Me Write Good Blog – The Simpsons ” Strong Arms of The Ma” (2012)

 

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Me Write Good Blog

The Simpsons has been on the air for 30 years, reaching another milestone. This was no simple feat. It ushered in an era of adult animation which has continued through the decades. When it premiered in 1989, there were few cartoons on prime time. The Flintstones  was the first prime time animated show broadcast back in 1960. This is not the first time that its 300th episode was discussed here. This review provides a different analysis than others. There is of course debate among fans about the quality of seasons past 12. Some say it has declined and others state it still the same show it was. Certainly, if a series has produced 674 episodes, every single one is not going to be great. This depends on the plot and writing. “The Strong Arms of the Ma” can be criticized for some flaws and praised on it strengths (quite literally). The Me Write Good Blog has some valid points, but others can be confuted. The episode did have a positive story about Marge overcoming fear and getting stronger. Yet, then it descended into a if  woman gets too much power than she abuses it trope. This odd message seems to be more conservative in how women should look and behave. The author seems to agree with this point in the review. Maybe we just should not take a cartoon or comedy too seriously. The current era of woke culture and cancel culture may be harming entertainment itself. The recent Apu controversy is just a reflection of that. An episode like this may not get made today. However, it is worth revisiting. There is a love hate relationship with it that many fans have.

     The reviewer makes it known is he not a fan of muscular Marge. He even admits he was dreading watching the episode because of the design change. The fear induced in him a “roided up Muscular Marge filled with rage.” This seems like an overreaction considering she only get aggressive at the end of the episode. It was actually justified when Moe made a rude comment about her appearance. What The Simpsons did in this episode was to take every negative stereotype about female bodybuilders and make fun of them. Some are so overused they become tired. These images include that of a sexually aggressive , steroid using, unfeminine, and pugnacious woman. Marge really does not become unfeminine and only got aggressive when attacked at Moe’s Bar. The muscular woman induces feeling of fear, disgust, and even hate in some people. Women with power are seen as threats and women with physical power upset notions about gender roles. Physical strength still is seen as male only and women who attain it are condemned. Marge does not look that terrible only bigger and physically more powerful. The problem is that with her new found strength she becomes a bully. This seems to be the irrational fear that men have. If women get too much power they will become abusive toward men. Much of Marge’s bullying happens off screen accept the infamous bedroom scene with Homer, which still generates controversy with some fans.

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The fact that in the show and fans in real life react to the design change shows just how women’s bodies come under extra scrutiny. The demand that all women look a certain way is sexism, but it has become acceptable. Marge does not appear ugly or so extreme that Homer would stop loving her. While a vast majority of Simpsons characters are stereotypes, it seems the female bodybuilders are subject to more cruel remarks. The announcer at the female bodybuilding contest says ” know meet the ladies that our doctors assure as are women, the iron maidens.” It is a joke, but based in prejudice. The women that compete sculpt bodies of a certain aesthetic. It may not be attractive to some. They are not competing to please or get the attention of men. The design of Marge is not the problem , rather her personality. It can be blamed on the drugs. It was just out of character for her. Only when Homer talks to her to calming down does she go back into her character. The destruction of the weigh set was more telling. The steroids were what made her more aggressive so it would make sense to dispose of those. The destruction of the weight set seems more like an indirect message that a woman who is too strong is undesirable. Marge says “you know I really do missing being a lady.” Well she never stopped. People judge women by a different standard. Being different makes a person subject to ridicule. Strong Marge was a fun concept, which was really a highlight often ignored about this episode.

         One of the few positive aspects of this episode is that it demonstrates that Marge can be a fun character. The antics normally come from Bart or Homer and sometimes the progressive rebel Lisa. Marge may have fewer episodes compared to other characters simply because fans may think she cannot be interesting. This episode was a different experiment. What would be considered a straight man ( or rather straight woman character ) flips into. What can be praised is that there is a depiction of physically strong women in show that rarely does it. The Simpsons has always been good at creating secondary and one shot characters. This episode did a good job with its one shot female characters. While certain jokes may not have shown female bodybuilders in a positive light at least there is some visibility. That is what the critics of Apu do not understand. The character can be changed to address racial stereotyping issues, but making him disappear does not help. Hopefully, Hank Azaria will reprise the role of Apu. This can also be applied to female characters in any medium.

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Do not be afraid to try something different with them. Specifically with animation do not be hesitant to utilize a variety of character designs. This was the fist time The Simpsons depicted highly muscular women and the designs were great. Seeing as there are no plans to end the series anytime soon, there are opportunities for more experimentation. These nameless background characters most likely will not be seen again. They did have potential. The woman who sang “The Who Shot Liberty Valence”  and the woman lifting the piano were the best bits of the contest scene. Nameless characters sometimes reemerge in background shots. It would be worth it to bring back the two just for the sake of having more of a variety of female characters. The wonderful thing about the The Simpsons   is that it proves female characters can be interesting.

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Ruth powers is one of those under used characters that reappears in this episode. Although much more muscular her new backstory was that she won Ms.Mexican mafia. Ruth did this while in prison. The unfortunate reality of female characters is that they are never given too often strange or unusual backstories. Marge over the past 30 years has become more than just a typical house wife. She’s been an activist, real estate agent, and cop. The 300th episode had her do the craziest things yet. Who would have thought that the humble housewife would beat up her own mugger and trash all the guys at Moe’s Bar ? It is good that the writers explore Marge’s character and what she can do. Too often female characters are either stock ones or the typical voice of reason and ethics. It is nice to see deviation from that.

           There were flaws with this episode. The first is that it seems disjointed. The agoraphobia theme could have been its own stand alone episode. The bodybuilding theme could have been another. While some jokes are funny, its not season one to ten quality. The odd mixed message of drugs are bad seems irrelevant to other subjects in “The Strong Arms of the Ma.” The story is not as solid as Me Write Good Blog suggests. That is way there is sort of a love hate relationship some fans would have with this episode. The concept of strong Marge is an awesome one, but her being drunk on power is not. Bullying or being mean spirited is just not part of her character. The strong women domineering men stereotype has been so overused. One could look at it from another perspective saying that it could be male sexual fantasy. The way it is normally presented in popular culture is a bad thing or being against a man’s will if they are intimate. The Marge forces herself on Homer scene is tasteless. However, comedy does tend to push appropriate boundaries.

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Sorry Family Guy, even The Simpsons did it.
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The infamous scene that has become controversial among fans.
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American Dad’s portrayal seemed to be a break from the common narrative about muscular women.

That is the point of vibrant entertainment. It goes beyond safe spaces or what makes people comfortable. The scene probably would not be done in 2020 considering #Me Too. Maybe it would, seeing as it is a man abused and rarely is that a concern for third wave feminists. There are multiple issues with the episode, yet it cannot be hated completely. The worst episode in the entire series was “Lisa Goes Gaga.” This season 14 episode did not reach that level.Some  fans may say the The Simpsons best years are behind them and other still watch. It could be that in the 2000s the show made some changes and did experimentation. People rarely react positively to change in something they like. The changes were made out of practicality seeing as it did not want to get stale or repetitive. Seasons 13 and 14 was a period in which The Simpsons went through a modernizing process. The modern era Simpsons differs from its 1989 to 2003 stage. Plots are more antics based, compared with the more traditional sitcom character focused format. Occasionally in recent seasons, they seem to switch between the two. “Strong Arms of the Ma” is an example of the show doing antics based plots combined with character focus. This experiment does not always work, yet sometimes it does produce an entertaining episode. The 300th episode does not execute this well. It may not have re-watch value and still it can have some positive attributes. The series is now in its 31st season and it is uncertain it will end. Rumors of another film being produced have been circulating, so it appears The Simpsons will be around for awhile.

