Memes and Motivational Posters # 25

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Memes and Motivational Posters # 25

Marcie Simmons : Schmoes Versus Fans

This is another Marcie Simmons video describing from her point of view the difference between schmoes and fans. It is clear that she does not hold the schmoes in high regard. One reason is that there is the problem of  online piracy in regards to athlete’s content and online harassment. This harassment can either be sexual or stalker like in nature. Such behavior is intolerable and should be condemned. Yet, all schmoes should not be condemned. Marcie may not be condemning them all, but just the section that she calls aggressive schmoes. The prevalence of sexual harassment is being exposed more now than ever and has dominated mass media conversation. It can occur anywhere and anytime. While this is a legitimate concern, female athletes should remember that schmoes are keeping female bodybuilding alive. They are the ones who come and buy tickets to shows. They pay even more money to engage in session wrestling, which is more or less an open secret. Without them, female bodybuilding would not have a financial pillar. Casual fans or former fans may not be as loyal as one would think. The audiences have shrunk and so has coverage. Many former fans say that the women got too extreme, but schmoes still loyally remain part of the fan base. The major part of the problem is how social media is used by people.

       Marcie describes fans as mostly being supporters. However, schmoes are more so hardcore fans. Due to the behavior of some they are either stereotyped as fetishists, eccentrics, or potential sexual predators. Marcie explains it is about semantics, but it should be known schmoes like the most muscular women. The average fan likes women of any athletic shape. Schmoe continues to be a pejorative when it should not be. Schmoes almost resemble groupies in relation to rock stars. Within fandom, there are always fans who become too obsessed or too aggressive with their beloved famous person.

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There should not be condemnation of schmoes. They seem to be the last people who find extremely muscular women a positive and attractive thing. They are a part of the female bodybuilding subculture. Female bodybuilding may never go mainstream so the demographic outreach will be small in an economic sense. Sexist prejudice and traditional gender role beliefs stop the sport from reach wider public. This mean the maintenance of  a loyal fan base is critical. The idea that a woman can have six pack abs and big biceps does not seem like an unusual concept the the schmoe. This video seems to be a stark contrast from her other presentation ” The Importance of Schmoes to Female Bodybuilding.” They do provide a significant financial support as Marcie articulated. She has stated this is not a horrible thing to have schmoes being a part of the culture.

The female bodybuilding category is shrinking with a limited number of contests for athletes to compete in. It is essential now more than ever to get as many allies and supporters as possible.Schmoes were there from the beginning and were the first supporters. When female body appeared many did not accept it even within the fitness industry itself. Schmoes embraced the new female mesomorph with enthusiasm. The feelings were not reciprocated. Many women in the sport have a negative view of schmoes or look down upon them. Considering they do provide financial support one would think the athletes would be more appreciative. Instead athletes call schmoes “demanding” or “entitled.”  If women are going to keep this sport alive that means they will have to use some public relations skills. Showing appreciation for your moderate and hardcore fans will improve the state of the sport. If not, fans will simply leave. Most schmoes do not do the activities Marcie is describing. A section do, but may be they should not be classified in that terminology.

             The aggressive schmoe is not a hardcore fan, but is sexual harasser. Women face sexual harassment in the workplace, public spaces,  and even in educational settings. The vast world of the internet and social media has expanded the problem. Marcie exposes that stalking has occurred to athletes both on and offline. Social media accounts of athletes are flooded with messages with inappropriate lascivious and explicit statements. Normally one thinks that such powerful women would not be victim to such behavior. This can happen to anyone. The reason such behavior continues is because it goes unreported or is just not punished. This explains why Harvey Weinstein  was able to engage in sexual misconduct for decades. There is nothing that can be taught  in sensitivity training that could fix men like  that. The only solution is to either isolate or contain them. There has to be a change in how men view women. Unfortunately, society views women as sex objects rather than people which encourages this type of behavior. Living in a society that values women’s appearance or sexual capital distorts men’s views of women. The idea that is projected is that women are pleasure objects for men and thus sexual misconduct is just “boys being boys.” Such convictions and behavior should not be tolerated. While it could be easier to stop such behavior in public spaces, online harassment is more difficult to tackle. To what extent should companies act on social media platforms without damaging free speech or expression? This is not a simple answer, but there are blocking  mechanisms in place. Athletes relevant to this discussion should not be afraid to do so when they are harassed. Exposing unacceptable behavior, strict rules and laws, and enforcement can counter the rise of sexual harassment.

