It has been one year since this site was established. It’s birth came from extreme ennui during a Christmas vacation. Writing has been a longtime hobby. Being a fan of women’s sports and muscular women in general it only made since to combine these two things. It was clear that 2012 was a major turning point for women in sports. More women were participating in sports in the Olympics. The best part was that it was nations all around the globe. Other countries still have to catch up. There are countries that still do not send women to the Olympics. When these cultural and social barriers are dismantled it will be a positive development . It shows that equality between the sexes can be achieved. There are many challenges that remain for women in sports, but oppression is always doomed to fail. The lugubrious aspect of this is that women still receive less media coverage. This is damaging to athletes, fans, and supporters. This site hopes to in a small part reverse this situation. Most pivotal is the preservation of women’s sport history and the documentation of the muscular woman. Women have been written out of history, science, and especially sports, but they had an presence as well as impact. Women’s participation in sports is a fascinating history that encompasses gender studies, sex politics, biological sciences, and popular culture.
Developing this blog was an experimental process. At first it was going to be focused on solely the sport of female bodybuilding. This was changed again, to include muscular women of different fitness levels ( lithe muscular to hypermuscular). The final decision was that the blog would have women’s athletics. After all, women in sports are more powerful now than they were in the past. The physiques that are seem today show women with powerful arms, ripped midsections, and gracefully sculpted lower bodies. They are almost real life superheroes. The first entries here were biographical profiles. This was designed to expose readers to athletes they either knew about or just discovered. These are some of the more popular posts on the site. The second most popular recurring posts are the memes and motivational posters. The approach was designed to be different. There are plenty of sites that feature women’s athletics or are directed at fans of female muscle and strength. The biggest challenge is making a site that is unique. This has not been accomplished.
It can be reversed, but it will take time. Creating anything is never so simple. It still takes some trial and error to see what people like. There is some help from the blog statistics menu. There it allows a writer to know how many people have been viewing certain posts and from which country. To my surprise, femuscleblog has attracted an audience around the world. Visitors from India, South Africa, Algeria, Germany, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, France, Russia, Canada, the US, the UK, and dozens more countries have come to this site. These website hits are probably not accidental. This could be a possibility considering the algorithm used in Google search engines. More men may like female muscle than previously thought. I doubt that they are truly coming for the articles. A Shakespeare or James Baldwin I am not. Although I do not have access to exact demographics, my conjecture is that the average reader could be men ages 18 to 60. There are men who can appreciate and respect different forms of beauty . To some these women of great strength are their ultimate dream. For others, they are willing to accept not one paradigm of beauty, but many. Society does not accept this and is generally intolerant to different ideas or concepts. These women dare to break the social mores and perform amazingly. It cannot be ignored that power is sexy whether it is either mental or physical. This attribute was once considered male only, but women are challenging that. There are growing numbers of men who like the look of the physically powerful woman.
This goes beyond just enjoying the aesthetic, but their physical feats. Considering the biological differences,women have to work harder to achieve such levels of fitness. It makes their accomplishments even more impressive. While feminists complain that this admiration is sexual objectification, this is different from that action. One is the act of dehumanizing women and the other is based on respect. There is however of fine line between admiration and sexualization . There is no simple solution to this problem. Here, it is attempt to present athletes in a positive manner. However, it is hard to ignore beauty of them and the feelings they induce.
Seeing as women are the main focus gender studies and sex politics will continue to be part of this blog. When discussing women in sports, these two academic disciplines are excellent tools at explaining behaviors. Why is it that sex discrimination in sports is so prevalent? Why do some men react negatively to the muscular or athletic woman? These questions can be answered using gender studies. This site is not third wave feminist. It believes in gender equality, not a special interest group. The problem with modern day feminism ( at least in the West) is that the movement has become a special interest group for middle class white women. It also has splintered into multiple factions and the radical feminists are the most vociferous. They cast all men as villains, dictate how all women should be, and even denies basic biological differences between the sexes . The remaining feminists with a more rational perspective are marginalized. The radical faction has created a negative image of the feminist movement to the point many women avoid that label. Men who object to misogyny are either repudiated or not given much thought. Even though feminism has it faults, its academic methodology is useful for this subject matter. Femuscleblog will continue to explore how the presence of the strong woman changes sexual politics and the relations between men and women.
