Athletries The Untold History of Ancient Greek Women Athletes

Athletries The Untold History of Ancient Greek Women Athletes is a monograph exploring the history of women athletes in Greek civilization. While any devoted follower of women’s sports and history knows about women’s participation in the ancient world, this is something new to the general public. For many the idea of female athlete is a new phenomenon that occurred with Title IX and the feminist movement. This obviously is not true, seeing as there are cases in which women played sports and were athletes. The reason this is not examined to the same extent as male participation is due in part to sexist prejudice and the fact that sports historiography is comparatively new. There are some who may not believe women did such things. Archaeology provides evidence of the ancient female athlete and the types of competitions they were involved in. Seeing as some civilizations either had an oral tradition of record keeping or few documents that still remain, artifacts help solve puzzles of the past. Authors Anne Reese and Irini  Vallera-Rickerson combine both history and archaeology to provide the reader with a vivid description of the female athlete of ancient Greek civilization. Originally published in 2002, at the time there was sill few secondary sources on this subject. The monograph discusses the Olympic games, festivals, and mythology in the context of women’s sports.While this is an entertaining and informative book, it does have some minor flaws .  Athletries The Untold History of Ancient Greek Women Athletes does successfully prove that the female athlete is not a recent phenomenon, but they are part of a long history of sports competition.

        The text does a great job of describing women’s status in Ancient Greece. it varied depending on the period and area. Minoan civilization was known to worship a mother goddess. This continued into Mycenaean civilization until Zeus became a replacement. Athens and Sparta were two extremes of the political spectrum. Women were restricted in terms of the laws in Athens. Their freedom was limited, yet they were allowed to attend some schools. However, women were under legal guardianship of the men in their lives whether it was their husband, brother, or father. Sparta gave women more freedom, yet this should not be seen as a conviction in equality. The monograph makes that mistake by implying it. The only reason women were allowed to engage in physical activity was so that they could produce stronger children. The males would become soldiers in this militarist society and the women would look after the home while men were at war. Citizens of Sparta male or female were raised to serve the state without question. Thebes and Korinth fell in a political and social middle ground between these two states.

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Seeing as each city-state was independent, the laws were different in regards to women. Accounts of Spartan civilization come mostly from Aristotle, Herdotos, Pausinias, Plutarch, and Thukydides. These were mostly Non-Spartans, so accounts could have a level  of bias.It was a common Athenian opinion that Spartans were rude, uncivilized, and rustic. The accounts do expose what training for women in Sparta was like. Their exercise regimen consisted of wrestling, footraces, javelin throwing, and discus. Spartan women also developed a type of exercise known as the bibasis. These were exercises of jumping in place. A Roman poet known as Propertius claimed that women also were involved in pancratium a sport which was a combination of boxing and wrestling. Maybe it could best be described as the MMA of ancient Greece.

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Spartans had a different attitude in regards to how boys and girls were raised. Girls and boys would perform physical activities in the nude. Gymnos the ancient Greek word in which gymnastics is derived,  means naked or without clothing. Athenians saw this and the fact that women had more freedom as vulgar. Athens was a place of the arts and culture. It was not compatible with the militarist and rustic society of Sparta.The fact that Spartan women had more independence did not mean the society valued gender equality. The idea was to have women become strong breeders and produce great warriors. King Lykurgos produced the foundation for a mighty power in the Mediterranean . This did not stop the state from falling to Macedonia and the Achaean League  around 195 B.C.E.. When The Roman Empire invaded in 140s B.C.E they divided Greece into provinces to be ruled directly. The Romans admired Spartan militarism and declared Sparta a free city. There was a small rival of the old Spartan culture. Women lived different lives in Athens and Sparta. Women were regulated to a domestic sphere in Athens, while Sparta allowed some freedom for them. Women’s status varied depending on the social and political circumstances of a city-state.