Me Write Good Blog – The Simpsons ” Strong Arms of The Ma” (2012)

Alisha Valdes: Are Men Actually Stronger Than Women- You Betcha (2012)

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Manly Monday – Are men actually stronger than women_ You betcha

Alisha Valdes is a journalist, author, and film producer who wrote “Fearless and Freaky ” a blog that featured some of here written pieces. The now defunct site would feature what was referred t as “Manly Mondays.” It was her personal opinions about the sexes and sex politics. At first the title asks a question are men stronger than women, which does not seem like a controversial statement. To an extreme social justice warrior this may cause them to be triggered. The more rational people see it as a general statement of biology, however the problem with Valdes is that she takes a perspective that would actually justify women being subject to a secondary role. The opposite end of the spectrum from  the social justice warrior  is the culture warrior. These individuals dream of a period in which traditional gender roles are rigidly imposed, race relations reverted back to the 1950s era, and religion plays a larger role in public life. These two extremes have polarized every area of American society from entertainment, politics, and even general discourse. There has been a movement to discredit social sciences as leftist propaganda driven by the far-right. History, sociology, and political science can tell us much about why human civilization developed the way it did. The problem related to this topic of biological sex difference it not between nature or nurture. It is how much do these two factors work together to produce an individual. Before addressing this, the concept of equality must be explained.

            Equality by definition is ” the state of having the same worth in terms of rights, status, and opportunities.” The person who either believes in racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other type of intolerance thinks equality should not exist. Their world view is tainted by the ideology that there is a superior group and a group of inferiors that either need to be enslaved or exterminated. Nations that value human rights, freedom, democratic institutions, and the regulation of political power tend to hold equality as a value. The reality is that most societies are pyramid structures with a hierarchy that is unequal. This pyramid structure can be seen in both authoritarian and democratic governments.  There has been progress in terms of improving the rights of citizens in certain countries. However, the more progressive branch in the left take an entirely different view on equality. Alisha Valdes describes this as equality meaning being the same. The context here is in sameness feminist views men and women women are not that different. This ignores both biology and psychology. The concept does not start with second wave feminism as Valdes claims, rather it got more mainstream with third wave feminism in the 1990s. Every individual is different physically and psychologically different regardless race, sex, sexual orientation, or nationality. People are the same in regards to being the same species. The argument is a flawed one, but the sameness concept is what some progressives and feminists have adopted. Looking at men and women you can see they are not physically the same. When discussing size and physical strength this is the first attribute of sexual dimorphism that can be noticed. This does not mean one sex is superior than the other, rather physical differences that developed from human evolution. The sameness feminist argument ignores that true definition of equality.

            Biology and physical difference has become a topic of debate among feminists. Some argue that focusing on biological difference only encourages placing women as the other. Others view discussing men’s greater physical strength as embracing the idea of male superiority. Certain power feminists believe they should challenge men in all things and strength should be another area. They ignore the fact that physiology and anatomy play a role in physical strength difference. Girls and boys are equal in terms of physical strength. The ratio to bone and muscle is not the great in total amount. Puberty strengthens the male body to a higher degree with an increase in bone density and muscle mass. It is not just the muscle mass that is strengthened. Ligaments and tendons are reinforced. The male body produces more androgens, which enable a lower body fat composition.   The upper body has more strength in males with broader shoulders. The female body has narrower shoulders and wider hips. Males tend to be taller than females on average. A larger skeleton means more room and support for muscle. Muscle fiber type dictates physical strength. Type II muscle fibers are the most important for explosive strength. These are more prevalent in men’s bodies and the fibers themselves are larger.

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Testosterone dramatically effects bones and muscles of boys during puberty.Girls do not gain a strength spurt.
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Through exercise and diet women can increase their physical strength.
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Men experience a higher degree of muscular hypertrophy from a weight training regimen

The average man has more strength than the average woman. However, this can vary depending on the individual’s size, height, health, and physical fitness condition. Training does not completely  negate the difference in strength. The strongest man could have more strength than the strongest woman. The National Institutes of Health study demonstrated that women can have an estimated 66% of strength of  a man of similar fitness level. That still a good amount considering men have more to start off with. A woman can certainly be stronger than a weak or average man. Unlike the facial hair analogy used by  Alisha Valdes, this case makes more logical sense. Humanity can manipulate its own biology, which means it is not impossible for women to gain strength. Equality does not mean equality in ability. While women may be able to have higher records in sports, this does not mean women cannot excel. Some people will juts be better at certain things. A scientist would be better at explaining natural phenomena than playing soccer.

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This astronaut has many skills that the strong man does not.
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He can lift more than the female astronaut. This is the only sense in which they are unequal.
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She is stronger than many men.
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This man is weaker than most women, but that does not mean he’s beneath them.

People are different, but they are the same in the sense they all have value. The issue related to sex politics is that women were not given the same rights or value. The erroneous remedy was the idea that women either were consider the same or should try to imitate men. The influence of biology is very powerful and trying to eliminate or ignore these difference could have devastating consequences. Is it unfair that there exists a physical strength difference between men and women? Not really seeing as this trait can vary when we look at individuals regardless of sex. There are people who are smarter and stronger than others, but that does not mean they have the right to dominate or rule over the masses. Humanity is a wonderful mix of different people.   The emphasis on science  should not be misinterpreted as biology is destiny. The environment can influence how a person develops.

     The difference in physical strength may not be entirely biological. Girls and women for a longtime were discouraged from developing themselves in terms of physical fitness. Professional sports were seen as male only and women who were athletes were constantly the subject of ridicule. Mass media and body image conformity disparaged women who did not fit the paradigm. Even today women athletes are criticized for having muscular bodies. The same body type on a man is not treated in the same way. It is seen as something natural. For women, it generates feelings of trepidation or abnormality. Lack of physical activity can also be detrimental to women’s health. Heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis become major concerns as people age. Fad diets and weight loss is marketed directly at women. This is not designed to improve health and fitness, rather make women as physically small as possible. Thinness to an unhealthy degree is promoted. The result can be psychological disorder . Anorexia has a higher rate in women compared to men. A woman constantly trying to make her self thin is not increase body strength. If young girls are bombarded with the image and concept that making yourself unrealistically thin is necessary the cycle will continue. Part of the reason strong women my invoke such negative reaction is because they could challenge most men on a physical level. Just the image seems like a threat to the notion that men have all the power. Women who demonstrate they can be strong are indirectly asked not to display it. They are told “don’t get too big” or “they are too much.” Even with the strong is the new skinny maxim women are not suppose to get so strong that they could overpower a man.

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The more muscular woman can be seen as a threat. If women are “toned” like the one on the right it is considered acceptable.
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Body image issues can also effect men. Muscle dysmorphia has become more common among young males. 
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Women are now defying the narrow definitions of  what it means to be a woman. There is a movement to embrace women of different sizes and shapes despite mainstream culture.

These irrational fears or hatreds are a metaphor for society’s suspicion of women’s growing political and social power.  Roles are have changed between men and women. The more traditional minded will struggle to adjust to these changes. Children growing up may not react badly to them, seeing as it is a new social environment. There is still gender bias demonstrated at an early stage of life. Physical education courses are modified for girls. This does not make sense seeing as the changes of puberty has not created the difference in physical fitness capacity. Women still have to fight for equality in the competitive sports arena. From a perspective of sports science, women have not been examined as much compared to their male counterparts. Therefore women may be using training methods that do not unleash their full physical fitness potential.   Gender roles do change with culture and transformations within a society. To a degree women’s bodies and health are controlled by this.

        There were some elements of traditional gender roles that did benefit women. Chivalry was one aspect that was more of a gain to women’s comfort than men’s. Alisha Valdes almost laments that such behavior is extinct. If there was some activity or chore that required strength or an element of danger men were expected to do it without question. It did not matter if it would harm their health or mental well being, just as long as the reward of female companionship was a possibility. This idea of men and women forms a common stereotypical images  of helpless damsel and heroic he-man. This dated notion of chivalry still remains present, even though it does not fit well in the modern world. If the expectation is that the sexes be treated equally, there should be no reason for a man to do extra for women. This also means that women do not owe men anything.  However, women still have the expectation that men should do everything for them while claiming to believe  in equality. Men are still expected to pay for dates, alimony, be drafted, and be the main provider all while acting like everything is fine. Men have limited emotional expression outlets, which may explain odd behaviors or extreme outbursts of violence. If true gender equality is to be established then both men and women should be treated the same way. That means having the same obligations and responsibilities.