        Before schmoes are cast as predators it should be remembered that they are a financial pillar. These men are willing to pay large amounts of money for autographed material and memorabilia. They come to contests when total audience size is decreasing. Women have found them to be a unique business opportunity. There are women who get sponsorship from them as Marice  stated before. However women can get more money by doing session wrestling sometimes amounting to more than they would get for competing in a contest. A one hour session could range from $900 or more depending on the type of wrestling. A female bodybuilder has to consider that training, competing, and travel will  cost a lot of money. Some competitors may even stop, because they can no longer afford to keep up. The sport does not provide large financial gains for women and many have careers outside fitness. Wrestling a schmoe enables  them to make a profit and continue to compete. This money from session wrestling is obviously not taxed, because it is not the traditional business. Muscle worship does not even require much physical effort. There are men who pay large amounts of money and women gain the support. It is not just female bodybuilders that do this; fitness women, physique competitors, figure models, and women in top physical shape are also involved.

There are women who are just associated with session wrestling itself. The reality is athletes do foster the atmosphere of schmoes. To hate them for taking part in services seems ludicrous. If there is tension women are also responsible for it. Women have to extent used their feminine charms on men to get from them something they want. Traditionally this was a method used to manipulate men in societies that either limited their freedom or navigation. it explains why the gold digger or the femme fatale are a persistent image in society and popular culture. Men with power are more susceptible to this type of sex based manipulation. The case with schmoes is that to a degree they are manipulated by these women. So it is hard to say that women doing this are completely victims of a patriarchal power structure. It seems that the the power dynamic shifts in favor of women. Not only do they have the traditional feminine charm it is combined with physical power. This also linked with the fact women control the rates and conditions of their session business. Schmoes are exploited financially and are devoted followers so it seems unfair for female bodybuilders to be vexed with them. There are those who fit the stereotypes, but there are schmoes from different races, religions, class backgrounds, and nations. Saying all schmoes are malevolent or harming the sport is just an exaggeration. There are portion of schmoes who are secretive about their love of  female bodybuilders. They may not even go to wrestling session at all simply out of nervousness.  Criticism and stigma are something they want to avoid. Schmoes do help in terms of support. Women in sports normally have to find alternatives to support themselves and continue competing. Some of the burden is at least reduced. Supplements, food, gym membership, and athletic clothing are considerations women have to work into their budget. The labor and routine is intense leading up to being on stage.

This can be stressful especially in an industry and sport that does not respect women or their contributions. Foe some women, the admiration from a hardcore fan is a psychological boost from an atmosphere of negativity. While people harshly criticize women for doing sessions and building up schmoe culture no one takes time to figure out what is the motivation. The financial and business aspect is clear, but there may be another reason women do this. There are women who also have fetishes and it its seems obvious men are not the only ones with them. The idea that a woman can easily control a man physically may be arousing to women. There are women who compete who do sessions who do not need financial support. It is not about sexual expression all the time either. Some women like the challenge of testing their physical power against male opponents. It may remind them of a time of simple childhood play that one cannot do as an adult. This a setting so private that women of this stature can display their muscle and power without ostracism or condemnation from the fitness community or general public. There is a level of freedom they experience that does not restrict them to gender appropriate social mores. Thanks to schmoes there are more websites covering muscular women than magazines, exposing them to a wider audience. Fan forums such as Saradas get a bad reputation, but often it provides information on athletes you may not find anywhere. Upcoming contests or  industry news in regards to women circulates there. The piracy issue continues to be a persistent problem. This does not stop large numbers of people from buying content. Gene X Magazine ( http://tour.ftvideo.com/genex.php) provides detailed coverage. photography,  and videos to users. He would definitely be considered a schmoe. His online publication has been around since the 1990s and provided his signature high quality photography.

Britt and Kristy

Marcie does not hate schmoes or think they are all terrible. As she eloquently described the situation : “Just like anything else there is good and bad.” She articulated “The good ones show love and support and the bad ones wank around and act like malicious trolls.”The hope there are more good people than awful ones. The issue she touches upon is how social media is used. This is a new type of media and form of communication, which poses various problems.

        Social media such as Twitter and  Facebook have become such a part of people’s lives. It has the power to reach anyone across the world and be an efficient organizing tool.  The problem is how people use this platform. It either enables cyber bullying or harassment. The colloquial term of trolling has entered mainstream lexicon describing those who go online to start flame wars and insult people without punishment or repercussion. It emboldens certain people to say offensive and rude comments that they would be too timid to say in real life. Women just like other people online do face harassment, but there is a level of responsibility on the user. If someone wants to keep their life private they should consider what they post online. Once a photo or a comment is posted it is pretty much out in cyberspace forever. It would seem strange that an athlete would complain about people commenting on the pictures that they post. People may post images that are displaying themselves nude or could violate the terms of use. The simple rule to go by is think before you post or write anything.