         Women athletes may seem like a new phenomenon, yet there is evidence that they were present in Greek civilization. Aegean civilization (3000- 1100 B.C.E) provides artifacts of sportswomen of the ancient period.  Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations reveal much about the activities of these athletes . Fresco fragments, clay seals, and reliefs found at Knossos are documentations of history of the sports Minoan participated in. Arthur Evans was the archaeologist responsible for uncovering the mysteries on krete.  His excavation allowed him to produce a four volume work called The Palace of Minos at Knossos. The art that Minoans left is a documentation about their society. Women just like the men were active participants in bull-jumping and bull-leaping. These sports were thought to be religious in nature as a way to honor the Mother Goddess. The Mother Goddess may be an indication that women in Minoan society had higher status. There is some disputes over how exactly bull leaping worked. The Toreador Frescoes depict bull leaping. Doing this action would require a huge amount of upper body strength and acrobatic skill. The text proposes theories, however it does not reach an answer. It could be that bulls were trained to perform in a certain way to allow acrobats to jump on them.

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The Minoan Mother Goddess was usually depicted with snakes in her hands. Goddesses were more common before the rise of monotheistic religion.

 If the bull was charging and an acrobat would grab it by the horns, this would be dangerous. To somersault for bull leaping would be physically impossible. It is possible that the fresco is being interpreted to literally. A more logical explanation may be that this was depicting bull fighting rather than actual leaping. The feats were just embellished for the sake of entertainment. One problem with archaeology is that there may be a rush to jump to a conclusion too soon. These scholars have to be detectives of the past gathering artifacts as their clues.

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The bull leaping fresco  shows two women  engaging  in bull sport with a man jumping on the bull.

 Iconography can be a useful tool in archaeological study. It has revealed that women normally in Minoan art were depicted with white or lighter skin and men with darker skin. Clothing differed in artistic depiction. The loin cloths that women wore had more designs and variation in color. The art also shows straps on the wrist and hands. The function was probably for getting a better grip on the bull. Frescoes were prevalent plaster based paintings. Pigments would be applied to plaster on buildings depicting sporting events or activities of daily life. Buon fresco required a method of applying pigment to wet plaster and the color will then sink into the wall. Fresco secco applies the pigment combine with an organic preservative ( such as egg whites ) to a dry surface.

Bull leaping as depicted from Minoan art would require a huge amount of upper body strength, acrobatic, and gymnastic skill. It seems unlikely that a person would be able to do this without serious injury. 

Besides frescoes, seals also leave evidence of female athletes in the ancient world.  Seals were carved as well as engraved objects made of stone, clay, or bone. The seals were used to make impressions on clay or wax. It was a means of verification of authenticity. It also was used to denote ownership. Normally seals were used in the home or market place. Seals were also used as symbols of identity among people.

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This is a seal depicting bull leaping. There were two types of seals which included the stamp and the cylinder. The stamp was flat and made the impression by pressing down. The cylinder had to be rolled over to make an impression.

Statues and sculpture are also artifacts that show that female athletes were active in the ancient world. The reason why serious study was not given to such findings was because many male scholars thought it was not important enough to give attention to. The 20th century saw the rise of women’s history as a major academic field. Since then, there have been efforts to uncover women’s roles in the past. There still remains more to be discovered and learned. Heinrich Schliemann only discovered Mycenae in 1876. Prior to that, there was no knowledge of its existence. There could be many lost civilizations globally, but there are limited remains or evidence of their existence. Artifacts, documents, and art are records of history.

Greek female athletes depicted in sculpture. 

Still there is a level of skepticism. It appears that the only sports women were involved in were bull sports. There are books and academic journals that state women in Minoan civilization also did running, swimming, and hunting.  Opposing views are that the women depicted in art were performing religious ceremonies. Both perspectives could be valid, but there needs to be more exploration and research.

       The monograph also reveals to the readers the myth of the Olympic rings. The rings did not have their roots in ancient history. David C. Young revealed in “Myth About The Ancient Games ” that the rings myth can be traced to two American authors. Lynn and Gray Poole had mistaken an inscription from a movie prop and others copied their work. The rings have their origins in the 1936 Olympics. Leni Riefenstahl was the film-maker responsible for their existence. the rings were part of a prop used for her film Olympia. The stone was paced in the film at the stadium at Delphi. The Pooles erroneously thought this was genuine. The Olympic flame runner may also be a myth. Yet, there is reference to hearth that would be lit in the Prytaneum  discussed by Pausanias. This building was in the Altis and led to the exit of the gymnasium.

