10 Favorite Personality Types of Female Bodybuilders (That May or May Not Actually Be Real)

The Angel: Aspen Rae

It’s an old joke that everyone should know by now: When you refer to a woman as having a “great personality,” we all know what that means.

She’s not a looker – but she’d make a great, uh, friend. Or acquaintance. Or someone you wouldn’t mind sharing a long elevator ride with…assuming she doesn’t smell bad or anything.

This euphemism is not just a joke; it’s also an insult. A backhanded compliment, as it were. Lots of us have a great personality. We’re pleasant, fun to talk with, and maybe even a little engaging. But in the Looks Department? Um, let’s not go there! It’ll be better for all of us.

But for those of us who love female bodybuilders, personality does in fact matter. Maybe not a great deal, but it’s especially significant when we’re dealing with our female muscle fantasies. We love FBBs for obvious reasons: Their beauty, muscularity, curves, strength, power, confidence, sexual appeal, enigmatic nature, bravery, perseverance, and so on. There’s no need to rehash this. However, one cannot deny that FBBs can enhance their appeal by striving toward (the more pessimistic of us may say “pandering”) embodying certain personas that we enjoy.

What personas are we referring to? Let’s list a few:

  • The Badass
  • The Angel
  • The Muscle Girl Next-Door
  • The Porn Star
  • The Savvy Business Woman
  • The Elegant Temptress
  • The Dignified Muscle Matriarch
  • The Carefree Youth
  • The Dirty Old Muscle Granny
  • The Fun-Loving Free Spirit

There are probably others, but let’s settle for these for now. Many of our favorite female bodybuilders could fall into one of these categories. Some belong in multiple categories. And the prodigious of them could attempt to try all of them at some point in their careers. Let us look at these in further detail.

The Badass

Simply put, The Badass is the tough-as-nails chick who can easily kick your ass if you give her a reason to do so. She wears leather jackets, rides motorcycles, and chugs beers faster than a college freshman looking to get laid – in photoshoots, that is. Maybe not in real life.

She wants you to know that she’s dangerous. She isn’t always angry, but you don’t want to see her when she is. No way, José! Like Bruce Banner becoming The Hulk, she can easily pick you up by the throat and choke slam you to the ground. Just don’t give her a reason to do that. Or have a Snickers bar handy just in case.

The Badass, like most of these personas, exists mostly in our imagination and not in real life. You might see your favorite FBB post a photo on her Instagram of her splitting wood with a chainsaw or impaling a zombie (presumably, not a real one!) with a baseball bat, but odds are she really spends her free time baking sweet potatoes and mixing protein shakes in the kitchen. But oh well. Fantasy Land is always much more fun than the Real World, right?

The Badass: Suzy Kellner

The Angel

The polar opposite of The Badass is The Angel. She’s sweet, innocent, kind, and thoughtful. She posts photos not just of her lifting weights at the gym, but also inspiring quotes, candid shots of her adorable puppy dog, and recipes for gluten-free raspberry bagels (yuck!). She’s wholesome in the sense that she rarely posts anything too provocative, but it’s not beneath her to share the occasional bikini pic if it’s summertime.

She’s very pretty and feminine, perhaps a little too feminine for some of our tastes. You suspect she’s trying not to fall into the stereotype of the masculine-looking female bodybuilder, so she compensates by acting more “girly” than you (or even she) are comfortable with. The Angel never ruffles any feathers and rarely gets into arguments with online trolls. She’s confident in who she is but doesn’t want to make it too obvious. After all, nobody likes a show-off.

Unlike The Badass, The Angel’s personality never feels forced. It appears to be natural. It’s who she really is. We may not like it from a fantasy point-of-view, but if that’s who she actually is, we’ll celebrate her regardless.