Do men see it as a threat? Could it be seen as unnatural? Another possibility is it both arouses and intimidates at the same time. Other issues such the gap in pay and leadership positions in the sports industry will be discussed here. It will also look at women involved in coaching and sports casting. This will done through a gender studies context to understand how women navigate male dominated areas.
Science is an important part of our world. Biology explains the mystery of life. Anatomy and physiology topics will continued to be featured here, because of its influence on sports performance. The questions in regards to human physical potential and records will be discussed. Relevant to women, this site will provide more of an understanding of female anatomy. There still remains much ignorance about how a woman’s body works. Myths and pseudoscientific theories are still presented as fact. One that is most common is that the female body cannot handle physical strength. The broader implication is that woman is biologically inferior. Even though this has been proven false, many continue to hold the belief. It was once said that women getting too much physical activity would destroy her reproductive organs. Pregnancy medical professionals said would be impossible for a woman doing sports. Currently, there still is a lack of knowledge regarding women’s athletic performance and the menstrual cycle. The site will continue to challenge myths and share knowledge about the functions of the human body.
Some feminists attempt to avoid biological differences all together. The sameness feminists became antagonistic toward biology, because they believe it promotes “male superiority.” Having an understanding of biology, anatomy, and physiology actually would help their case, because it challenges notions of inferior beings. While it is true that men are on average stronger, but it is not impossible for women to gain strength. The muscles of men and women do not differ at a cellular level. This means women can be responsive to weight training. Genetics and also play a role, which varies among the population. Strength is not male only. Besides refuting incorrect information, health topics will be covered. The scientific aspects of sports seems to be rarely examined outside a few academic journals. This amazing information about the workings of the body must be shared with the public. My intent is to spark curiosity of the reader in topics related to the biological sciences through the perspective of sport performance.
Another element that will be explored is the popular culture aspect of women in sports. The female athlete has become in many respects an icon in entertainment. She can represent feminist advancement, an idealized heroism, or women’s growing power in society. The female athlete has become a role model to not only girls, but boys as well. This paradigm shift is fascinating when there still is traditionalist backlash that is present. There is still a state of body image conformity and discrimination against women in sports. Yet, they are able to overcome and succeed despite various obstacles. Everyone loves an under dog story and the women in sports have no shortage of them. It seems that popular entertainment has taken note.Women characters depicted in films and television are no longer one dimensional or standard tropes like the damsel in distress. From the 1990s onward there have been various TV shows and films presenting the image of the female hero. The fictional depictions were borrowed from the feats of female athletes.
Pictured: Korra in THE LEGEND OF KORRA on Nickelodeon. Photo: Nickelodeon. ©2012 Viacom, International, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Xena Warrior Princess and The Legend of Korra are excellent examples of this recent archetype of the heroine. They are not just strong characters emotionally, they show physical strength and are not ashamed of it. They are not dependent on male assistance when a crisis arises. It has been seen in many forms of entertainment that a female protagonist need male help, even when she showed herself to be capable. The change is a welcomed one because it allows for greater creativity. It has been proven that audiences can be accepting of women as the main protagonist. Not only are creators not afraid to put female protagonist in a staring role, but show that they can do damage to enemies. Women in popular culture are depicted with an extremely thin body type and rarely an athletic type of body. The new Super Girl TV show shows an actress who looks like the more powerful comic adaptation.
This program does not show a rail thin woman, but a woman with athletic looking biceps. This is a positive direction . The subtle message here is that it is okay for women to look and be physically strong. Hopefully this trend will continue. It has been present in other entertainment mediums (comics being one example). There has been minimal scholarship on this topic, but it remains unknown. Some of the writings here will explore this rarely mentioned subject.
Controversy will not be avoided here. No subject will be off limits in regards to sports and its relations to the wider society. Racism, sexism, performance enhancing drugs, corporate greed, and the negative aspects of professional sports will be discussed. Some opinions readers may find disturbing or even offensive. Not talking about certain issues is actually worse. Political correctness claims to mean well by stifling debate. This does more harm than good, because debate can challenge lies and extremist view points . Taboo subjects will also be presented. This was experimented earlier with writings in regards to session wrestling and the Lolo Jones videos. Many times we must move out of our comfort zones to learn something new. Does sex sell women’s sports? Why is it that white women are over represented in the media as the sole female athletes when non-white women compete and get limited visibility? Why do third wave feminists have either ambivalence or disregard for women’s sports in some cases, but support it in other circumstances? Why is that some men are either offended by the fact women can perform at high levels or are stronger than some men ? The answers to many of the these questions are rooted in the oppressive nature of society through the context of ethnic hatred and misogyny. These matters are further complicated by class conflict.A vast majority of poor and working class women have not benefited from Title IX. There is a facade and illusion of equality in sports. Vicious hatreds are still present, but it is impossible to exclude athletes of different racial, religious, or cultural backgrounds.
