The title seems to be some what of a hyperbole. The study conducted revealed that women process exactly 30% more oxygen more efficiently compared to their male counterparts. This has been suspected for sometime,but it looks like it has finally been confirmed. Oxygen uptake is only one element of physical fitness. Women can obviously reach a certain physical fitness level through training and diet. However, men have higher absolute peak physical fitness. This includes attributes such as muscular strength and speed. Women it seems have more muscular endurance as revealed by another study produced this year. The University of Waterloo in Ontario conducted a study involving 18 subjects. All these men and women were active. They performed treadmill exercise and researchers concluded women process oxygen more quickly. Thus it may seem that women have more efficient in terms aerobic fitness. This does challenge the conventional belief that the male body is just naturally more athletic compared to women’s bodies. Women do have athletic advantages and biological sex does not seem to be a limitation.
Peak physical fitness refers to how strong, fast, and how much endurance an athlete can get through exercise and diet.Once an athlete reaches their physical peak, they can no longer improve any further. Men have more muscular strength even when the training regimen is the same. The muscle cells do not differ between men and women. The strength difference is related to several factors . Body size is a factor and on average men are larger. Males have denser bones including larger tendons and ligaments. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association women can produce two thirds the muscular force of a man. This is an estimate of 66% and the remaining percentage has to do with the upper body. Men have more upper body strength.
Women are closer to men in the lower body. Considering the histology of the muscle is similar for men and women, they can gain strength at the same rate through strength training. To do so a person must train to their threshold using progressive overload. Men have higher absolute strength based on endocrinology and body composition. Men have a greater amount of type II muscle fibers and higher amount of testosterone that aid in protein synthesis. Women have a higher estrogen level allowing for more fat. These biological and physiological differences are not entirely closed by training. What stops women from have equal muscular strength after a training regimen is the difference in skeletal size, body composition, and difference in hormones.
Relative to absolute strength levels a female athlete could be strong as or stronger than the average man. It is rare that women could reach the same level of an equally trained man. However, there can be overlap although very small. Running speed and aerobic fitness is important to sports. Women have smaller hearts and lungs which will effect running speed. This means a woman’s vo2 max is lower in comparison. Lower hemoglobin levels mean less oxygen being transported. Oxygen is essential for the tissues of the body.
Women may have more muscular endurance. During exercise they seem less prone to fatigue. It seems in various studies women were able to contract muscle groups over long periods of time. Men still had more strength, but could not keep up with the contract muscle groups as long as women in exercise physiology studies. The title is incorrect saying women are fitter than men. A more accurate title would be women have a physical fitness advantage in oxygen use.
The researchers conducted their experiment following the regular procedure of the scientific method. The 18 subjects did a treadmill test. Their heart rates were monitored as well as oxygen content in their tissues. What was also studied was their oxygen levels between their veins and arteries. The total tests were four in total and were moderate intensity. There are some questions that must be asked. Were these subjects longtime or novice athletes or casual exercisers? This can make a difference in results. There obviously is a difference in physical fitness levels between the average person, moderate exerciser, and the professional athlete.
If this study wanted to be very precise it would have to have a larger sample size. This sample size would have to include those moderate exercisers, average people, and professional athletes. Only then could a more lucid picture be given. Nine men and nine women may simply not be enough for an experiment. Also there needs to be a detailed account of their fitness activity. If women in this study trained harder than the men it would distort results. Comparing a fit woman to an unfit man does not reveal much. The men who were in the study one can assume trained just as hard or with a similar method. Science should aim for precision, rather tan just accuracy. The actual test with the treadmill seems like the best method of acquiring data. Only if the results can be replicated can this be regarded as scientific fact.
The results found that women have a physiological advantage. Their oxygen up take was more efficient resulting in less muscle fatigue. Women’s muscles extract oxygen from the muscles faster. This indicates that women’s aerobic capacities could be more efficient relative to their male counterparts. Normally, the assumption was that men would have the most physical advantages due to biological, anatomical, and physiological differences. Professor Beltrame even stated ” this shakes up conventional wisdom.” It is still unknown why women have this advantage. This study was published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism . One theory is it could be related to women being capable of pregnancy. An efficient oxygen transport would be required to sustain a baby during the gestation process. Another possibility is that it is related to human evolution. The hominins of the past may have needed males to have a higher physical fitness capacity to do hunting, while females concentrated their physical functions on child birth. These are only speculations, not facts.