The passing of the torch is a creation of the modern Olympics. This tradition was not needed in the ancient world because the games were held in the same place. The modern Olympics can be hosted by various nation-states around the world. The propagation of this myth just demonstrates how fast misinformation can be conveyed. Athletries provides an explanation into myths and common misconceptions about ancient sports history.  A modern day invention was thought to have ancient roots. Through a mistake and incorrect information a myth of the Olympic ring origin was born .What makes the book enjoyable is that it reveals these little known facts.

      There were multiple games that women were competitors in. This included the Panhellenic Games, Olympic Games, Pythian Games, Nemean Games, and Isthmian Games. The Panhellenic Games refers to competitions held across Greek civilization. These athletic competitions were local, but expanded to include other city-states. Women could have been charioteers. The evidence found of women being part of the games is revealed in inscriptions with the names of women athletes. The inscriptions found at particular sites also reveal which event they competed in and the game she won. The games were held in honor of gods and goddesses such as Hera, Demeter, Zeus, and Apollo. Games were held in different years to prevent possible conflicts of overlap. The reason this was done was to allow high participation and attendance. All the games ended by 394 C.E. due to Christian belief they were pagan rituals. Emperor Theodosios I wanted an empire of Christian culture. Relevant to women in sports, the Heraea Games was a competition for women. Athletics were also part of festivals, which included poetry and singing. The cult of Hera was widespread, so it was no shock their was a festival and athletic events organized in honor of this goddess. The inscriptions leave us names of the athletes, but other than that there is no other biographical information. One inscription reveals a winner by the name Hedea who excelled at footraces in both the Nemean Games and Isthmian Games. Queens also may have been chariot racers. One inscription commemorates Egyptian Queen Verenike’s victory in the Nemean Games.  Athletics served an important purpose in ancient civilization.  It was not only a sort of binding adhesive to these societies, but a religious celebration.

       The authors propose one theory about the exact date of the Olympic games . A reader should be skeptical of the information they receive. They base this theory on the end of Troy VII around 1190 B.C.E, using Homer’s Illiad  as a marker. They are right to assume that 776 B.C.E is correct for the first recorded Olympic Games. However, there are still questions.  There is a possibility there were records of previous games that were lost to history. If the authors were to make such statements more evidence is required. This is a challenge for archaeologists considering the Olympiads were at various points continued or discontinued.  The renewal date of the Olympic Games was 884 B.C.E.  This appears to be the least cogent argument the text makes. The reasoning may be sound, however it does not meant it leads to the correct conclusion. The most reliable sources are taken from the writings of Pausinias. He claimed that the games were discontinued by King Oxylos ruler of Elis. The origin of the Olympics is not entirely certain, but there are numerous myth surrounding  the ancient athletic event. One myth is that Hercules stated the competition with his brothers. Another involves Pelops and Hippodamia. Mythology and stories have served a pivotal purpose in the transfer of cultural value systems in various societies. Greek civilization was no different in terms of that function. The authors should have provided more concrete evidence to support their claim.

     The monograph concludes with delineating the history of the modern Olympic Games. The first attempts at revival were in 1859 and 1870. This was under the auspices of Evangelos Zappas. This was funded out his own pocket, so the games at a certain point were no longer able to continue. The successful revival would come only with the help of Demetrios Vikelas and Baron Pierre de Coubertin. These individuals had connections to sports organizations and news editors. It was mostly Coubertin’s contacts that made revival of the games possible. The Olympic Games were revived in 1896 with competitors from around the globe. Women were not banned from competing, but there were efforts to exclude them.

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This did not stop Stamata Revithi from participating in a marathon in the 1896 Olympics. The IOC refused to recognize her running time. Women were competing in the Olympics by 1900, but it was only in golf and tennis. Pierre de Coubertin made it no secret that he did not want women to be competitors in the games. Sexist prejudice was keeping women out of sports. However, by the 21st century more women would become competitors from around the globe.  Decolonization that followed after World War Ii created new independent nation-states in Africa and Asia. From there more athletes would appear on the Olympic stage. The female athlete is not a recent phenomenon, There were women who participated in sports during the ancient period. Athletries  is a great book for anyone interested in ancient civilization, women’s history, and sport. Although an academic text it is not so pedantic  or intricate that a reader would become confused about what they are absorbing. The brief discussion of Greek myths will entertain those with an fascination with the classics. Certain theories they propose should be questioned. It should be understood that there remains more to be discovered. Athletries The Untold History of Ancient Greek Women Athletes is a book worth owning.

