The 300th Post Celebration !!!

I wanted to say a special thank you to longtime readers and visitors. Without your support this would not be possible. This blog has reached 300 posts so far and I’m hoping to see it grow more. I would like to celebrate by sharing some wonder photographs.

 


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The 300th Post Celebration !!!

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

Marcie Simmons : Schmoes Versus Fans

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

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

The Marcie Madness Channel

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

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

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

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

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

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

Britt and Kristy

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

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

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

Marcie Simmons : Schmoes Versus Fans

Happy Halloween

Around October adults and children dress up as either monsters, cartoon characters, or film characters for Halloween. It has become a major annual tradition to hold parties, have children trick or treat,  or to enjoy horror movie marathons on TV. This year is different however. More girls and women are not dressing up in the stereotypical princess or cat lady. The sale of Wonder Woman costumes have increased dramatically. This is due to the popular film that was released during the summer. Yet, it has more of a significance. It shows that female protagonist characters can be popular and have an enduring impact on popular culture. It is important that  there is a diverse range in female characters in fiction to challenge dated stereotypes and sexist beliefs. Besides a change in perspectives it is always fun to see well made costumes. There are some women who look more Wonder Woman than you could possibly imagine.

Happy Halloween

Mina Mitsuoka

Mina Mitsuoka was a former bodybuilder active in the early 2000 to mid-2000s. There are some athletes who appear just as quickly as they leave. Although her competitive career was short, she built an impressive physique. Born in Torrance, California in 1985 she was not a stranger to sport. During elementary school she was involved in gymnastics and played volleyball in high school. She was also a skilled pole vaulter. Mina was a very active student involved in various clubs and extracurricular activities. She even loved taking voice lessons. An unfortunate turn of events actually lead her to bodybuilding. When she had a skate boarding accident, it resulted in her ankle being sprained and the tearing of the ligaments. She went to the gym to help with recovery. Mina then noticed that she was developing significant muscle. To her shock she said “one day I looked in the mirror flexed my bicep  and saw changes.” Mina said that although athletic most of her life she had been thin. She revealed that “she never thought her body could change like that.” When she was a student at the University of California that was when she got serious about her bodybuilding endeavors.

When Mina was in Los Angeles, she went to her classes and work  out as a student. She also served as a personal trainer at the UCLA recreation department. When she returned home, she was encouraged to compete by trainers at her local gym. Her first show was the Northern Gold’s Classic in 2004. Starting at 120 lbs she placed third in the teen division. When she graduated from her university in 2007 she gained  up to 155 lbs of muscle. This was an incredible jump from 2003, only being 117 lbs before serious training. Her role models in terms of physique were Britt Miller and Cindy Phillips. Her physique almost had that type of quality to it. Mina has stated “that training can be fun, but cardio can be fun, diet is the hardest part.” To build such a body Mina had to eat oatmeal, chicken, and whey protein six times a day, while training five times a day. Mina would only train one body part per day. What she loved about the sport is that “it is a healthy hobby that takes a lot of discipline and dedication. ” From 2004 to 2010 she would appear in some contests sporadically. She was a dedicated athlete, but never become one of the major stars. Female bodybuilding fans still remember her as one of the new generation of fresh faces. Besides looking strong is actually had impressive lifts.

Her best bench press is 165 lbs. Her bicep curls were 40 lbs and bent over rows at 225 lbs . She could do dumbell rows with 120 lbs. Mina described her back as her best feature on her physique. Mina Mitsuoka revealed that during her competitive years her friends and family would pressure her to be thin to fit a more conventional ideal of beauty. Although there was limited support for her pursuit, it did not bother her to be different. Society has to understand that there are many forms of beauty. Mina loves  being different and unique.That explains why she loves surfing and skateboarding. These activities are still mostly male dominated, however women like Mina are getting involved. The year 2007 saw Mina compete in the Northern Classic. She also decided to pursue a career in ophthalmology. The year 2010 she competed in the INBA Team Nevada Contest in the figure division.

Mina also appeared in videos for Sports-women project.com. There she demonstrated her wrestling skills and strength. After graduating medical school, she went into a practice. Mina has iterated “that she will always love bodybuilding.” Although it seems she has retired from sports, Mina now is an Ophthalmologist working at Bel-Red Vision.  Her academic credentials are also as impressive as her athletic feats. As an undergraduate she majored in biology and then got her doctorate in ophthalmology  Pacific University College of ophthalmology.

Mina mistokua
Some of Mina’s art : Mina’s Art  

After getting married and starting her professional career in ophthalmology , she now goes by the name Mina Fordcye . Mina spends time between patients and new hobbies. Mina’s new passion includes drawing and painting. Being a lover of pets her painting subjects include dogs.  Dr. Fordcye  is a member of American Optometric Association  and the Optometric Physicians of Washington. Her internships involved her working in the San Diego Naval Hospital and Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute.  Currently based in Bellevue, Mina provides medical service to the community.  Now being part the medical field, she helps people maintain healthy eyes. Fans will miss her very much on stage.One does not need an ophthalmology degree to see she was a marvel on the bodybuilding stage.

Mina Mitsuoka