The Muscle Girl Next-Door

This type of FBB can be either a Badass or an Angel. Or neither. Or a combination of both. No matter what, she’s not as glamourous as the Angel nor as dramatic as The Badass. She’s pretty, but not as gorgeous as a supermodel. She’s more “cute” than “drop-dead gorgeous.” In other words, she looks like she could be your next-door neighbor. Hence, the reason why her nickname is…

The Muscle Girl-Next-Door doesn’t necessarily look super muscular at casual glance. Maybe it’s because she likes to wear hoodies and gym sweatpants. Or because she’s more “fit” and not as muscular as a competitive bodybuilder. But no matter what, she captures your attention every time you go outside to take out the trash or fetch your mail. She’s pleasant when you strike up the occasional conversation with her, but that’s about as far as it goes. You know you have no chance with her. Yet, you feel compelled to continue to dream…

The Porn Star: Yvette Bova

The Porn Star

This is where it gets really…uh, exciting. The Porn Star is definitely different than The Angel, but isn’t necessarily The Badass or The Muscle Girl Next-Door. She could be, but what she really is – and this cannot be argued with – is an exhibitionist to the extreme.

Lots of FBBs, fitness models, and wannabe fitness models (just scroll through the #fitgirl hashtag on Instagram) are perfectly willing to show off their bodies to the public. For that, we are eternally grateful! But most – not all – have certain limitations of what they are willing to expose. Some don’t mind nudity. Others are more willing, especially if it’s behind a subscription firewall, to do a little more than that.

The Porn Star isn’t always an actual porn star in the traditional sense. They aren’t always famous or well-known to porn enthusiasts (which, for the record, none of us are willing to ever admit to being…), but their work is widely seen by the people who are most likely to appreciate it. The Porn Star can go solo or she can be with a partner – or multiple partners if she so chooses. She can simply take off her clothes and masturbate quietly for the camera. Or she can allow six or seven guys to gang bang her until semen is coming out of her ears (don’t try to picture that in your mind). Or anywhere in between.

The Porn Star has no inhibitions. She is an exhibitionist to the extreme. She has a fantastic body and a dynamic sexuality that cannot be constrained. The world deserves to see her in her full glory. After all, depriving society of her “goods” would be a crime against humanity. And if she is able to entice countless guys and gals to “get off” from watching her art, so be it. That’s what art is for, right? To stimulate the imagination?

We’ll leave it at that.

The Savvy Business Woman

We love muscular women who know how to make a buck. Often times, we’re the ones who are opening our wallets to subsidize their lifestyles. The Savvy Business Woman knows how to use the right hashtags to promote her line of gym swag. She never passes up on an opportunity to plug her favorite brand of protein powder or energy bars. She understands all of these personalities better than anyone. And not only does she understand them, she knows how to profit off of them too.

She looks just as comfortable wearing a tailored suit as she is wearing a bikini. Maybe she wears both in the same day. But more than that, she knows damn well that it’s a business first and a passion second. Yeah, plenty of FBBs say they love weightlifting and competing because they find it “empowering” or “fulfilling,” but the Savvy Business Woman deep down inside believes there are limitations to such thinking. You also have to know how to earn a living from your passions.

The Savvy Business Woman is also a Life Coach, Personal Trainer, Motivational Speaker, Zen Master, and Boss Lady. She embraces entrepreneurship and all its rewards (and downsides). She’ll do porn if she thinks there’s a market for it. Or she’ll dress up as Wonder Woman at cosplay conventions if she thinks that’ll give her better opportunities to hand out more business cards. Whatever works best is what she’ll do. There’s a lot to admire about that attitude.

The Elegant Temptress: Lindsay Mulinazzi.

The Elegant Temptress

While the Porn Star can be seen as crude and dirty and The Savvy Business Woman as being “too corporate” and boring, The Elegant Temptress expertly mixes sexiness with class. She’ll show off her muscular body, but only if you’ve earned the right to see it. She’ll seduce you, but only after you wine and dine her to her heart’s delight. It’s tough sledding trying to please The Elegant Temptress, however the payoff is undoubtedly worth it at the end.