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Athletries The Untold History of Ancient Greek Women Athletes

Women Do Have More Stamina Than Men and May Be Beating Them At Marathons

Women’s Stamina

According to a scientific study conducted at the University of British Columbia women have more endurance compared to their male counterparts.  Brian Dalton a neurophysiologist discovered this by examining men and women of the same physical fitness level. They were grouped according to age and athletic ability for precision. There is a growing body of evidence that women could be better suited for endurance based athletic events. Women may soon be breaking records in larger numbers in ultra-marathon events. This study reveals many aspects about exercise physiology. There is still much more to learn about the physical capabilities of women. Training programs have to take into consideration biological and physiological differences for maximum efficiency in physical fitness goals. Although men are more physically powerful, women do have physical advantages.Assuming this finding is scientific fact, the same results should be easily replicated. There also remains bias that has been present. Social barriers have traditionally kept women out of sports, but this has gradually changed. It may be too premature to say that women en mass will be beating men at ultra-marathon  events. However, nothing is impossible.

       Historically their has been many pseudoscientific  myths surrounding women’s bodies. It has been thought that the female body was too weak for physical activity. Then there was also cultural bias. Women who showed physical skill were either viewed a unlady like  or masculine. Other social barriers such as not having a platform to compete. Women only began competing in marathons in 1984. Katherine Schwitzer was the first woman to compete in the Boston Marathon in 1967.

The Olympic Marathon athletes from 1984 to 2016 show that even though women were excluded, they have made progress in a short amount of time.  

Ludicrous arguments were made about why women should not participate in marathons. The argument was that it would damage their health. The only way this would happen is if an athlete did over training or did not get enough rest. The idea of female weakness was discredited when more women became active in various sports. Women’s muscles do not differ from men’s muscles. They respond to strength training regimes, which means the female body is capable of developing strength.

Gender roles and the concept of appropriate femininity are still persistent biases. There are many who believe their are certain activities that women should not do. Sports,even though women have been a part of the culture and activity are still seen as a male only domain. Women who have powerful looking bodies are either ostracized or harassed by the mainstream culture. It is no wonder why many women are discouraged from participating in sports with such negativity. Combined with lack of funding and media exposure the female athlete has to struggle on many levels. Despite these obstacles new talent continues to emerge and perform well. It will take more research to fully end the common myths still prevalent about women’s physical fitness capacities. This will require more women being involved in the physiological sciences and sports.

          Surprisingly there are women who have bested men in endurance events, prior to the study. Lael Wilcox won the Trans AM, becoming the first woman to do so. She was able to beat many male riders in the race. Caroline Boller saw an impressive victory at the Brazos Bend. These performances demonstrate that women are capable of high performance. The ability of the common female athlete beating a man of similar training and or fitness level is questionable.

These two athletes perform on male levels due to their unique genetics and physiology. They are exceptions, rather than part of the mathematically normal distributions. Then it should be considered that their biological differences based on their sex do work in their favor. Women have less type II muscle fibers compared to men, but still have more type I which are more fatigue resistant. Type II muscle fiber has more power, yet it is not as fatigue resistant. This may be the explanation into why women would do well at such events.

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It seems unlikely that women would be able to match men in sprinting in which type IIA , IIAB, and II B are necessary. They use more energy and have more force. It is not entirely impossible that women could beat men at marathon events in the future.

        The findings from the study revealed many interesting pieces of information.  Women after exercise were less exhausted from physical activity compared to their male counterparts. The subjects were asked to do calf raises for the experiment. Men’s power recordings dropped 15% compared to women during 200 repetitions. This led to the conclusion that women could outlast men in muscular endurance.  The same included nine women and eight men who also were asked to flex their feet against sensors as fast as they could.

The problem with this experiment is that it only studied one isolated muscle group. If this experiment were to be precise it would have to involve more than just the lower body. The question remains would the results would be the same if it were done on the upper body. It is possible that the results would be the same doubtless. Muscle fiber would behave in the same matter no matter where it is on the body. Isometric contraction studies show that women have normally had more muscle endurance. Findings from Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism  suggest women can last longer in dynamic exercise.