       There is another reason why physical strength could be a concern for feminists. Exalting male strength would ignore strong women and promote a weaker sex stereotype. This may seem harmless, but it can effect people’s behavior. Women who enter traditionally male dominated occupations such as firefighting, law enforcement, construction, or the military are viewed as being less capable. The most common argument used against women in combat jobs is that they do not have the physical strength. Detractors normally make the claim standards will be lowered to accommodate women. The women who are successful are still perceived as being given the job on the basis of their sex or an unwanted presence. The weaker sex stereotype also makes it possible that more women are discouraged from entering such fields. If a young girl is told she cannot excel, she will never try to advance as an adult. Alisha Valdes initial statement about men being stronger is not wrong, but she comes to an incorrect conclusion. Waiting for a knight in shining armor to assist women is a dangerous path. The irony is that this was written by a woman who claimed to be a feminist. To a degree women did have a level of security under a traditional household, however their freedom was severely restricted. A new era has emerged. With the #Me Too movement, gender neutrality, and a developing fourth wave feminism it is uncertain what sex politics will be like in the coming decades. One change is clear is that women are gaining more power and they did not need to out muscle men to do it.

Alisha Valdes: Are Men Actually Stronger Than Women- You Betcha (2012)

The Conversation : Why Do We Find Muscular Women So Perplexing (2014)

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Why Are Muscular Women Perplexing

The topic of body image has  been discussed before on women’s sports sites. Rarely, is it discussed on mainstream media outlets or digital platforms . The Conversation breaks the tradition by reporting subjects not discussed by other news organizations. Muscular women and accomplished female athletes can either induce feelings of shock, confusion, disgust, or in extreme cases hatred. The question asked in the title is more so  rhetorical. Sexism,prejudice,  misogyny, and double standards are the reasons  why muscular women are viewed as strange or anomalies. There is irrational fears of the other or people that are different. Society even reacts negatively to people who do not share the same opinions or thoughts. This article explores aspects of both sociology, sex politics, and human behavior. Even women who have become prominent in the sports world still face a high amount of disrespect and sexist abuse. While the article focuses on the negative aspects of culture surrounding  strong women, it forgets that there is a level of support. Fans are also harshly ostracized for their support. This only shows how conformity stifles free thought and control behavior in a strict fashion. The views expressed by some may even be implanted at an early age, which explains why it is difficult to understand other perspectives. Change or discovery never came by people doing the same things or thinking alike. The muscular woman may have a deeper meaning about women’s growing power both socially and the wider society.

         The argument is that women of such physical strength and development are “unnatural.” Women somehow when they gain such strength lose their femininity. While this is false, it should be realized that gender roles are based on a culture and society in which people live. Biological sex is a product of millions of years of human evolution. The muscular woman in the context of gender roles disrupts the traditional views of “real men” and “real women.” As stated in the text ”     It challenges the assumption that all men are big, strong and powerful and that all women are smaller, weaker and dependent.” The female athlete  not only challenges this notion; they completely make it a fabrication. There is a female athlete that goes a step further developing the body to its highest degree: female bodybuilders. Muscular strength has for a longtime been associated with masculinity. Many men do not fit this narrow paradigm of the ideal masculine image. To a degree men are not as pressured to look a certain way, however that may be changing. Young men are now suffering from muscle dysmorphia in a manner that parallels women’s body image issues. Women who seek to challenge body image conformity are faced with more harassment and unwanted commentary. The muscular woman may induce fear in some.

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Although such a fear may seem comedic or just illogical, it is rooted in the unknowns of women attaining huge amounts of power. When women obtained suffrage, there was a fear that their new found right was going to be used to harm men. The argument of against women entering the workforce was that they would take away jobs from men. Basically, there was a paranoid fear of female take over. The accusation was that feminists did not want equality, rather a society that benefited women only. These were conspiracy theories, yet there are some men who see women’s participation in sports in the same manner.Women’s entry into politics, science, and business has caused a reaction from certain men who believe men should have all the power in society. Seeing as it is difficult to stop women’s rise some resort to controlling certain activities. Sports seem to remain a space in which men want absolute dominance. Physical strength was seen as a marker of male superiority over females, but seeing as women can be strong it calls into question the sense of masculine identity. The breadwinner and head of house hold role has gradually been broken down by neoliberal capitalism, unemployment, and changes in family structure. Physical activity, sports, and exercise may have become a space in which men can cope with an undefined role and the decay of society. The reaction could  result in unhealthy behavior which could include more hostility directed at women or projecting through acts of extreme violence. There is more to being a man than looking like Hercules. Sadly, men may not be able to explore alternatives while women still have to challenge a stereotypical gender role expectation. The muscular woman does not fit into such culturally accepted notions of what women should be.

           Double standards and prejudice  are so ingrained in relation to the sexes, few recognize the problem with it. Bodybuilding was seen as a male sport, but it is for everyone. Women have presented physiques that are both unique and have a new aesthetic. Men who are athletes get respect, yet women receive scorn : “muscular women are often accused of taking steroids, being deviant, sexually confused or deliberately trying to offend others.” These accusations reveal prejudice not only about female athletes, but women in general. The prejudice directed at women is that they are less capable, over emotional, and are only fit to be mothers. When women  go out of  the domestic role, then somehow that is a violation of the natural order.

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There is of course nothing natural about women being in a subordinate position or being second class citizens. It can be fair to say that the look may not be to one’s taste. The issue is that people may value women only for their appearance or sexual capital. Insults and pure abuse are directed at them: ” they’re frequently told they’re unattractive, man-haters, selfish mothers or transvestites.” The double standard is apparent seeing as men never have to confront these harsh comments. Praise or condemnation is determined by one’s sex. Prejudice does not only come from the uninformed or uneducated; even the most progressive minded people have bias they rarely acknowledge. Some may say they respect a woman’s right to do what they want.However, the articulation of their opinions do not reflect that. Women when participating in certain fields may either reach a class ceiling or regulated to a structural limitation. Women have shown the can be great bodybuilders in what incorrectly is called a male sport. The IFBB made fitness and figure competition to as a way to regulate the muscular appearance of women. The Conversation explains“Femininity is linked to a female body that is slender, neat and sexually attractive. Because the muscular female form is so challenging, sports such as body sculpting use femininity as a buffer to counter the fact that women also have muscle. (We don’t judge male bodybuilders on their masculinity, their “maleness”.).”While there were attempts to halt women’s development and progress they only thing these new classes did was get more women involved. The bikini division was the latest addition, which has drawn controversy. That is even going to change. The physique division has transformed itself into a lightweight female bodybuilding competition.  All these achievements from women in sports one would think that acceptance would come with it.

           The question asked is there a problem? There is, yet it needs to be correctly identified. Muscles on women’s bodies is not the issue and its not femininity. It is the more insidious sexism and misogyny that shapes the public’s views and culture. Femininity is viewed as a characteristic that is one dimensional. There is no reason to think that strength, power, and independence cannot coexist with femininity. If the boundaries of restricted space are to be broken, then it should be acknowledged that femininity is not a culprit. The only alternative would be to either completely condemn it or favor some form of gender neutral ideology. Doing this is basically saying if women resemble men more, they can achieve equality. That is not a solution nor is it practical. Sexism preaches a doctrine that men are superior to women. Men are just better is the philosophy, which has a basis in the false notion they are biologically stronger. When a woman demonstrates physical strength it discredits men’s monopoly on it. The hatred of women stems from the idea that they are manipulative, need to be controlled, or if they get power will abuse it. Women gaining strength has not resulted in a matriarchy.

