Bridgette – A Star is Born (part four)

A very pumped up Theresa Ivancik.

A very pumped up Theresa Ivancik.

At exactly 5:58 p.m., Sean is waiting outside the Downtown Convention Center. His sweaty palm grips his phone like a slugger clutching a bat. He has a text message ready for Bridgette. All he needs to do is press “send” and the message will be sent to her.

Well, what exactly is he waiting for?

He looks at his phone. 5:59. One more minute.

His pre-written message says “Hi Bridgette! It’s Sean. I’m waiting outside the Convention Center. I’m here!” Simple enough. Sean knows Bridgette has his number in her phone already, but he figured identifying himself wouldn’t hurt. He glances at his phone again. It’s now 6:00. Okay, time to send off this puppy…

Then his phone buzzes. He answers it. It’s her.

“Hi Sean! Are you outside?”

“Yes, I am. I was about to send you a text letting you know where I am, but you beat me to the punch. I’m here!” It’s a bit chilly, but not unbearable. He’d rather be inside though, in the presence of the most gorgeous muscle lady in the known Universe.

“Awesome! I’ll let you in through the back door. It’s on the west side of the building. There’s a sign that says ‘Talent Entrance,’ or something like that. Do you know what I’m talking about?” Sean scoots himself to the west side of the Downtown Convention Center and indeed sees a brass sign above a bamboo wooden door that says “Talent Entrance.” He sees a homeless guy sleeping next to it with an empty bottle of Hennessy and a used marijuana joint. He tells Bridgette that he’s right at the entrance.

“Great! I’ll be down in a minute or two!” She hangs up on him. He waits for her to open the door. He wishes she’d come sooner because the stench of the homeless man is starting to give him a massive headache. Soon enough, the bamboo doors open and he marvels at the woman standing inside it. Bridgette. The Blonde Muscle Goddess. Dressed in jeans and a revealing lavender tank top, all her muscles look primed and pumped. She is a spectacle to behold.

“Sean! Come in. Hurry. The show starts in an hour but I have tons of press interviews to do. Do you know TMZ is here?” Bridgette ushers him inside a dazzling maze of humanity. The smell of spray tan permeates his senses. Everywhere, around every corner and every hallway, he sees what seems like hundreds of fit and muscular men and women of all shapes and sizes. Buff dudes with biceps as large as basketballs. Women with thighs that could crush a watermelon. Men and women with bodies like Greek Gods and Goddesses. They could bend steel, push a truck up a mountain and rip a phone book in half if they wanted to. Sean couldn’t take in what he was seeing with his own eyes. Bridgette was holding his hand and running toward somewhere, darting between oiled up musclemen and musclewomen. He hardly had time to catch his breath.

Eventually, they arrive at her dressing room. As the “Marquee Guest Poser,” Bridgette is entitled to a dressing room all to herself. Small and cramped, it does the job. Mirrors on three of the four sides, the room is both very hot (from all the lights) and smelly. He doubts anyone has cleaned this tiny room in years. He would usually be disgusted by all this, but the room had a very distinct musky “Bridgette” smell that he found so incredibly intoxicating.

“Sorry for rushing you over here. You probably saw all the camera people and photographers out there. If any of them saw you with me, they might start to suspect that you’re the star of that infamous video of mine,” Bridgette says.

“Hey, no problem. I understand. Thank you for respecting my privacy,” he says. “You look amazing as always, Bridgette.” She leans over and kisses him deeply. It steals his breath. When their lips depart, she reaches down and feels his arousal. Sean blushes at his instantaneous hardness.

“I can tell that you think I’m amazing. Look at you! Already hard. Naughty boy.” Bridgette turns from him and applies ruby red lipstick on her gorgeous luscious lips. Sean exhales and sits down on the nearest available chair. He listens outside and hears two male bodybuilders arguing over who has better calves. He also hears a female sports reporter interviewing one of the female figure competitors. Regardless of the pandemonium happening beyond these walls, he could only think about the gorgeous woman standing before him.

“I can be a naughty boy, yes.”

“Well, we’ll have more time to explore that later. For now, I got to get ready. Can you please hand me my mascara?” She points to a small black tube lying next to him. He hands it to her. She begins to apply the mascara onto her eyebrows when all of a sudden a quiet voice comes out of the PA system.

“Miss Beaulieu, you’re needed in the Media Room in five minutes. Thank you.”