While women do not reach the same levels  of strength as a men, they can last longer during exercise sessions. This leads researchers to conclude that if an ultra- ultra marathon event were to be created women may dominate it. This could have wider applications. Exercise programs could be designed to reduce fatigue in physically demanding occupations. This may also open more possibilities in understanding the physiology of the muscular system. If only this year strength genes were identified, there could be a possibility of genes related to muscular endurance. This may vary among individuals regardless of sex. Knowing such differences can make it easier for women to improve athletic performance. This study and other should fully discredit the myth that women’s bodies are not capable of anything the require physical rigor. Exercise physiology will have to do more experiments and study of women in athletics. Studies that use only men will not be helpful, because biologically and physiologically women are different. Realizing this has generated more interest in understanding how to design the best fitness program for a female athlete.

Women Do Have More Stamina Than Men and May Be Beating Them At Marathons

Rin Nakai

Rin Nakai is a Japanese  mixed martial artist. She was born in 1986 and started her fighting career in 2006. Nakai worked her way up in competition and by 2014 became ranked tenth ranked bantamweight champion by 2014. Rin Nakai then fought longtime martial artist and wrestler Kanako Murata. Another notable challenger she fought was Meisha Tate. This ended in defeat, but Tate has known to be a formidable opponent. Nakai’s stats include 19 wins and only two lost matches so far in her career. There was only one match in which ended in a draw. Her KO stat is 6-0 and her submission stands at 7-0. Nakai competes in the flyweight class. Formally she competed in a higher weight class . Rin Nakai  at first was competing at 145 lbs and stands at 5ft 1in tall. Now a flyweight she competes at 125 lbs. She has competed for UFC, but decided to compete for Pancrase Venus. Rin Nakai may compete in the US again, but that remains uncertain. There was a level of excitement  to see this new face come to the UFC. However, it did not seem to last. It is clear that Nakai will be around for sometime in the world of MMA.

         The MMA craze has spread in North America, yet in Japan it struggles. Rin Nakai revealed in an interview that this is attributed to a struggling economy and the damage done by the 2011 Tsunami that resulted in the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Pancrase the number one MMA organization in Japan still continues to function. The situation differs for male and female fighters. Nakai stated “women’s MMA is getting worse in Japan because the number of females joining the sport is steadily decreasing.” Rin Nakai believes it has to do with gyms and management of such facilities.

Rin claims that in training gyms guys are too aggressive with women during practice. This may be off putting to a woman who is attempting to start a fighting career. Learning something new can be a challenge. Nakai articulated that their is an atmosphere of sexism present in which men do not take female fighters seriously. As Nakai revealed “female fighters are not even seen as fighters, but sex objects.” Rin has also spoken about the general lack of disrespect for female fighters. Sadly, it seems widespread when Nakai discussed it : ” in my personal experience, sometimes guys don’t even show respect for me even when I have won two championship belts.” These types of attitudes are not uncommon in the sports world. Yet, they do mirror a problem with Japanese society. It is very conservative to an extent and gender roles are no exception. From female only subway cars  to issues surrounding employment Japan has to work hard to fight sexism in society. This is the reason Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has a policy of womenomics. This policy is designed to have Japanese women stay in the workforce and be active in the business community. This program needs female role models to work. Nakai has in a sense become a role model and is doing womenomics her own way.

Rin has still thinks there can be change : ” I can hold hope that the guys in MMA will learn to have a ladies first attitude and a gentlemen’s spirit.” The reality is that chivalry is not going to be part of the culture.  Women like the opponents they fight, will have to confront the detractors and the negative attitudes. The only way change will come is by being proactive. That is why it is critical that more women become active in the sport and serve as guides to neophytes . Nakai can be a trainer to other women once she retires from fighting. This can lead to a new generation of female fighters.

        Seeing Nakai’s records of wins it is obvious she has a great method of training. The strange part of this is that she does not have a specific training partner. Anyone she can find to spar with is helpful to her training. Normally she trains at Shooto Dojo Shikoku. Rin Nakai trains seven hours a day. During this period she does four workouts. She runs, lifts weights, wrestling, judo, boxing, kickboxing, jui-jistu, circuit, and cross training. This method of various forms of exercise seems to have paid off when she competes in the ring.

