Marcie Simmons is new to the fitness industry and the sport of bodybuilding. Her videos provides a female perspective to elements of the subculture not usually discussed. Marcie describes the fetish surrounding muscular and strong women . She calls it the “dark side” and many would disagree with such assessments. Sthenolagnia and cartolagnia are not classified as paraphilias. Those types of disorders are either extreme or an indication of a mental illness (sexual sadism or pedophilia ). Sthenolagnia and cartolagnia are just minor fetishes. Calling it a “dark side” seems to go back to the traditional attitudes of human sexuality before the sexual revolution. Sex was once seen as something only designed for the production of children, not pleasure. Women were in particular not to enjoy it. Men were expected to restrain urges and wait till they were married. This has changed and now people can embrace what they find attractive or arousing.
That means being interested in different types of women. Relevant to this conversation is the the fetish of sthenolagnia and cartolagnia. Marcie explains the definition of both terms with simple examples. She mentions Alina Popa. Being aroused by the sight of her muscles is an example of sthenolagnia. Alina’s biceps, triceps, or glutes could induce sexual arousal.
Looking at her there is an assumption of strength. Yet this may not be the case. A person with sthenolagnia would be more concerned about the appearance of strength. It would not matter if she could lift the heaviest weight, but the aesthetic of the muscle. Cartolagnia puts emphasis on strength feats. Lift and carry, arm wrestling, or wrestling are a few demonstrations of strength. For the individual with cartolagania muscles are not as important as the cation of the physical activity.
A woman with no visible muscle can have strength. Marcie then delineates a theory about who would be attracted to this fetish. She claims it is men who have a lot of power and want it taken away when coming into contact with a strong woman. They want to be dominated by a strong woman. This is not always the case. There are men who have this fetish, but do not fit into a Fifty Shades of Gray category. It could be like some one’s reverence for a force of nature. Seeing a sunset, waterfall, or a sequoya tree makes the observer have a new respect. Some men want to admire these unique and powerful women up close, instead of looking at pictures. The experience becomes more tangible. Marcie became aware of the fetish subculture only a few years ago. She reveals that men were trying to get into contact with her to do lift and carry. The interesting discovery is that there are hybrids of people who life both cratolagnia and sthenolagnia. This means they prefer both muscles and strength.
The men who are attracted to this can be average men. They have families and steady jobs, but have this secret love of female muscle. Their wives may not have the strength to give them piggy back rides or wrestle them. There are men who hide their love of it, because of fear of ostracism. Sadly ,a society that has a misogynist belief system does not accept strong women. Marcie does not realize that this could be a turn on for women as well. Women who have started lifting weights for a long period often say they feel more confident with themselves. Society does like to encourage low self-esteem in women and in a way doing this is a reaction to that.Women who know they are stronger may feel a psychological power high. There is an element of male submission that Marcie mentions, but it could extend further. It could be men and women having a safe space to relive themselves of societal pressure. Men can be allowed to enjoy a type of woman considered out of the traditional view of femininity. Women receive praise for their athletic talents and their muscles in which they normally would not hear. Then as Marcie reveals there is a mental aspect to this interaction. The male subject may want to be psychologically dominated in encounters. Women could enjoy having a sense of control that they rarely get in society. Empowerment is a concept used to mobilize women to gain social and political justice. This can be done though actions or activism to advance the cause of women’s rights. Here a muscular woman is empowering herself in two ways. First she is not adhering to traditional beauty standards. Second she is imposing physical power over a man ( with their compliance). It challenges the weaker sex stereotype and the myth that strong women are unattractive. This seems to be more than just a simple fetish.
Marcie mentions this fetish goes beyond just liking women in shape. Men would still like the athletic woman, but like the most muscular woman.
The images above are a reflection of the difference. The person with these fetishes would find both attractive, but find the female bodybuilder the most beautiful. Marcie explains it also extends into art and written stories. Female muscle art and stories have grown over the years due to the internet. This phenomenon is known as female muscle growth. Stories or art feature a woman who physically weak initially, but through science or magic become super humanly strong and muscular. This also overlaps with giantess art in which there is a focus on women becoming a giant. This art is underground and not mainstream. Marcie then provides another theory. Men could like this because they it may help them expose a softer side to themselves. It could be also that strong men like strong women. Marcie made another video explaining how the attraction to muscles emerges.
