscles may not lead to improved brains.

Psychology Today :Do Stronger Muscles Mean Better Brains ?

Maxim: Why Muscular Women Are Overpowering Our Libidos (2015)

Why Muscular Women Are Overpowering Our libidos

Although this was written in 2015, it still has significance on many levels. There has been a cultural shift in which strong women in the physical sense are gaining some acceptance in the mainstream. The love of the physically developed female form has been mostly a subculture regulated to bodybuilding and weightlifting. Popular entertainment has also become fascinated with the idea of a strong woman. Films such as Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel are showing that there is some sort of attraction. This article appears on Maxim written by Bill Schulz. Maxim started as a print magazine in 1995. It is a men’s magazine that originated in the UK. The magazine still circulates, but it has an online presence. The magazine is known for it photography of female actresses, singers, and models. Men’s magazines are targeted at particular set of interests associated with males. Cars, women, technology, sports, and tools are considered the typical male attention grabbers for magazines. Here in this article the strong woman is not being disparaged or ridiculed. The comical aspect about this is there were men who are into muscular women even before this article was published. Schulz describes it as a new and recent phenomenon, when decades prior women were displaying impressive physiques and getting plenty of male admirers. The female muscle fandom has gotten so large it has spread to other areas. Schultz states:  ” then there are the untold legions of distractingly toned fitness models on Instagram, whose ripped physiques recall the bodaciously buff Jen Selterfar more than those bulky lady bodybuilders of yore.” This love of the physically strong woman began with the fans and the female bodybuilders of the late 20th century.

         If it were not for the female bodybuilders of the past, there would not be the sudden internet sensation and social media following of fitness models today. There were women with muscle who existed in the past. They were acrobats, strongwomen, or vaudeville performers. Due to sex prejudice  and discrimination from the wider society, these women did not have a platform to display their physiques. Around the 1970s female bodybuilding emerged with women seeking the maximum development of their muscles. From 1980 to 2014 the Ms.Olympia would be considered the Olympics of female bodybuilding for women. Even though there may have been a decline in the sport itself it seems to continue with the Rising Phoenix World Championships. The sport may not be dying as some proclaim, rather going through an evolution. One thing is certain there are more muscular women in public view than centuries past.

It should be no surprise that the muscular woman attracted a following from male fans. The mainstream would either condemn women’s athletic pursuits or getting involved in this activity in general. Erroneously, many critics stated that no man would ever want a woman with such a level of physicality. However, schmoes and female muscle fans have grown in number gradually through the decades. There were magazines available to the female muscle fan, but nothing could compare to the rise of the world wide web in 1989. Websites could be established regarding any topic. One of the fist websites devoted to muscular women was Female Muscle.com which launched in 1995. This build up of fan base would start with print then transfer to the internet. The rise of social media in the 2000s only expanded the fandom and curiosity more. The Ronda Rouseys have been having a major moment that took decades to build. Now the world seems to be noticing the physical change in women participating in sports.

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Ronda Rousey  went from UFC fighter to WWE wrestler. Fans have taken a positive response to the  switch.
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Female bodybuilders were the pioneers in muscular development for women. Now women from various sports work out with weights.
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There are women who are not only doing this for aesthetic purposes, but to get as physically strong as possible to succeed in their sport.

The muscular and athletic female form has gotten more media and pop culture recognition. Captain Marvel  and Wonder Woman are just an examples of  the desire to see women use their physicality in fiction. Comics have been a place where strong women have been given exposure to both children and adults.  There are men out there who enjoy female physical strength to a greater degree than even the mainstream media promotes.

           Schmoes are not just extreme female bodybuilding fans they are admirers of the most muscular and strongest of  physiques. Men who are not exactly schmoes may like some muscle on women, but to a certain degree.   They may say “I like a woman that is just in shape” or “is toned.” Basically these statements are the same, but the term muscular is avoided. The reason is based in gendered language and a level of subtle sexism. Strength and muscularity to some are still seen as male only. Even though women are capable of great strength, cultural and gender role attitudes still limit acceptance. Schmoes were accepting before the recent phenomenon of the mainstream acceptance of a woman with some muscle of physical skill. Kacy Catanzaro’s performance on Ninja Warrior was praised and she also has made an impact coming onto the WWE. Her muscles are not as large as a bodybuilders, but it is what some could best describe as a mainstream acceptable level of fitness for women.

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The claims that women  “get too big” or “crossed the line” seem to be more ridiculous when the double standards are examined for what they are. Women should have full control of their bodies and this is what they are doing when they decide to go against body image conformity. Everyone has  different preferences, but that is no reason to condemn or ostracize women for not following the status quo. Kacy Catanzaro is correct that “men are starting to notice strong women.” Men have been noticing the physically strong woman for  quite some time. It has been a female muscle fandom that has grown larger, but before that a subculture of schmoes. Bill Wick and Tom Jackson pioneered mixed wrestling videos in the 1980s and 1990s. The erotic fascination has been there longer than Bill Schultz realizes. It should not be seen as bizarre rather a preference in looks and a unique form of sexual expression. There are certain attributes that attract individuals to one another that are both biologically and sociologically based . Social media has given muscular women a greater platform and schmoes greater access to them. Jen Setler for example has built a fitness empire around social media. Female bodybuilding also has been helped by social media where the fitness industry and magazines have let them down.