Not all athletes can say that they have only two losses in their career thus so far. It is not about solely winning matches; its about entertainment. Nakai’s matches are always entertaining. It was rumored that Pancrase was developing a possible video game that would feature the likeness of some of its fighters. Nakai admits she has never played a video game, however if she were a playable character she would try it. Nakai most likely will stay with the Pancrase promotion, because of the treatment of its athletes. Athletes are free to voice opinions or discuss concerns. Nakai has said that she never faced any discrimination from the organization based on her sex. The harsh aspect of MMA organizations is that they do not always treat their athletes fairly in terms of pay and stipulations on contracts. This might explain why Rin Nakai left the UFC  due to irreconcilable conflicts. That is the UFC’s loss. Only 31 years old she still has a number of years on the competitive circuit. Some fans want to see a Nakai and Tate rematch, but this may never happen. Rin Nakai will have many more opponents to face and beat.

Rin Nakai

Marcie Simmons on The Advantages and Disadvantages of Being A Female Bodybuilder

Marcie Madness Channel

Women who compete in the sport of female bodybuilding do face certain disadvantages. Besides narrow minded opinions from the public, they also face ostracism within the fitness community. There also like most fields women are in, is the question of unequal pay. Marcie Simmons as a competitor and athlete reveals the advantages and disadvantages of being a female bodybuilder. Marcie bases this list on her personal experiences and what she has found out from other competitors. It seems that there are more advantages compared to disadvantages. Only when society becomes more accepting that women can be different may be most of the disadvantages would disappear. The situation compared to the past has improved. There are more female athletes in various sports displaying powerful physiques. While many do not not approve, there is at least acceptance that women have the right to do what they want with their bodies. The female bodybuilder challenges the traditional notions about what a woman should be and what they can accomplish.

       One advantage is that the aesthetic is unique. It can be attractive. This may not be everyone’s version of beauty, but there are multiple versions. It is just that society promotes one paradigm of it. There is a movement of body acceptance in regards to larger women. There is no reason why muscular women cannot get the same level of acceptance.Overtime beauty standards change and vary from culture to culture. There should not be a single standard. People should make that choice themselves. The fact is women bodybuilders strive for a physique that is still an hourglass shape. A large upper body accentuates this classic image of the female body. A woman can add more shape to her body through a weight training regimen.

Women who empower themselves physically also experience a psychological change. They develop more confidence and it spreads into other areas of life. It could even have positive effects on relationships or career. The amount of exercise done can have a positive effect on mood. It is thought that exercise can also have a positive effect on sex drive. According to the Journal of Sexual Medicine    exercise may increase bodily awareness and sensation in terms of sexual arousal. More studies must be done to make such a conclusion, but it is fact that endorphins do improve emotional states.

Marcie forgot to mention that their are health benefits. Weight training can help preserve a healthy skeleton. As a person ages they lose muscle mass and bone mass declines. An exercise regimen can prevent the rate of loss. Although you do not have to train as intensely as an athlete, just a little exercise can be useful. Changes that happen in metabolism can effect weight. Strength training can be more effective at preventing obesity or weight related health issues. Seeing as women on average live longer, it is important that the quality of life be maintained. Heart disease and obesity are becoming major health issues and  exercise habits can combat such problems. There are benefits to health, yet there is one that is also more significant. Women gain a sense of independence. They are not dependent on men for a task that is physical. Lifting something, carrying groceries, opening a jar,  or shoveling snow are not a problem.That is a feminist statement without even articulating it. Also, strength can be beneficial to defending oneself. Muscles are not required for self-defense, but can be useful if one has proper fighting technique. Too many women have been subject to gender based violence or sexual assault. Being dependent on men for protection is not a rational option, when it is most likely a woman will be abused by a man she knows. Women with a new found physical strength have the benefit of confidence and protection.

        The disadvantages  of being a female bodybuilder come in the form of unwanted commentary, attention, or harassment. There are also less extreme problems that involved daily living. Shopping for clothes or being in public may become a hassle. Unwanted commentary usually comes in the form of sexist or misogynistic epithets. Phrase such as “are you a man?” or “why would a woman want to look like that?” are prevalent. This is an example of imposing body image conformity. It is the conviction that all women should look a certain way mainly to the satisfaction of men. Women come in all shapes and sizes. That does not mean certain women are any less feminine for looking different.

