There’s a strange misconception out there that people who like female bodybuilders are “into” every single female bodybuilder in existence.
I’d venture a guess and say that a lot of us appreciate most muscular women, but not all. Thanks to the Internet and social media, FBBs can promote themselves in ways that were unimaginable twenty years ago. Today, a muscular woman with a prominent number of followers can post a picture of herself on Instagram (at no cost) and immediately have tens of thousands of people see it within minutes. Wow. Not even ten years ago was this possible. What a time we live in.
Because of this, we are exposed to thousands of women of all shapes and sizes who gladly post photos of themselves at little to no cost to the consumer. Celebrities, singers, models (and wannabe models), politicians, athletes, and the like are out there for our prying eyes to witness. Without social media, do any of us think Kim Kardashian would be nearly as popular as she is today? Maybe so, but her Q Score would not be nearly as high.
What exactly is a Q Score? It’s a metric that measures the familiarity and appeal of a brand, celebrity or company based on a panel of judges pulled from the general population. Obviously, people like Leonardo DiCaprio and Katy Perry have extremely high Q Scores. For the general population, Lisa Cross and Debi Laszewski do not have high Q Scores. However, among female muscle fanatics, these ladies are off the charts. But sadly, not everyone appreciates strong muscular women like some of us do.
Due to this fairly low profile, many people in society tend to group all muscular women into one singular cluster. They’re the big, brawny she-males you see with gross looking faces, man-like muscles, and excessive body hair in places where hair shouldn’t exist. We all know this stereotype exists. To be fair, there are some female bodybuilders who do (to an extent) fit this profile. But there are plenty out there who do not. There are lots of female bodybuilders who are just as “feminine” as any “normal” woman.
Perhaps that’s the key. People who do not like FBBs look at one or two and think that’s how they all are. So when they find out that someone they know really digs women with muscles, they automatically conjure up in their minds all the negative stereotypes they’ve previously held about female bodybuilders. No matter how much you insist your attraction to them is completely normal, preconceived notions can be hard to break.
One can like muscular women without liking all muscular women. Yes, this is possible. Just like it’s possible to love Japanese food but at the same time despise wasabi, female muscle fandom isn’t an “all or nothing” proposition. We all have discriminatory tastes, even when it comes to strong women.
So the lesson to be learned is simple. You don’t have to like every female bodybuilder. You should respect every single female bodybuilder on planet Earth (unless they’ve done something in their lives that you find morally objectionable), but that’s a given. But it’s perfectly fine to be attracted to some but not to others. It’s socially acceptable to find certain personality traits desirable and others repulsive. Beauty is, as the age-old cliché goes, in the eye of the beholder.
But of course, it’s not that simple. I understand why some of us get defensive about our beloved FBBs, even if we ourselves don’t particular like some of them. I once tried to set up a muscle worship session with an FBB who, for reasons I still cannot figure out, was supremely rude to me. I think there was some miscommunication going on between us, but regardless I felt like she could have handled matters better. Nevertheless, I don’t judge every single FBB as being difficult to deal with just because I had one negative experience. If anything, I might give them the benefit of the doubt because of how much I love and respect them. So there’s that.
For many FBB fans, to admit that you don’t find all FBBs attractive is to open the door toward legitimizing hateful criticisms of these women. That’s why a lot of (or maybe most) social movements tend to view the world in black and white terms. There are absolutely evil people out there and absolutely pure and virtuous people as well. If you’re sympathetic to folks in the latter category, you might be more inclined to overlook their flaws because you don’t want to provide unwanted ammunition to those so-called “evil people” who don’t happen to like “your people” as much as you do. I won’t get into specifics (in order to avoid a shouting match in the comments section), but hopefully you understand where I’m going with this.
This is why I won’t say anything negative about any particular FBB. I won’t even mention the name of the person I just referred to earlier. Heck, I don’t even reveal the identity of the women I write about in positive terms! Maybe I’m being a little too overprotective. Whatever. It’s better to be safe than sorry, I say.