Bridgette presses a red button on the wall. “Gotcha. Thanks.”

“It looks as though I have to do some media sessions with these reporters. Lots of them will be asking about our video. Right afterward I have to get back stage and get ready for my performance. I’m opening the show, if you can believe that.” Bridgette stands up and takes off her tank top. Wearing no bra, he could see every mound of muscle on her broad back. He looks at her tiny breasts and the incredibly long and thick nipples protruding out of them. She smiles at him.

“Like what you see, Sean?” She teases him by pinching her nipples and licking her lips.

“Nah, I’ve seen better.”

Bridgette laughs and playfully punches him in the arm. Though she didn’t mean any harm by it, her brute strength is hard to control. Her light tap on his bicep is enough to leave a stinging pain. He doesn’t mind.

I imagine Bridgette's lips would look as luscious as these.

I imagine Bridgette’s lips would look as luscious as these.

“You mean little boy! God, I should punish you for being so mean. Perhaps later, no?” She removes her jeans and slips off her tennis shoes. Her massive quads are enough to make his heart pump a little faster. She unzips her bag and takes out an absolutely stunning lily white cocktail dress. She shows it to him.

“Tell me honestly. Should I go with underwear or without?”

“Oh, without underwear. No doubt about it. That would be supremely hot. Go for it, Bridgette dear.” His eyes still have not left her legs. Long and abundant, he could only imagine having them wrapped around his neck and being helplessly at her mercy. He wanted to be helpless. He wanted her to control him.

“Okay, you got it. Naughty it is.” Bridgette slips off her panties and reveals her plump, jaw-dropping clitoris. Almost three inches long, he remembers his reaction the first time he saw it. But nothing could ever prepare him for seeing it again up-close-and-personal.

Bridgette puts on the white dress. It generously shows off every inch of her powerful figure. Very little is left to the imagination. That’s the way she likes it.

“Alright, I got to go. Oh, I almost forgot!” She reaches into her bag and takes out a nametag. She gives it to him and Sean pins it to his shirt. The nametag identifies his name and says he’s a “VIP.”

“A VIP? What privileges does this entail?”

“You get to sit in the first five rows of the Convention Hall. And you get a free drink at the bar! My treat.” She puts on a pair of sexy 4-inch black stiletto heels. The sparkly tip shines a light that could probably be seen from a hundred miles.

“Gotta go. See you after the show! Text me to let me know where you are,” she says. “As you can tell, there are several thousand people here and it can be easy to lose each other.” They kiss and she leaves the dressing room. Sean sits around for a while, all alone, and ponders how he ever got to be so damn lucky.

45 minutes later Sean is sitting in the front row of a jam-packed Convention Hall. Thousands of people, many of them bodybuilders, many of them not, have found their way to their respective seats. He opens his program and discovers Bridgette isn’t actually performing first, but somewhere in the middle of the evening’s festivities. Disappointed, Sean could do nothing but sit back and watch the endless stream of competitors roll on.

Male fitness. Female fitness. Male physique. Female physique. Junior competitors. High school competitors. Female figure. Female bikini.

Nothing but faceless people, of all shapes and sizes, standing around trying to get noticed. A lot of the competitors were quite remarkable, but Sean knows Bridgette knocks them all down a notch. Her flawless balance of beauty, traditional femininity, and pure muscularity is unparalleled. No one compares to her. None of the female competitors are nearly as radiant and charismatic as her. None.

An hour in. Sean yawns. Then, the MC makes an important announcement:

“Ladies and gentlemen, you are now in for a treat. She is a nationally-known competitive female bodybuilder. A world class athlete. In 2006 she won her first contest at the Tampa Classic. She followed that up in 2008 by finishing in the top five at her first shot at the Bay Area Cup. Between 2010 and 2015 she has been a top 50-ranked female competitor. Her sights are now set on the Ms. Olympia. Recently, she has gained viral fame for her ventures in the world of adult entertainment.”

An awkward murmur rises from the crowd. Sean blushes. Are they harshly judging her? Are they labeling her a “whore?” He hopes nobody thinks of Bridgette like that.

“Now, please sit back, relax and give it up for…BRIDGETTE BEAULIEU!”

The catty chatter ends and raucous applause begins. Lights go down. The people become quiet. A lump of nervousness sits high in Sean’s throat. It’s about to begin.

