Kate on Sports : Women and Muscle

Kate on Sports was a vlog that was active between 2006 to 2008 that was produced in association with Zennie62 and Sports Business Simulations. Kate Scott was giving her analysis on women’s sports and sports in general. These few videos are of interest, because it is so rare that women give such opinions in regards to women in sports. One particular video that she made was “women and muscle.” This was the best one of the few videos she made before she became a sportscaster for KNBR. However, it does have some problems. There are particular points that should be noted, although the overall argument is cogent. The six minute video explores topics such as body image, Title IX, and what does the new found physical strength of the female athlete mean. The camera operator poses a perspective that society is at a juncture in which sports women have muscle, but are not comfortable with it. The question then emerges what is wrong with women having muscle? The video proceeds to tackle these questions and Kate Scott provides those answers.

        There was a claim in the video without Title IX, this look would not have existed. However, anyone with knowledge of women’s sports history would know that is not entirely correct.  Muscular women existed prior to Title IX. They were either regulated to circus performers, vaudeville acts, or beach boardwalk acts. There was no competitive outlet for their skills and talents due to cultural mores as well as sex discrimination. The documented evidence of muscular women can be seen in photographs. Acrobats, circus strong women, and performers were present in the 19th and early 20th century. Katie Sandwina was known for her feats of strength involving barbells and lifting men overhead. Joan Rhodes also would follow in this tradition of the strong woman act. Out of this emerge a weightlifter culture, which is bigger today in terms of popularity. Crossfit and Olympic weightlifting would not be at the same status, if it were not for the strong women and strong men of the previous two centuries.

Another case at least in art, was how Michelangelo depicted muscular women in his art during the Italian Renaissance. There are vary rare cases in which muscular women are depicted in art history. This does not mean that women were not athletes. Artifacts and artwork discovered from ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Minoan civilization reveal that the female athlete is hardly a modern phenomenon. Women participated in footraces, wrestling, bull leaping, and javelin. The difference is the amount of opportunity women have and the access to fitness facilities.   While there were women of considerable natural strength, there were no opportunities to develop it further. The women of the past either had to struggle around sex, race, and class barriers. These are still present factors, but there is more awareness and willingness to resist such aberrations of society. To say that Title IX magically produced women athletes would be false. There is a long history record of women in sports.

 There are countries in which Title IX does not exist and yet female athletes still emerge. What Title IX did in the US was allow for more female athletes to emerge and enhance their physical skills. Tackling discrimination was the major obstacle that had to be confronted. The reality was that Title IX was not specifically for sports, but part of the Education Amendments of 1972 addressing sex disparities in education. School programs were examined and it was reveal that girls were getting the least resources for sports activities. If  the schools did not adhere to federal policy, they would not receive funds from the US government. The girls who benefited from this would go on to become Olympic athletes or just your average fit woman. This female mesomorph as a paradigm owes much of existence to Abbye Stockton and Lisa Lyon. They actively trained not just for improving physical skill, but to add muscle to their bodies. This was something during their time periods, which was considered unacceptable for women.

   During Stockton’s time in the 1940s she had to battle both prejudice and myths about women and weightlifting. There were myths that said it would cause women to become infertile or harm themselves. Lisa Lyon had to struggle to compete in newly formed bodybuilding competitions, which were limited in number and had less support in the 1970s. These women contributed to overturning the notion that the female body is not designed for strength. The unfortunate aspect was that the women of the past did not benefit from legislative assistance prior to Title IX. As a public health measure it should not be under estimated. Women started to get more involved in exercise, fitness, and sports rather than just for the purpose of weight loss. The analysis is limited, due to the fact that women are competing in sports globally at higher levels. The Olympics, All Africa Games, Pan- American Games, and Asian Games show women athletes from all around the world.

Kate’s and her associate’s perspective only examines this phenomenon from a Western ( specifically American ) perspective. The physically strong woman has become a small, but growing development in the sports world. Confining it to the US would certainly be incorrect.

      This discussion inevitably goes into body image and beauty standards. For decades a tin body type has been idolized to the extent that cases of bulimia, anorexia, and obsessive dieting  have become a normal part of some women’s lives. This has been challenged with an emphasis on a curvy and larger body type as Kate reveals. The muscular body type in this obsession with appearance falls in an undefined place. There is some moderate acceptance for women with some muscle ( “tone”), yet a level of hostility to women who develop their musculature to the highest levels. Female bodybuilders not only are strong, they project a powerful image. This causes either reactions of disgust, lust, or support. Society has concepts of what a woman should be and being powerful both physically or mentally is not a part of that in the traditional view of gender roles. The recent ideal of the female body was to be considered frail and thin, not one of muscle. The muscular woman challenges this belief, by presenting another version of beauty.

According to their version of aesthetics, they are  molding flesh into a living statue. The rise of crossfit and weightlifting as a popular activity has improved the image of women with muscle.  This has been to a limited extent. There is a problem that comes with mainstreaming a subculture. It becomes too common place and loses it unique value, which made it great in the first place. There were women and men who liked the muscular look prior to this sudden mainstream trend. There is also another problem with the new “strong is the new skinny” conviction. Could it be than one unrealistic standard is being replaced by another? It would be hard to imagine in the future that women would be attempting en mass to obtain such physiques. Maybe the best result of this is that women decide for themselves what is a suitable look for them, rather than having society or mass media dictate it to them. Women who are muscular should not be afraid to call themselves muscular. The term toned has been used to mainstream the idea of women having muscle in the fitness industry. The fact is women have muscles and this can be developed to certain degrees. Societies that impose strict limitations on how women should look or  behave expose the level of male dominance and misogyny. Individuals should be free to do as they please as long as it does not harm other people. Why should a woman have to spend her time reaching a societal beauty standard? It would be better to form one to your personal preference.

        kate also acknowledges that their are men who enjoy the appearance of the physically strong woman. She does mention that women have it hard being muscular, but she does not realize male fans and supporters are also ostracized.  This mostly comes from the closed minded, people of conservative thought, sexists, or anyone who cannot tolerate anything different. It is understandable that such a pursuit would just not be someone’s preference, but there is no excuse for vituperation and vitriol. Male fans either are presented as fetishists, eccentrics, and predators. Liking muscular women is no different from liking thin women, larger women, or any other women. At no time will one ever hear the phrase ” you have a skinny woman fetish.”  Another misconception is that fans of female muscle only like this type of woman. Male fans could have numerous body type preferences. Men have a hard time too, even struggling with the fact they find this attractive. Stereotypes and popular prejudices surround fans as well as athletes. These attitudes reflect a level of narrow mindedness in regards to traditional roles in what a woman should be. Female muscle fans may not even prefer the same levels of muscularity. There are some who like a sleeker body, a mid range level, and the more hypermuscular physique. It should be understood within fitness, there are varying degrees of muscularity on women. Even within the bodybuilding sports there is fitness, figure, bikini, physique, and traditional bodybuilding.

There has evolved a wide range in which female muscle fans can choose to follow. kate also mentions that it is uncertain in which direction the muscular appearance will go. At the time of this video many elements of women’s sports were changing. Women’s MMA was just on the rise and crossfit was in its prototypical stage. While traditional bodybuilding for women was struggling, more divisions emerged which included figure, bikini, and physique. The look of the athletic female is evolving, but in different branches. Athletes do not all look the same. The way their body looks depends on both genetics and the specific sport they compete in. Athletic women  could be muscular, some could be thin and other women could be larger in body type.

As for direction, the images presented are going in multiple pathways. Each one presents a radically different notion about what a woman can achieve and be. There are advocates that want to see the female muscular image be pushed to a higher level and other who state that i has gone too far. Kate even says “she’s not a fan of the ones that can brake you over their knee.” Some fans even say some women have “crossed the line” or are “too much.” These accusations lack cogency. If one is part of the bodybuilding sports it is about sculpting the body. However, it is not solely about size. Shape, conditioning, and symmetry are critical elements that must be balanced on a physique. These should be the only legitimate criticisms directed at women in terms of physique sports. There seems to be a level of movement to the mainstream, but there are some elements that will remain subcultural. The mixed and session wrestling element will remain underground. Although harmless, it is too eccentric to find a mainstream audience. I has been present since female bodybuilding’s early years and will not disappear anytime soon.

It seems hardcore support for the larger muscular women will remain in the realm of subculture. This does not mean that in the distant future that the athletic body type will not gain some level of acceptance in the future. Women’s fitness culture has become something unique between its fans and competitors. Merely ignoring how fans play a role leaves out something critical. The less venues for fans to consume, means a large untapped market. The corporate gatekeepers of the fitness industry should recognize this and capitalize on this niche market. The internet and specifically social media has been helpful at exposing the image of the muscular woman to a wider global audience. So, it could be possible in time it will gain a larger following.

         Upon close examination, an answer can be extrapolated from the initial question. There is nothing wrong with women having muscle; it is that people’s limited views of what a woman should look like and be create objections. These beliefs are based on unrealistic beauty standards, subtle misogyny,   and the belief that women should be controlled. This control does not merely extend to what a woman can do with her life, but her own body. More extreme cases include the restriction of reproductive rights, abortion, and birth control. One method to control women was to control their bodies. Symbolically, the muscular woman challenges the notion of female frailty and weakness with an image of strength. This comes into conflict with schemata that was develop from culture or media in regards to attitudes about women. If a society only values for women for how they look or solely their reproductive capacities, women who deviate from this cultural norm will be outcasts. Unrealistic beauty standards idolize one body type over all others, which could cause mental distress and self-esteem issues in young women. This desire for an unhealthy level of thinness effects both physical and mental health. Besides anorexia or bulimia, women could put themselves at risk for osteoporosis if not receiving proper nutrition. This system wraps into a subtle misogyny which only views women as sex objects and not people. Women who refuse to follow this system set an example for others to change this defect in cultural mores. Thankfully, their has been slow change. However, some will have to adjust. Some men may just not be used to seeing women with such strength in their daily lives.

 The woman with muscle is a rarity, but not some anomaly. One of the least credible arguments against women developing strength and muscle is that it is “unnatural.” Humanity has discovered many ways to alter the body through surgery, medicine, nutrition, and one day extensive genetic engineering. We have reached a point in which our biology can be manipulated possibly leading to transhumanism. Nature can be very unpredictable in the evolutionary process, so calling something “unnatural” would be scientifically inaccurate. Genetics, nutrition, and environment can change the appearance of human populations. A muscular woman is no more “unnatural” than a tall person, short person, or thin person. Organisms thrive on genetic diversity, which is why human beings are the dominant species on the planet.  Calling such women “unnatural” is just another way to either exclude or marginalize women who are different. Another argument from detractors   is one of a beauty standard. This is relative according to who you ask and varies from culture to culture. These athletes do not do this for the approval or pleasure of men. Yet, this seems like a foreign concept to many. Although the muscular woman is not completely accepted, but is leading an unnoticed revolution.