The Elegant Temptress thinks The Angel and The Badass are too simplistic. Why can’t you be a little bit of both? You can dabble in playing The Porn Star at times, but using that identity too often can cheapen who you are and what you stand for. The Elegant Temptress likes to wear fancy dresses and drink expensive cocktails at high class parties. She looks down upon you if you don’t fully appreciate the divine beauty of a gorgeous muscular woman. She’s measured in her speech, dignified in her appearance, and deliberate in her behavior. Naturally, she has a reputation to maintain. In many regards, her reputation is what keeps her going.

The Elegant Temptress views The Muscle Girl Next-Door as a bumpkin. Although, technically speaking she’s also a girl “next door” of sorts – if you happen to live in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood of Paris. Most of us don’t, so that’s out of the question. But we love her because she makes us feel like royalty. The Elegant Temptress is someone you bring with you to the Academy Awards, not the homecoming football game. She didn’t need a Fairy Godmother to turn her into the belle of the ball. She is the Fairy Godmother – and the belle of the ball – simultaneously.

This personality appeals to the gentleman in us. We want to be seduced, not taken around a back alley and given a quick blow job. We want to passionately make love to her, not bang her outside a trashy dive bar at 3 o’clock in the morning. We want to dine with her at the fanciest restaurants in the world, not order a takeout pizza and watch reruns of Seinfeld on the couch. She’s worth much more. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Dignified Muscle Matriarch

Like fine wine, some muscular women get better with age. The Dignified Muscle Matriarch fits that bill perfectly. Unlike the trashy world of porn that labels such women as MILFs, The Dignified Muscle Matriarch cares deeply about her spotless reputation. She and The Elegant Temptress would be best friends. Perhaps the Dignified Muscle Matriarch once was The Elegant Temptress at an earlier point of her life, but she’s now graduated into a more maternal role.

She’ll care for you, sing to you before you fall asleep, and make you breakfast in the morning after an exhausting night of lovemaking. Odds are, she hasn’t competed in professional bodybuilding in years, but her past accomplishments speak volumes. Her trophies are already on the shelves. She doesn’t need to “prove” anything anymore. Perhaps her son or daughter now competes and she’s just a “backstage mom” who’ll root for her kids and laugh and cry alongside them when appropriate.

Unfortunately, she may not be nearly as muscular as she once was, but that’s perfectly okay. She’s allowed Father Time to put lines on her beautiful face and crinkles around her gorgeous eyes, but that doesn’t take anything away from her. She’s still as pretty as she was when she was 20 years old. But now she’s wiser, more experienced, and has weathered every storm imaginable. You definitely want somebody like that on your side when the going gets tough.

The Carefree Youth: Lauren Morasky

The Carefree Youth

Twenty or thirty years ago, The Dignified Muscle Matriarch was The Carefree Youth. She travels to exotic locations, lounges around on the beach sipping margaritas, and dances at clubs until the sun rises the next morning. She’s prone to making mistakes that will later transform her into The Elegant Temptress and perhaps later still into The Dignified Muscle Matriarch. She can essentially take on any of the previously mentioned personalities if she wants to. The only stipulation is that she doesn’t give a damn what you think.

Why wouldn’t she give a damn? Because she’s carefree, that’s why! She hasn’t yet turned 30, isn’t married, doesn’t have kids, and can spend all her disposable cash on cute outfits and trendy gym clothes. The boys will flirt with her and she’ll happily flirt back. If something comes out of it, great. If not, then that’s also great. That’s how The Carefree Youth views the world.

She loves to have fun. She loves to go to the gym and lift with the fellas. The world is her oyster and she has her entire life before her. Why settle down and find a husband? Why think about becoming a mother when that’ll get in the way of clubbing, travelling, and modeling? You only live once, so why not live it up while you still can? Your youth won’t stay with you forever. Eventually, adult responsibilities will have to be addressed. Your biological clock will start to tick. But until that time comes, there’s only one pithy mantra she dares to live by:

YOLO!

The Dirty Old Muscle Granny

Ugh. Not a personal favorite for many of you, but this personality does appeal to some. There isn’t much to say about this other than she’s the polar opposite of The Dignified Muscle Matriarch. She has no dignity in the traditional sense of the word. She has her limitations (maybe…), however what’s more important to her is being as perverted as possible while legally being allowed to get away with it.