Spotlight on Bridgette. She stands there with her head down. Then, the first few beats of “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry blare across the PA speakers. Bridgette’s head whips up and she surveys the crowd. She strikes a sexy Beyoncé-like pose, her hips bouncing upward like a marionette puppet. As Katy begins to sing, Bridgette twirls, bends, leaps and dances her way toward further stardom. As graceful as a ballerina and as sexy as a Las Vegas showgirl, Bridgette moves with the fluidity of a professional dancer in the body of a powerful bodybuilder. Nobody in the room could blink.

Sean could not look away as Bridgette dances to her heart’s delight. His heart skips a beat after she completes a seemingly endless series of Fouettés without stopping. Her 1080 degree spin in the air brings down the house. As Katy wraps up the song, it’s no mystery why Bridgette became an overnight sensation. She knows how to captivate an audience like no other performer in history.

The lights go down. Blackout. The lights come back up. There she is. Bridgette takes a step forward and bows. Then, bedlam. Total bedlam. Everyone in the audience expresses their unanimous approval by giving her an enthusiastic standing ovation. Including Sean. Hoots, hollers, endless applause and shouts of admiration fill the room. Bridgette takes it all in and waves to her adoring fans. She struts off the stage with her captivated audience begging for more. But, like an expert tease, she denies them any further engagement.

Holland Canter showing off her impressive biceps. Can I touch?

Holland Canter showing off her impressive biceps. Can I touch?

The rest of the evening went downhill from there. Sean reluctantly watched group after group of male and female bodybuilders stand up on stage, pose for what seemed like forever, and walk off looking smug and annoyingly arrogant. This went on for what felt like a week. While many of the competitors looked great (a few of the female contestants made his heart flutter), none of them could compare with Bridgette. None. This assessment made him yearn to be with her even more. Sean could do nothing but look at his phone and count down the minutes until he could see her again.

Throughout his entire life, Sean never felt comfortable in large crowds. He isn’t claustrophobic, but he prefers more intimate settings versus public spaces. The smell of spray tan, sweat and cheap whiskey didn’t help, though.

As if the show wasn’t bad enough, the party afterward was far worse. Within minutes of the competition coming to an end (and the winners being called back on stage for group photos), almost everyone in attendance shifted away from the auditorium and crammed themselves in a (relatively) small ballroom across the hotel lobby. The massive number of people, combined with terribly loud music, assaulted Sean’s senses. It was nearing 10 p.m. and Sean already wanted some alone time with Bridgette. He wanted to compliment her on her crowd-pleasing stage performance. He wanted to hold her, kiss her and find an excuse to make love to her. He wanted her so badly he could scream.

He stood at one corner of the ballroom, next to the drink bar, and watched Bridgette from a distance. There she is, talking, laughing and networking with bodybuilding celebrities, media types and corporate sponsors. Everyone seems enthralled with her. Hardly anybody cared to speak to any of the actual winners from the evening’s competition.

Minutes pass by. Sean continues to sip on his vodka and tonic while he watches countless people dance, mingle and flirt the night away. The irony being, of course, even though Sean is surrounded by hundreds upon hundreds of people, he feels lonely. All he wants is to be with Bridgette. Is that too much to ask?

“Fuck this,” Sean mutters under his breath. He sees out of the corner of his eye a large screen door leading to a balcony outside. He decides to check it out so he could get some fresh air.

Meanwhile, Bridgette pauses from some innocuous conversation she’s having with a horde of bodybuilding fans to watch Sean leave the room. She thinks of an excuse to leave this discussion circle so she could go talk to him. She intuitively senses his loneliness. As she struggles to navigate through the crowd, Sean steps outside onto the long balcony and sighs with relief.

Finally, he could breathe. If he had to endure one more minute of that hot, smelly, mayhem-filled room, he might pass out and need CPR to be resuscitated. The cool evening air is refreshing. The long outside balcony offers him a little peace and quiet from the sea of humanity congregating inside. He could finally be alone for a few moments.

He doesn’t expect Bridgette to come out and visit him. She’s too busy schmoozing with the movers and shakers of the bodybuilding industry. She’s preoccupied with enjoying her newfound celebrity status. She needs to build her brand and do whatever she can to become the international superstar she deserves to be.