Kate on Sports : Women and Muscle

Should “Men Are Stronger” Bar Women From Combat Roles? From Male Matters USA

Should “Men Are Stronger” Bar Women From Combat Roles

This is a blog post from Male Matters  originally posted in 2012. This site is a men’s rights website and discusses the controversy of women in combat. While the argument is for women in combat there are a few details it ignores. Then there is the issue of feminism versus the backlash men’s rights movement. This post does point out the inequality facing women who seek combat jobs, but their cause is not for social justice. The men’s rights movement is a reactionary backlash to the women’s rights movement and feminist movement. Feminism used to be about gender equality, but third wave feminism has embraced a more extremist tone. The men’s rights movement does have a legitimate argument that their is inequality in terms of alimony, child support, divorce, and the draft. Yet,  their agenda is to revert social and political relations back to a time in which men had the much of the power. The existence of this men’s rights movement  came about when male supporters of feminism became disillusioned with the movement. The movement stated in the 1970s with the men’s liberation movement breaking into two factions : one being pro-feminist and the other being opposed to feminism. This movement has at times attracted  misogynists and extreme far-right supporters.  There should be at this period in history a sex equality movement in which men and women create a balanced and healthy society. The men’s rights movement and third wave feminism has created an atmosphere of gender antagonism. When the subject of sex is discussed in terms of  military combat it causes much disagreement. Biology and specifically sexual dimorphism is used as a justification for why women should not be allowed in combat. The writing does reveal why this is a fallacy in a logical manner. However, the reason the author argues this is not for equality, but for the idea that women some how are “privileged” by not being required to do military conscription.

       The typical conservative argument is that women are too weak for the rigors of combat. This assumes that every man is stronger than all women. This obviously is a mathematical impossibility. There are women of considerable physical strength that easily pass the physical requirements. The author mentions Jill Mills the World’S Strongest Woman Champion, Joannie Lauer (Chyna),  and Cythia L. Morrison.

Nadezhda Evstyukhina an Olympic weightlifter would probably not have difficulty performing a casualty drag. These women certainly are stronger than many men. The author then comes to the conclusion that “men are stronger than women” must be rephrased. The strongest men will be stronger than the strongest women is a more accurate assessment. Cherl Haworth would never be able to  out lift her male counterparts, but she could literally lift men over head. Many women now are no longer afraid to engage in exercise and to become strong. While it is true that there are women capable of doing combat jobs these women are above average. The typical female athlete would probably be stronger than the majority of average women. The strength and muscles they have were acquired through years of training  and diet. Jenny Arthur just did not one day become an Olympic champion with minimal effort.

Women because of their endocrinology and hormones may find it more difficult to develop strength. The muscle tissue and cellular structure of both men and women is the same. The difference in testosterone means men’s potential for muscular hypertrophy is greater. Larger bones, tendons, and ligaments gives men the advantage when marching under load. Combined with combat gear, soldiers will have to use more of their physical strength. Strength is not the only element of physical fitness. Aerobic capacity and endurance are essential is physically demanding occupations. Women have smaller hearts and lungs which means their aerobic capacity would be lower. The size of the pelvis effects running speed. Women are know to have higher rates of musculoskeletal injuries in the military. This problem is partly solved by improvements to combat gear to fit the female frame and women training before entry. Doing this will help women be successful. Increasing aerobic capacity may be more difficult than increasing muscular strength. Intense training does not increase the size of the heart or lungs in women. There is obviously overlap in the spectrum of possible recruits, however even men and women of the size height and weight, me still have more upper body strength. Broader shoulders allow for more muscle to housed  on the upper body.

Women have higher fat levels yet this does not contribute to an advantage in physical fitness. Type II muscle fibers are critical for explosive power. Even the most muscular woman will still have a higher body fat percentage than her male counterpart. This does not contribute to the physical strength of the body, rather it seems to be dead weight. Women weigh less than men, who are on average bigger. This explains the difference in weightlifting records. Men have more natural strength and when trained can gain even more. Women can benefit from strength training, but not reach male performance levels .

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What can be extrapolated is that women in certain combat occupational specialties may remain the minority. This is the case with other physically demanding occupations which include construction, firefighting, and law enforcement. The standards are not going to be lowered in order to accommodate a numbers target. The US military is looking for women with the right qualifications. Lowering standards would only create resentment in an already hostile atmosphere and be an insult to women who can perform well. The author gets that point correct that standards should not be lowered , yet does not realize the challenge of prejudice and sexism. This is the part of the men’s rights argument that lacks cogency. The writer claims that “the men are stronger” concept must be overcome just like the “men are smarter concept.” The truth is both of these sexist notions have never been overcome. Women who are in the fields of math and science constantly face prejudice. Many times women have to work extra hard to prove they are capable. This is especially true in male dominated occupations. The frailty myth associates women as biological inferiors both mentally and physically. Challenging these anti-woman convictions will take time and saying that they are either gone or do not exist is simply dishonest. Women are different not inferiors. As it has been seen there are many female athletes who could meet the physical standards.

          The fixation on strength has forgotten the important aspects of combat. One could theoretically pass the fitness test, yet not be  a great soldier. If wars were conducted by doing obstacle courses, the world would be a better place. A soldier must be brave, calm, have the ability to adjust to unpredictable situations, and finish their mission. Being skilled with your weapons is also another essential aspect of combat. Hand to hand combat is used when you are either disarmed or weapons are simply not available. Wars are not won by physical strength. Technology and tactics have been the major factor in outcomes. Tanks, aircraft, submarines, drones, and guns make physical strength almost insignificant. Depending  on the military occupational specialty a level of fitness and health is required to keep up with a fast paced environment.

 It is clear who is stronger, but having the gun negates that advantage in a combat situation.

Technology has reduced some of the burdens. There are situations that still require hand to hand combat skill and fitness. Another argument against women in combat is that if they are disarmed they are completely helpless. If they are given the same combat instruction, then this will not be an issue. Martial arts like judo allow a smaller person to overcome a larger person. There is a belief that women cannot defend themselves or fight. If one examines the athletes of mixed martial arts this belief is proven false. The military is finally understanding the need to given women the proper instruction. West Point now requires women to take boxing as part of their regular courses. This teaches cadets how to throw effective punches and react to sudden attacks. Women face women in matches with some controlled sparring with male cadets.

There are also fitness double standards that must be changed to make sure women combat soldiers are up to the proper skill level. The decision to replace the flexed arm hang was an excellent one.  If there is a disparity in upper body strength women must focus on developing it. Pull-ups, push-ups, bench pressing and bicep curl exercises should be part of the fitness regimen. This will help in hand to hand combat. A woman can effectively fight if taught the right techniques.

         The other dimension mentioned in the text is about the military conscription. women still are at the moment exempt from the draft. Obviously, this is sex discrimination that is directed at men. If there are women who are capable of meeting demands of combat why would they be exempt from the selective service?There are very few feminists proposing to change this, but they are more than vocal in other areas. The fact is there is a faction of third wave feminists who may preach equality, but they want really want some advantages. When equal treatment becomes inconvenient there is a desire for a special adjustment for accommodation. If there is going to be genuine equality then women would have to register for the selective service. If advocates oppose this, then they clearly do not believe in equal treatment.

womensoldierweb  The dated belief that men should be happy to go off and die in war must be discarded. If it is the so called duty to defend the nation then it should be the responsibility of every citizen. Also, the government has the responsibility to avoid conflicts as much as possible with nations of the world. For too long the United States has used military intervention as a form of foreign policy causing instability throughout the globe. War should be the last resort in all cases. There is no force strong enough to invade or conquer the US even though pro-nation building and pro-war  factions make this claim. The problem with putting women in the selective services comes down to numbers. Given the physiological differences every woman may not be able to get past the physical fitness training. This explains why there are still more men in physically demanding occupations. There are sociological and environment based explanations ( discrimination,  sexual  harassment, and limited efforts for recruitment).  Women may continue to to the minority in such positions given the differences in anatomy, physiology, and endocrinology.

 If the average woman was built like this, their numbers in the physically demanding occupations may be higher. However, social barriers would still keep numbers low. 

However, all men may not be eligible for draft. Health conditions, physical fitness levels, and educational attainment are factors in which determine who makes a quality soldier.The American population does not get enough exercise for optimum health. Heart disease and obesity are becoming a public health crisis which also cuts out large portions of the population from military service. Education is also important, because the military requires that one has at minimum a high school diploma. If a person does not get a quality  public education or degree of higher learning, it will be difficult to function in a world that requires critical thinking skills and to mastery of technology. Reading, writing, science, mathematics, and a strong understanding of geography are necessities. So, if women have to register for the selective service their numbers may be comparatively small. Although weight training can increase a woman’s strength, it is clear women with mesomorphic body types would have an easier time meeting physical requirements. That means that there may still be positions that women are absent from.

The woman here is in great physical condition, but can still be susceptible to injury 

The possibility of higher injury rates could also be a problem. These can be resolved through better designed training regimens. Although women’s looser joints can make them more vulnerable to ACL tears. Stress fractures and scoliosis from too much armor and gear has effected many soldiers health after service. Besides differences in anatomy and physiology  there is also the problem of a particular mindset. Women either believe doing something physical is a man’s job ( lifting boxes or luggage , shoveling snow, or even opening jars for them). The assumption is manual labor is either beneath them or improper for a woman to do. Then there is an internalized belief that women just are not physically capable of doing anything that requires strength or endurance.As the female athlete has shown this is a falsehood. So, if  the conscription of women is to happen it should be asked what is the the extent to which you can physically train the female body to handle combat demands.

          The capabilities of the female athlete are extensive, but what are they for the average woman? Seeing as the natural strength ( strength levels prior to training)  are lower it would seem more of an arduous task. Women may not be able to acquire as high a level of total muscle mass due to lower testosterone production. However, this depends on genetics, diet, and training regimen. A woman of ectomorphic body type would find it more challenging to gain strength than a woman of mesmophoric  structure. Strength can still be acquired if an exercise regimen is followed consistently. It is possible for the average woman to gain at least 40% muscular strength from several months of training. Knowing this women may need extra training to build up the upper body region. Women have less total muscle fibers in this region compared to the lower body.

Mesomorphs do not have difficulty gaining muscle and strength when training. 

women do not have stronger legs than men, they are just closer in strength levels in the lower body. Women may require more time for  the physical aspects of training and may need a high physical fitness level prior to entry. Certain women just like certain men will have more potential and strengths than others. From a physical performance perspective women with endomorphic  and ectomorphic body types are at a physical disadvantage. This does not mean they cannot be trained or get into better shape. It merely means more effort will be required. Gaining strength require for a combat position is in reach, however cardiovascular endurance poses a challenge.

lifterThe pelvic structure of a woman will not change when women do endurance training. Wider hips do not allow for an advantage in speed. When examined from the aspects of the  heart and circulatory  system. Women who follow a training system designed for males may not achieve the same results in terms ventricular hypertrophy or increased Vo2 max. Aerobic capacity is only aspect of running performance. Lactic threshold and running economy  is pivotal . The conclusion of this is that women must have a running program tailored to them specifically. Solutions could range from taking branched chained amino acids, protein consumption,  consumption of carbohydrates during exercise, and using supplements prior to periods. This can help increase running performance in women. The average woman’s physiological capacity would be lower, which means there may still be a limited number of women in combat positions. There could be a possibility that women will still be absent from numerous military occupational specialties.  This further complicates drafting women. All jobs are not combat and others do not require as much physically demanding work. The fact is women are part of the US military and have seen combat even though they have not formally been given combat jobs.