It is hard to convince people you do not want them to look at particular photos, when the most outrageous or suggestive ones are posted. If  one truly values their privacy, they should be mindful of the information posted. The other alternative is just not use social media at all. Then as Marcie says there is a difference between admiration and being an obsessive stalker. There is nothing wrong with collecting photos, but an obsession extends to trying to find out about an athlete’s home address, relationships, and place of employment. Athletes must understand that what once you post something it basically becomes public. So it seems rather peculiar that a person would get vexed if certain photos appear on other sites or forums. If an athlete is making a social media presence they have to decide what type it will be. If it is a professional one it should only be related to business inquiries only. That should display skill and work credentials. A personal social media presence should just be for friends and family. This should have the private setting so that only people in that small circle can have access. A social media presence for fans of an athlete should include photos, upcoming events, and links to other sites the athlete is associated with. There can also be information on how fans can contribute to sponsorship. Instagram could be a way for some athletes to get modeling contracts for athletic clothing, by posting some of their own pictures. Social media is not all terrible; it can be a method of promoting one’s self in the fitness and sports world in which media coverage is limited for women. The public must learn to use new technologies responsibly. Etiquette and manners still apply online just as the do in real life. Athletes deserve respect not harassment. Schmoes and female bodybuilders are connected.They should seek a firm alliance because the relationship is symbiotic. There are sexual harassers among the ranks, but they should not be the representation of all schmoes. Together maybe athlete and fan can help the sport grow and flourish.

Marcie Simmons : Schmoes Versus Fans

Anita Sarkeesian and a Gamer’s Response

Anita Sarkeesian’s “Tropes versus Women in Video Games” generated much controversy. While there is no denying there is sexism in video games her videos present the average male gamer as a misogynist and internet troll. The unfortunate aspect of this is that there are male gamers who fit this description.  Sarkessian’s analysis and the venomous responses of some individuals represent how extreme third wave feminism and men’s rights advocates seek to divide the gaming community. It is clear that there is an agenda to promote Feminist Frequency a website run by Sarkeesian. She claims to be a dedicated game enthusiast, but it has been rare to see her actually do so, rather than criticism. Her style of debate is to make small selections of data, rather than examining the entire picture. There are also people in the gaming community who also make such outrageous claims. The video “Anita’s “Myths” Versus  Real Myths ” also represents a distortion. A Youtube user by the name Prince Asbel responded to Anita’s video in the same irrational manner. The debate centered around the concept of women being the weaker sex. Users like him only give Sarkeesian fuel and paint a negative image of the gaming community. While sexual dimorphism is a biological reality, this does not mean gender stereotypes are based in truth.

         The video wants to challenge Sarkeesian’s claim  of women being stereotyped as the weaker sex. The problem is that Asbel uses a subject that actually disproves his point. The video shows Jill mills arm wrestling  three men and losing to two of them. One should realize that arm wrestling is not a precise measure of strength. This involves a level of technique as well as strength from the wrist, pectoralis major,  and biceps brachii.

His example was to demonstrate that women really cannot be strong. Jill mills has the ability to lift cars and do many feats of strength from years of training. She is certainly not weak. If this presentation wanted to be precise it would examine bench press, leg press, and squat records of female and male athletes. Men on average are stronger. This does not mean the female body cannot acquire strength. Jill Mills can deadlift 475 lbs for reps. Jill currently can bench 286 lbs and do a 442 lbs squat. These are impressive records and the reason she could not beat these men at arm wrestling is because she had limit training for it. It would be doubtful if the men in the video can do what Jill does without any training. However, it would not be possible that Jill could out lift the world’s strongest man.

The strength difference is not solely due to muscle. The male skeleton contains denser bones, larger ligaments, and bigger tendons. The video sites that Jill is covered in muscles and therefore she should have beaten the men. Large muscles do not automatically equal more strength. It has to do with the distribution of type II muscle fibers and the rate of muscular contraction. Type II muscle fibers are critical for explosive power. It is possible for a person with smaller muscles to be stronger if they are specifically training for that purpose. A weightlifter may be able to lift more than a large bodybuilder simply because one athlete is training for hypertrophy. The bodybuilder’s goal is an aesthetic one.