Why do men have higher running speeds if women are more efficient with oxygen up take? It is related to the structure of the female pelvis. It is wider which alters biomechanical function. The muscles of the legs are the same, but men just have larger ones. This study is still useful even if it has flaws. Analyzing sex specific differences can contribute to designing training programs to improve women’s performance. Women are not physically inferior it is just their total physical fitness capacity is lower compared to men in particular areas of physical fitness. Exercise physiologists and health scientists are just now uncovering women’s physical advantages in athletic performance. Most studies have been done for male athletes and seeing as women are different this did not help understand how to design better training programs. Despite the biological and physiological differences women can develop into impressive athletes. Being female does not limit physical fitness potential.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Spain’s Laura Campos competes on the uneven bars during a qualification of the Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, southern Germany, on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2007. The 40th Gymnastics World Championships take place in Stuttgart from Sept. 1 to Sept. 9, 2007. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
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.
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.
Volume 2, Page 24, Picture 10, 1936 Olympic Games, Berlin, Germany, Five young women take part in a display of the Olympic Rings (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)
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.
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.
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.
It is obvious that there are reasons for differences in athletic performance between the sexes. The first one is biological. Sexual dimorphism does have an effect on athletic performance. There are some sports physiologists who claim this is the sole reason for the difference in performance. The problem is that this ignores sociological factors that could effect women. There are many issues that the male athlete will never have to confront. The challenge of gender bias and concepts of femininity still hound women in this profession. Access to equal training and talent development is limited. At an early age women are not taught to be physically skillful. Economic factors also play a role in how much time women can devote to sport. There have been instances in which women have been banned from a particular sport when they upset the gender norm order. It has only been recently that women have been allowed to compete on a professional level. The fact is performance has both biological and sociological factors working in conjunction. Biological determinism fails to realize this and reduces everything solely to the genes. The other end of the spectrum focuses on environment. It is not one or the other, but both. Examining the sociological factors reveals legacies of discrimination and lack of opportunity. While these challenges have been addressed, they are still present and effect women’s athletic performance. Sociological factors cannot be ignored, even though they are not immediately detectable.
Body image has at some point effected women’s lives. The ideal standard of beauty is obsessive over the image of thin body type. Even female athletes are not immune from this social and cultural pressure. Fear of violating the dated gender norm hinders women’s chances for improved performance. The trepidation of getting too muscular holds women back. Femininity has been defined in terms of delicateness or frailty. Muscle, strength, power, and skill were traditionally thought to be male only. This is not true, but when women display this they are criticized as being masculine or unfeminine. Skill and a level of aggression is necessary in sport, yet these attributes are praised in men. Women are forced to sometimes walk a tight rope in terms of body image, even though they have sculpted impressive physiques. There is subtle message of being toned, but not too muscular. Women’s bodies vary in size and shape depending on the sport they play so it is strange that their remains body image conformity. This also projects itself in eating disorders, which female athletes are also susceptible to. Some female athletes will not train as hard for fear of becoming more muscular. Weight training can dramatically improve performance, but some female athletes avoid it to prevent becoming muscular. It should be understood that women come in all shapes and sizes. The athletic body is not always a muscular one. It could larger or lithe.
The modern fitness industry does not help with improving body image. Most marketing is directed at weight loss and diets. It does not emphasize other workout routines in a serious manner in men’s magazines. There is an emphasis on tone for women and building strength for men. There has been a shift which has emerged from a movement against body shaming. Yet, this movement seems to be solely focused on women who are “curvy.” There is also a movement in the fitness community that believes “strong is the new skinny.” The problem with these movements is that they could just be swapping another body image conformity standard with another. The only solution to this is for women themselves to define what version of beauty is acceptable, rather than having it dictated to them. Body image seems to be a tool in which women are controlled. Female athletes violate this standard, by offering an alternative. It becomes a threat, because it challenges the old convictions about women’s roles and false notions of biological inferiority.
There are men who see a strong woman as a threat or an aberration. This to a great extent is influenced by mass media representations that people are exposed to during childhood and adulthood. If one image is presented as how all women should be, this creates a level of prejudice against people who do not fit such a paradigm. Women who are very muscular have to deal with negative commentary form the public and the media. Serena Williams has been attacked unjustly about her body built form hours on the tennis court. Female bodybuilders are also attacked and ostracized for large musculature. They have the largest musculature of all causing trepidation in some. Such behavior shows that body shaming is a bullying tactic to isolate women who do not submit to the cultural body ideals. Body image goes beyond just having a preference is is linked to sexist attitudes.
during Day Eleven of the 2011 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
Women in sports and their supporters believe that there is no contradiction between women’s muscular strength and femininity. There is not a contradiction, but it demonstrates who limited a woman can be defined in a sociological context. Body image pressure continues to be a persistent problem that could harm women’s athletic performance. Competition is just not a physical task, but a mental one. Stress and an uninviting atmosphere can cause issues. Men do not have to deal with such body image pressure in the sports world.