All of this is to say that we’re allowed to have different preferences. Personal choice is an inalienable human right. If you prefer slimmer, “toned” women as opposed to bigger bodybuilders, that’s okay. If you are genuinely disgusted by the large female bodybuilders who compete in the heavyweight category but you get uncontrollably turned on by the “athletic look” instead, I’m not one to judge. There’s plenty of room in the Beautiful Strong Women Lovefest Train. All aboard! Choo, choo!
So in your own minds, you can like or dislike whatever you choose to like or dislike. I will never tell you that you’re wrong. I can tell you that you’re misguided or blinded by prejudice, but that’s not the same thing as “calling out” someone for being in the wrong. However, in the public sphere, I totally get why you tend to get defensive whenever some random Internet troll decides to defame the good names of Shannon Courtney or Danielle Reardon. I’d probably react in the same way, to be perfectly honest.
But I don’t, generally speaking. I don’t have the time nor the inclination to respond to trolls or skeptics. Or people who aren’t trying to start an argument but say something derogatory about a muscular woman anyway. Nah, life is too short to deal with that kind of commotion. I accept the fact (tacitly, perhaps) that not everyone will accept the unique beauty of a muscular woman into the “mainstream” of society. That’s probably not going to happen anytime soon, for that matter. But that’s not a huge tragedy either. There are enough fans like us who adore these women that an aspiring female bodybuilder will never feel unappreciated. Mainstream culture may not completely embrace them, but there are lots of subcultures who will. I realize the word “subculture” tends to carry deviant connotations, but that’s not actually the case. There are countless subcultures in our world. Almost in a literal sense, countless. Many of them are more prevalent than we think. It’s not just talked about. I sincerely believe female muscle fandom is one of them.
Take this message to heart, female muscle supporters out there in the wide, wide world. You don’t have to like every muscular woman you happen to come across on the Internet. Some of you like big beefy bodybuilders. Others of you like smaller, figure competitors. There are folks whose cup of tea is beautiful, feminine athletic women with curves in all the right places. And believe it or not, there are people in this world who really love “normal” looking women who can display feats of strength (either real or pretend) when called upon to do so.
Our fandom stretches across a wide spectrum. I am in no position to say what a “real” female muscle enthusiast is supposed to like or dislike. There are no “real” FBB fans just as there are no “fake” FBB fans. What tears apart fandom culture – whether we’re talking about comic books or punk rock – is infighting from within. This is why I don’t really spend a whole lot of time browsing and posting on female muscle-related forums. I am not against anyone who does, but that sort of thing isn’t for me.
Life is too short to deal with unnecessary negativity.
This isn’t to say that this sort of infighting is common. I have no clue if it is or not. This is also to dispel the myth that people like us who appreciate strong women are unequivocally head-over-heels attracted to all strong women. Everyone has different tastes, which is perfectly fine. Personally, my appreciation range is quite wide. I still get distracted by the cute girl at the gym just as I am by photos of Lindsay Mulinazzi that randomly pop into my Facebook feed. I’m fairly open-minded in that respect. You certainly don’t have to be, but it never hurts!
Here’s a message for female muscle skeptics out there: You don’t need to find the most grotesque photo of a female bodybuilder who has abused steroids for far too long and shove it in our faces and ask us incessantly, “So, do you like THIS?” That’s unfair. That’s mean spirited. It’s okay for us to say “no” and not be a “sell out” toward the Female Muscle Cause. I’ll be honest here. There ARE a handful of FBBs in this world that I don’t particularly think are attractive. Yes, a few actually disgust me. But that doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. I’m still a committed female muscle fan through and through. My Female Muscle Fan membership card won’t be revoked.
Personal choice. It’s what makes us autonomous human beings. It’s what makes us flawed, but it’s what makes us who we are as people. We have the right to choose what we like and don’t like, what we think is beautiful and what we find to be ugly, what our favorites are and what we’d rather not have to deal with if we can. It all boils down to personal choice.
Thanks to the Internet, we’re exposed to beautiful women of all shapes and sizes. In an age that celebrates diversity and opens the doors to anyone to publicly express themselves, we have more freedom to choose what we want to be into and what we don’t want to be into. There are lots of beautiful women out there. Don’t put any of them into a box. Nor us.
What a time we live in, indeed.