A major issue currently is that celebrity culture over the past three decades has invaded sports. This has a negative impact on women, because like most of the mass media it presents them as sex objects. There are women who actually participate in women’s sports who are damaging, because they promote this agenda. LoLo Jones and Anna Kornikova were mediocre in their sports, but received acclaim and endorsements. Their performance was dismal, yet the mass media presented them as the greatest. Even athletes who have a high level of skill and performance have that ignore in favor of sex appeal. An athlete should be lauded on there accomplishments, not their looks. Whether a woman is beautiful or not ( depending on which ever standard of attractiveness) should have little relevance. The unfortunate matter is the mass media promotes this sexism and the public views it as normal. This must change if women are to advance in a male dominated field. The challenges may be immense, but they will be overcome. Besides comprehending the problem, developing solutions should be the priority.
While serious topics appear here, there will be lighter toned writings. Laughter is the best medicine and in a world full of violence, pestilence, poverty, war, and struggle it is necessary. The memes and motivational posters are a part of that laughter. These are fun to do seeing as there is always one photo that screams comedy. The memes and motivational posters are so popular they will continue. Hopefully, they can become funnier and possibly spread.Pieces on photography will be added in the context of sports. Other than displaying photographs, there will be recognition of the photographers. People like Gene X. Hwang, Bill Dobbins, Reg Bradford, Neil Lifer, and many others have indirectly contributed to women’s sports through their work. They present images of powerful, skilled, and pretty women demonstrating their talents. The candid photos are enjoyable trinkets. While it is enjoyable to look at the professional and polished pictures, random ones provide great entertainment.
Portrait of Jackie Joyner-Kersee of Team USA posing with a javelin. Northridge, California 5/21/1992 (Image # 1016 )
Too often we forget the people working behind the scenes. They are the cog wheels in the massive clock. Photography does have power. With mass media being more visual, the value of photography increases its importance. It has the power to shift public opinion. Having positive images advances women’s sports and can help to make the athletic body on women more acceptable. Another great part of the the element of photography is it helps connect fans. The rise of the internet has allowed for pictures and photos of all sorts to be easily seen and distributed. Social media helps spread these great photos to be seen by the world. Photos can be shared by just a click of a mouse. Exposure can counter some of the prejudice, but there is also backlash. Sexist comments and other forms of hatred fester online. This seems discouraging, but there are a growing number of supporters. The connection between fans is pivotal, because they keep women’s professional sports alive. It is the reason why female bodybuilding survives even as it struggles. It has gradually become fan supported. One contribution that cannot be estimated is how photograph preserves history.
A photograph becomes a record of the past. It captures the action of an event and provides evidence that it happened. It seems that women being involved in sports is something new, but this is only a half truth. Women in the past did play sports, but had limited opportunity to compete professionally. The Heraean games was the first documented sanctioned competition for women. These athletic contests took place in ancient Greece around the 6th century B.C.E. Cuju was played by women during the Song, Yuan, and Ming dynasty. There is a much longer history than people are aware. Photography has in this regard can archive women’s athletic participation and advancement. There are stories that are told in photos and the observer is left to reconstruct events. A photograph can capture triumph, struggle, or unknown sections of society. Photographs as visual aids can also be useful in demonstrating a point or explaining ideas.
When writing for a blog, magazine, newspaper, or publishing a book photos are just as important as the text. Producing femuscleblog requires visuals and photos. This site would be nothing without talented photographers and their works. That is why there is a section devoted to photography and it will eventually be expanded to include more entries. I have collected many photos from various sites, that I believe deserve attention. My intent is to have entries with photo collections of various athletes for all to enjoy. Then there are also some photos that are so beautiful, that only a gentlemen can really appreciate. This emphasis on photography I intend to help foster an interest in this art form.
The positive development about women’s growing participation in sport is that it has become global. Women from all around the globe are becoming active and flexing their muscles. The 2012 Olympics was a major turning point. There are still countries that resist sending women to the Olympics. Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan are a few examples. The fact is allowing women to enter international competition increases the chances of nations winning medals.
