Schmoes

The term schmoe  is a term used describe hardcore fans of female bodybuilders. They should not be confused with other men who just likes muscular women. Schmoes like a certain type of muscular woman. They like the most muscular, strongest, and athletic woman. Although schmoes are fans of the female bodybuilding in particular, they also enjoy fitness, figure, bikini, and physique competitions. Feelings about these types of fans are divided in the fitness industry . Usually, the term has a negative connotation. Stereotypes range from schmoes being perverts, awkward, pathetic, fetishists, or men with some form of mental defect. This is a vast generalization of these devoted fans. Sometimes other fans used the term for any man who loves and supports female bodybuilding. Connotations and even denotations vary widely when discussed in the female bodybuilding subculture. It is pivotal to understand the dynamics of this group and word. These schmoes could become an important financial component to the sport in the future, if not already.

When the word is used it is done in a derogatory fashion.  The stereotypes are used to describe an entire group. The first common that appears in fitness circles is that of the fetishist. They are fixated one a particular element that causes sexual arousal. There are numerous sexual fetishes, but in this case there can be one for muscular women. Although one would believe that schmoe and fetishist are interchangeable. The fetishist would like muscular women doubtless of the sport she was competing in. The schmoe would have a favorite athlete, remembering her best wins, general stats, and accomplishments throughout her athletic career. To the fetishist that matters little, because he would merely reduce her to a sexual object. This is degrading, because there is a level of dehumanization. While some schmoes fall into this category, others do not. There are schmoes out there who enjoy a particular athlete and a eager to see them pose on stage.

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The other pejorative image of the schmoe is the pathetic and submissive man. This is rooted in sexism. Schmoes are viewed as abnormal, because in the traditionalist mind set no man should seek a woman who has more power than he does. When examining this situation a woman with more physical power becomes an issue. A schmoe who loves and is attracted to a woman more powerful than himself violates traditional gender norms. Real men control women and the schmoes love reverses strict gender  roles. They are viewed as weak and submissive, so in a metaphorical sense they have become females in the eyes of misogynists. This warped view fails to realize that even men who engage in weightlifting activity also admire female bodybuilders. This stereotype reveals how sexism can distort men and women’s perceptions of one another. Male and female relations are viewed through a paradigm of superior and subordinate. This leads to another negative associations with schmoes like mental defectiveness or a perversion. The assumption is there has to be something wrong with men who like muscular women. This is the perspective from outsiders who are not familiar with the fitness industry.

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The idea of schmoes being mentally disturbed is repeated constantly. Liking muscular women can hardly be described as a mental disorder. It would be ludicrous to say so. These types of fans are extremely enthusiastic about women involved in the sport of bodybuilding. The worst image of the schmoe is the one that is seen as a pervert. It is an image of a stalker lurking at contests and obsessing over a particular woman. This is rare and schmoes do not all have a malevolent nature. The pervert image seems to be exacerbated by media and a public not familiar with the subculture. Although some may fit stereotypes, it cannot be all fans. Language can be used to denote some form of status or power relationship. The word schmoe is a perfect example. Using the term in a pejorative manner is a way to ostracize and alienate fans of female bodybuilding. It allows for the denigration of female strength, while maintaining the traditional gender role paradigm. Only women are to admire men’s strength, but it is improper for males to admire a strong woman. The schmoe challenges this by reversing the paradigm. He admires the woman’s athletic ability and the physical strength they built up.

        Outsiders may view the behavior of this group as unusual. Yet, considering it is not so different from any other form of fandom. It can almost parallel celebrity culture and the paparazzi. These photographers and celebrity magazine reporters obsessively follow the actions of movie stars. They learn about their families, career moves, and numerous personal affairs. Seeing as celebrity culture is mainstream, few people perceive it as bizarre. Female bodybuilding is not a mainstream sport and has a unique subculture. The schmoes who attend every contest do what  the paparazzi do with movie stars. They take photos and focus on particular details of an athlete. To the schmoe the female bodybuilder is a celebrity. Fans come to expos just like fans coming to red carpet events.