        The United States has made strategic errors in waging endless wars. The result has become long guerrilla resistance conflicts in both Iraq, Afghanistan,  and Syria. Women who are a part of the US military have engaged in combat, because there no longer is a frontline. Terrorist groups and armed insurgencies do not recognize a frontline.

Continuing to ban women from combat would be impractical given the deteriorating military situation. Simply stopping qualified soldiers who could fight would be harmful. It would not be possible for commanders to stop women who are in these lands from fighting when under attack. The removal of the ban in 2013 was a strategic one to strengthen the US military. While the US can benefit from extra numbers, this will ultimately not help it in its military objectives. Nation building projects and regime change have tarnish the American image globally. The only solution to these conflicts is either negotiation or complete withdraw. Otherwise, another Vietnam scenario could emerge. Not realizing this could have a dramatic impact on the US and world as a whole.

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Statistics from 2014 of the total women in uniform.

Destabilization and tumult from warfare threatens civilization. Disorder, violence, and hate is rapidly spreading across the globe, which is why peace should be a priority. War should be a last resort only when security is deliberately threatened. Humanitarian intervention has resulted in deaths in Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Mali. The modern era has seen more women involved in warfare serving the US military. Since 2001 women have been growing in numbers in the Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marines. It is not realistic to reimpose a ban due to personal prejudices or unfounded trepidation in regards to women in combat.

       Physically demanding jobs and manual labor can cause strain on the body. Men who are combat positions do suffer injuries, but women have higher levels of musculoskeletal injuries. The reason is that the male body has more skeletal and muscle mass. Over weight gear puts extra strain on soldiers. There are efforts to reduce the amount of gear soldiers have to transport, which hinders both mobility and reduces ergonomic efficiency. Carrying over 100 pounds of gear can cause health problems and medical discharges. Muscle strain which is damage to muscle fiber could occur from over stretching the muscles. More severe cases involve ruptured muscle fibers. This can be avoided by doing simple warm ups before exercise or strenuous activity. It is still unknown how long term physical stress in combat positions will effect the female body. If predictions were to be made it would appear that majority of women would have difficulty progressing far. Another scenario is that a significant portion of women do well , but the US military has not made the proper human resources adjustments for a fully sex integrated  combat unit. Besides the physical threats to health, there are mental ones. Soldiers who have seen combat tend to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Without a social safety net veterans find themselves in poor health or in poverty. At extremes homelessness becomes a problem for many US military veterans.

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For soldiers with families this becomes more complicated. If both parents are overseas and suffer health issues both mental or physical their children will be in a vulnerable position. The US government has not done enough to address the health problems of veterans and the strain on US military families. Women are at a disadvantage, because they are many times ignored by the Department of Veterans Affairs system. The department needs to be restructured to address corruption, long medical appointment waiting times, and inadequate medical care. Women who are in physically demanding jobs have to work twice as hard due to biological differences. If health considerations are taken into account serious injuries can be avoided.

         If women can prove themselves capable it is assumed they will have full acceptance in combat roles. This is a false notion. The harsh reality is that even if women show they are capable misogynistic  convictions are still present. Just like the racist and anti-immigrant beliefs, hate is encoded in the DNA of the United States. The nation was founded by invasion and the theft of Native American land, then empowered economically by the enslavement of Africans. It will be many centuries before this shameful legacy ameliorated. Most men will never accept women as combat soldiers no matter how capable they are. Most white Americans will never accept African Americans or  any person of color as equal members of society. This hate continues in a covert fashion. The military like other institutions has a tradition of giving privileges specifically to white male Christians. The US military like other institutions favors white males. Women like other discriminated groups will have to organize to counter resistance to their presence. The author fails to realize how women are at a disadvantage in the US military. Sexual harassment and sex crimes are rampant. Most cases go unpunished. Coercion and threat to possible promotions are the reasons  why women do not report crimes. Fear also is another factor, which is used to control behavior. It is too late to stop women from entering combat positions, but that does not stop others from undermining its progress. The solutions to this problem require women to be in high ranking positions, so that there can be policy changes. Women should not seek to just be in subordinate job positions, but rise up to leadership roles. That should be the ultimate long term goal in  combat integration.

       Male Matters despite its claim of wanting true equality, presents a false image. Men rights is nothing more than a male version of third wave feminism that is nostalgic for the era before second wave feminism. The argument presented here is why should men have to do something dangerous that women do not? This question is legitimate although, when  proposed by men’s rights advocates it is asked for the wrong reason. The argument is constructed in the context of there being “female privilege.” Relevant to the discussion of the draft women would have some benefit, because it is men only who are required to register for the selective service. Congress has not tackled this issue and appears as if they will not be doing so soon. If feminists truly believed in equality then they would challenge the current selective service system. Women should register for it if  everything is to be considered fair. While far-right critics claim this is a social engineering experiment created by feminists, they have not been involved in combat integration. The major feminist organizations have done little to help women in the military or contribute to the process of full integration. The voices remain silent. This faction of third wave feminists really do not support equality, but rather special privileges for a woman who use the rhetoric of social justice. Mostly white women of the upper middle class, their desire is to have a white supremacist system work better for them even though their sex would be a hindrance in the societal hierarchy. They advance themselves at the expense of non-white women and the poor. Third wave feminism has morphed into this and men’s rights is merely the reactionary response to it. What should be happening is a sex equality movement that discards both these ideologies. The first step could be to use a institution like the military to open combat  jobs to women. One of the best methods to tackle the wage gap between the sexes is to have women enter male dominated occupational fields. Women have entered law enforcement, professional sports,  firefighting, construction, but the military continues to be the last bastion of what were considered “men’s jobs.” Once this dated concept is challenged only then will there be equality in the workplace. Like it or not women will play major roles in the military in the future.

Should “Men Are Stronger” Bar Women From Combat Roles? From Male Matters USA

Geraldo Show (1990): “Women’s Bodybuilding Sex, Sweat, Stigma, and Steroids”

Geraldo Rivera a talk show host, attorney, and reporter  at one time had a talk show, which became popular and gave rise to what is known as trash TV. Before Jerry Springer, Geraldo pioneered this format having stage brawls, celebrity gossip,  and general low brow misconduct. This program was clearly not a place of debate or intellectual discussion. There were attempts to reformat the program to such a platform in later seasons, but it was not a success. Viewers preferred outrageous chaos , rather than civil discussion.   Occasionally, there were episodes that at least tried to be informative or stimulating. What is fascinating is that  Geraldo  had a program featuring women bodybuilders and asked athletes about their experiences and the inner workings of the sport. The  episode was aired in 1990. The reason that the episode is of particular interest is that it explores the relationship between the body and gender. At the time when this aired, female bodybuilding was only close to a decade old and many people could not image women of such  with physiques. The audience reactions reveal much. Having athletes come and explain what they do helps break down prejudices or negative preconceived nations.

          The first show that aired in 1990 opens up with examples of changing standards of beauty. Geraldo says “over the past centuries we have changed the image of feminine beauty.” He then delineates the paradigms : the softer more plump body, the thinner model appearance,  and by the 1980s a more toned and firmer body. Geraldo then poses this question: “having we gone one step further than that?” The answer obviously is yes and the proof is the rise of the female bodybuilder, specifically in a more broad sense muscular woman. The idea of the weaker sex or biological inferior becomes challenged and alters particular power dichotomies. Strong man and weak woman can no longer be the  power order if there are other models that rival that concept.

Geraldo then proceeds to introduce the women who were at the top of the sport in the 1990s : Dianna Dennis, Lenda Murray, Janet Tech, Erika Andersch, and Laura Creavalle. This seems revolutionary although many people do not realize it. Never before in human history did women achieve strength and an image like this before. Muscular women have existed before this sport, but they were never given an outlet for their talents. The reason the muscular woman induces shock is that it overturns certain notions of the female body. The female body is either associated with being delicate or soft. Here the athletes on stage formed a new image of woman. When looking at the backgrounds of these athletes, they engaged in what is considered traditional feminine activities. Lenda Murray was a cheerleader, Janet Tech was a ballet dancer, and Dianna Dennis is a mother ( her son is asked a question by Geraldo). This shows that many people have a narrow idea about what a woman a is and what she can be. Clearly, women are more physically capable  than previously thought. The female body and appearance is constantly scrutinized. Female bodybuilders face this more so, because the deviate from the mass media defined image of beauty. Geraldo asks  question ” do ever sacrifice breasts?”  which exposes  a level of subtle sexism in regards to women’s bodies. Creavalle answers the question in a civil manner, joking ” I never had large boobs anyway.” It should be understood that breasts do not disappear with weight training. Women are subject to criticism more so about their appearance than men, due to negative views of women. To some people, women’s only value is their level of sexual attractiveness. This level of dehumanization goes back to a time when women were considered property. Misogyny dictated codes of behavior and conduct for women including the concept of femininity itself.

            The second half of the program shows the athletes dressed in regular attire. The discussion then goes to femininity and gender relations. Men’s reactions to muscular women’s bodies becomes a focal point. These reactions are not always negative. Some could be neutral, indifferent, or enthusiastic. One reaction is one of curiosity. If a man never has seen a woman this powerful before, their is a level of  wonder. It is something that they may not be used to. It is not everyday that a man runs into a woman just as strong or stronger than himself.

There is a reaction that has to do with intimidation. Geraldo poses the questioned to Carla Dunlap “Are men ever intimidated by your physique ?” Carla Dunlap explains this feeling of intimidation as insecurity among particular men. They may react to women who are assertive, intelligent, or confident  in the same manner. This also Carla says could be related to self-esteem, because they may be intimidated by other men they perceive as more attractive or successful. Then the fear is that some how these women would physically harm men. There is the idea that women like this would have a more belligerent attitude to men and as some put it “smack them up if they get out of line.” The strong woman is not violent, nor seeks violence against men. There is a habit of an oppressor group making claims the oppressed want vengeance for past grievances. Some how there are men who are intimidated by strong women have reasoned are out to conspire against men in some way.

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     These false ideas and stereotypes are prevalent. This fear is more than just lack of knowledge, it could be based on sexist prejudice. Those of a more traditionalist perspective believe there a some activities that women should not attempt or be a part of. There is a misconception that physical strength is connected to toughness which is a male based gender stereotype.  The assumption based on this stereotype is that these women are less feminine, because they are strong. The questions in the second segment explore the biological and cultural dimensions of femininity. Questions asked of women then delved into childbirth and the effect of the menstrual cycle. These types of questions about child bearing potential would never be asked of male athletes. Medical research has proven that women who engage in physical activity will not harm their chances of childbirth. Amenorrhea can cause not solely by extremely low body fat levels, but by low calorie intake. The female body has been seen in terms of physical limitations and the fact that women give birth was a excuse to exclude them from various activities.  The natural feminine state in the traditionalist view was to be a baby maker. Dated concepts have been overturned, yet still persist. Women who are in the sport also to much surprise are still pressured by societal standards of beauty. The topic of eating disorders and breast implants are mentioned. Some women go to extreme lengths to achieve a particular look that could be harmful. It could be  the reverse of  a woman attempting to create a unhealthy slender body weight to resemble a model. The pressure to get breast implants also reveals another double standard that women face in terms of body appearance. The women look different on stage compared to off season.  Many times it would be hard to tell they have such physiques when fully clothed. Women who are sports have to  face this double standard in terms of acceptable feminine behavior and appearance.