Moments pass, and a few other people start to wander outside as well. Drinks in hand, one guy (who looks to be a professional bodybuilder himself) is talking to someone on his cell phone. An older lady, who clearly is not a bodybuilder, has a martini in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other. They pay no attention to Sean. He prefers it stays that way. Eventually, both of them leave and Sean is left alone once again. He has only himself and his thoughts. He takes out his phone and checks the time. 10:45 p.m. The night is still young. Anything can happen.

Indeed, something does happen. A familiar voice, one that Sean has grown accustomed to, breaks the silence.

“Hey there, stranger. Not a big fan of crowds?”

Sean turns around and knows exactly who it is. It’s Bridgette. Also with a drink in hand (from the looks of it, a Long Island Ice Tea would be his guess), she looks as radiant as ever. Sweaty and still looking gorgeous, Sean notices some of her makeup has smeared across her flawless face. He doesn’t mind. The image of Bridgette looking a little rough around the edges starts to turn him on.

Who's in the mood for a gin and tonic?

Who’s in the mood for a gin and tonic?

“You’re here. With me. Shouldn’t you be with your adoring fans?” Bridgette and Sean share a brief kiss. He quickly looks around to see if anyone is watching them. She doesn’t seem as concerned.

“I need to take a break from those people. You can only hang out with egocentric bodybuilders and media vultures for only so long,” Bridgette says. “I want to keep my sanity, if you get my drift.”

“Yeah, I understand. Totally. I don’t like crowds of people. It makes me uncomfortable. But you seem to enjoy it,” Sean replies.

“To tell you the truth, I actually do like it. I love working a crowd. I love entertaining them. Enthralling them. I love it when people watch me. I guess I’m a voyeur’s dream come true.” She takes a sip of her cocktail and leans over the cedar wood railing of the balcony. Sean peers out into the city landscape and takes in how beautiful Seattle looks at night.

“Says the porn star. Didn’t you once have sex with some random Asian dude on camera?” Sean teases. Bridgette throws back her head and laughs.

“Yes, I believe I actually once did that! And, correct me if I’m wrong, didn’t that video go viral overnight and put me on the international porn map?”

“More like mainstream map. Everyone across the world knows who you are now. You’re practically a household name. That is, households who are comfortable talking about porn.” A cool breeze flows by, lifting Bridgette’s impeccable blonde hair over her shoulders. It wasn’t chilly outside, but both Bridgette and Sean could feel that wind pick up.

“God, that was so risky. You could’ve been anyone. Thank God you were as sweet and kind as I thought you would be.” Bridgette leans over and kisses Sean again. This time, they hold their lips together for a longer time than usual, wanting to savor this beautiful moment for as long as possible. By now, they don’t care if anyone catches them being intimate together. They want to share this kiss as if it were the last kiss they would ever experience together.

Susanna Tirpak is the perfect combination of beauty, femininity and muscularity. Agreed?

Susanna Tirpak is the perfect combination of beauty, femininity and muscularity. Agreed?

“Thank you, Bridgette. Thank you. I’m glad you’re equally sweet and kind. You’re not just a pretty face with big muscles. You’re so much more than that.” Bridgette puts down her drink and takes one step closer to him. He could feel the heat of her body emanating out of every pore. She touches his face and rubs her strong thighs against his.

“I know I’m much more than that. But you’re right. I’m a risk-taker. I love being naughty. I love doing things impulsively. I suppose you could call it a weakness of mine.” Sean feels her biceps while looking into her pretty blue eyes. She smiles, blushing at the sincerity of his gentle touch.

“A weakness? I was under the impression there wasn’t a single weak part about you.”

“You’re way to flattering of me, Sean! I can be very impulsive at times.” Going in for the kill, Sean leans forward and whispers into Bridgette’s ear.

“Are you feeling impulsive right now?” He slaps her on the butt, causing her to gasp audibly. Feeling defensive at first at his sudden spanking of her, Bridgette then realizes what just happened. He wants to fuck her. Right here. Right now.

“Hell yes, I feel impulsive right now, you dirty boy. Come here!” Forsaking all of her inhibitions, she grabs Sean’s head and kisses him again, biting his lower lip in the process. She didn’t break the skin, but she’s damn close. Sean eyes a small glass table sitting off to the side. He clutches her hips and guides her toward it. She gets the idea. Bridgette lifts her dress up and exposes her bare feminine parts to him. She then sits on top of the table and spreads her legs as wide as she could without ripping her expensive dress. Sean unzips his pants and pulls out his penis. It’s already engorged and ready for her.