She may have been The Angel in her younger days…and wants to desperately make up for lost time. So she’ll gang bang multiple men at the same time. She’ll allow a guy half her age to come on her face and smear his semen all over her skin if that’s what’ll entice him to visit her sketchy apartment. She hates social rules that say that women older than 40 are somehow irrelevant. But unlike some of the previously mentioned personas, she doesn’t just defy those rules; she smashes it with a sledgehammer. She’s not a feminist, although she certainly benefits from the societal gains earned by her more politically-conscious peers.

Well, that’s all that needs to be said about this. Now I need to go take a long shower…

The Savvy Business Woman: Monica Martin

The Fun-Loving Free Spirit

This one is a bit tricky because it’s so close to The Carefree Youth. But here’s a key difference: The Fun-Loving Free Spirit has a good heart and wants to help others. The Carefree Youth only wants to enjoy her life in the moment, while The Fun-Loving Free Spirit is much more altruistic.

The world is a better place when everybody has the opportunity to be happy. She wants to provide those opportunities for as many people as possible. She loves inspirational quotes and memes, but also appreciates a well-written book on meditation, philosophy, or spirituality. Being a bodybuilder is what makes her happy. It’s liberating because it’s so unexpected. Our culture tells her that women “shouldn’t look like that,” so she interprets that as a personal challenge to look exactly like that just to spite our cultural forbearers. But she does it with a smile, not with scorn. She rebels not for negative reasons, but for positive ones. She wants to be who she wants to be and refuses to settle for following the herd. That’s her way of dissenting and living life to the fullest.

This should tell you what she dislikes the most: Conformity.

Yuck! It feels so icky to be average.

Did I miss any major personalities? Were there any ones that particularly stuck out to you? Please let me know if you have any bright ideas in the comments below or by contacting me at ryantakahashi87 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

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Female Bodybuilders in Limbo

Monique Hayes is out-of-this-world.

Female bodybuilders seem to exist in a world all by themselves, don’t they?

Mainstream culture certainly doesn’t fully recognize their impressive accomplishments. The IFBB doesn’t seem to care about female competitors nearly as much as their male counterparts. Feminists, for whatever reason, don’t loudly embrace them as examples of “strong independent women” (even though they are undoubtedly exactly that). Sports media will celebrate a few physically gifted female athletes, but usually only go as far as the Williams sisters and a few MMA fighters. And even then, they still need to be traditionally feminine, beautiful, and not be too muscular.

The only group of people in our society who truly embrace female bodybuilders with any sort of passion would be…a very small subculture that consists of folks like me and those of you who read this blog.

Hm.

Female bodybuilders do appear to exist in limbo, don’t they?

They live in a strange, isolated world. We fans also exist in this world, but we are certainly not on the same plane as them. Celebrities and their fans will always exist in the same universe, but no one can deny that there’s always going to be a clear separation between the two cohorts. And in this case, female bodybuilders are celebrities as far as we’re concerned. Maybe not according to our mainstream culture, but in our hearts they’re as revered as any Hollywood icon or pop singer.

If female bodybuilders live on one continent on Planet FBB, fans like you and I live on a different continent on the other side of the hemisphere. Same planet, but different environments. Way different environments.

FBBs are not lonely, but they don’t have too many advocates on their side. Their list of partners, associates, allies, and lobbyists (not necessarily in the political sense) are few and far between. And it appears to be shrinking as the years go on. This might be an exaggeration, or maybe it is not. But what we can say for sure is that FBBs exist in probably one of the most bizarre cultural environments possible.

Female bodybuilders are sort of like Hare Krishnas, Scientologists, or Furries. We’re all aware that these sort of people exist, even though we may never come into contact with one of them. We might have a buddy from high school who may have implied on Facebook that he/she is into that sort of thing, but other than that these folks exist mostly on a theoretical level. I’ve never personally met a practicing Scientologist, but they sure do claim that they’re the “world’s fastest growing religion.” Maybe I need to get out of my apartment more.