           When discussing sports the topic of steroids inevitably will be mentioned. Steroids by this time where a schedule III banned substances in the United States. Laura Creavalle explains that drugs do not create  a great athlete.  Genetics, training, and nutrition are major factors to aspects of athletic performance potential. Use is not only in bodybuilding, but in track and field, baseball, football, weightlifting, wrestling, and various sports . The question of fairness is raised, however would this not be fair to a person who does not have the genetic advantage to excel? The reason this bothers some people is because it is moving humanity further to a point of transhumanism. This means humanity will be able to alter nature and biology so much through genetic engineering, biomedical science, and technology  that it will radical redefine what is human. There are numerous types of performance enhancing drugs and it is clear they are going to become more sophisticated. This debate does not have a simple answer, but one part is certain. The sports world does not need a war on drugs. The show was not afraid to mention this controversial topic.

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Sports organizations have the right to ban whatever substance they want to. However, individuals have to right and freedom to put into bodies whatever substances they decide to. Prohibition did not work with alcohol and the War on Drugs has caused major political and social damage to American society. Women are faced with a different dilemma in use. Harsh criticism and gender bias  are present for women. When people criticize muscular women, steroids are used as a justification for vituperation. It has been shown that more men use steroids than women, but women are stigmatized more so for use. The idea is that testosterone is a natural male hormone ( even though women produce it in small amounts)  and women taking the synthetic derivative violates nature . This idea has problems not only because of its gender bias, but inaccuracies. What we consider natural can be ever changing due to biology and environment. Humanity has the ability to change and alter themselves physically and mentally. The argument at that point becomes irrelevant. There are objections to use in women solely based on appearance. Women who either abused or have engaged in long term use may suffer from virilization. This shows that women are only valued for their looks, rather than genuine concerns about health. There are side effects, which could result in illness later in life, but the issue focuses more on image.   A combination of sexism and stigma make it difficult for women entering the world female bodybuilding.

         There has been an evolution in how women perceive their bodies. The athletes on the program have defined what is beautiful on their own terms rather than through a male dictation. It is a image that is both powerful and majestic, but does not lack a womanly charm. The sport continues to develop in multiple categories. Lydia Cheng  bodybuilder and judge stated on the program that the sport does change and that judges do not look for the same image every year. Since 1990,  the sport has advanced into different categories. There is fitness, figure, physique, and bodybuilding. Detractors say that bodybuilding for women is dead, but that may be the case. This is an evolution in aesthetics and the physical capabilities of the female body. Carol Ann Weber was asked the question in which direction the sport would go. Her response proved to be ahead of its time. The sport could either face challenges, dissipate, or go in a completely different direction. It seems all three of these events have happened. yet, the evolution is still not complete.

Women who engage in this activity also report have a new psychological sense of self. They feel more confident and secure about their own safety. Knowing that they are strong gives a new feeling of independence and self-reliance. Besides the transformation in both mid and body there has been a cultural impact. While not entirely accepted, muscular and athletic women have a presence in media. Crossfit and a larger arena such as the Olympics show to the public the public this new form of women’s physiques. The program seems to show the audience has a positive response to what these athletes do. However, there were audience members with an opposing view. Their ideas about femininity is that women should have a level of softness, yet they did not hesitate to say they respected their efforts and diligence. These comments of praise could be disingenuous, but they say so only to mask their beliefs in strict gender roles. The biggest irony it seems was that it was women who said they did not care for the muscular look. The positive aspect it seems that more of the audience approved than opposed. A sign of some progress at minimum in small steps. It is uncertain how many people either had their minds changed after seeing this.  An important topic left out the show was the fact that not only do these athletes find this new form of body attractive, but there are growing numbers of men who like the appearance of female muscle. The rise of the internet has only increased those numbers and it is uncertain how many male admirers there are.  This episode of Geraldo  was one of the rare cases in which it educated an audience about  a sport that women only recently got into.

Geraldo Show (1990): “Women’s Bodybuilding Sex, Sweat, Stigma, and Steroids”

Colette Nelson Interview from The Beheld : Beauty and What It Means

Beauty and What It Means

This is a blog written by Autumn Whitefield Madrano that seeks to understand the concept of beauty and what it means in a cultural context. She seeks to in her own words engage with these questions of beauty and how to an extent it dictates the lives of women. She seems to be influenced by  The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. That book has some analytical flaws and half truths. It would be too simple to dismiss this site as another third wave feminist promotion, but there is a difference. She interviews women from all walks of life and various professions. Comedians, sex workers, and in this case female bodybuilders. Colette Nelson was interviewed for the blog in 2011. What is special about this is that blog’s that tend to be third wave feminist ignore the muscular woman or athlete. Compared to other issues and struggles, it may be low priority. However, it does offer a radical paradigm shift in how women see their bodies and what the female body is capable of.  The interview exposes readers who may not familiar to the bodybuilding world to another image of beauty. Many claim that this type of body on a woman is not beautiful. This leads to the question what is beauty? Who defines it? If an alternative is found to current standards will that be just as oppressive as the current ones? The Colette Nelson interview explores these questions.

            The definition of beauty can be stated as ” the quality aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts mind or spirit.” This becomes ambiguous when questioned. The beauty concept and be highly subjective. It should be understood beauty had become a subject of philosophy notably in aesthetics. The modern world merely associates it with physical attractiveness of a person. These concepts date back to classical Greece and the Age of Reason. Physical attractiveness is a different  concept, but closely related. This varies from culture and time period. At one time in the West a fuller figure was more accepted. Around the 20th century a thinner look was made an ideal. Now it seems there is a small, yet growing fitness fad that wants present a stronger looking form for the female body. These models and paradigms change. Colette explains her sport as follows : “bodybuilding-at least women’s bodybuilding is another way of judging beauty.” She explains further that ” for those who attend and judge women’s bodybuilding contests, the muscular woman is beautiful.” Here were getting more of an idea of the definition. Beauty can be defined in multiple forms and in this case it is a muscular one. The reason this becomes an amazing paradigm shift is that it redefines the beauty model. The muscular body was thought to be something solely of the male domain. It was contrasted with either the soft or frail body of woman.

The strong woman breaks the mold of the rigid dichotomy. It is commonly believed that the pursuit of beauty to such a degree is either based in arrogance or vanity. Colette then states: “do you consider a woman who does make up hours in front of the mirror arrogant ?” Colette’s response was no in her argument. She then says “why should we give this label to a woman who works out hard in the gym and shows results on stage?” Colette then says both are seeking their version of perfection. The reason is based in sexism. Women are held to a different standard and it is normally designed to be restrictive. When examining these definitions and connotations of beauty it becomes more complicated when femininity becomes connected. Femininity’s definition has nothing to do with beauty or physical attractiveness. It can mean simply the qualities of womanhood. Colette explains that people see contradictions between muscles, femininity, and beauty. Beauty and femininity can have multiple meanings, so there would be limited contradiction based on subjective ideas. Muscles are part of the human body. These strong women have decided to develop it to the highest level attainable.

      Femininity does not equal beauty. The definition is “the qualities of being a woman.” yet what makes a woman a woman? Gender defines it in a cultural context that could vary. These attitudes change overtime. This however should not be confused with biological sex, which is the product of human evolution and sexual dimorphism. Societies that are extremely patriarchal or male dominated dictate femininity in rigid gender lines. This is designed to be restrictive and controlling of women. When examined from the context of sports it has been said that women active in them are not feminine. Such attitudes demonstrate sexism, but have been challenged. It is no long abnormal for a woman to display strength or athletic skills. There are still limits of acceptance in the cultural atmosphere. A woman can show some strength,but not too much that it challenges the notion men have sole monopoly on physical strength. Colette says in the interview “that she wants to prove that muscle can be feminine and beautiful.” It certainly can be one form of beauty; the problem is that people have a narrow perspective of other paradigms or alternatives. Some women who do not fit the majority model of beauty may even internalize negativity. Women who alter their bodies to further extremes through drug use receive ostracism from the public and even their  their own circles.  It seems that the concern over drug use is more about a woman’s appearance rather than their health. Virilization can occur depending on how long steroids were taken and specific dosage. Colette said she was never willing to go that route, because she did not want to sacrifice her femininity. That term is  ambiguous and can mean many things depending on which culture and community you reside in. To say women who have been effected by drug use are no longer women represents the narrow space in which they can navigate in society. Colette has fought back in a sense providing make-up and hairdressing services to competitors. Colette has helped with women who have had baldness or facial hair growth. Colette articulated “it was not her place to judge or criticize these women, but should they ask for it offer my help.” If only the public and bodybuilding community could have the same conviction, women would have an easier time. A woman who does not take the drug use route still has criticism directed at them for their appearance. Colette reveals that most women would rather have the body shape of Jillian Michaels.

It appears at times that Colette even struggles with the idea of a muscular woman. Colette expresses “as a female bodybuilder you walk a fine line.” She expounds further saying ” you love muscle, yet you love being a woman at the same time.” This is not a contradiction yet many in the fitness circles still think in this manner. What bothers more traditional thinkers is that it alters their views of femininity. Women who participate in this sport have formed a new definition of femininity. This new thought not only frightens some, but its the idea that women’s bodies can be powerful. Some men do not like the like the concept of a woman being physically stronger. This intrudes on the unwritten mores of gender norms in which masculine identity has a huge emphasis on strength and dominance. The more tolerant men may find women in shape appealing . This also has a limit among supporters. A woman can be strong just not “too” strong. One coded language phrase is that a woman who is too muscular “crossed the line.” This means that the woman is no longer acceptable in terms of body type and physical attractiveness. This subtle sexist attitude does not realize these athletes are doing this for themselves not the approval of others.  There has been at least a shift were society at least accepts a woman that is in shape or has some visible muscle. However, female bodybuilders are the most muscular which in the eyes of some men are threatening.

 The threat is that it makes them realize that strength is not their sole property. One reason women have been subjugated in particular societies is due to the fact they do not have control of their own bodies. This extends to the restriction on reproductive rights and how women should look. The deviation from conformity also is threatening, mainly on the basis it could depose the status quo. Whether women choose to build their bodies by natural or pharmaceutical means it is a radical statement about what a woman is. It seems to be so controversial some feminists even reject the muscular woman or ignore them in the discourse on gender relations. There should not be a contradiction between femininity and athletics. The only reason it would be is in a society that has a limited view of what women and be and accomplish.