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Seeing as women have made a rapid rise in sports, there is little basis to refer to them as inferiors. The sexist and misogynists become vexed, because their psuedoscientific explanations are discredited.   There are ideas still spread among laymen. Besides cultural attitudes, one should examine the structural problems related to sports institutions. The unequal pay, limited sports coverage, or limited platforms to compete remain barriers to women in sports. The lack of female coaches and sports teams owners only exposes a larger sex segregation in the sports world. Attitudes must change along with institutions. If not women will be subject to a secondary role or have limited visibility.

     Since the publication of this article, there has been a change in thought. There are fans who support women’s athletic endeavors. There are also male fans who not only are interested in women’s athletic accomplishments, but the new version of female beauty that has emerged from intense training. Although some would condemn this as sexual objectification, this goes beyond mere desire; it is admiration. Male fans may marvel of the sight of a woman’s impressive physique. The reality is a muscular physique on a woman can be just as attractive as a smaller or larger one. The text incorrectly calls fitness and figure competition body sculpting. The term is one of mass marketing in fitness which encourages women to lift weights. The concept is that if it was called weightlifting women would reject it due to it having a masculine association. Exercise can be done by both men and women. When a person lifts a weight that is bodybuilding, which in a sense is sculpting the flesh to look a certain way.

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There were muscular women in the past. Strongwomen, acrobats, and street performers were women who showed developed musculature. They were limited by their time seeing as women had few platforms to compete or develop their physiques to the maximum. Within half a century the modern professional sports woman presented a body that was stronger and bigger than ever before. This is a unique event in history that few observers take notice of. Women created an entirely new aesthetic body mage. The reason why some may find this perplexing is due to the fact the image is new . People either fear or are puzzled by what they do not understand. There are women who still focus  on weight loss   and thinness as a goal. Other have experienced a paradigm shift wanting to improve their athletic performance and get stronger. Such bodies on bodybuilding stages and Olympic podiums would not have been conceivable 112  years ago. It will take some time for people to get used to a woman of such physical power. It is not clear how this evolution of women’s physicality will progress. Women’s bodies and what they are capable of will be the subject of much discussion in the field of gender studies.

The Conversation : Why Do We Find Muscular Women So Perplexing (2014)

Fitness Volt : The Sudden Demise of The Ms.Olympia

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The Ms.Olympia Demise

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. It seems that in this era, opinions matter more than reality. Andy Carnegie offers his insights into reasons for Ms.Olympia’s cancellation. These observations are of course wrong and their are some corrections needed in the text. The 20% rule was made in the year 2005 and the last Ms.Olympia was held in 2014. It was not in 2015 this happened and when this article was written the end of the Ms.Olympia was not sudden. Carnegie blames the end and decline of female bodybuilding on drugs and appearance of competitors. The problem with this argument is that ignores the amount of sexism women face and body image conformity. His bias is present even in the way he describes the athletes. Statements and the evidence provided are simply generalizations. The comments at the bottom of the article also reveal a more hostile sexism : ” Just because they expressed how they see it doesn’t mean they are a bigot when most male fans of bodybuilding don’t like over roided man women and most women get grossed out by it in general. ” That was written by a user called Anonimal who then adds”  Also you’re pulling the “ideal physique card” as well considering you got all butt hurt over someone’s views and opinions that are pretty damn accurate.”  Well, the opinions expressed are not accurate nor correct. This requires more explanation. Andy Carnegie proclaims the era of the overly muscular woman is over,however that was premature. The Ms.Olympia is coming back in 2020 and even before that their were still female bodybuilding contests being held. The Wings of Strength Rising Phoenix was the successor to the Ms.Olympia and generated enough following to have a Ms.Olympia revival.

        Carnegie makes the claim before the 1980s there was “no such thing a female bodybuilder that looked freakishly muscular.” Calling women freakishly muscular is a phrase that just projects one’s taste in aesthetics. Here it seems he has a low opinion of women who compete in general. Freakish implies that these women are some type of abnormal abomination. The argument used ad nauseum  is that women are doing activities that are not natural to their bodies. The fact is men do not naturally look like Mr.Olympia either. Humanity has found a way through exercise physiology, pharmacology, and sports medicine to push the body’s physical capabilities beyond what could be done in nature. We are even extending our own lives beyond what people could have thought of centuries ago. Women’s bodies are capable of many things and muscular women are nothing new. The term freakish cannot be applied here,because as nature show our phenotypes can vary immensely. Besides just being a vituperative insult, big women were present in the early years of the sport. Laura Combes who competed at 155 lbs from the years of 1979 to 1982. Iris Kyle the Ms.Olympia champion  of the 21st century competes at range of 157 to 165 lbs. That means Laura could have easily by adding more weight could have fallen in the range of a modern day Ms.Olympia winner. Women had very muscular physiques, even though they did not weigh much. Kay Baxter was considered “too big” for some judges,which explains her odd placings in contests. Female bodybuilding’s origins predate the 1970s with the 19th century strongwomen. They would preform in circuses , on the streets, music halls,and in  vaudeville acts. At the time, they were also looked at a strange or violating natural gender norms. The same message is used by detractors in the modern day.  Strongwomen like Mariam Kate Roberts and Pudgy Stockton often faced more harsh criticism for their athletic abilities.

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Miriam Kate Roberts
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Pudgy Stockton
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Laura Combes
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Kay Baxter

Kate Roberts was a stronwoman who toured in music halls  in Britain, Australia, and most of Europe. Her feats of strength became popular among audiences. The strongwomen of the 19th and 20th century were not training for aesthetics,but they did gain impressive physiques from years of lifting. Kate Roberts has the musculature that could be equivalent to a physique competitor or lightweight bodybuilder.  Pudy Stockton’s muscles were in that similar range . She was the pioneer of weightlifting and bodybuilding for women. During the 1940s she was a fixture on Muscle Beach. Muscular women have existed prior to the 1980s, the difference is that women have in the first time in history began developing physiques to their maximum. Lisa Lyon became inspired by the images she saw of Pudy Stockton. She when on to be a female bodybuilding pioneer in the 1970s. She won the first IFBB Women’s Professional Bodybuilding Championships in 1979.    Prior to this Kellie Everts pioneered the concept of  building muscle for aesthetic purposes.  The physiques of this era were more sleek with some definition. The real shift came prior to Lenda Murray and Bev Francis. Before those athletes it was Rachel Mclish and Carla Dunlap. Rachel Mclish was the first Ms.Olympia and had slightly larger and defined muscles compared to the female bodybuilders of the 1970s.

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Kellie Everts
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Lisa Lyon
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Rachel Mclish
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Carla Dunlap

Carla Dunlap took the image of the muscular woman even further. Her body was much more massive compared to other Ms.Olympia competitors. Bev Francis arrived into bodybuilding after being a powerlifter. She was still trying to figure out how to sculpt a physique. Carla Dunlap and Rachel Mclish provided the foundation for both Lenda Murray and Bev Francis. Prior to that the athletes of the 19th and mid-20th century broke the restrictive barriers. What changed was that women no longer were afraid to look different. Women wanted to get as muscular as they could. Before, women were expected to adhere to one body type based on the culture or society in which they live.