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Normally, at fitness expos athletes can promote supplements, sign autographs, and find sponsors. Schmoes who are a loyal fan base and meet athletes. When you compare this behavior to celebrity culture the schmoe  does not seem strange. Another parallel is that schmoes are like groupies in the female bodybuilding world. Like rock star musician culture, there are some female fans who kill to be close to him. Groupies would follow a popular musician just as obsessively as a paparazzi. It is rare that paparazzi or groupies are condemned like schmoes. They are condemned even by the subculture they participate in. Some female bodybuilders even look at them with disgust and hatred. Others view them with high esteem and appreciate their support. Women who are active in male dominated fields do not receive the same level of respect or praise as their male counterparts. Schmoes do provide the love that the fitness industry does not. While this fandom has reached a level comparable to paparazzi or groupie culture, it is keeping a struggling sport alive.

         Female bodybuilding has been in a decline since the early 2000s. Athletes who want to compete find few options left. Women are at financial disadvantage due to the sport being underfunded. Prize money is so diminutive. However, athletes and other companies have taken this as a business opportunity. Various websites have emerged cratering to schmoes and fans of female muscle . Extreme fans will pay for memberships for multiple sites and engage in session wrestling. Athletes know what their fans like and their financial contributions are keeping a struggling sport alive.

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Schmoes are usually considered to be the majority of clients for a female bodybuilder that is a session wrestler. The truth is a large portion of men from all walks of life, cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds pay for session wrestling. A combination of session wrestling and website membership fees go to women’s competition expenses. The hardcore schmoes are willing to pay to see their favorite athlete. The IFBB claims that female bodybuilding is not marketable. Here it is shown that athletes and supporters are providing content. They have found a demographic target and it has been a success. Schmoes are a part of that and are keeping the sport from vanishing completely. The cancellation of the MS.Olympia was a disappointment, but the sport marches on. The internet has been helpful in this process, but the consumers cannot be forgotten. Schmoes are part of this success.

        The reason schmoes are different from other fans of muscular women is that they prefer female bodybuilders specifically. Any man can like muscular women, but schmoes like female bodybuilders and the most muscular ones. This aspect is not always constant, because bodybuilding has more categories. Many figure, fitness, and physique competitors could even compete in the bodybuilding category as lightweights. Women athletes are in general developing more powerful physiques. This body aesthetic preference is related more to the subculture.

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While fans of female muscle would like both of these women, schmoes like fbbs the most.    

Many schmoes do have an attraction to large muscles on women. This is related to cratolagnia and sthenolagnia. However, the attraction is more related to sthenolagnia because it is related to the display of musculature. The strength element does not seem to matter as much as the muscle itself. To the schmoe who enjoys session wrestling the strength component is important. Men want to have women arm wrestle them, lift them, and pin them in a match. Just having large muscles would not be enough to satisfy a client. The physical force has to be there. Schmoes believe the bigger the woman is the more beautiful she is. The judging criteria for contest is more than just size, but shape, symmetry, and definition. The schmoe’s criteria for the perfect muscular female body is more simple. Round developed glutes, big biceps, full chest, and nice legs are  the areas of attention.  The bigger the better seems to be the unwritten motto. While schmoes like this aesthetic model, they do not reject the other athletic body types.

         It is difficult to figure out when the word came into existence. During the early days of female bodybuilding it’s popularity was high. This group of hardcore fans probably existed in the early stages. It is alleged that the word was coined by Kay Baxter. She was a successful bodybuilder in the 1980s. Kay was known for her immense size, but rarely got recognition from the judges. That did not matter to fans, who she was popular among. Kay was most likely the first to wrestle men and coined the term from her experiences.

Kay Baxter

She was married to Bill Wick, who produced female bodybuilder wrestling videos. Due to her incredible strength she was able to wrestle many men. Kay Baxter would also appear in Tom Jackson videos that also did mixed wrestling. This was before many had reliable high speed internet, so videos had to ordered out of magazines. It has been stated that Kay did not use the term schmoe as a negative connotation. She may have used it as a term of endearment toward her fans. There would be a good reason for this. The fans were showing support, unlike the sports organization they competed for. Being under paid, unappreciated, and discriminated against make it hard for women in the sport. Those fans prove that their is someone who appreciates the athletic talent of women.Bill Wick has for a longtime produce a number of mixed wrestling videos and is by definition a schmoe himself. Wick saw their was a market for schmoes like himself and continued to produce videos.

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Bill Wick seen here wrestling a female bodybuilder.

This provides at least some clues and foundations to which the word originated. Its origins are not clear, but its specific denotation is more ambiguous.