The world is rapidly transforming. Countries that have once imposed restrictive measures on women are now realizing they are needed for the benefit of society. Saudi Arabia has realized this and will probably send more women athletes to the Olympics in the future. Despite the discrimination and sexism the women face, they continue to perform well under unfavorable circumstances. Although international competition is a great platform, women in various nations have the opportunity to compete locally. The Chinese National Games have produced women who later will go compete in the Olympics. Sports that are not considered mainstream are even making there way overseas. Bodybuilding and fitness sports have made an impression on Asian nations.
This new found passion cannot be stopped. Women are gradually discovering that weightlifting or other forms of physical activity is no longer considered male only. The nations with more traditionalist attitudes are gradually making a change. Women’s rise in these countries help challenge racist stereotypes. Non-Western countries are either presented as misogynist or primitive by the Western media. This promotes the idea of white supremacy and the West as being the perfect model of civilization. Every nation has its faults and admirable qualities. To condemn entire races and cultures demonstrates pure hatred. The emergence of Asian, African, and South American female athletes challenges this mendacious claim of backwardness. One should ask if these nations are so backward, why is it that women are still struggling for equal pay in the West? No one has a monopoly on societal problems.
Generally, women in sports receive little press coverage. If the woman is non-white they are almost invisible . They cannot be stopped or erased, because women of various ethnic backgrounds are becoming known in the field. It is possible that international competition can foster some form of solidarity among women in sports. If this happens, women can effectively combat discriminatory practices in regards to sex testing , the high testosterone ruling, or low quality facilities. The first step has happened in a sense. There has been a paradigm shift in certain attitudes.
Women who are athletes are no longer seen as something negative. There still remains opposition, but it has become more accepted than it was 50 years ago. The important result of this is that young girls are seeing a new and powerful image of women. Other than reaching high competitive ranks, women are also going into fields that require physical skill.
Occupations that require physical strength like the military, police, construction, fire fighting , astronautics, and sports women are becoming more a part of. This phenomenon seems to get little discussion. Considering topics such as sports performance and physiology are present it would only make sense to add this to the discourse. Men continue to dominate these areas due to biological and sociological reasons. There are women who can meet the physical and mental requirements of these jobs, but they still do not have acceptance. A combination of machismo culture and hatred of women is prevalent in occupations such as these.This requires attention due to the fact blatant discrimination is acceptable in these fields. The United States has now lifted the ban on women in combat. Women who were qualified for front line infantry roles were denied opportunity. Even when a woman is qualified in jobs such as these, their competence is questioned. The reason this is done is rooted in sexist stereotypes and the concept of women’s biological inferiority. The “weaker sex” conviction has never disappeared. Sexual dimorphism is a biological fact, but that does not mean women cannot be successful at jobs that require physical skill.
U.S. Army Major General Marcia Anderson acknowledges her audience while being introduced Friday at a Black History Month observance at Letterkenny Army Depot.
Like the women in sports, they are given limited recognition. This can be reversed.This provides a fascinating examination into gender roles, economy, and culture. Women going into these professions does symbolize that at least some progress has been made. There are no longer such things as “men’s jobs” and “women’s jobs.” the relevance to femuscleblog is too look at this from a perspective of physical performance and the relation to women’s health. What are the physical challenges women face in occupations that require high levels of physical fitness? How can women avoid getting higher injury rates? Are women getting proper healthcare in occupations such as these? There are many questions, but these problems have solutions. Adjustments must be made if women and the companies they work for are going to be successful.
The plan moving forward is to produce work of high quality. When visitors come here, I want them to read something they like and is thought provoking. This should not be a lecture, but an enjoyable dissemination of knowledge. Quantity is not quality and this is important to realize. More posts do not always result in higher visitation or subscribers. Being consistent with a deadline is fine, but keeping it in a realistic production range helps. The possibility of writers block, burn out, and general loss of interest are always present threats. Blogging is still relatively new compared to other mediums, so a person just getting involved must experiment. Through experimentation I have figured out what works and what needs improvement. This is a constant learning process. My intent is to have this site run as long as possible . The goal is to see it improve over the years and gain more of a following. I created this blog out of boredom during a vacation and did not expect it to reach the thousands of hits it now possesses. When I began there was no intended audience, but I can see many have taken an interest from different parts of the globe. I welcome all to femuscleblog whether you are a fan of women’s sports, a feminist or not, a curious individual, or a person who just loves female muscle.