         There is a tendency to blame the end on the Ms.Olympia on anabolic steroids. The side effects at high dosages can be seen through virilization. The fact is that female bodybuilding is not a beauty contest. Just taking drugs does not produce the physiques you see on stage. Carnegie claims this is when female bodybuilding took a turn for the worse. Women do not need steroids to build muscle and their are women who use that do not attain the same level as seen on a professional bodybuilding stage. The fact a woman has developed muscle does not indicate that she has used anabolic androgenic steroids. The only way to know for certain is to take a drug test. Andy Carnegie statement becomes baseless : ”  make no mistake though, many current competitors are using PED’s but nowhere near the extent to which they were used before.” The use of various drugs could be as high or the same as it was in the past. There are multiple drugs available which include insulin, growth hormone, and selective androgen receptor modulators. There really is no way of knowing accurately, because athletes may no be willing to talk about their experimentation or use of drugs. Andy Carnegie seems more concerned about a woman’s appearance rather that the health risks that can happen from long term use.  The circulatory system, liver, and reproductive system could be at risk from steroid abuse for athletic performance. That should be the only concern rather than just what it does to women’s appearance. Women may not even experience side effects like others, because depending on the type of drug used the reactions could be different. The reality is performance enhancing drugs have been a part of sports throughout most of its history.   Carnegie is right  when he says ”  what a human being decides to do with their body and life is a decision reserved only for that person. ” Too bad people are so willing to judge and be prejudiced. He falls into this classification. Even when drugs are not a factor people are still uncomfortable about female muscle and athleticism. Female athlete who have not used drugs are even criticized about their bodies. Drugs did not harm women’s bodybuilding, rather its the promoters and sexist attitudes prevalent in sports culture.

           Andy Carnegie has a masters in exercise science, but he gives answer to how women build those physiques, which is rudimentary considering hist level of education. He simply states anabolic androgenic  steroids. A woman who just takes steroids is not going to look like Ms.Olympia. Training,diet,nutrition, and genetics are major factors in how much muscle mass a person can gain. Testosterone is not the only hormone involved in building muscle. Insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) , glucogen, and cortisol play significant roles in muscular hypertrophy.  Steroids obviously do not transform people into athletic champions. The most egregious error is when Carnegie claims : ” So females who use anabolic steroids, can level the playing field and even surpass the musculature of a grown natural male (Steroids are that powerful).” A man who lifts can easily still be stronger  than a female bodybuilder on steroids. The main reason is that men’s testis are producing more testosterone in comparison to a woman of various fitness levels. This would mean women are carrying more fat in comparison to a man who would be of larger size on average. Estrogen blockers probably would not even make a difference. Strength of the body is dependent on skeletal size,ligament, and tendon strength. Ultimately steroids to not cause the skeleton to drastically increase in size.

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Andy Carnegie makes the argument that there are more so “toned” bodies appearing on stage. The idea of toning does not have a basis in exercise science. There are just degrees of muscularity that women are carrying. The bikini, fitness, physique,  and figure athletes are not models with just toned bodies. The average model is thinner and does not have the same level of experience with strength training. This is typical of detractors to insult and vituperate women with success in a male dominated field. The “she’s on steroids accusations” is meant to disparage female  athletes and their accomplishments. The athletes now are just as good or possibly better, yet the same amount of disrespect is ubiquitous. Drug use does not explain why women who achieve their physiques without pharmaceutical aid are still subject to vituperation.  Unless you equate masculinity with strength and power being male only attributes maybe such women would fit the description. This is backward thinking especially in an age of gender equality and empowerment of women taking place around the world. Women train diligently to obtain a look that could take decades. Supplementation, exercise methods, and advances in nutrition have aid this change in women’s bodies, not just performance enhancing drugs. When viewed from this perspective, the question of drugs is an irrelevant topic.

          The image of  causes feelings of fear or discomfort to some. Even Andy tries to comfort himself by saying : “if you look at the female bodybuilders and even CrossFit athletes, you’ll notice that they are in great shape but it’s just a level down from the crazy physiques we’ve seen in past years.” The women are not only bigger and better, there are more women in sports than ever before. The muscular woman’s physique has gotten more exposure. The female bodybuilders in the years 2014 to 2019 still strive for a look similar to Lenda Murray or Bev Francis. Take for example Margie Martin and Aleesha Young  and the physiques they have built . If they were to compete  with Lenda Murray or Yaxeni Oriquen Garcia  it seems they would be on equal  footing. The competitors of today have improved and their bodies are no more crazier than the ones in the past century. What is happening is different levels and varieties of physiques seeing as their are more categories for women. Men’s physique came after women’s physique. Men have only two bodybuilding categories while women have five. Bikini will eventually see some form of evolution as it develops overtime. Physique has in many regards transformed into lightweight bodybuilding. The women are not just presenting bodies of muscular size rather they also focus on shape, symmetry, and conditioning. Simply have big muscles is not going to win contests unless you have the balance of all the required elements.

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Margie Martin (2019)
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Lenda Murray (1990)
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Yaxeni Oriquen Garcia (1999)
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Aleesha Young (2019)

The IFBB may have saved female bodybuilding unintentionally, when attempting to eliminate it. The year 2013 brought women’s physique into existence with a body type that resembled women bodybuilders from the years of 1989 to 1990. Dana Lin Bailey was the first women’s physique champion and has since gone on to compete in weightlifting . Her physique resembled a bigger version of Rachel Mclish. From 2013 to present, it seems that the physique athletes are looking closer to female bodybuilders. It is difficult to tell them apart. The hints are with some slight differences in muscle size. Then there is the difference in posing. More categories means more opportunities for women to compete and it seems the numbers have been increasing compared to 1979. This leads to what exactly will the image of the strong woman look like years from now. This is an evolution that has been going on for sometime. It is unknown what the final result will be. What is consistent is the constant objections to women being involved. No one dares blatantly projects their sexist or misogynist beliefs that women should not do this. So, coded language and disingenuous comment. The message that is presented comes to although women can do the same things as men, it does not mean they should.

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Dana Lin Bailey (2013)
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Jessica McKenzie (2016)
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Lindsay  Cope (2014)
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Amy Luu (2015)

The fear and discomfort comes from the reality that women can no longer be excluded from a male dominated sport. Really, at this stage in bodybuilding’s history it can no longer be considered male dominated seeing as women have more classes to compete in. Discomfort stems from something new and never have in the history of the world have women looked like this or pushed their bodies to this level of physicality. Yet there is a plethora of closed minded beliefs : ” many would call women’s extreme bodybuilding a freak show or just plain crazy but these women who are passionate about the sport; just see it as who they are.” Bodybuilding is not a mainstream sport, so the general public may not be as responsive to it. Football is internationally popular and has mainstream appeal.Calling female bodybuilding a freak show or crazy is just an exaggeration. Women competing are no more abnormal than any other person. Pursuing this sport is no more crazy than playing American football with the risk of concussion or the possibility of getting hurt in a MMA match. At least it is acknowledged that they are passionate and it is clear women can be great bodybuilders. The double standard is clear when you see the extremes men go to produce bigger physiques. Men got so extreme not balancing size with symmetry, the physique division was introduced. The notorious hgh guts have been a feature on many male bodybuilders at the Mr.Olympia. Women never went to that level. While there are people who do not like the idea of muscular women or strong women in general, there are people that do. The IFBB was slow to realize this and must catch up to a growing demographic of fans.

         Andy Carnegie claims that there was no money or desire to keep the Ms.Olympia going. Fans wanted it to keep going, but their desires were ignored. Saying nobody likes it when sports organizations do not promote it is a poor excuse. Female bodybuilders began to market themselves. Personal websites and other fan sites have exclusive material that fans can pay for. Gene X Magazine  has competition photos and videos members pay for to get access to. Herbiceps does interviews and posing videos in which members can pay for. These are just two examples on multiple sites that feature female muscle to a wider audience. Digital media is the wave of the future, yet it seems the fitness publications are still bent on selling magazines in supermarkets and bookstores. The truth is you can sell anything to a customer. People buy products they do not need or use. This depends on marketing and public relations. Female bodybuilding must be marketed in the correct way to ensure its survival. The target demographic should be males 18 to 34. They are the ones who would most likely enjoy buying tickets. Social media and websites should be organized to promote the sport. There are many platforms on the internet which can help. The Ms.Olympia was killed, because the IFBB let it be. Now that it is returning, they now understand that there is some potential value in it. Carnegie despite the surname does not see business potential in it : ” the truth is… nobody was interested in Ms. Olympia anymore and there was no money to be made. Yes, it was because nobody wanted to see “roided-up” females anymore and it just wasn’t pretty… literally!” That is not a truth, rather an opinion. It seems that in this day and age fact and opinion are used interchangeably. Female bodybuilding is not a beauty contest and the concept is subjective. There are a portion of men who like the look of a muscular woman’s physique.