     How Colette Nelson acquired her respect for the muscular form is interesting. She was 12 years old when she saw pictures of  Rachel Mclish and Cory Everson and loved how they looked. When Colette was growing up female bodybuilding was in its infancy. Never before had women developed their bodies to this level in human history. There were of course muscular women prior to the sport, but this was the first time they had a platform.

Colette admits she loved bigger and muscular bodies. Oddly she also reveals that she had dissatisfaction with her own figure. As ludicrous as this sounds she claims “she never considered herself looking good” in her youth. It is clear now she is a more confident person, yet it is still prevalent that young women age taught to have a level of insecurity about their appearance. Extreme cases may result in developing eating disorders, constant dieting, and psychological issues. Colette was able to avoid these problems through exercise. This had to be done for the sake of her health considering she has type 1 diabetes. The discovery she had this disease in her own words made her feel “weak, damaged and broken.”  Colette the took the suggestion of working out and found it was an empowering experience. She became more accepting of her body and loved being strong. Women who do this do say they develop a new sense of self and greater level security in their abilities in other areas of life. There are not only physical benefits from weightlifting;there are important psychological developments that contribute to well being.

    Being diagnosed with such an illness diet and exercise are pivotal for health. Colette was expose to an alternative of beauty and decided for herself that it should be replicated. This demonstrates that images and beliefs that children are exposed to can influence their attitudes later in life. It is possible if more people were exposed to women like this early in life it would not be such a shock to them in adulthood.

         Colette did not go into bodybuilding to get attention, but people are not used to seeing a muscular woman. Living in New York, there seems to be a more open atmosphere. She does get stares and Colette even admits she likes the attention. There were times in which men would say “I want to armwrestle you.” The majority of the comments Colette Nelson receives are positive. Though its still is not unheard of to get some form of vituperation or insult from the more closed minded. There are many reasons why people would respond to the muscular or athletic woman in a certain way. Curiosity and the desire to discover something new may cause stares or questions. Their may be an attraction to such a physique and seeing it up close causes excitement.

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Colette Nelson recognizes that we are not brought up how to respond to women with muscle. Seeing as women like this are rare, it does induce some form of wonder. There now is more exposure thanks to the internet and social media. This is another challenge women have to deal with. Either it is an in between off hash criticism or sexualization. The problem with the latter is that it reduces the women to sex objects, rather than focusing on their accomplishments. It is understandable why female bodybuilders who get frustrated being seen as fetish objects for schmoes. Like it or not a woman with a muscular frame will attract  attention both negative and positive.

       Another issue arises from the development of another beauty model. Does it just remove another one and then becomes standard? Some feminists argue that bodybuilding would not be empowering on the grounds it has women obsessively pursue a particular image. The flaw with this assertion is that these women are going against mainstream convention. The most empowering act is to make your own decisions as a free individual. Here, women decide to become as physically powerful as possible doubtless of what men think. Colette Nelson describes her bodybuilding pursuit as the struggle for perfection in terms of muscular aesthetics. Colette stated “she was always  classed a pretty, but wanted more.” This is not hubris.This is competitive drive and what some bodybuilders refer to as living sculpture. Flesh is the clay and the weights become your tools of molding art. The point is not to say all women should appear a certain way, but realize they are all different. There should be room for all forms of beauty.

         While it is true there is a level of societal pressure placed on women to look and behave a certain way, there are instances in which personal decisions add to the problem. The biggest problem with the the beauty myth theory is that women do certain things to themselves in others which perpetuate a vicious cycle. Third wave feminists fail to admit this unfortunate reality. Women continue to spend large amounts of money of make -up, hair care, and anti-aging products. There is no one forcing them to do such things, but the power of advertisement and capitalist free market enterprise is powerful . When examined from this point of view, the argument that women are being oppressed by a beauty myth seems to lack credibility. Then it is no secret that other women criticize women who look different. Many female bodybuilders have said they have gotten negative comments surprisingly from other women.

Naomi Wolf.
If Naomi Wolf is convinced that the beauty myth harms women so, why does she still wear make up and engage in other behaviors that perpetuate it ?

 At some point being pressured is not a legitimate excuse.  To a feminist looks should not be of importance, because liberation is the goal. There are many contradictions of what remains of a feminist movement. Another problem is that the feminist movement refuses in its mainstream discourse to be intersectional. White women middle class feminists ignore or either do not care about the struggle against racism, homophobia,  or class conflict.  The beauty myth concept often ignores that racist element in models of beauty which  dehumanize African and Asian people. Light skin is considered” beautiful “and African American women are told to straighten their hair. Asian women are pressured into getting eye lid surgery. These changes in appearance are done to mimic the appearance of whiteness. They are designed to instill self hate, while simultaneously presenting the oppressor as a “superior being.” The fact white middle class feminists do not challenge this is because the benefit from white supremacy and white privilege.  They just do not benefit from to the maximum extent due to their sex. Besides these complicated issues of racism, there is the issue of blaming every man for women’s condition. Radical feminists claim that all men contribute to women’s oppression. This is a false assertion, considering there are men who are members of oppressed groups. African American, Native American, South American, and Asian American men have suffered under the violence of white supremacy. To say every man oppresses every woman has not factual support. Hopefully, women can learn to reject societal pressure and think for themselves what beauty means to them.

          Since this blog post was written there has been some shift. It is a small one that emerged in fitness circles with the slogan “strong is the new skinny.” While women are not attempt to reach Colette’s level, the idea that some muscle does not seem like an anathema. The rise of crossfit did contribute with women presenting not only impressive physiques, but excellent performances. The responses are positive, with the occasional detractor.

 Again, there is another conundrum. This slogan and zeitgiest seems to be mostly confined to a small circle. Although it has gotten some mainstream exposure. the concept of a woman being “too much” still lingers. There are still backward and dated notions about what women should be and do. What also is frustrating is that the mainstream treats  the sudden acceptance ( to a limited degree) of the muscular woman as a recent phenomenon. There have been male fans who have been following female bodybuilding since its inception during the 1970s. The emergence of the internet expanded the audience and led to the growth of a subculture. Now there are millions of websites, blogs , and social media venues specifically targeting female muscle fans. While it seems unlikely at this point that the muscular body will be a model of beauty for the mainstream, women have decided to make it their own. When Colette Nelson was born Title IX was only two years old and female bodybuilding did not exist. These two events radically changed how women viewed themselves and their physical capabilities. The best action women can take is to define beauty on their own terms, rather than having it dictated to them.

Colette Nelson Interview from The Beheld : Beauty and What It Means

Why Men Hide Their Love of Female Muscle

It should be no surprise that some male admirers hide their love of female muscle. There are reasons for concealing this affection. The fact that women with strength and muscle are not accepted, generates ostracism. Society always wants to impose conformity, not just in thought but in how groups should be and behave. The man who likes female muscle is subject to ridicule. Either their sexual orientation is attacked, they are labelled a sexual deviant, or an eccentric strange person. These labels and pressure from society, friends, and family may force a fan of female muscle to be secretive about their admiration. They either seek materials in print or on the internet and read them when no one is around. When asked about their interest they either deny it. This mean there could actually be more lovers of the muscular female physique than previously thought. The circumstances for this furtive conduct is an intersection between sexism and regimented views about what women should be. It also demonstrates how this views are also restrictive to men as well. Some men get tired of being silent about their love of female muscle and choose to experience it in person. This may explain the rise in sessions and muscle worship. The truth is liking a muscular woman is just a preference, not a strange or abnormal condition.

            The accusation that is directed a male female muscle lovers is that they are gay. This demonstrates a homophobic attitude of detractors. There is nothing wrong with having a different sexual orientation, but used in this context it is designed as an insult. It is designed to be offensive to men who are heterosexual, but may have doubts about their masculine identity. Doing so it dehumanizes people of different sexual orientations, while reinforcing narrow definitions of masculinity in a cultural context. This attempt at making it a pejorative also lacks logic. If the fans of  were homosexual, they would be looking at men. The muscular woman is viewed in this prejudiced mined set as no longer being a woman. They have taken a major masculine identifier as strength, breaking down their regimented socially constructed concepts of gender roles.

Women are in this perspective are suppose to be weak and submissive. Doubtless of what a closed mined view projects, muscular women are still women. The muscular woman and or female athlete challenges the idea of female biological inferiority. When the myth is challenged the negative reactions become more vituperative. Homophobia and sexism are reliant upon one another to maintain the status quo. Here it operates on the idea that men should like one particular type of woman and that women should all look a certain way. Any man or woman who deviates from this is a sexual orientation outlaw. When women began being active is sports the lesbian label was directed at them in the same manner. It was a way of degrading them by questioning their femininity. It was also done to ostracize women of various sexual orientations in sport. Gradually, society is becoming a little more tolerant. However, homophobia and sexism are still prevalent in sport. This bigoted view could be why female muscle fans usually keep silent about their support.

         The idea that female muscle fans are sexual deviants also is another negative association. When a person unfamiliar with the subculture first is exposed to it, they think about schmoes and muscle worship. These activities are related to fetishes, but hardly would count as paraphilia. Muscle worship would not even count as an unusual sex practice. Session wrestling could at times border on BDSM, but the objective is not inflicting pain. The desire is to see the full physical power of the strong woman. Some clients may just be satisfied with women just posing. It is uncertain just how many men engage in sessions and muscle worship. There are men from all walks of life who do them. They come from various ethnic, religious,  and class backgrounds. Some are married or single and seek this out without the knowledge of their wives or girlfriends. Paraphilias revolve a particular object or act. Not all female muscle fans enjoy wrestling simply because of the possibility of getting harmed. Others may enjoy simply watching a video. Then a section of fans want to actually just see contest posing.

There continue to be misconceptions that are prevalent in the subculture and the general public. There is also another misconception is that somehow the muscular woman is a dominatrix. The women who participate in session are by definition, not considered to be a dominatrix. The assumption is they automatically fit the part due to their appearance. While there could be women who are muscular who do this, that does not mean everyone does. The idea that the muscular woman is more aggressive or dominant are based on prejudices in regards to image. This is rooted in the belief that a woman with any type of power either physical or mental is either dangerous or deviant. Many times detractors say it is improper implying that ridged gender roles should be maintained. It was in the past acceptable for women to admire men’s physical strength. Now, with the rise of the female athlete and muscular woman men are starting to show admiration for these unique physiques.

The reality is gender relations have changed. This has not occurred all around the globe, but gradually it will. People are now becoming slowly accepting women as doctors, lawyers , scientists, and political leaders. It seems strange that physically strong women are still seen as an anomaly. It is not just hard on women who have this appearance, but their admirers. The men who like women such as this are either viewed as perverted or weak men. These criticisms reinforce sexist convictions. The idea that men are strong and women are weak has become a dated concept. The idea that a man liking a strong woman makes him less of a man reveals the belief that women should be controlled. Healthy relations between the sexes are based on equality. Who having the attributes of muscles and strength does not make them any less feminine.