They share a brief moment of eye contact, but immediately decide to cut to the chase. Sean reaches down and feels her dripping wet vagina. He pinches her long, thick clitoris, which makes her throw her head back and moan out loud. After kissing her neck and breasts, Sean positions his penis at her moist entrance and enters her without hesitation. They both groan loudly at their intimate joining.

“I want it like this, Sean. This is how I want it. Now fuck me until I beg you to stop!” Bridgette commands. She wraps her long, powerful legs around Sean’s waist, which only allows him to penetrate her deeper. What thrills them both is the knowledge that at any moment, someone could walk in on them. Someone could also spot them from the ground or witness them in action from a nearby building. Out in the open, for the entire world to watch, Bridgette and Sean make love with an urgency neither one of them could explain.

Sean pumps into her as she unbuttons his shirt and kisses his chest. He tries to wrap his arms around her, but Bridgette’s thick torso makes that almost impossible. He’s surprised she hasn’t busted out of her dress yet. How the dress’s fabric could contain her muscular body is a complete mystery to him.

“I’ve wanted to do this, to be with you like this, for a long time, Bridgette baby. Ever since that beautiful night, darling,” Sean quietly says. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees a small crowd gather around the balcony entrance. Eight or nine people. Bridgette notices a couple of people on the ground stop what they’re doing and look up to see them. One woman even pulls out her phone and starts recording them in action. Being an irresponsible voyeur, Bridgette doesn’t care they’re drawing an impromptu audience. In fact, she welcomes it. Sean isn’t quite so sure. He wants to make love to her without stopping. If complete strangers are there to witness it, so be it.

Sweat dripping down their faces, Sean slides in and out of her rhythmically. Bridgette deep kisses him and tightens her legs around him. Sean feels his back crack. A flash of someone’s camera phone goes off. But this only empowers them to make love more furious than ever before. Bridgette gasps as Sean’s manhood penetrates her as deep as it can go. She can sense that he’s close to the edge. She squeezes her vagina around him out of sheer selfishness of wanting to milk as much pleasure out of him as possible.

Sean pumps once more into Bridgette, whispering something inaudible in her ear. He can’t remember what he said to her. She couldn’t quite understand what it was either. But that one last thrust into her body makes him come hard. He empties himself into her recklessly with a curiously voyeuristic audience watching them. Bridgette releases her vagina around his manhood, which leads to her coming as well.

Their heavy breathing intensifies as Sean and Bridgette’s orgasmic waves come to a slow end. Still as hard as a rock inside her, they share a long, passionate kiss, much to the pleasure of the people around them. Applause and shouts of encouragement pour from all directions. But the two lovers couldn’t hear them. They only cared for each other. This moment belongs to them, nobody else.

Eventually, the crowd scatters away. Sean pulls out of Bridgette and zips his pants back up. Bridgette scoots off the table and wipes dirt off her dress. A professional photographer, who happened to capture some video of their coupling, asks for permission to publish this footage on his website. Bridgette and Sean unconditionally say “yes.” To hell with what the world thinks. Bridgette and Sean are the Universe’s newest power couple…and they want everyone to know it.

“I’ll see you later, in my room,” Bridgette says.

“Yes. Later. I’ll be waiting for you outside your hotel. Take as long as you like, darling,” Sean says.

They share one last kiss. Bridgette saunters back indoors to the rowdy party. Sean remains on the balcony, staring at her walk away, without a care in the world.

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A Discussion on the Sexualization of Female Athletes

Brandi Mae Akers wearing a sexy see-through dress.

Brandi Mae Akers wearing a sexy see-through dress.

It should be no mystery that female athletes face a glaring double standard in our society. They are, both implicitly and explicitly, expected to flaunt their sexuality in ways their male counterparts are not. Outside of Ronda Rousey, how many mainstream female athletes are celebrated purely for being a fantastic athlete – as opposed to being a fantastically good looking athlete?

The topic of the sexualization of female athletes has been discussed ad nauseam. This article will not dissect this idea is great detail. Rather, we will explore this from a slightly different angle.

Those who critique the overly sexual nature of media representation of female athletes usually argue that they shouldn’t be sexualized at all. If male athletes aren’t sexualized, neither should female athletes. That argument sounds fair. It’s better to hold no standards versus double standards. Fair treatment means equal treatment.