There are men who hold high positions of power who may just want a way to relax. They just want a break from being “the strong one.”Sometimes people desire an escape from responsibilities and pressure for the sake of mental well being. However, not every man is a CEO or in a position of authority. There are other reasons why average men would seek out a physically powerful woman. The look accentuates the female form. The lower body becomes more exaggerated when a woman works out to the level of these athletes. They still want to have the figure eight body when presenting a physique on stage. It then makes a woman’s upper body appear larger than it is. Traditionally, the lower body is a beauty mark for women. The dynamic of being unique may also add to this attraction. Women like Marcie are not common, which make her fascinating. There are very few women who can lift a man up like an infant, out wrestle him, or beat him at arm wrestling. The combination of muscles and curves can attract both erotic feelings and wonder.
The what these women do is enlarge parts of their body into a new paradigm. Besides just a predilection for a particular look, it is what people are exposed to. Children are easily influenced by there experiences and what they see. A boy who watches action cartoons, sports, or looks at magazines that have strong women may develop an attraction. Maybe their parents are active in sports or strength building activities. This could instill a feeling of respect for such women. Cartoon and comic book characters are probably one of the first forms of entertainment that children get exposure to. Super heroes like She Hulk, Power Girl, and Wonder Woman have appeared in various media from cartoons, comic books, and sooner or later film.
Popular entertainment is powerful in this regard. Although there are fictional depictions, there are strong women who can be seen in reality. Magazines targeting people interested in fitness used to feature female bodybuilders. Women with larger musculature today are not present on magazines, but more so women with a physique competitor or figure level of muscle. The internet allowed women with larger muscles to get exposure to larger audience when the fitness community abandoned them. Print magazines are slowly declining, but athletes were ahead in this transition to digital print. Athletes either have their personal websites or do photo shoot work for others. The internet being so vast it is more likely that more people will stumble on to something they normally would not seek. Also it could develop gradually beyond the stages of childhood. One may take a look at picture out of curiosity of a muscular woman. The curiosity may induce more research. Then a stage could be that an individual seeks out those materials. After becoming a collector, a person may become a fan of a particular sport or athlete. Adults and children are exposed more to a muscular woman’s physique now more than ever seeing as women’s sports are broadcast on television.Women athletes are displaying more powerful physiques than in the past. More women around the world are competing in the Olympics. This is more than just a fashionable trend it seems to be a paradigm shift. It is too soon to say with complete certainty. Marcie has revealed that liking muscular women is more than just simple lust.
There is another element that is some what mentioned, but not deciphered entirely . It is the power dynamic between men and women. It assumed that men should be in control, because they have more physical power. Women in this case have physical power and in a way the roles are reversed. Man is supposed to be dominating and controlling especially of women. These ideas are antiquated and sexist, but it still in present in a subtle manner. The strong woman challenges the weaker sex stereotype and the concept of biologically inferior woman. It is not completely about a woman or man dominating one another in these encounters. This could be reliving some fun times of childhood. Boys and girls can play together care free. The gender role rules seem to be looser and less rigid. Girls can to rough and tumble play without be condemned for being “unfeminine.”Biologically, there is no strength difference, put as puberty happens boys get stronger making it hard for girls to play in mixed physical activities. With the strong and muscular woman her strength exceeds or is equal to an average man and its almost as if that period in childhood is restored.
The societal ostracism is kept away. The roles of subordinate or controller are not present unless someone allows it in the encounter. Men may not always want to be be dominated by a powerful woman, but challenged on a physical level. There is some aspect of thrilling adventure to this. There are plenty women who could challenge men on an intellectual level, but the physical regard is rare. There are men who may engage in session wrestling purely for the wrestling. The fact that a woman can do this to them is astounding. Although the domination element is present, there is the escape from pressure. Women are free to demonstrate their strength and physical talents. Men can see strong women without insults or negative backlash. When examining it from this perspective it becomes a place of gender equality. It rejects the model of man as dominant and woman as submissive follower. This shielded space created provides men and women to reject the ridged codes of behavior and appearance in regards to gender. This is liberating for both men and women if though of in this particular context. Marcie’s videos continue to explore a subculture that continues to evolve. It is very possible with the image of the strong woman being propagated through media will no longer be considered an anomaly.
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