         There are numerous denotations that have appeared for schmoe, but often they contradict one another. One states “A man who pays money to wrestle with a woman who is often more muscular and stronger than he is, for sexual gratification, although no overt sexual activity is performed.” While on average the women would be stronger than the men, their are some men who are just too strong for any woman to challenge physically. Not all sessions are the same. A strong man would probably prefer fantasy, rather than competitive matches. If a strong man were to do a competitive match he could possibly hurt the woman. The objective is not win, but to experience the power of the muscular woman. Semi-competitive matches allow for some resistance. Many times there is the idea that most schmoes are out of shape men, but it is possible their are athletic men who are huge fans of female bodybuilding. This would only make sense seeing as they would have most contact with them in a gym environment.

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This man in the photo may not fit the image of schmoe, but he could be one considering how much he is smiling being next to Margie Martin.

Some denotations become a little more specific. This statement explains “A male patron and groupie of female bodybuilders. Often paying for sexual domination or wrestling with overtly muscular women.” While this can have an element of truth, its not a full representation. There are some schmoes who would not engage in sessions for a number of reasons. One could be that the possibly of being harmed due to the woman’s much greater strength. A woman who can leg press huge amounts weight and puts you in a bodyscissors could break your ribs. Although the women do try to be careful accidents to happen. Some would rather watch mixed wrestling videos than participating in an actual match. Another reason why all schmoes would not engage in session wrestling is because of prices. These sessions are not cheap, which is a barrier to someone of limited funds. When reading into these definitions a precise definition can be formed.

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An example of what people think of when the term schmoe is used.

A specific definition could be the following : ” an extreme  fan of female bodybuilding, who likes muscular women, but female bodybuilders the most.” This can be expounded upon further : ” they may or may not engage in session wrestling.” While strength may be a factor in attraction, muscle size is the most important element. This is the best working definition so far.

     Fans generally try to not use the term to describe themselves. They too have been influenced by negative stereotypes and try to distance themselves from it. Others have embraced the word and sometimes use it for any man who likes female muscle. Subcultures do change like any other culture and this includes connotations to various terms. One can be fan of something, but may no fit into a subcultural  group. This can be seen with the enormous popularity of Japanese animation or anime. Internationally audiences consume and watch it, but that does not make then otakus. This subcultural group are hardcore fans who collect merchandise, manga, and make time to go to every anime convention. Like any form of fandom various groups will emerge. Schmoes should not be rejected or hated. They are just part of a sport and activity that is not mainstream. People react negatively to what they do not understand. This may describe some of the enmity that muscular women and schmoes face. Whatever the case, they are a part of the female bodybuilding subculture.

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Schmoes

6 thoughts on “Schmoes

  1. Herrahum says:

    Let’s be honest. Bodybuilding in itself is a spectacle of exhibitionism, period. Muscles are inherently erotic and most people who strive for a muscular body desire to experience the sexual objectification that muscularity provides, some more than others in different ways. In fact, the whole bodybuilding industry, since day 1, has capitalised and promoted the muscualr body, both subtly and delibeately as an object of sexual desire and those who want to experience it will naturally resort to bodybuilding.

    Muscles and bodybuilding as sex and there is no way you cande-sexualise muscualrity because muscularity is nature’s way to enhance people’s sexual attrcativeness, especially men’s.

    Bodybuilding is more in line with other spectacles such as stripping because they both heavily rely on physical appearance and convey the same message related to sexual attractiveness. This basically determines the kind of people who will feel more aytracted to the spectacle and will spend money on it. Bodybuilders love being objectified sexually or being seen as a beauty icon in the way muscularity can convey (sexuality).

    Can we really deny that many, if not most bodybuilders, men and women, regardles sof sexual orientation simply love the faces of people fascinated with their muscualr bodies? They like the attention the receive; it’s only a noisy portion of the entire bodybuilding world that complains but honeslty speaking, most bodybuilders love feeling desired.

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    1. There is a sexual element to everything we do as people. We do not just groom ourselves to maintain health, but to enhance our appearance. However, this is not a persons sole motivation in life. I don’t think bodybuilders like being objectified, they like that people respect their accomplishments.It is incorrect to say it is exhibitionism or equivalent to stripping.These women are not strippers ( although many would like to see them do that onstage ).They are athletes seeking a challenge . Most people like the feeling of being desired or recognized. There is a difference between sexual objectification and something being sexual. Sexual objectification is meant to be dehumanizing. Women and men do this not solely to be desired, but they love the competitive nature of it. This is a sport first and foremost.