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Carnegie claims the era of the large female bodybuilder is over, yet they never disappeared.  Jake Wood was pivotal in organizing the Wings of Strength Rising Phoenix, which from 2014 to 2019 was a successor to the Ms.Olympia. It found success that the Olympia agreed to a sponsorship deal with the Wings of Strength. Some new competitors are also emerging giving the more seasoned ones more of a challenge on stage. Fans of female bodybuilding have chosen to consume it through the internet and digital media. The IFBB just realized the possibilities. The return of the Ms.Olympia should not be a surprise to people who have followed developments with the Wings of Strength Rising Phoenix .

       The worst distortions detractors make of the sport is the claim no one likes it or that people that do are some how bizarre. It is no secret that there is a fetish culture related to muscular women. While women in the female bodybuilding class are associated with muscle worship or session wrestling fitness,figure, physique, and bikini women also do it as well. Seeing as the sport pays the women’s divisions less this can be a means of making income and financing competing costs. The large sponsorship just might not be there for women. Fans are either criticized for liking the sport and schmoes are accused of giving it a horrible image. These accusations seem baseless coming from critics who do not like the sport in the first place.The fandom surrounding female bodybuilding is a niche community, not bound by mainstream conventions. To say all men or most hate  female bodybuilding can be challenged by the fact that a large portion of men may engage in session wrestling or visit female bodybuilding websites. There is a vast cross section who are either fans of muscular women in general or specifically  female bodybuilders. Some men hide their love of such women to avoid being ostracized. However, Andy Carnegie perspicaciously explains  “men will pay top dollar to be dominated by a woman who is bigger and stronger than them and it’s not really hard to see why (Some of you men know exactly what we’re talking about).”  Women posing in bikinis will generate male attention and muscular women will get male attention, even though most men will not admit it. When the stigma of being a male fan is removed, only then can the fandom grow. There is nothing wrong with liking muscular women or female bodybuilders. A message like this must be spread,which can ultimately help the sport.

      The declaration that female bodybuilding is dead seems to be premature.If anything, there has been an explosion of muscular women more so than in the past. The sport has survived with much struggle,but the women continue to present impressive bodies. The desire women have to compete will not be stopped or  stifled. There is a place for all women of various muscularity levels. The various classes have enable more women to compete at both the professional and amateur level. Some women who were in physique have moved into the bodybuilding class. Female bodybuilding looks like it will be around for a while. The revival of the Ms.Olympia happened for a reason.Despite the disrespect and vitriol directed at women in the sport they still continue to progress. As long as women compete and have involvement female bodybuilding will be fine. Even former Ms.Olympia champions have been promoting. Lenda Murray has been promoting her own contests since her retirement from competition. Women must support other women to ensure the growth and sustainability of the sport. Even if the Olympia disappears for another time, the wonderful result is that women are no longer afraid to build muscular bodies.  The modern female athlete presents a physique more powerful than their predecessors sixty years ago. The change is a silent revolution and it is uncertain where it might lead. The physically strong woman is gradually getting more exposure in both mainstream and underground culture.

Fitness Volt : The Sudden Demise of The Ms.Olympia

New York Post : Construction Company Rolls Out First Inclusive ‘at work’ Signs

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Construction company rolls out first inclusive ‘at work’ signs

Women since 2010 have become a large part of the labor force in the United States. The first wave occurred in the 1970s, when much of the legal sex discrimination in the workforce was being dismantled.  Women have entered into fields that were once thought of as “men’s jobs.” Normally most people do not think of women construction workers when discussing female representation in economic production. There will be some adjustments to mainly male dominated spaces.  What the Plaza Construction company did in 2018 was to discard its “Men at Work” signs. The new gender neutral sign states “Men and Women at Work .” The “Men at Work” signs will be a relic of the past as job sites will have the new gender neutral signs. CEO Richard Wood explained it is part of a “female friendly” initiative program. It seems that a wave of progressive political correctness ideology and gender focused feminism is having an influence on workplaces  . To  a degree this is another way of policing speech to a pathological level. Adjusting language does not prevent certain realities. It is a wonderful development that women show an interest in construction and repair of America’s infrastructure. However, changing a sign is not going to improve wages, benefits,  or human resources conditions. It does not ignore the fact that women overall would not have equal numbers in this field compared to men. That is no excuse not to recruit. As the gender pay gap becomes more of a widely discussed topic, there has to be honest discourse.

           A sign change seems pointless, when in there are more men who are working in construction. Even the New York Post demonstrates this with statistics.   Women only are 9% of the national construction workforce. New York City has a 7% female construction workforce. Plaza Construction has according to its records 25 % female employees.  There are both biological and sociological reasons for women’s low numbers. Construction is a physically demanding occupation. Technology has reduced some of the burden with the invention of cranes, excavators, and bull dozers. Construction can be hazardous, even with technology and safety measures in place. On average, women are not as strong as men. Health conditions from strenuous manual labor can occur and this could possibly impact women worse. The threat of musculoskeletal injury is high. This can be circumvented with exercise. Being in at least decent shape may help prevent bone, tendon, or muscle related injuries from construction work. The physical strength difference is the biological reason why women may not be in construction in large numbers. Yet, one does not need to be a high performing athlete to be a construction worker.

The sociological factors are obvious. Women were traditionally banned from or either victims of sex discrimination in relation to certain occupations. Women were excluded from labor unions or  the highest positions of business. Women were not taught financial literacy  or how to manage money. Prior to the second wave feminist movement women were denied many educational and employment opportunities. It was even worse for women of color who were subject to race prejudice. Besides discrimination and biology as barriers the matter of personal choice is one factor rarely discussed. Women do not en mass choose dangerous or manual labor work. This does not mean they are not capable. There could be many capable women who simply avoid such occupations for numerous reasons. Women may not be willing to take the same risks as men. Men and women may have a predilection for particular activities that are both biologically and sociologically based. People may not want to go into construction because of the long hours or the amount of physical activity involved. Women may just not like the idea of doing manual labor or physical activity. Some women rather have men do heavy lifting for them rather than for themselves.  If it is work that requires strength or is dangerous men should be the ones to do it . This actually is sex inequality directed at men, yet it still remains acceptable. Gender equality should mean treating both sexes the same.

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The strange part about this new era of  female independence and girl power men are still expected to move the heavy things and do dirty or dangerous jobs. The puzzling part is that chivalry is so programmed into men many would just start carry boxes for this woman.    
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If women like this exist, there is no need to lower physical fitness standards for physically demanding occupations.
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The argument has always been that women are not strong enough for physically demanding occupations. The truth is with training  women can be successful.

Changing some signs does not negate certain realities. Words such as inclusion,diversity, and equality have been transformed into progressive buzzwords and progressive talking points. If there was a genuine desire for change it should be done in a rational manner with realistic expectations. The numbers may never be equal in occupations such as law enforcement, the military, and construction. This is not an excuse to not make programs to recruit women. If one truly values equality that means everyone is treated the same with no special treatment. Women should not expect chivalry in these occupations or some special status. If companies and progressives truly value diversity they should practice it in their own lives. The irony is that white progressive  liberals may say they embrace racial, religious, and cultural diversity but fail to connect with different people on a daily basis. The white conservative is more comfortable with expressing their prejudices.  Corporations and companies only use the term as a selling point or marketing strategy, when in reality most of their owners are white and male. Tokenism is used as a tool to hide the fact a racist and sexist power structure still exists. Inclusion becomes another strange term. One can be a part of something, but never will get recognition. Acceptance would be a better word  to use rather than inclusion. Most will never accept colleagues who of a different background from them in their work space. This is why human resources is even more important than ever. A sign change misses the point of the wider need to fully integrate women into male dominated occupations.