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Jen Selter a fitness model who has become more notable for her videos , rather than the contests she has entered.
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Female bodybuilding started the expanded love of female muscle.
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Men have sought muscular women to wrestle them to fulfill a fetish.

Even women sports that are more mainstream have exposure issues, but the internet has circumvented the traditional gatekeepers of media. There may come a time in which the concept of a muscular woman will not be such a shock to people. Nor will the attraction be questioned by critics who think it is strange or abnormal. Not all men who like female muscle are schmoes, rather men who just like the strong body. There is no questions asked if a man views images of women with larger or thinner bodies. Why should men be forced to like the same type of women? Most fans of female muscle and strength tend to a wide variety of paradigms of beauty. There are other factors to the mainstream acceptance of female muscle. Schmoes were just the beginning of a silent revolution that seems to be taken place, yet few people give it serious attention.

        Mandy Stadtmiller described the rise of the fascination of the fit woman as the greater acceptance of sexual fluidity . This describes sexual orientation identity and how for some it may change through out life. Certain scholars state that sexual orientation is not a choice, yet sexual identity can be fluctuate. There is a problem with applying this to Stadmiller’s theory about the sudden attraction to strong women . Men are still attracted to women, even though they do not fit society’s narrow definition feminine gender identity. Strength and power were thought to be exclusively male attributes. This is flawed thinking because it is done out of a perspective of a sexist ideology. The fact that muscular women are seen as biological anomalies or in more harsh terms freaks demonstrates a hostility to women. Simultaneously, it demonizes a diverse male  attraction to different types of beauty. Men who like female muscle are either viewed as deviants or having some mental disorder. The sexism is direct at both men and women. Men are ostracized for liking such women and have their own masculinity questioned. Thankfully, people who love free society ignore the philistine thoughts of the majority. Male attraction  to physically strong women should not be seen as abnormal. If one actually examines the reasons and motivations for such attraction, it makes more sense.

          Kiana Tom made an astute observation : ” an athletic woman is strong all over if you know what I mean .” She then goes on to say “we can hold creative positions for hours and have amazing endurance.” There is no denying there are sexual fantasies and desires that come from seeing women in a highly developed form. To some it may seem peculiar that a man would want to be with a woman more physically powerful than himself. The male psychology hungers for larger objects. Large trucks, power tools, and other materials that demonstrate power attract men. Strong and fit women would be part of this list. Power can be sexy and it has only be until the present that some men see this as an attractive attribute in women.

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Physical power has now to an extent become attractive for women. The physically fit woman radiates this power through her image and actions. The reason session wrestling has become popular and lucrative is that some men seek to feel the force of a woman’s physical power. It is an arousing experience that is based around a fetish. Being dominated physically by a woman is not something emasculating or based on abusive control, rather power exchange fantasy. For others who are not wanting to be wrestled, looking at a muscular woman up close is enough.  Kiana Tom’s statement about sexual performance may not have much scientific data to support it, but being in shape may not hurt copulation. Sexology or exercise physiology has not full confirmed if this true or false. What can be determined is that human sexual behavior and sexuality are more complicated than previously thought. Individuals have a multitude of ways demonstrate sexual expression. This has been done through fetishes and sexual  kinks. The love of female muscle can take many forms. Cratolagnia and sthenolagnia seem to be the two common fetishes among female muscle fans. Sometimes it is not even about the strength feats or athletic talent. It is about a new and radical display of the female physical form. Not only are wrestling videos popular among the subculture, posing videos are the second most favorite among female muscle fans. There is a graceful composure to a posing routine, which makes the viewer truly appreciate this type of female athleticism.

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The outsider examining male attraction to such women may perplexed. Why would a man like a woman who most likely has more muscle and strength than him? The reason is that muscle can actually make the female form more voluptuous looking.  The legs and buttocks are fuller on the muscular woman. These areas of the body are seen as the traditional beauty marks for women. A full chest and pronounced intermammary cleft provide another appealing factor. Arms and  back also become favorite body parts. Maxim’s revelation about female muscle is nothing more than the mainstream adopting subculture that has existed for decades. There are muscular women of various fitness levels appearing in media or print. They are just referred to by a different term. Some men they say ” I like a woman in shape not too muscular”  or ” a woman who is just toned.” What this really means is a preference of degrees of muscle. Some may condemn the female bodybuilder look as being “too much.”The idea is contradictory, because why should women limit themselves or all look a certain way ? There really are not enough legitimate arguments against it. While detractors complain, there is a growing fan base that has existed and may grow bigger. Slowly, female muscle fandom has come to the mainstream encouraged by women’s sports growing in exposure. Bill Schultz’s article is a demonstration just how public opinion can change when more media exposure occurs. It is possible that there is a gradual acceptance of the athletic and muscular woman. It remains unclear it this will continue or how it will evolve as the time goes on.

Maxim: Why Muscular Women Are Overpowering Our Libidos (2015)