Barriers exist for women in terms of sexist discrimination and misogyny. When one views sporting events, one question that comes up is why are there not more female athletes? This relates back to socioeconomic status, cultural attitudes, and how girls are raised. There could be talented women out there would just do not have the opportunity to compete. There are nations that still view women as being merely property or just wives and mothers. There roles should not extend outside the domestic sphere. Culturally, girls are not taught physical skills like boys are. One of the bonding experiences between a father and son is teaching is child how to throw. Rarely do fathers do this with their daughters. Rough and tumble play is not considered appropriate for girls. This has changed in some countries. The US passed Title IX, which in many ways changed the way girls and women viewed physical activity. It is not strange for a girl to show interest in or want to play a sport. There is a gap in the amount of physical skills taught to girls. Physical education may to an extent be watered down for girls. The fitness targets and exercises are lower for girls, even when the physiological changes from puberty have not occurred. That means their ate no distinct physical advantages so sex segregated physical education classes would make no sense. This indicates their is a bias, but a process of socialization into cultural based gender norms. Women when examined in the context of the history of physical education were not expected to play games or sports in the same manner. The female model was to be less competitive and more of moderate level of activity. Women should not in this pedagogy of physical education not strain themselves or become competitive.
Girls in other countries may get the least amount of schooling, which explains some of the gender inequality globally. Obviously, not being school means they would not have physical education. Some countries have only just begun to offer it to girls. Saudi Arabia has done so as part of its Vision 2030 program. Conservative cultural convictions prevent women from becoming active participants in sports and fitness. Socioeconomic barriers also hinder both sexes. Poverty means less resources to participate in sports that require more equipment or related materials. Playing sports is a leisure activity, which is out of reach for the working poor. This doe not mean a person can not work their way to competitive ranks, but it shows how class has a major impact on life even in a society in which social mobility can be attainable. Women have been a part of sports since the ancient world. Women athletes have been documented in Ancient Greek civilization and indications of female participation in Ancient Egyptian civilization.
Women faced the same type of prejudiced attitudes and sometimes to an even larger extreme. Women were banned from watching the Olympic games and could be executed if they attempted to do so in ancient Greece. Even if women were athletes, there has been a long tradition of prohibiting or excluding women from sport. To say that the female athlete is an anomaly or a new phenomenon is incorrect. The peculiar dynamic is why sex discrimination has persisted for so long. While the numbers of women in sports are still lower compared to men, there has been a dramatic increase in total of women athletes. Sex discrimination exposes itself in a number of ways through unequal pay or limited media coverage. Another problem is just not having a venue or platform to compete. There are no professional leagues for women’s baseball or limited opportunities for women’s tackle football. There are some sports that remain limited for women. because the opportunity is not there.
Women have never been welcomed in sport and there is a culture of misogyny. To a more closed minded individual sports should be male only and women athletes are by nature “abnormal.” Women who perform at high levels are either accused of being mannish or having their sexuality questioned. This mix of homophobia and hetero sexism discourages women from being active in sport. The culture of exclusion is designed to alienate people of different sexual orientations, races, or religions. This type of exclusion does not only seek alienate, but erase history. It is common in sports historiography and entertainment to ignore non-white peoples. When discussing sports history the discourse mainly focuses on a Western narrative excluding other areas of the globe. China during the Ming dynasty had women as players in Cuju. The Nuba peoples of Sudan have a long tradition of wrestling dating back to the ancient world.
There have been women athletes all over the world. It is just now they have more venues to compete both at the amateur and professional level. There is a reason why women’s numbers are lower in sports and it is not always unintentional. Women traditionally were expected to give up personal ambitions for the sake of motherhood and marriage. Women had to present themselves as being lady like in the context of a conservative culture. This meant being passive, demure, and responding to male demands. Sports involve a level of confidence and assertiveness that at one time was seen as male only. This has changed over the years as more women challenge ridged gender roles. Sexism extends to a homophobia as well. Women who play sports well are often have their sexuality attacked. They are accused of being lesbians or masculine, because the wider culture has narrow definitions of what men and women can be. Simultaneously people of different sexual orientations are excluded and ostracized. Racism also intersects with exclusionary behavior. Normally white is considered the default presentation in media of the athlete. It ignore the fact that different races and women are part of the sports world. Black, Asian, and South American women have to deal with not only the burden of sexism, but race prejudice. White women do not have to deal with such a challenge. There are social as well as cultural barriers, but there are also institutional challenges.