But, as an enthusiast of female bodybuilders and female athletes in general, I’m slightly uncomfortable with that. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but there’s a fine line between sexualizing someone and demeaning them. I wholeheartedly agree that you should never belittle or dehumanize someone for any reason whatsoever. That’s not in question. What is in question is whether or not sexualizing someone automatically dehumanizes them. It’s a tough one to wrestle with for sure.

I totally get the argument that people are not just sex objects. We are independent agents of thoughts and emotions with basic needs just like anybody else. Every soul is valuable. Every person has purpose. Everyone is important. Whether you believe in the Divine or not, I hope we can all agree that every human being on planet Earth has value. That includes people we love, hate or are indifferent toward.

That being said, is sexualizing someone an intrinsic act of dehumanizing them? I would say if we treat people purely as a means to an end, then the answer is unequivocally “yes.” If we treat someone solely as a sex object whose only purpose is to give you sexual pleasure, then that makes you a terrible person. Even the relationship between a prostitute and a “john” should come with a certain level of mutual respect. Sex, in this case, may be a business transaction, but that doesn’t excuse you from treating the provider of sex like garbage.

I love female bodybuilders. Many of you who read my blog do as well. The reason why I constantly wrestle with this issue is because I definitely sexualize FBBs. I am very much sexually attracted to muscular women. There’s no ambiguity here. It’s really, when we boil things down to its barest essentials, the primary reason why I love them. It’s not the only reason why I’m a fan of female bodybuilding, but it’s undeniably important. If I told you sexual attraction had nothing to do with my fandom of female bodybuilders, I’d be a liar with my trousers definitely set on fire.

Isn't Lindsey Vonn cold? She's so smoking hot, I highly doubt it.

Isn’t Lindsey Vonn cold? She’s so smoking hot, I highly doubt it.

But, deep down inside, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with that. I can sexualize someone and still deeply respect them. I’ve met many women in my life whom I found to be very physically attractive. But I try, although not always successfully, to treat them like human beings first. I’m not a perfect person, but I’m trying my best here.

One argument I could make is that sexualizing female athletes is almost inevitable. When a woman trains for a sport, she’s going to sculpt her physical body into a shape that many of us will find attractive. Muscle definition, curves in all the right places, flawless body development, impeccable silhouettes, etc. And as they say, we’re only human, right? Can you blame someone for finding Alina Popa, who is an indisputable world-class athlete in her own right, so very sexy? If finding Ms. Popa sexually attractive is a crime, then put me in handcuffs, lock me in a padded jail cell and throw away the key for eternity. But, to reiterate my point, I don’t believe my opinion of Ms. Popa’s sexiness is somehow disrespectful to her. I have a tremendous amount of respect for her, both as a woman and as a cream-of-the-crop athletic competitor. But her physical attractiveness is without a doubt a main component of my fandom of her.

It’s a confusing dynamic to deal with, indeed!

In other words, how can I possibly separate sports fandom and sexuality when it comes to female athletes? It’s almost impossible to do so. That being said, that’s no excuse to treat a professional woman basketball player like a junior high school cheerleader or unashamedly flirt with a female Olympic athlete minutes after she’s won a gold medal. Speaking of which, if I have to listen to one more clueless TV reporter ask a female Olympian how she balances being an elite athlete with motherhood, I’m going to rip my hair out. But that’s a whole other issue.

I think the best way handle this whole issue is to have the “yes, and” attitude. For example, you can say this:

“Yes, I find female athletes to be sexually attractive, but I also respect their impressive achievements which can only be accomplished through hard work, diligent preparation and heart.”

It may not sound like poetry, but the sentiment should be clear. You can both celebrate the achievements of female athletes and find them beautiful at the same time. You can enjoy watching female sports on TV or in person and not have to compartmentalize your physical attraction to them simultaneously. Life doesn’t have to be an “either, or” proposition. You can hold two different attitudes at the same time without them being contradictory.

Please don’t misinterpret me. I understand the trepidation about accepting female athletes as sex objects. I get it that once you start to go down a dark path, it can lead you to directions you never originally intended to go. If we start to view them in such a way, will we eventually expect them to pose for magazine photos as a condition of playing the sport? Will we require uniforms of basketball or softball players to be more “revealing” or “sexy” in order to attract the male demographic? Will we start to lose respect for them as athletes because we treat them like sex objects first and athletes second?