Sherry Mayumi is a former U.S, Marine who will kick your ass…if she had reason to, that is.

Most people in the world know that female bodybuilders exist. But only an infinitesimal number of those people could name at least one current (or past, for that matter) athlete. If you were to ask a random person on the street what they thought about female bodybuilders, most of the responses – regardless if they come from a man or a woman – probably won’t be too positive. Or they’ll laugh it off and say they don’t know enough about them to make a comment. Fair enough.

It goes without saying that the vast majority of us don’t personally know a female bodybuilder, never mind being on a first-name basis with one. Even those of us who love female bodybuilders more than anything else probably can’t call one a friend or even an acquaintance. FBBs tend to know (or at least know of) each other very well, which makes sense when you consider how intimate of a community they belong to. But their numbers are small – unfortunately – while the number of their fans is larger…but still remarkably small.

According to Catholic theology, “Limbo” is a speculative place where souls go after their worldly bodies die if they did not receive the Christian baptism. Without getting into further detail, this basically means your soul is stuck in an environment that is neither Heaven, Hell, nor Earth. You exist in “no man’s land.” You don’t have a home because no one wants to claim you. It’s pretty darn depressing when you think about it.

Female bodybuilders, therefore, exist in a similar – albeit without the element of “spiritual damnation” attached to it – situation. No one is willing to openly embrace them. Not sports journalists. Not feminists. Not fellow non-bodybuilding athletes. Not Hollywood producers. Not hot shot talent agents. Not even some powerful people within the bodybuilding industry. And those of us who do love them do so in secret. I don’t tell my friends, family, and co-workers that I love muscular women. And I know for a fact I am not alone in making this decision.

So even the most enthusiastic supporters of female bodybuilding aren’t willing to be vocal about it. I try to be as vocal as I can, but I choose to do so under the guise as an anonymous blogger. I’d like to think of myself as a “friend of FBBs,” but can I really stake this claim when I’m too embarrassed to publicly declare my admiration for them? What kind of an ally is that?

Georgina McConnell is like the girl next door. If you happen to live next to a House of Muscle Goddesses.

This isn’t meant to shame anyone or spur any of you to take a specific action. Although if you feel compelled to take matters into your own hands, be my guest. Rather, this is meant to point out a strange yet fascinating aspect of female bodybuilding: They have no home, but that’s okay because they don’t need one.

Huh?

Female bodybuilders don’t need a massive amount of public adoration in order to justify their existence. Nor do they need that to validate their considerable accomplishments. FBBs have carved out a small yet not insignificant niche market for themselves. Their biggest fans may not feel comfortable expressing their fandom quite like football fans or cosplayers do, but that’s perfectly fine. That’s not entirely necessary. Female bodybuilding fans are able to live out their fandom with complete anonymity if they so choose – and many do.

Likewise, female bodybuilders do not have to conduct all their business in broad daylight. Obviously, activities such as competing, endorsing corporate products, running a business, modeling, personal training, and acting are done publicly. In fact, the more publicized these activities can be, the better. Obviously.

However, there are other entrepreneurial actions that do not need to be so public. Offering muscle worship/wrestling sessions and performing in “adult” entertainment media can fly more under the radar. These activities are not a “secret” in the dictionary definition sense of the word, but they aren’t exactly ones that all FBBs are willing to blast out to the world. Also, every FBB is different. Some are very open about the seedier sides of their lives. Others prefer to keep a more “clean” public image and leave the other stuff behind closed doors. To each her own.

Therefore, FBBs exist in multiple worlds. They exist in the open, but also in the shadows. You can read their biographies on Wikipedia or their own websites, but you’re only seeing a fraction of the truth. You can follow them on Instagram, but you need to go behind a paid subscription firewall to really see what kind of photography they like to participate in. You may see that they offer “sessions” to paying customers, but you actually need to set one up in order to truly know what goes on in those hotel rooms.

Lightness and darkness. Truth and secrets. Openness and guarded candidness. Experienced reality and unsubstantiated rumors. The tip of the iceberg and whatever exists below it.