Sex verification tests are an example of institutional barriers harming women’s athletic performance. These tests are given to women and not men which demonstrates a double standard. Slowly they have been eliminated, however they have remained in the form of testing testosterone levels. Women who are deemed to have “too much” testosterone in their system are expected to take hormone therapy to reach what is considered an acceptable level. There is a problem with this. The first is that if a woman’s natural level just happens to be high that just an advantage unique to her physiology. The other possibility is that the athlete in question is either using a performance enhancing substance, which can be tested for. The other case relates to a condition known as hyperandronism in which high levels of testosterone are produced in the body. This condition is rare occurring in about at least 5% to 10% of women. The regulation in regards to unique physiology demonstrates the IAAF is uncomfortable with women competing in sports. It was not until 1992 that the IAAF ended sex testing. Sex verification tests have for most of their existence been unscientific. They do not account for genetic variation among women and fail to understand the nature of intersex people. The IOC and IAAF claim sex testing is done to protect women form men posing as women in contests. To date their has been few men captured posing as a woman in the Olympics. The only case of this was Dora Ratjen in the 1936 Olympics. Dora was actually a man in disguise hoping that he could win more medals for Nazi Germany. Sex verification became more prevalent when women got more involved in sports. International athletics officials standardized gender testing by having athletes present themselves in nude parades. Female athletes would be examine by doctors (specifically their genitalia) for male organs. This was a violation of privacy and then another test was created that examined chromosomes. This also created complications because human genetics and sex are more complicated than thought. The ruling on testosterone levels is another means of policing gender in sports. A natural physical advantage should not exclude women from sport. The argument is about fairness, however women with such advantage are discouraged form competing. Caster Semneya and Dutee Chand were either forced to take sex verification tests or be banned from competition.
After legal action, both athletes were able to return to competition. They have talent and a natural advantage, so there is no reason to exclude them based on endocrinology. Detractors claim that they are not “real” women and if they compete it is unfair to other athletes. If it were true that their bodies were more male like, then their performances would match that of male track athletes. They do not seeing as they still have women’s physiques in the structural and physiological sense. Wider pelvises, smaller hearts, and lungs means that their performances would not match a male track athlete. This exposes the problem with sex verification tests. Gender is a social construction and used in this context sex verification is in a pseudoscientific manner is defining what a proper woman should be. Biological sex is the product of millions of years of human evolution with genes interacting with the environment by means of natural and sex selection. The genetics of women can vary. The only purpose of sex verification is to create an uncomfortable atmosphere for women and humiliate them. It is impossible to ban women from sport, but there are mechanisms at the institutional level to stop progress.Sex verification tests are a symbol of that problem.
One challenge involves the science of exercise physiology. The problem is that most studies focus on male athletes, yet there are few done on female athletes as a whole. When women want to train seriously for a sport, they have limited information. Methods and techniques are still debated. Women are obviously physiologically different from men and in some case may have to have a training regimen adjusted to meet there physical fitness targets. It may still be more to discover about women’s full physical capabilities. There are few women in the exercise sciences and kinesiology , which exacerbates the the issue of lack of information. Sports medicine is slow to catch up in the study of effective training for female athletes. There has to be consideration in terms of endocrinology, the musculoskeletal structure, and metabolism. These vary between men and women including between an individual’s unique physiology. Studies have shown that carbohydrate loading may not have the same effect on women as it does on men. According to a study conducted by the University of Massey at the Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Human Health women utilize only half of the carbohydrates in their muscles. The experiment was examining recovery after exercise having subjects engage in cycling. The results were different for men and women, but this was only one study produced in 2010. There needs to be more done with female athletes, rather than using males as the default for exercise science investigation. Doing so can help discard incorrect myths about women’s performance during menstruation, physical capability, and biomechanics.
Access to training facilities is also critical to performance. Gyms or tracks are beneficial to an athlete trying to maintain fitness and improve performance. Women were for a long time denied access to particular fitness facilities. The reason the Soviet Union’s women athletes were outperforming the US in 1956 was because they provided them with training facilities. The only schools at the university level that did that in America was the Historically black colleges such as Howard University and Hampton University. It was not until Title IX did women in the US get access to gyms and training space. Normally when women entered these spaces they were faced wit intimidation and common sexist prejudice. This is also tied to class. Women who are in a lower socioeconomic bracket do not have the same opportunities to enjoy sports activities. A gym membership can be expensive. The cost to compete depending on what sport can be immense. The income of the female athlete is lower and many may have to have several jobs just to keep playing the sport they love. The financial struggle may cause some to quit. Access to particular facilities could be a problem coming from a country with limited resources. Nations that are unstable, war torn, or economically unstable put women in horrible situations. While biology, anatomy, and physiology demonstrate whay there is a difference in athletic performance, sociological factors are also important. Barriers and discrimination or conservative cultural attitudes still hold women back in sports. Once these issues are challenged, women can truly excel.
Reynolds, Gretchen. “Phys Ed: What Exercise Science Doesn’t Know About Women.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 June 2010, well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/30/phys-ed-what-exercise-science-doesnt-know-about-women/.
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.
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.
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.
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.