 Physical strength has in a way become less of a male only attribute. While there is acceptance (to a limited extent), there is still none for the lover of female strength. The fear of either being labelled a fetishist or a deviant explains why some men hide their love of muscular women. This is an obvious double standard. No one would question a woman who likes a strong and or muscular man. Why then is it such a conundrum for a man to like a physically strong or muscular woman? It seems that gender roles are also restrictive to men as well, when viewed from this perspective. The lovers of female muscle may not even have cratolagnia and sthenolagnia. They may just have a predilection for a particular body type. Just for that fans are either given certain labels. The thin body type for women has for most of the 20th century seen as the ideal. However, no one ever makes the claim a person has a fetish for thin women. The reason is that society through media, culture, and entertainment has presented it as normal. The muscular woman then is a mystery to people have been raised to think in a particular way. The female muscle fan may feel as if they are an outcast and shunned. People who are different and think differently from mainstream convention are normally castigated by the wider community or society.

        The view of the female muscle fan is one of being eccentric. This expresses more ostracism. The claim is normally directed at lovers of female muscle is that they are weird .The common stereotype is that they are obsessive and have voyeuristic tendencies. There have been known in any circle that gives individuals notoriety to have a group of obsessive fans. This does not represent the majority. The collection of photographs, memorabilia, and other items of material culture is just a part of fandom. Many franchises, sports, and other forms of entertainment have a fan base. This is not seen as strange. The reason for the eccentric label is that muscular women are rare and bodybuilding itself is not mainstream. The mainstream has a tendency to present subcultures a bizarre or dangerous. Even though this is not the truth, the general public seems to accept exaggerations or falsehoods. Collecting items does not make you obsessive or a stalker;it just means you are a devoted fan.

Football fans buy Jerseys, mugs, caps and other products. This should not be any different. There does not seem to be a label to these fans. A conformist society labels anything that is different or unique as strange or abnormal. If ideas and society remained the same there would never be any advancement. This fear of being presented as an eccentric outcast is another reason why men hide their love of female muscle.

       There also is the factor of family and friends. Peer pressure can be a powerful force in an individual’s daily interactions. Family pressure can be even more influential. Young girls and boys first learn what is considered appropriate behavior from their parents. Going through a phase in which an adolescent is discovering what is sexually attractive to them makes matters more complicated. If the young man discovers he likes female muscle feelings of shame and trepidation may emerge. Their parents may not be so understanding. For the young woman who pursues sports or strength building activities, they may face negativity from their friends and family. It is not uncommon to hear statements like “your a pretty girl why are you destroying yourself ?” or “if you keep this up you’ll never find a husband.” These dated and backward notions view women as merely objects only valuable for their appearance. Friends may criticize and even tease lovers of female muscle. The rejection that could come from close social circles could be too much to handle for some. They will still seek materials related to female muscle (videos, magazines, or websites), but take extra care to hide it. Secret admirers of female muscle do this so well that not even their closest associates know. Generally, there is a discomfort when it is known that an individual has this love. Far from being a horrible secret, it almost seems ludicrous to go through all the effort to conceal.

           Men who like female muscle react different ways to such taboos. Some attempt to conceal their love by extreme measures. Worst of all, they pretend they do not like it and even engage in ridicule of muscular women as a cover. This is unfortunate mainly resulting in the person ostracizing being unhappy and perpetuating a system of sexism. There are other men who like female muscle, but articulate it in a different way. They normally state ” I like athletic women”  or “I like women with some tone.” Women athletes of today come in various shapes and sizes depending on what sport they play. However, it is not rare that you see women with muscle. These women in mainstream sports have a little more acceptance, so no one would question this preference. The term toning really means building muscle, but used in this context to a lesser degree.

The reason these phrases and terminology are used is due to the notion that muscles and women are not an acceptable combination. So, the mainstream fitness industry had to develop these concepts with out using the accurate word muscle. Men who like female muscle, but want to distinguish they do not favor a much larger look use the mainstream vernacular. Mainly, they are influenced by the negative stereotypes of female bodybuilders and weightlifters. This group like most of mainstream society thinks that women cannot be muscular and feminine. Often their criticism is that “they crossed the line.”This is coded language for a woman who is too muscular, too strong, and is no longer in the appropriate bounds of gender. These accusations are made by people who are threatened and scared by strong women in both the physical and mental sense. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with the aesthetics, but condemning or suggesting women should stop the development of their bodies is a demonstration of subtle  misogyny. This group likes physically strong women to a certain degree they find acceptable in gender boundaries. The more open minded group of female muscle fans enjoys women of all fitness levels. They could be “toned,” good shape, athlete, or hypermuscular. Any amount of muscle is considered beautiful of the female form.

e93c5bb85e30c390617748bad5f2a846   Another misconception about lovers of female muscle is that these are the only type of women they like. There are numerous body types they could be open to. It could be larger women, thinner ones, or women of a voluptuous structure that attract female muscle fans. The problem with society and its concepts of beauty is that it reduces it to one paradigm. It seems that the thin body type has been challenged, by individuals who define beauty for themselves. These fans of female muscle of various varieties do not hesitate to admit their love of it. Many times, if asked men who do like female muscle try to deny it. Even if family members and fiends find materials they collect, they still do not discuss it.

       At some point there is not reason to suppress what you are a fan of. Although society presents negative perspectives about physically strong women, they are based on biases, rather than fact. The trepidation being alienated among friends and family for the love of strong women drives men to hide it. There is no reason to hide or keep secret the admiration for such an amazing group of women. It is not a disorder, a  perversion, or abnormal paraphilia. Liking muscular women is just a body preference. The rise of professional women athletes and women being more active in physical endeavors maybe at some point the muscular and physically strong woman will not be something strange. Considering that women’s sports and female bodybuilding is struggling in particular, it is more pivotal that fans show their support. This means buying tickets to sporting events, supporting athlete’s websites, and watching  women’s sports on TV. The most important part is to admit you love female muscle and defend your position from detractors. This may help dismantle biased attitudes or prejudices against women with muscle.

Why Men Hide Their Love of Female Muscle

Marcie Simmons on Why Schmoes Don’t Marry Female Bodybuilders and How To Date A Female Bodybuilder-Muscular Female!

Love and marriage are complicated. It can be an intersection between emotions, cultural mores, and sexual politics. The intricacies go to another level when exploring men’s attraction to a particular type of woman. The muscular woman and more specifically the female bodybuilder faces complications. It is not simple for men either. There are also occurrences in the bodybuilding subculture that one would not expect. Marcie Simmons explores the issues and challenges in these videos. The first explains why schmoes do not marry female bodybuilders. This at first overturns a preconception that they would be the first candidates to propose to women of this stature. The second video gives dating advice to men who actively want to be with a muscular women. Yet, there is problem with modern dating advice and courtship in general. There are double standards, unrealistic expectations, and some negative aspects from third wave feminism that have changed the way in which courtship functions. Relations between the sexes is constantly evolving due to shifts in culture and society. This may explain why it is difficult for some to find lasting or meaningful relationships.

        The relation between female bodybuilders and schmoes seems to be unbreakable. As the sport struggles financially schmoes have contributed funds to athletes through their websites and session appointments. Such deep interactions between men and women, some would expect that it would blossom into something more intimate. Contact and communication between female bodybuilders and schmoes in common online, at contests, and even some gyms.

Marcie makes the astute observation that many of the schmoes want to keep their love of muscular women a secret. There is a level of embarrassment that these men feel about their sexual fetish and love of the muscular woman’s physique.This seems irrational considering  it is not extremely deviant or a paraphilia . Societal pressure and conformity combined with sexist views of women make these men seem like outcasts. The physically strong woman is seen as abnormal and the man who lusts after her is considered a sexual deviant. These closed minded convictions are designed to maintain rigid gender binaries. Today men and women are revolting against this type of control. Gradually, there is some acceptance of the muscular woman in the sports world. However, it is slow among the general public. This explains why schmoes rather meet muscular women in private rather than in public. Sessions occur in hotels, motels, or the homes of the client. This is in a way a non-judgmental space in which men can embrace their love of female muscle. Muscular women can get praise that often is not displayed in their own sports circle or in the public. If a schmoe was attempting to find a female bodybuilder as a companion he must be ready to be publicly accepting of his love. Every woman wants acknowledgement from her significant other. A schmoe cannot have a functional relationship if he is attempting to hide the fact he is with a muscular woman.

       Overcoming the pressure and stigma could be too difficult to do. The fact that schmoes might keep their love a secret could hinder them from starting a relationship with a female bodybuilder. Then, there should be other considerations. The men who go to sessions could be in other relationships or actually married. They may want to fulfill the fetish, but their significant other is just not physically capable of doing so. It should be understood that sessions are mostly a business activity, not speed dating. An athlete is offering a service to customers.

         The other reason why schmoes may not marry female bodybuilders has to do with appearance. Men may focus more on a woman’s appearance, rather than her personality. The common myth is that men are extremely shallow in regards to appearance. Women can be too. There are women who refuse to even consider dating men who are shorter than herself. Schmoes may get to caught up in the appearance of the women. They do not focus on their other qualities, which could be just as impressive. It is unfortunate that men and women have absorbed shallow and narrow minded attitudes about appearance. A part of this is the result of advertising  and popular media. It presents one paradigm  of what is considered to be beautiful, but excludes alternative. These are gender based standards. The model is that of muscular man and thin woman. There has been a small, but growing movement for body acceptance, but it largely ignores the fit or muscular woman. There are now plus sized models appearing to accommodate women of larger body size. While that is progress the muscular woman remains on the margins. It also appears that few advocates show their support for the muscular female.

Marcie exposes that there becomes a fine line between just attraction and sexual objectification. The fixation on body parts either the biceps, triceps, or posterior reduces the woman to a thing rather than a human being. The idea that women are objects and property has been embedded so deep in various cultures it is negatively effecting relationships. Ignoring a woman’s more positive qualities ( as Marcie said “having a good sense of humor or being a great mom”) limits the potential of a long term romantic engagement. Marcie Simmons states there needs to be some balance. There is more to a person than their physical appearance. Understanding a person’s personality  and temperament  is better for a relationship. There is more to a woman than just her body. This seems to be difficult for some men to comprehend.

       Marcie Simmons then theorizes that schmoes will not marry female bodybuilders is based on the fact that they do not want destroy their idolized image of them. Schmoes tend to have an immaculate image of the female bodybuilder. They are flawed just like everyone else. If this image of perfection is challenged it harms the schmoe’s fantasy. This could be more so a form of celebrity and idol worship. The individual may be seen as infallible ( in the mind of the fan), but if they discover their negative qualities it saddens them. The other reason is that the fetish may be ruined for the schmoe if he gets too much of a good thing. The alluring aspect about the strong and muscular women is that few exist. The uniqueness makes them almost a forbidden fruit to some admirers. If women like this were prevalent, the thrill would disappear for some schmoes. The more obvious reason is that men may want to keep their fetish separate from other parts of their lives. Getting involved with a female bodybuilder may be combining too much of a private and public element of the schmoe’s life. These meetings with muscular women too some is just to fill a primitive sexual urge.For other these session meets may not even be sexual at all. They may just enjoy the wrestling or enjoy the physical challenge. Then their is a curiosity factor. Some wonder if these women are really as powerful as they look.