            Gender focused feminism   and political correctness is having an impact on culture and society. This is not entirely positive. To a degree political correctness stifles debate and hinders free speech. Unlike the exaggerated claims from the far-right extremists who claim it will lead to the collapse of civilization or “cultural Marxism” it does pose a problem. It encourages certain ideas that are dangerous to fester underground and then project. Political correctness wants to police speech to such a degree as a means of preventing any group from feeling offended. This is not the same as civil discourse its a small group imposing their views on other people. Using the term fireman or mailman could be seen as a terrible offense, because it implies only men can do these jobs. Any rational person knows women can, but political correctness seeks to condemn people who use certain words or terms considered offensive. Even popular entertainment and past literature is being subject to political correctness scrutiny. These seem like pointless battles not worth fighting, which become so ludicrous it is more comedic. Gender focused feminism may have a more damaging effect.

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Gender roles can change. Years ago this construction worker would be doing “a man’s job” but here she appears as an elegant lady in formal dress.
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Sports and exercise  was at one time considered a male only activity. Women now all around the world are competing in various sports.
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Women are part of the science and medical fields. There remain challenges in regards to prejudice and promotion in their careers .

Gender is a social construction in which roles between the sexes can change depending on the time period or place .  While gender focused feminists are correct in their assessments of socially constructed roles among the sexes, but they deny basic biology. Men are on average stronger than women yet the advocates of gender focused feminism believe that is a social construction. When science challenges their belief system then they reject it or call it sexist. This is one element they have in common with religious fundamentalists. The concept that if everyone is the same they are equal makes little sense. Difference is not an indication of inferiority. Gender focus feminists state that toxic masculinity is harming society, but they condemn masculine attributes in general. What they really should be talking about is machismo rather tan culturally defined masculinity. The characteristics defined as toxic masculinity are what a large portion of women are either attracted to or gravitate towards. Both gender focused feminism and political correctness will create backlash rather than confronting the problem of sex and gender discrimination.

           The pay gap remains one of the biggest obstacles to women in the workforce. Part of the challenge comes from the fact women do not go into certain fields in large numbers.  Science,technology, engineering, and mathematics requires more women to challenge the income disparity. Richard Wood’s program for Plaza Construction cannot fully be condemned. The question remains how effective it can be. The military, law enforcement, and construction fields must work harder to recruit women. Besides personal choice in career selection it must be understood that the neoliberal capitalist system is unstable. Wages remain stagnant, while inflation continues to rise. The cost of higher education has expanded the amount of debt and federal income tax puts the middle as well as working class at a disadvantage. If there is going to be serious discussion about income inequality than the neoliberal capitalist system must be challenged. Social democracy could solve some of America’s problems, yet a country that demonizes government and its programs may not be willing to adopt such as system. At minimum the United States could adopt a mixed economy which takes both socialist and capitalist economic policies. Employers must increase wages of workers to ensure a functioning economy. Women need to start businesses of their own. To often students leaving the university or college seek employment from someone else, rather that starting their own. Entrepreneurship should be women’s objectives in getting a larger foothold in the global economy.  Doing so allows for a smooth transition into a technology based post-industrial society  .  The global financial crisis harmed construction horribly between the years 2008 to 2010. Many workers came to the realization job security could be an illusion and being in the workforce will require constant learning to attain new skills.

          The nature of the workforce is changing. Automation, artificial intelligence, and information technology will have a major impact on the economy. Some observers call this a fourth industrial revolution. Construction workers may in the distant future be replaced by robots who can work faster and longer than a human being. The simple solution would be to train the next generation of construction workers in the manufacture of technology. However, self building robots may even eliminate this possible solution. As businesses,companies, and corporations become less reliant on human labor discussion of inclusion will disappear. They will have already achieved what they have wanted : obedient workers that do not make any demands. Labor unions are already decreasing in number and stable employment has become elusive. Stagnant wages translate to limited consumption, which means smaller businesses would be at risk . The unskilled worker and the less educated will find it more difficult to remain in the labor market. The middle class may slowly vanish with living standards and good paying jobs being replaced by robotic automation. These are concerns that are not seriously examined by governments or corporations. Developments such as the fourth industrial revolution are going to possibly have negative social and political consequences.

         Although this does not seem like important news discussing signs there is some promising data. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics  :  “while women nationally make only 80 percent of what men earn, in construction, they earn 91.3 percent of their male counterparts.”  The remaining percentage gap could relate to the fact women are not being promoted or that their numbers are so low it misleads the data. Signs are not going to improve wages,eliminate prejudice, or increase benefits. Rather than have signs saying “men and women at work” it would probably be more helpful  to encourage women to seek management positions. Even if more women are recruited in construction that means little without power or the ability to influence the industry. So far, it seems Plaza Construction has a pleasant atmosphere in the workplace for women. The era of #Me Too has exposed women face a disproportionate amount of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Merely adopting buzzwords such as “inclusion” or “diversity” is not going to make this issue disappear. Rather than “inclusion” the goal should be acceptance in the workplace through human resources training. When such policies and programs are initiated women can fully be integrated into male dominated occupations.

New York Post : Construction Company Rolls Out First Inclusive ‘at work’ Signs

The Eroticism of Female Muscle

It is not just the sport itself we like. There is something memorizing about the image of the physically powerful woman. To some it can evoke feelings of disgust,fear, or hatred. Yet to others there is an erotic nature to the highly developed female form. There is no secret that there are men who love muscle women. They do not have to be bodybuilders specifically rather women who display physical prowess or some muscle. The specific fetish for this has been called cratolagnia and sthenolgania. Arousal form either displays of strength or muscle. Men who like muscle women are either seen as strange, sexually confused, or deviant. This is not the reality. These prejudices only represent what people do not understand or attempt to comprehend. No one would question a person’s attraction to women who are pretty in the conventional sense. Having discussions about such women seems normal. The fact is it is normal to admire and be arouse by various types of women. The misconception is that the lover of female muscle would reject women who are either slimmer or bigger. The truth is they are more open to different types and more appreciative of variety. Society does not like people who think differently or want to challenge the status quo. A woman who decides to take her athleticism to the maximum is doing a radical act. A man who shows affection and arousal is also challenging the status quo.

           To understand this fascination with the physically powerful female form, eroticism must be defined. Eroticism can be ” the attributes of sexual feelings.” The connotations can also extend to elements of desire, aesthetics, sensuality or romantic love in certain cases. Eroticism appears in literature, art,film,and other forms of entertainment. At times this term is both fluid and nebulous being defined by both the culture and time period. Psychology and biology are two fields that have extensively studied human sexual behavior. Sexology specifically devotes study to the cultural, social, and biological aspects of human sexual activity. The study of sexology has its roots as far back as the ancient and classical world. Sexual  manuals have existed for sexual practices, methods of contraception, and advice on sexual relationships. The Kama Sutra  was a notable Sanskrit text on eroticism and sexuality. Sexual mores change dramatically overtime. It is very ironic that sexology as a modern science did not emerge until the Victorian Age. Havelock Ellis was an English physician and social reformer, who pioneered sexology. He was an advocate of sexual liberation and the study of human sexual orientation at a time when these topics were taboo. Richard Von Krafft-Ebing  produced Psychopathia  Sexulais  in 1886 becoming one the first texts devoted to sexual pathology.

These images of women can induce sexual feelings. Some may find the more muscular women to their liking and other may like the thinner women. There could be a portion that like both. 