Female bodybuilders live in all of these worlds, often at the same time. They simultaneously write an email to a personal training client to remind them to eat more kale while sitting in a cheap motel wearing a sexy BDSM outfit. They chat on the phone with one of their protein supplement sponsors minutes after wiping a random guy’s semen off her chest. They send a loving text to their children wishing them “good night” just moments before filming a gang bang porno on an amateur movie set.

Not all FBBs can relate to these hypothetical scenarios, but many can. Or at least some of them. For female bodybuilders who wish to make a living doing what they do, they have to live in both worlds – whether they like it or not. Only the elite of the elite can make enough money doing competitions, working part-time or full-time, and endorsing products. Most FBBs have to add to their income through, ahem, “nontraditional” means.

And that means living in a world that is, as explained earlier, simultaneously in the light and in the shadows. Or, it means living in a world that is neither completely in the light nor completely in the shadows. It’s both at the same time. Or neither.

Essentially, they got to do what they got to do. No matter what form it takes, a paycheck is a paycheck that subsidizes the rent and puts food on the table (and bodybuilders have to eat a lot of food to remain that big). Money earned under the table is still money that you can deposit in the bank. Uncle Sam just isn’t able to tax it.

The elegant Elise Penn.

Also, fans of FBBs – like FBBs themselves – want to keep their fandom as under the radar as possible. You don’t just casually declare on Facebook that you’re about to meet a female bodybuilder for fantasy wrestling, muscle worship, and (hopefully) a hand job at the end. That’s just not what most of us do. Instead, we also live in the darkness, albeit for a temporary amount of time. But that’s not all bad. FBBs with families and public reputations want to keep the more erotic side of their business a secret. Guys (and gals) who engage in these erotic activities also want it to be kept a secret. So confidentiality is desired by both parties. Both sides benefit. Both sides consent to what is happening. Both sides want it kept hush-hush. It’s not only a win-win, it’s a situation in which “losing” is considered unacceptable by both sides.

“Losing” means risking public ridicule. It means embarrassment. It means lost sponsorships. It could mean jail time. It could also mean being ostracized by your own industry. Whatever the case may be, this sordid world existing in limbo is in everyone’s best interests.

One more observation about public adoration. It’s overrated. Big time.

Sure, many FBBs love it when peers, fans, and friends compliment their looks. After all, what’s the point of all that hard work if nobody is around to appreciate it? While more eyeballs on you could mean more lucrative opportunities down the road, FBBs don’t necessarily need hundreds of millions of rabid fans frothing at the mouth, hanging on your every word and action. Rather, all they need are a few dedicated but respectful supporters who will pay them $400 per hour doing perfectly legal activities in complete secrecy. These folks will not just verbally compliment you, they will worship you. They will lay their fingers on your body and admire your handiwork without words. Yet, their silence speaks volumes.

These fans aren’t just casually expressing their fondness for an FBB’s work. They’re treating it like a quasi-spiritual experience. Or maybe it’s a full on spiritual experience in the literal sense. Touching a muscular woman’s body is much different than clicking the “like” button or leaving a nonsensical comment on Instagram using the appropriate hashtags. Look at it from the perspective of the session provider: her clients aren’t casual participants, like someone turning on the TV to the baseball game just for the background noise. They’re giving her a significant portion of their month’s wages for the opportunity to see her for just one single hour.

That’s quite a sacrifice. And showering her with verbal and physical compliments on top of it all proves that this is no joke (what exactly is a “physical compliment?” That’s up to your imagination to decide…). Public adoration is fine. It really is. But it can’t beat the kind of adoration that’s more intimate, quieter, deeper, and meaningful. One cannot easily replicate that outside of the context of an erotic session.

It’s one thing to download Beyoncé’s albums and follow her on Twitter. It’s quite another thing to pay a quarter of your hard-earned paycheck to an FBB, meet her at a hotel somewhere far away, and make yourself vulnerable to each other. These sessions are extremely vulnerable for both parties. Probably more so for the provider, but it is as well for the client. An FBB opens up her body – her most treasured asset – to a complete stranger. A client expresses their inner most desires to someone who might – or might not – be judging them; often times these desires being uncomfortable to talk about.