While it seems that schmoes are not attempting to start any thing serious, one question remains. Why would women consider starting a relationship with schmoes? Women have the convenience of being highly selective, while men do not.  Love may not conquer all in certain circumstances.

      Another Marcie Simmons video discusses dating. Dating advice at times is either unreliable or ineffective. It goes off the assumption it will work for everyone and that women will be responsive to it. For all that feminism has done, it almost seems archaic that men have to ask women out. Why can’t women approach men ? If this is a true age of equality, the why are women just suppose to wait until a man approaches her? It seems that mores and behaviors that put women at an advantage do not disappear. Men would never ask women to equally contribute to the bill for dinner or some other form of outing. Men have to deal with rejection more often compared to women. Women normally are in more relationships during their lifetimes than men. First impressions are the most important and if that is ruined men rarely get a second chance. Men’s chances are limited compared to women for happy or lasting relationships. Chances are even more infinitesimal  if a man is attempting to start a relationship with a muscular woman. While Marcie is not a dishonest talk show host getting one’s hopes up, there are some expectations that are unrealistic.

Women may not be looking for nice guys or gentlemen. Confidence is important, but that does not guarantee success. If there is going to be support it needs to go both ways. It is best to go to areas in which it is likely you will find a muscular woman.

      One problem with seeking a muscular woman is that there are so few in existence. It is rare that you would spot a female bodybuilder anywhere.The average woman would not look like this. The amount of effort to achieve such strength and physicality is tremendous. Even what mainstream society considers beautiful is not the common body type of the average woman. The slender body type is just as hard to achieve as a muscular one. How one looks is a combination of genetics and also environment. Due to biology and endocrinology women are more likely to have a body with more fat tissue. Biology is not destiny, because appearance can be altered through exercise, surgery, drugs, and possibly genetic engineering in the future. There are women who are really dedicated to fitness who reach high levels. There are also others that have potential, but because of social pressure do not pursue such endeavors. The fear of large muscles still bothers some women. They may even avoid weights completely due to this irrational fear. Female athletes have even admitted at times they have problems with their muscular physiques. The fear of appearing “manly” has turned many women away from sports and exercise. This has changed somewhat with women becoming more interested in crossfit and other strength sports. Some women are even forming their own paradigms of beauty. These women are small group, but may be growing. Women are still underrepresented in sports and even more so in strength sports.

This means for small sport like bodybuilding, chances are reduced for relationships due to lack of numbers. It should be noted that not every woman who is muscular is a bodybuilder. The number can then be adjusted. There are women who lift, but do not compete in any sport. This would be mostly a recreational activity. This section provides more hope. They obviously are not hyper-muscular, but are in shape. Marcie Simmons does not make a distinction between female body builder and muscular woman. A female bodybuilder is a woman who develops here muscular structure to the maximum setting it to a particular standard of aesthetics. A muscular woman just a happens to have a morphic body type. If a man is looking for a muscular woman it seems a muscular woman would be easier to find than an actual female bodybuilder. More women are getting involved in sports and fitness, but the numbers are still small. This makes it more challenging for female muscle lovers.

       There has been a common saying form some women who say ” I just want a nice guy.” The reality is that they select the opposite. The well mannered and gentlemen who treats a woman with respect tends to be the last selected in a courtship. Why is it that some women tend to seek men who are less than admirable or respectful to them personally? One explanation is the allure of  the” bad boy.” He appears to be in control of most situations, rebellious, and lives dangerously. He may not respect the woman’s feelings or needs, but the charisma seems to have her comeback. Women psychologically may be seeking excitement in a relationship. This helps end the ennui of daily life. The thrill may be fun at first, but it will not be sustainable in the long term. Extreme cases may even result in abusive relationships. The problem also may be how women are raised. Women as girls are taught to be passive and pleasing to men. Assertion and a sense of self worth are concepts devoid of a girl’s upbringing. This would make them vulnerable to men who could be physically or verbally abusive. Imposing traditional gender roles does more than just stifle potential, but could be harmful to a woman’s well being. The man who some claim “acts too nice” seems like a ludicrous statement. Considering the amount of hate and rage in the world, kindness is needed in mass. Kindness should not mean being completely submissive to every whim of you partner. Too many men just become too excessive with accommodation that it harms the relationship. No one should be a door mat. Some men think that if they constantly agree with their girlfriend, even if she is wrong that will reduce tension. That only makes the situation worse. At times self assertion is necessary. The nice guy is also at a disadvantage when status is added to the equation.

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Women whether consciously or unconsciously seek status through potential boyfriends or husbands. This could either be socioeconomic status , occupation, or some other marker. If a man has limited status in society finding a relationship will be more difficult. This again could be linked to culture. Women being independent is a relatively new concept, because most societies functioned on protectionism. Now that women can have careers and live freely the idea that men should take care of them is dated. Women can achieve high status, but rarely would consider being in a relationship with a man of lower status. Relevant to men who love muscular women, it seems rare that strong women who be with men weaker than themselves.This is also similar to women who would be unwilling date men who make less income than them. As frustrating as the reality is, nice guys may actually finish last.

     Confidence is critical to any aspect of life. Confidence can secure a date or relationship, but not always. Insecurity is a negative attribute, however one can have all the confidence in the world and still have horrible luck. Women often in their selection of women confuse confidence for arrogance. This unfortunate misjudgment in character and quality can lead to unhappy endings. Many times people can be duplicitous about their true nature and intentions. False self is presented to others. A truly confident person does not need to boast or belittle others to elevate them self.This is an area in which men struggle. People tend to compare themselves to others, which makes them feel worse about the their status. A person should not focus on competition, but their positive qualities. making this qualities project can be an excellent display of confidence. The lugubrious reality is that even with such self assurance  initiating a relationship still may not be successful. There is no simple solution or method. Many times it is a myriad of trial and error. That is the flaw with dating advice that has been so common in books and online media. There are no tactics that will work in every situation. Still, confidence is helpful especially if a relationship is started.

      Support is necessary and even more so with a woman in a non-traditional activity.There will be instances in which their will be harsh ostracism and hateful vituperation.Men should be prepared to deal with the negativity. This could include extreme instances in which sexist and homophobic speech is directed at you. If you are going to be with a strong woman, you must have the fortitude to withstand the pressure from society’s closed minded views. Family and friends may not be accepting of a relationship that emerged between a female bodybuilder or muscular woman. If they are truly caring they will be accepting of  your decision. Stares or rude comments can be an unpleasant reality, but if the bond is strong between the couple it can be overcome. The women in the relationship can contribute. Be willing to defend the man if he is being teased for his love of  female muscle. Men also need to challenge any negativity directed at his lover. Other than dealing with society’s prejudice,men must understand that the sports woman is highly devoted to her goals and aspirations.

pg08_2 This does not mean she does not care about other things in her life. There may be times in which training takes away quality time. It should be understood that the relationship is not about one person. There will have to be negotiation and sacrifices in certain circumstances. Failing to come to an understanding will eventually lead to problems later on. She may not have time to see you a frequently as you like. Eating out my be difficult, because of strict dieting. Adjustments will have to be made, but as long as there is a general consensus it can work. It will be a challenge. It will be less strenuous if both are helping each other. The dynamics between couples takes effort. Another issue is the aspect of physicality. Marcie says in her video “I don’t think every female athlete would want to be with a bodybuilder.” It seems more likely women like this would. There could also be some men who enjoy the look of the muscular woman, but do not like the idea of a woman being stronger or equal to them physically. This is based on the archaic idea that men are strong and therefore have the authority to control women. The concept of woman as helpless weakling has been ingrained in various cultures and it will take many more years to challenge it.

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Marcie at first says ” men should not focus on the outer shell” then revises that statement. She claims muscular or fit women would prefer men who are “health conscious.”  Obviously this means a man in shape. Marcie just said herself ” women don’t want a slob.” This seems contradictory if one is not putting emphasis on appearance. If men should not see women as a piece of meat, women should not do it either. There is nothing wrong with having a preference; being shallow is a character flaw. A relationship needs more than just to based on  appearance or physical intimacy. If a relationship is genuine then it can transcend these elements. If support can be established then a functional relationship can last.

      If one wants to be with a muscular woman, you must go to areas where they may be. Marcie Simmons suggested gyms, health supplement stores, or possibly sporting events. One problem of modern day dating is that people have become more reliant on websites. E harmony  and similar dating sites demonstrate that people do not want to make the effort in finding someone. While this seems convenient for a person that is busy or too bashful it cuts off exposure to different people. The profiles are matched by similarities and backgrounds. There is a possibility that one could find a person compatible who is outside their background. People also may not be entirely honest in their profile. Some adopted an online persona, which could be different from how they behave in reality. Embellishment some believe will get them noticed by potential mates.The pictures displayed on profile pages or information present may not even be correct. Another problem is if you are trying to meet someone new may be you should try dating outside your ethnic, religious, class, or social group. Just because two people are different does not mean it will not work. The majority of the population prefers endogamy, however traditions do change.

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There are even dating websites that carter to endogamy  based on race, religion, sexual orientation, and personal interests.

 You have to be willing to take a chance and experiment with different approaches. There is a problem with attempting to get to know a woman in a gym. She is there to either train or just keep in moderate shape. Striking up a conversation would be difficult, because it would be an interruption to her and her focus. This would make you more of an irritation. The milieu  may not be the best place for starting a relationship or date. The best way may be to start some casual conversation and see what happens. Health food and supplement stores may be more reliable, but there is another issue. People are focused on buying products rather than the immediate environment. There are two types of customers that visit stores browsers and people who know what they are looking for. If the woman is browsing there could be an opportunity to start a conversation. The trouble is getting a woman’s attention. One wrong comment can either be interpreted as sexual harassment or intimidating. Women do not have this problem. The best option is to go to sporting events. If there is a female bodybuilding competition in your area go there. There is a chance you may run into a muscular woman who just happens to be attending. Immersing one’s self in the subculture can increase the chances of finding muscular women. It involves exploration and leaving a comfort zone.

          Feminism has impacted dating and marriage in both positive and negative ways. women’s status and equality has increased which was an important achievement. Women can get divorces and contraception has allowed more freedom. The negative aspect is that some third wave feminists claim they want full equality, while simultaneously demanding chivalrous treatment. The chivalrous treatment should not be confused with common curtsies like opening doors or pulling out chairs. It is the idea that men should take care of me, always adhere to certain demands ( no matter how unreasonable ), or agree with me always ( even if I’m wrong). These are unrealistic expectations some women have in relationships .The irony is that women who claim they are so “strong” and “independent”  find themselves with the stereotypical “bad boy.” To an extent elements of feminism have made relationships more frustrating.