The problem with the work is that it reflected the homophobia at the time classifying being gay as a mental disorder. Homosexuality and bisexuality are just different sexual orientations. Asexuality seems to be more difficult to classify seeing as there is no sexual desire present. Eroticism could work in the same manner for people of different sexual orientations. Yet, when discussing desire or arousal there could be multiple possibilities among individuals .  The existence of various fetishes demonstrates this. Objects,actions, or people can induce erotic feelings. The reason people have such desires and thoughts can be related to biological evolution. According to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution animals compete with one another  to produce offspring. Doing so ensures that genes and certain traits will continue. Favored traits would carry on through natural selection. Both sexes have desires and fantasies. Through out history female sexual desire was suppressed. Freedom only came with the sexual revolution and reliable contraception.

Relevant to the discussion of muscular women,  Magnus Hirschfeld coined terms that are applied to a particular fetish that lovers of female muscle have. Sthenolagnia  was coined by Hirschfeld another sexologist and physician who contributed much to the field. He described what are now known as  sexual fetishes. Cratolagnia and sthenolagnia  are not modern phenomenons. Nor are the kinks that people have. Eroticism’s denotation can be extended further to include an intense state of sexual arousal. There is a connection to sexual drive commonly referred to as libido   . Millions of years of human biological and social evolution have produced human sexual behavior.

    The female muscular form although a contradiction to traditionalist of gender roles creates a new paradigm of beauty. There are areas that are considered beauty marks on the female body. The chest and posterior tend to be popular areas of focus for the male gaze. The face has been important to both sexes. Some scientists even believe that beauty can be defined as symmetry within the face. While philosophers and scientists have attempted to define beauty people have done this on their own. It also varies from culture to culture. The muscular woman only exaggerates numerous aspects of the female physique. The lower body especially. Every man loves a woman with some well developed glutes.

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It used to be that having a big butt women considered a bad thing. Now women are attempting to make them look bigger. The muscular woman was already pioneering this look before people became obsessed with “thicc.” Being too thin is not healthy and far from what many believe to be beautiful. The greatness of the female form is its voluptuous shape. This does not disappear with adding muscle. Women still retain higher body fat percentages and for female bodybuilders their off season provides a very nice look. A layer of fat comes over the muscle giving the image of softness combined with powerful hardness. People often get confused not realizing that women look different on stage. Limited body fat,tans, and high amounts of vascularity may seem unsightly to people who do not understand bodybuilding aesthetics. The point is to create and mold a physique like an artists molds clay.The phrase “her body is a work of art” is used by fans to approve of the image the athlete has presented. Merely showing the muscle is not enough. Posing routines become part of this erotic display. Women on stage posing in bikinis will generate arousal. The traditionalist argument that such activity and display lacks feminine charm seems to be misguided. It is the contrast between a  powerful body with smooth curves. Gender roles can flexible, so being a strong woman should not be a contradiction.

              There exists other forms of beauty and aesthetic presentation that few people can appreciate. Just like works of art ,there are various styles and techniques. The main parts of the muscular woman are highly exaggerated with the legs and chest. Women who build such physiques still want a similar hour glass figure with the difference in higher upper body development.

Making the upper body look larger and the lower body in proportion creates a look in which the waist appears smaller. The women are not building masculine bodies,they are adding shape to them. The female body ideal first began with a more voluptuous figure to a slimmer one in recent history. There is a return to a wider variety in what is considered the body beautiful. Living flesh becomes the marble of sculpture. Knowing this the admiration goes far beyond mere amorous fantasy. The body becomes an artistic representation through the building  of  a physique. Art is subjective, just like physique sports. The definitions can become unclear at times. People know what they like when they see it. Each muscle radiates power. Traditionally in art, the muscular male body was the image of masculine beauty. This was more so a style in ancient Greek and Roman civilization. Women in art were represented with bodies that were more soft. The female mesomorph does not fall into an androgynous mixture of the two rather it feminizes physical power.

        Power can be sexy. It can come in various forms such as mental and physical. These attributes have been promoted and praised in men,yet their is a realization that are great characteristics in women too.  There is a change in gender roles and sex politics in which women can have more freedom  and independence.  The phrase strong woman is used constantly,yet few really mean a literal representation. Bulging biceps, rippling abs, and impeccable glutes become a radical image of physical power never before seen on a female body.

For those who find such women attractive it goes far beyond looks. Seeing women perform  feats of strength becomes a major turn on. Lift and carry or  arm wrestling have become fetishes unto themselves. There is an amusement factor that captivates female muscle fans. Like watching a concert or stage performance there is a shock factor. It is not everyday their are women doing this. Maintaining such a body and the diligence it takes is incredible. The elite female athlete does not just have physical strength; there is a mental component present. The amount of drive, effort,and sheer willpower to attain such physicality would boggle the mind of an ordinary person. The mental strength that the women posses is a very admirable and attractive quality. It should be noted that women also have fetishes and desires. The common misconception is that women are only passive receivers of male passion. Women who participate in session wrestling primarily do it to support their sports endeavors. Yet,women who have other sources of income may do it any way. Women may get enjoyment out of dominating men physically. A large part of muscle worship is that the strong woman has her muscles admired by the man, Much of this has to do with power display. While it is acceptable that women can admire a powerful man the same does not seem to be true for women. The great thing is this taboo is discarded and reversed with a focus on feminine physical power. Maybe this is not a new phenomenon at all. The admiration for the powerful woman could be rooted in ancient myth and religion. Prior to the rise of monotheistic religion goddesses were recognized.

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This is the Birth of Venus  by Sandro Botticelli. There is an erotic innuendo coming from this painting. 

       Mother goddesses appear in various cultures such as Nuwa in ancient China  or Papatuanuku in Maori tradition. Venus was not only the goddess of love she also was associated with sex,beauty, and fertility. There is a reason these subjects were placed together with this Roman goddess. The admiration and lust for muscular women may be going back to a worship of the mother goddess. It may be just a coincidence that female muscle fans may refer to their favorite athletes as goddesses, yet the connection seems to lead to such a conclusion. Monotheistic religion also brought about a more strict view about human sexuality and sexual behavior. Desire and lust was seen as sinful in these traditions and it ignored biological reality.  Eroticism has a biological component. These thoughts and urges are millions of years of encoded sociobiological behavior. Power is an attractive attribute,but it seems to becoming more acceptable for women to display such strength .

              The exploration into eroticism leaves many questions. What is beauty ? What is considered sexy? These questions do not have a one answer because so many people have their own ideas. They are influenced by the culture, society and media they watch. There is a difference between eroticism and pornography. At first this may be ambiguous or confusing due to the fact these terms are used interchangeably. Pornography specifically refers to the depiction of sexual acts or explicit display of the body for the purposes of sexual arousal. There may be overlap with the existence of erotic art or general erotica, but the words do not have the same denotation. There still has not been intense academic debate or discussion on these topics. Sexology is still has more research to produce to fully comprehend human sexual behavior. What can be known is why a person is attracted to certain types. Muscular women have a certain appeal. The parts of the female body are exaggerated to a greater degree. The posterior and legs have been areas of the female body that receive much attention. The image of the physically strong woman induces many feelings that can range from fascination to arousal. Liking the muscular woman is no different from liking any other women. What is different is that it is becoming a new paradigm of female beauty. While not embrace completely by the mainstream, it looks like there is a large portion of men who love it. The erotic nature has drawn in many men.

The Eroticism of Female Muscle

The Angry Asian Man Website Banner Art

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The Angry Asian Man

This is the banner from the Angry Asian Man  website. The artwork is for the subscriber drive of 2019. The interesting element of note is that it features a woman literally throwing a man up over head. It seems that the image of the physically strong woman has appeared in numerous forms of media. The website discusses issues and challenges facing Asian Americans from racism, discrimination, immigration policy, and the general political atmosphere. It also makes commentary on racial stereotypes in media, news,television, film, and literature. The  May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month which celebrates the community’s contribution to US society and history. In an era of rising white racism and xenophobia it is important to remember the contributions of our diverse communities. Visit  the Angry Asian Man  and learn more about Asian American history.

The Angry Asian Man Website Banner Art