The notion that women are weaklings falls into the frailty myth. Physical weakness or lack of physical skills were thought to be women’s natural state. It seems Abdel falls into this perspective, but attempts to appear non-biased by mentioning his sister. Average does not correlate to all men being stronger. There are multiple factors that play a role in physical strength. Body type, endocrinology, body composition, and fitness level. Women produce more estrogen which allows for more body fat, rather than lean body mass. Myostatin in particular determines how large muscles can grow given a training regimen. Testosterone allows for greater muscular hypertrophy, which enables more protein synthesis. Genetics play a role in both sexes in terms of fitness levels. Men have more natural strength, but women also respond to the stimuli of weight training. At the cellular level, there is no difference between male and female muscle. Men just have more type II muscle fibers. The disparity is more about quantity rather than quality.

The difference in upper body strength is the greater compared to the lower body. The average woman according to rough estimates has about 55% of males’ upper body strength. Women have a closer range of lower body strength which is between 25% to 75%. This shows that men do have larger muscle fibers. This does not mean a man who does not train will be stronger than a woman who does. A woman who trains seriously could either equal or surpass the average man in strength. Then training method is also important. Training at high intensity allows women to acquire more strength and the use of plyometrics. The physiological and biological differences explain why female athletes have to train harder than their male counterparts. The differences in physical fitness potential change during puberty, when hormonal changes alter the body. Anatomically women have wider hips and narrower shoulders, which do effect athletic performance.

There is of course overlap between women and in men. The explanation for this is that each individual’s physiology is different, which gives then a natural advantage over other competitors. There also is the factor of technique in athletic skill. Strength and speed are critical, but if one has not mastered skilled movements for a particular sport, it will ultimately effect the total performance optimum. This may explain why some women could beat men in a physical contest if the skill and technique level is high.

This man clearly is stronger, but loses. The woman has a technique that nullified the strength gap. As you can see arm wrestling is not an accurate measure of strength. 

Sexual dimorphism is the product of millions of years of evolution. This does not prove women are inferior, but different. Humans are primates of a mammal order and usually males tend to be larger than females. There are exceptions seeing as gibbons are the same size for both sexes. The reason for size and strength differences between men and women may have to do with mating strategies. Our early ancestors of the past had to compete for mates. Size and strength would have been an element of natural selection to spread particular genes. There is vast amounts of genetic diversity in the human species, which allowed it to survive. Relevant to this discussion of female representation being a woman does not make one biologically inferior or physically weak by default. Stereotypes and negative attitudes do effect peoples’ behavior  and conduct in regards to certain groups. This is why women face extra scrutiny in occupations that are physically demanding like the military, law enforcement, firefighting, and sports. The assumption is that they are too frail and incapable of such work. Men are stronger, but that does not mean they have a monopoly on  physical strength. Asbel seems to present a distorted argument just like Sarkeesian.

        The problem with Anita Sakeesian is that she does not acknowledge that women in video games do not all fall into the damsel in distress trope. This trope is older than electronic entertainment and can be seen in film, television, and literature. There is a progression which features women characters as the stars of their own games. Fans are responding positively to this new development. The Tomb Raider reboots and Uncharted Lost Legacy  are great examples of this change. They fight, shoot, and march their way through danger in their new adventures. Gamers do not care that they are women.

The wonderful aspect about Uncharted Lost Legacy  is that it features non-white characters staring in their own game. Black and Asian representation has been lacking and this was a excellent remedy to that problem. While it may be true their is a social construction that women are helpless and ineffectual, there has been a change in particular beliefs. A female heroine is not such a shock to people anyone when consuming various forms of entertainment. When gamers  found out that Samus was a woman at the end of the first Metroid  game it shocked them. Samus continues to be one of Nintendo’s most popular characters. There are male gamers who do fit the archetype of woman hating trolls who want to exclude them from the culture. They are the minority, but are vociferous and get more attention. The reason the negativity appears is because women are having a greater presence. What the maker of the video does not understand is how some people operate on prejudice. Despite this, there has been progress. Sarkeesian does not help her case by painting all men as vicious misogynists. There are many gamers who do not approve of such convictions. There are many female characters that are strong and show character development.

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What should be avoided in female character creation is tokenism or predictable tropes. What Asbel calls reality actually is what he perceives. This is the same manner in which Sarkeesian presents her arguments. Ignoring that there is a problem will not magically make the issue of subtle or blatant sexism go away. Asbel want one to believe that there is no such issue. Sarkeesian wants to convince people that all gamers are rude misogynists. These are two extremes of  a spectrum. Video games and electronic entertainment should be an inclusive community. People promoting political or social agendas should look elsewhere to do so. The challenges can only be addressed if more women get involved in game design, start their own companies, and become leaders in the industry. Mere complaints will not lead to change; action must be taken to redress such grievances.

Anita Sarkeesian and a Gamer’s Response