These are all valid concerns. I wouldn’t want my favorite FBBs to feel pressured to sexualize themselves out of fear of being ostracized from the business. It is a business, after all. If my favorite FBBs chose to never wear makeup in public and forsake any attempts to appear traditionally feminine, then good for them. I would support them every step of the way. One hundred percent. I want my favorite female bodybuilders to be as free as they want to do whatever they want whenever they want.

Do they want to pose naked for a risqué photoshoot? Good for them. If, on the other hand, a particular female bodybuilder chooses to never ever pose naked under any circumstances, as much as we’d all be disappointed with this decision, I strongly believe she has every right to do that. Freedom means having the opportunity to choose what you want and do not want to do. Her body is her most valuable asset. If she wants to show it off for all the world to see, more power to her. If she wants to remain modest and desexualized in the public’s eye, even more power to her.

The badass that is Ronda Rousey, perhaps the most popular female athlete on the planet right now.

The badass that is Ronda Rousey, perhaps the most popular female athlete on the planet right now.

But this is less about how an FBB (or any kind of female athlete) chooses to conduct herself and more about how we as fans choose to view them. How a female bodybuilder lives her life is nobody’s business but her own. But how we fans choose to live out our fandom is our business.

In short, perhaps the Buddhist “middle way” is the best solution. Don’t go to the extremes. You can both find a female athlete or bodybuilder physically attractive while at the same time respecting them as a person and as an athlete. One can hold both attitudes simultaneously without any hint of contradiction or hypocrisy. In other words, don’t take any side as far as it will go. You don’t have to view every female athlete as either a Playboy bunny or a monastic nun. The “Madonna-whore complex” is an old archetype that’s getting worn out.

The main concept to keep in mind is simple. Channel your inner Aretha Franklin and remember to always R-E-S-P-E-C-T people. I understand it’s unfair how female athletes are put into restrictive sexually-centric boxes without their consent. I understand male athletes, by and large, are not held to similar standards. That’s the very definition of unfair. I also get that no female athlete or bodybuilder should ever be forced to flaunt their sexuality unwillingly. Their main concern should be to play/compete in their sport and nothing else. That is all fine with me.

But as fans of these women, our perceptions don’t have to fit into any particular box. To add to this discussion, bodybuilding is a unique sport. Unlike baseball, football, basketball, hockey, golf, tennis, track and field, soccer, and so forth, winners of bodybuilding contests are judged by their appearances. The nature of the sport is conducive to judging excellence based on aesthetic. So, it’s considered “okay” for choosing your favorite bodybuilding athletes (male or female) purely based on their looks. After all, the sport is called “body”-building for a reason.

Nobody cares how attractive or unattractive a quarterback is. If you can throw for 4,000 yards, 25+ touchdowns and lead your team to the playoffs season after season, teams will pay you a lot of money to play for them. Bodybuilders, on the other hand, are judged by how their bodies look. So judging a female (or male) bodybuilder on their looks isn’t a terrible thing. Following that train of thought, it’s perfectly okay to be erotically turned on by a female bodybuilder’s body. It goes with the territory! An FBB is trying to sculpt her body to fit a desired aesthetic. If you find that particular aesthetic to be pleasing to the eye, what’s the harm?

As mentioned before, it’s sort of inevitable for male and female bodybuilders to be sexualized in the eyes of their fans. Maybe not all of their fans, but surely the ones who would normally be attracted to them regardless if they were a bodybuilder or not. The human body is a beautiful thing. Bodybuilders strive to mold theirs to perfection. If we happen to get aroused by the finished product, so be it.

Misty May-Treanor demonstrating why a lot of guys really don't mind watching Olympic beach volleyball.

Misty May-Treanor demonstrating why a lot of guys really don’t mind watching Olympic beach volleyball.

One could argue that sexuality is embedded within the sport of bodybuilding. It’s not the entirety of the sport, but one cannot deny its underlying presence. Men and women are hardwired to find certain genders, body types and people sexually attractive. I realize asexuality is a real thing, but for the sake of argument let’s assume most of us are born this way. Bodybuilding, by its very nature, seeks to elevate the human form to its highest possible peak. If muscular development is considered a proper barometer of beauty, then bodybuilders are closer to the pinnacle than us “mere mortals.” It logically follows that fans of bodybuilding would unavoidably become sexually attracted to these amazing athletes.