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      1. Herrahum says:

        Thanks for replying.

        Well, not all human activities are inherently connected with sexuality as bodybuilding is. There isn’t much connection between language intepretation and sexuality, for example.

        I understand that, perhaps, you feel bodybuilding is being stigmatised when it is seen as a form of exhibitionism or that the sexual undertones/overtunes are constantly highlighted. But the fact is that bodybuilding has always been strongly connected to human sexuality. As I said before, muscles are secondary sex traits, they make people look sexier, more attractive and that is one of the main reasons why people pick bodybuilding both as performers (bodybuilders) and as spectators.

        When I mention objectification I don’t mean that’s the only motivation to do bodybuilding; what I meant it say is that it is undeniably of the prevailing reasons.

        If bodybuilders really hated sexual objectification then all visual material portraying bodybuilders would not be as sexualised as it is and most bodybuilders would refuse to be the cover of a magazine. And I would like to expand this to the very exhibition of the muscular body. It is not at all uncommon that bodybuilders push the boundaries when it comes to their performances on stage and their attire. Even though there are rules regarding what can be done on stage it usually occurs that some bodybuilders come up on stage with sexually suggestive posing routines accompanied with also suggestive music.

        As some writers have already pointed out regarding bodybuilding, it is imposible to desexualise the muscular body because muscles themseves naturally convey messages of sexual prowess. You can tone them down, totally correct, but you can never desexualise muscles, otherwise, you nature would be failng in its purpose when making muscles sexy.

        I’m not saying female bodybuilders and bodybuilders in general are strippers; what I’m saying is that because of what bodybuilding demands for the exhibiton, the erotic connotations are always present both implicitly and/or deliberately.

        Muscles are about human sexuality and bodybuilders, just like anybody else, are sexual creatures and we cannot really deny that for many bodybuilders there is a rewarding feeling in exhibiting their bodies that way for a screaming enthusiastic audience or comparing their muscles to their rivals in a very courtship-like competition.

        I don’t intend to oversexualise bodybuilders nor do I think bodybuilders are oversexual creatures, in fact, the way bodybuilding does it is suggestive not going over the top to the point where it could become pornographic.

        If I become a bodybuilder I know that I am turning myself into an object for public display. I can be elegant in my exhibition but never will I be able to make it completely non-sexual. I better enjoy exhibiting my body the way it best suits my personality without transgressing the rules so that both the audience and I can enjoy the whole experience.

        I know this is male bodybuilding but it perfectly exemplifies what I said in this very long post. Hav a great day^^

        Special attention to the music and moves at 1:13

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  2. There are a lot of human activities that are connected to human sexuality. It can be seen in advertisement, TV, and film. This is mainly because of the sexual revolution in the 1960s. Bodybuilding is unique in a regard, due to the fact it presents power ( in this case physical power) as something sexy.

    This is Colette Nelson posing. She presents a level of power and grace that can be erotic to observers. Allan Guttmann had written a work The Erotic in Sports, which explains this. It’s not just bodybuilding observers notice this.

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    1. Herrahum says:

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with bodybuilding being an erotic spectacle, it has always been, it will continue to be that way. It is one of the factors that not only attracts the audience that it attracts, it is also a factor that attracts many men and women to become bodybuilders. It is not uncommon that the experience of being on stage is glorified by bodybuilders because it boosts the ego to stand there almost naked with so many drooling over the sight of so many muscles being flexed and compared.

      As a matter of fact that confirms this is that bodybuilding has rules or warnings aming to regulate the level or eroticism that can be brought to the stage.

      The kind of eroticism exerted in bodybuilding differs from other activities such as stripping in that it is not only about showing the almost naked body and move suggestively to a song, it also requires some degree of display of physical strength when flexing and display of physical strenght is also an erotic weapon.

      There is always a sexy factor that motivates bodybuilders to become bodybuilders because all human beings instinctively know that muscles are naturally erotic. Not all bodybuilders feel equally motivated by the sexy factor; for some is more thrilling than for others, but all of them desire it and want to embody the ideal of what muscularity conveys.

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