Normally it seems there are few who say such rude comments to a person’s face. There are some who do, but the internet has become a place for the pusillanimous to bully.  Female bodybuilders and athletes face rude commentary on their social media. Everyone has the right to their opinion and it can be understandable that there are different preferences. However, this does not give a person the right to disparage or insult a person different from them. Sometimes attention is not always negative. It can best be described as neutral. People may stare or be perplex simply because they have never seen a woman of such physicality. Marcie describes it as almost being like an animal at a zoo. It should be understood that these women are people; not walking exhibits. Simply being curious is not rude. Treating someone like a sideshow attraction is. The opposite end of the spectrum is one that is more an invasion of privacy, Harassment from schmoes or super fans can be challenging. This can be sexual harassment when social media is involved. It is very common that women have comments written on their Facebook pages or Instagram accounts that are inappropriate in nature. Touching becomes a problem. Some athletes have experienced random strangers coming up feeling their biceps without saying anything. Certain behaviors are not acceptable. A female bodybuilder must have the inner fortitude to deal with how differently they are treated.

        There are also simple activities such as buying clothes, which become more complicated. Interactions in public can either be constructive or strange in terms of reactions from people.  The fashion industry does not tailor clothes to women who do not have slender body types. It has only been a recent development that plus sized clothing was made available to women. Depending how muscular a woman gets her selection in wardrobe is limited.

 The trouble for women of this physicality is that their is limited clothing to accommodate their highly developed upper bodies. Putting on a shirt too small they might just rip out of it. Then there are challenges when buying pants. If you are a woman with significant lower body development finding something that fits is a journey. Large legs and developed posteriors have not been accounted for when some companies make clothing for women. Sometimes women would like to wear things other than athletic apparel. One solution is for women of this shape to but clothing extra large. This may not even work, because may be too big.

Clothing is either too big or too small. Then also when the body changes a woman may have to buy more clothes. When one embarks on changing the body old clothes will not fit. There are store that are more friendly to the muscular woman. Finding business attire could also be a possible challenge. Casual wear would still be a struggle. Women’s clothing does have an interesting history. Clothes were made in the past, it was designed to restrict women’s physical movement. Simultaneously, it was designed to cover up as much of the female body as possible. This was why the development of bloomers was significant. It allowed women to move more freely and participate in cycling. This encouraged a generation of sportswomen in the late 19th century. There are women who are working to make clothing for women of various body types. Women who are built like this will have to experience reactions from the general public. Some people may take their photos, ask them to arm wrestle or put them in a headlock. Other people may be less strange in their behavior asking about the sport, nutrition, and training advice.

It is almost as if some women become celebrities getting excessive  attention and  people asking for autographs. This may be overwhelming to someone who has an introverted personality.  Everyone does enjoy a least some periods of privacy. Supporters should understand this. Asking for an autograph or photograph is fine, but do not be so intrusive. The curious observer should have no problem asking a question. The questions should be articulated in a respectful manner. Doing this will allow certain prejudices to be conquered. As Marcie stated,  there are disadvantages that can change daily life.

         There is going to be the disadvantage of dealing with insecure people. When men and women see athletes like these there are multiple reactions. The most insecure either act the worst or have the most vituperative responses. Men either feel insecure about their masculinity when doing such harsh criticism. Sometimes their is even literal fear. People fear what they do not understand. Women may even have jealousy looking at women such as these. The strange part about this is that one would think women would be supportive of other women. It seems the sisterhood concept of feminist thought is more so a myth. These insecure people may be threatened even if women did not have bodies like these. Women who are very intelligent or talented intimidate insecure men. They also make certain women envious. The solution is to ignore such people, because they may never accomplish anything themselves.

            Being a female bodybuilder does have its share of advantages and disadvantages. There are benefits that come with a strong body. Marcie describes one of almost being a real life superhero. Some women look more Wonder Woman than Gal Gadot . The statement is a bold one. It shows that women can do anything with enough effort. As society advance women will continue to reach new levels in politics, science, and the arts. If women can develop themselves mentally, why not physically as well? A person should seek advancement rather than limitation. The worst thing a person can be a part of is a mindless conformist mob. These women dare to challenge cultural convictions about women’s bodies and physical capabilities. It may not be your cup of tea, but at least respect the accomplishment of the athlete.

Marcie Simmons on The Advantages and Disadvantages of Being A Female Bodybuilder