There are certainly women and men who love male bodybuilders. There are definitely men and women who love female bodybuilders. And guess what? That’s perfectly okay! I see nothing wrong with any of this.

Like any form of attraction, anything can be taken too far. This should be obvious to anyone. To treat a female athlete as nothing more than eye candy is an awful choice to make. She’s much more than something pretty for you to look at. She’s an accomplished competitor who deserves respect for her accomplishments and sincere admiration from her fans. I love female bodybuilders just as much as anyone else, but I always try to keep at the forefront of my mind that they’ve achieved things I could never dream of doing.

Think about what a typical woman bodybuilder has to go through every single day of her life:

  • Sacrificing her time
  • Sacrificing her energy
  • Maintaining a strict diet
  • Strenuous weightlifting regiments
  • Various non-weightlifting exercises
  • Following a strict schedule
  • Pressure from friends and family to not pursue bodybuilding
  • Stress from training and competing
  • Persistent insecurity
  • An emotionally draining lifestyle
  • Blatant misogyny
  • Sexism within the sport of bodybuilding itself
  • Worrying about unusual changes to the body
  • Unintended side effects from taking drugs and hormones
  • Paying for food, supplements and other sport-related paraphernalia
  • Travel costs
  • Injuries
  • Rude comments from people in public, over social media or elsewhere
  • Other unpleasant experiences that often go unseen

That’s quite a lot! The struggle is real, indeed. If this doesn’t instill in you more respect for women bodybuilders, then I have no idea what will. When you keep things like this in perspective, you start to realize how insanely disrespectful it is to treat female bodybuilders and athletes as mere sex objects who only exists for your own enjoyment.

I have no idea how to pronounce Zsuzsanna Toldi, but I do know that she's extremely attractive.

I have no idea how to pronounce Zsuzsanna Toldi, but I do know that she’s extremely attractive.

But alas, I highly doubt the majority of FBB enthusiasts feel this way. Most of us know FBBs and female athletes are people, not products. But, as said before, everything must come in moderation. Don’t think of strong women as sexual commodities, but don’t be afraid to celebrate their sex appeal at the same time.

In conclusion, how are we to handle the issue of our society’s sexualization of female athletes? The most rational answer might be this: There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging, celebrating and enjoying a female athlete’s sex appeal. However, there is something wrong with making that the sole focus of her identity. Whether we’re talking about Lindsey Vonn, Misty May-Treanor, Cat Zingano or Brandi Mae Akers, always keep in mind that they’re athletes who happen to be physically beautiful, not beautiful people who just happen to be athletes. That distinction might help clear up any possible sexist attitudes toward these remarkable women.

Understandably, there are many female athletes who are uncomfortable being viewed in a sexual nature, regardless of the respectful intent demonstrated by the admiring party. I get that. I’m not going to dismiss that attitude as being “overly sensitive” or “puritanical.” No one should ever be pressured to be comfortable with their sexuality or how other people feel about their sexuality. That’s not the point here. The point is that as fans, we have a responsibility to recognize the humanity in the strong beautiful women we love so dearly.

A very pretty Jennie Finch.

A very pretty Jennie Finch.

This topic can be a touchy one. I will admit that I do not have all the answers. I could be wrong about a point or two or three. The best rule of thumb is to look at this issue from all perspectives and try your best to put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if every time you stepped up to the plate, onto a basketball court or in front of a bodybuilding stage, thousands of people started thinking of you not as a hardworking and passionate athlete, but instead a nameless Barbie doll with muscles? That sounds like a pretty condescending way to be treated.

Be kind. Be respectful. Don’t be a jerk. Always remember that regardless of who we are, whether we’re a world class female bodybuilder or an unapologetic fan of female bodybuilders, we’re all people trying to coexist on this beautiful, confusing and interconnected planet. In many regards, recognizing this basic fact could eliminate the vast majority of the problems we face every day.

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear your opinions. Feel free to share them in the comment section below or send me an e-mail at ryantakahashi87 (at) yahoo (dot) com. Just so you know, I write out my e-mail address that way to avoid my inbox being inundated with gratuitous spam. But I never consider any of you readers to be spam! I welcome feedback of all kind just as long as it’s productive, informative and respectful. So have at it!