There is a common complaint that there are no good men present in the dating selection. However, this group of women never attempt to change the situation or seek men of higher caliber. The rhetoric of the third wave feminist “I don’t need a man”  is preached, yet still there are women lamenting they do not have a relationship. The only way to improve a situation is to change behavior. Constantly complaining or being depressive will not solve the problem. If one is to believe in full equality, that means that their are some things women will have to do. That means sometimes paying for dinner or agreeing to compromise. Men should not be the only ones putting work into a relationship. Third wave feminists claim they want full equality, but seem to promote some freedom with privileges. You would never hear them say that women should register for the draft or equally provide child support. Then also, while there has been progress there are forces of repression in society. The attack on reproductive rights and the feminization  of poverty are examples of why feminism may still be needed. There are parts of the world in which women are more vulnerable to domestic violence or being child brides. Women who live in the West are in a more privileged position. Yet, they do take that for granted. There is a strange cross roads that has been reached after the sexual revolution and the rise of third wave feminism at the end of the 20th century. Dating and marriage ( if it even happens to some ) have become chores, rather than something enjoyable. Meeting people has become more difficult in a new erratic atmosphere.

        Dating and relationship advice may not be the most accurate or helpful. Sometimes it is best to listen to your own judgement. The difference with Marcie Simmons is that she is a bodybuilder who speaks with experience. She has been close to the subculture and is a member of it, so the information cannot fully be discredited. Granted it seems unlikely that a muscular woman would be interested in just any man, starting a relationship is hard . That explains why dating websites and dating advice books have become so popular.Many times people continue to struggle to find someone, only to be rejected constantly. They either just become bitter or quit entirely. These are not acceptable options. A person should not validate their existence relative to who they are with. Relationships come and go; marriages deteriorate over the years. Be secure with yourself and find your own happiness. Only then can you deliver it to others in a romantic engagement.May be one can find their special someone. If not it is not the end of the world.

Marcie Simmons on Why Schmoes Don’t Marry Female Bodybuilders and How To Date A Female Bodybuilder-Muscular Female!

“My, what dimorphic parents you have!” From Family Inequality Blog

My, what dimorphic parents you have!

Another post was composed on Family Inequality in regards to unrealistic body types in Disney cartoons and animated features. The author is a sociologist by trade, but still does not grasp the concept of animation and character design. The posts belong to what the author refers to as the animated gender series. The problem with this is Phillip Cohen does not care for exaggeration in character design. The whole thesis is that unrealistic images of sexual dimorphism are a projection of sexism. These images the are used as a model for how men and women should look or even act. While there is an element of truth to this argument, to blame the general character design of a particular studio is an inaccurate assessment. Too often we see the muscular man and slim woman body archetype. Yet, there are instances in animation in which it is reversed or completely different. If Cohen wants to make a cogent argument all of the Disney animated material should be examined . This could include animated series and films as well. This post is brief and he asks why the level of sexual dimorphism from the characters in Frozen. The explanation is related to character design and animation styles.

              The point of animation is to exaggerate human features. There are cases in which realistic depictions are shown in animation. Fantasia (1940) had segments that were outlandishly cartoon like to more traditional artistic presentation. Cohen then uses Moana’s parents to show how abnormal the body proportions are.  He explains in the following paragraph :

“His big toe has the same diameter as her wrist. His unflexed bicep is wider than her waist. (Sources say the voice actor for Maui has 20-inch biceps, while a real life-sized Barbie doll would have an 18-inch waist, compared with 31 inches for a typical 19-year-old woman.) Anyway, it’s ridiculous.”

The point is that the characters are suppose to look humorous or unusual. Large eyes, varying heights, weights, and general appearance makes a cartoon character memorable. Animators develop a style, which becomes their recognizable signature. Disney over the years had developed this model of large man and thin woman. The claim here is that body diversity is not present. That is not the case if one does through research. Maui and Moana’s dad are not the typical muscle man. Maui is large, but does not have the traditional male heroic physique. The author then tries to counter this fact by saying ” there are a lot of large bodied Polynesian people in societies.”Then claims it is not a sex specific pattern. Sexual dimorphism is present in every ethnic group around the world. It seems that he has some stereotypes about one group, while recognizing another common one.  He the later expounds : “If  the difference is in racial or ethnic context for the families, then maybe extreme dimorphism among parents helps signify the exoticism of the culture depicted.” If this is the case, then may be we should question whether or not this is borderline racist caricature. When Europeans colonized the islands they either depicted Polynesians as lazy, fat, exotic, or primitive in literature, film, or other media . The fact the author gets his data from wikipedia on obesity rates from the Polynesian islands seems to be a confirmation bias of a prejudice he could personally have.   That could be a more convincing argument. Cohen the realizes that black men are stereotyped as having superhuman bodies, but there are no tiny women tropes. That is not true. One notable trope relevant to discussion is the pint sized powerhouse. This could be a man or woman with large amounts of strength who just happens to be diminutive in size.  This trope appears in cartoons as well as film.

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A small woman trope as seen in Dragonball Z ( 1989-1996). Android 18 fights Tien despite her size.
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There are two stereotypes surrounding the Polynesians. The first is one of obesity and the other is the image of super human athlete.

Stereotypes appear in all media, but white men are least effected. Seeing as Phillip Cohen is white he has no understanding of this.  Which makes him less qualified to even discuss body image distortions in regards to women. He does not deny that sexual dimorphism is a fact, but cannot grasp the elements of animation. It takes features such as hands, noses, ears, and  body shapes and distorts them. Human being have to ability to change their bodies to extreme either through plastic surgery, exercise, make-up, or even sometime in the future genetic engineering. When men and women alter their bodies sex differences in size do not disappear.

 Men and women do alter their bodies to impressive degrees in some sports. The exercise and physical training in some regards makes sexual dimorphism more obvious. Men are on average taller and stronger than women. The basic Disney character design accentuates this more. The characters of Moana and Maui represent this unrealistic exaggeration. The point is to make the characters recognizable and unique in a particular style. There are some people in real life that resemble cartoon characters themselves.

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Maui is too endomorphic to be classified as being part of Herculean dimorphism.  It is a great development that a male antagonist is give a different body type.
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A woman and a man who developed their bodies to the highest level.  At first glance it would seem they both jumped out of a comic book.

The core of character design is to be outrageous in appearance. There is also a problem that arises from these depictions. Portraying women as only slim could induce body image issues in young girls. Women or girls who are muscular or larger could be made to feel ostracized or abnormal. There is a subtle form of sexism in this. It enforces a gender role that men are always more powerful and there fore should control women. These convictions can be challenged. Not only that, a repeated use of a particular character design can stifle creativity. Animation should be willing to experiment with different styles and designs. This creates an enriched and wonderful cartoon. Phillip Cohen refuses to see this in the perspective of an artist.

        The author presents small amounts of evidence. There does exist in Disney cartoons and others were the slim female body is not the model. It is not simply being a bit larger, but the presentation of a muscular and powerful body. This could be called amazonian dimorphism. This model has not appeared in Disney animated films, but more so series.Disney animated series such as Dave the Barbarian, Pepper Ann,  The Emperor’s New School , The Proud Family,  and Darkwing Duck .

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The Proud Family (2001-2005 )  features Penny Proud as a superhero in one episode.
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This is Candy from Dave the Barbarian (2004)
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Although it was just in the intro it depicted a strong woman in the show Pepper Ann (1997-2000).

One could make the guess that Disney in their TV series is more open to a different character design. Seeing as it is animation these transformations in TV programs can be either temporary or permanent. It would still be relevant to include both categories. The bodies shown on the characters deviate from the standard Disney depiction of women.If Phillip Cohen did his research of the Disney library of animation, he would see that his argument is not as potent. Then he mentions How to Train Your Dragon, when that is a Dreamworks film. If the focus is solely distorted body image models in Disney films, other media should not be mentioned. The reason he may do this is to show it is not solely a problem with Disney. However, if you continue to examine it further beyond Disney his argument then collapses. The occurrences of these muscular body types on women are rare in Disney animation, but more prevalent in others. The prevalence of comic books gives source material for animated series. Whether  it is Marvel or DC their characters have appeared in animated cartoons over the years.Characters such as Black Cat or She-Hulk would not fit the Disney Princess measurements.

Even cartoons that are comedy focused vary in body type representation occasionally.These also include one shot characters and recurring characters in animated series. Again, it should be noted that many of these representations function around tropes. This does not only occur in animation from the West, but other countries. If Phillip Cohen wanted to truly prove his point he would include animation from other nations . The West has a habit of thinking that it has a monopoly on all art forms. This ethnocentric worldview is not only prejudiced, but historically inaccurate. Many cultures have borrowed from one another and art is no exception. Japanese anime has become a global phenomenon having fans and devotees on every continent.

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Elle Ragu as she appears in Shadow Skill (1998)
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Jun Auska from  the Iron Virgin Jun OVA based on a one shot manga (1992).
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This is Genie from Rune Soldier Louie (2001)
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A one shot character as she appears in Yu-Ghi-Oh! GX (2004-2008) . She is Tania.

It seems amazonian dimorphism has a presence in animation across the globe. The evidence seems to not demonstrate that body representation is a limited as previously thought. The vast plethora of action, comedy, or adult animation series do vary in character design. This is a positive development, but also should continue. There also develops another problem of exchanging one model for another. There is a possibility that the amazonian dimorphic model could be another unrealistic standard pushed on young girls.This may not even happen seeing as appearance of women of various body types is rare. There is however gradual change. The human body has often been sexualized or racialized throughout history. Cohen admits that Black men have been stereotyped as superhuman. This is routed in the enslavement of African peoples in the Western hemisphere. The superhuman myth was designed to justify physical violence against the enslaved. Whipping or the mutilation of limbs was acceptable, because it was believed Black people could handle more pain than normal. When discussing Moana   and comparing the parents from Frozen  there is another stereotype that emerges. It shows the “civilized” European compared to the “savage” Polynesian. Either intentionally or unintentionally Disney continues the racist idea of the noble savage. Suddenly, one realizes that Phillip Cohen’s claim “I’m not sure how to interpret this” is disingenuous.

         This  fixation that some social justice advocates have on ignoring sex differences is rooted in the idea that a difference means that women are unequal. Sex differences in terms of biology are not the reason women have an unequal position in society. It is rooted in the lack of property, income, equal employment opportunities, and disparities in education. Also that lack of reproductive rights is a method to control women’s bodies. For a longtime throughout history women were considered property. It was thought that men’s greater physical strength was used to also control women. This is not a complete explanation, because access to weapons can negate this and the fact there are women who can be stronger than men.Control of laws and the economic system was more effective than brute force. Sexual dimorphism is not the culprit of inequality. Political, economic, and legal systems are. Most of these systems favor men over women and only recently are being challenged. Relevant to this discussion, it should not bother anyone that sexual dimorphism is depicted. However, there should be concern that their is not a variety of multiple body types depicted in animated subjects or films. It may influence how children think they should look and attempt to aim for an unrealistic standard. Besides this problem character design will become limited and unimaginative. Another issue is with the characters themselves. If one is  solicitous about female characters in animation, there should be questions asked. Why are there so few compared to male ones? Do they have developed personalities other than just being one dimensional stock characters such as the damsel in distress, mother, or girlfriend? These problems seem more urgent than actual appearance of the creation itself. Moana is a great character because they gave her some personality. This cannot be said of other Disney female characters of the classic era. The change really happened in The Little Mermaid   and Mulan  .  Those animated films had great examples of developed female characters. Only if the formula that Moana  has continues there can be effective change.

“My, what dimorphic parents you have!” From Family Inequality Blog