Erin Tolen is showing us that baby got back.

In my experience, when I first started participating in muscle worship sessions I had to give myself permission to enjoy the experience. I had to repeatedly remind myself that it’s okay to be indulgent every once in a while. It’s okay to be selfish. It’s okay to seek what you want and not apologize for it. So there is without question a high degree of vulnerability required to be a participant. As there is to be the one opening her own body to be touched in the most intimate ways imaginable…and the possibility of pain, injury, and violation.

Therefore, FBBs should be living in limbo. They don’t need to live in a black and white world where there are definitive rules that govern what people should and should not be allowed to enjoy. Of course, there are reasonable parameters that should be observed. But when both sides are consenting to everything that is going on, it’s best for all involved to not think about whether what’s transpiring is considered “socially acceptable” or “popular.” Those are superficial labels we attach to behaviors that don’t encompass the full spectrum of what makes people happy.

At the end of the day, that’s what it all boils down to. Whatever makes you happy. Whatever makes female bodybuilders and fans of female bodybuilders happy is alright, regardless of whether they exist in the light or the dark. Lightness and darkness are boundaries we arbitrarily place on things that we are comfortable acknowledging. It has nothing to do with what the actual truth is.

The Truth with a capital “T” is somewhere in between. Or somewhere else. Or both. Whatever.

Perhaps We Should Vote for a Female Bodybuilder for President

I'd vote Tina Jo Orban as "Best Legs" if such a category were to exist.

I’d vote Tina Jo Orban as “Best Legs” if such a category were to exist.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past two years, or if you live outside of the United States and you don’t particularly care what happens in this country, most of you should be aware that very soon we will be bringing this God-awful presidential election to a merciful end and will choose who our next Commander-in-Chief will be.

I refuse to even name the two candidates who are running for my nation’s highest public office on the grounds that both of them have received enough attention from people like you and I. So perhaps this post will remain relevant four, eight, or twelve years from now. Who knows?

If this excruciating and painful election cycle has taught us anything – and it has indeed taught us many valuable lessons about the state of my nation and politics in general – it’s that qualifications for the job don’t matter to the typical voter when it comes to selecting the next U.S. President. So, in an effort to not get too political and keep matters civil, I will lay out a tongue-in-cheek argument for why Americans (and people from other countries who are blessed to live in a representational democracy, or at least a country that practices such style of governance in theory) should decide to vote for a female bodybuilder for president on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

I will admit that I am embarrassed as a U.S. citizen to subject the world to watching our political theater play out in all its horrifying glory. Let’s hope 2016 is just one of those “weird” years that we look back upon decades later and proudly declare that we were fortunate enough to have lived through it (for the most part) unscathed. After all, we could do worse. And odds are we will actually end up doing worse sooner or later.

But I digress. I am no political commentator, but in my opinion the most significant reason why U.S. politics sucks right now is because we expect our politicians to deliver on promises that were unrealistic to begin with…which then breeds contempt, more unrealistic expectations, and more extreme candidates who can only get elected if they continue to up-the-ante and foster a whole new set of stupid promises. This means personality tends to matter more than qualifications or knowledge about the job, which explains an awful lot.

However, a female bodybuilder lives in a completely different world than politicians – but can offer said politicians a lot of life lessons that could go a long way in generating better public policies.

Think about the world a female bodybuilder inhabits. She’s working in an industry that persistently is trying to weed her out of it. The Ms. Olympia is dead and buried and doesn’t appear to be coming back any time soon. Other competitions may rise out of the ashes and attempt to take its place, but that doesn’t change the fact that the IFBB isn’t too keen on allowing hypermuscular competitors to be the “face” of the female side of the sport. They’d rather more “audience friendly” fitness and bikini competitors take center stage over the bigger and buffer ladies who’ve worked harder to achieve their physiques.

So, right off the bat a female bodybuilder has to endure working in a profession where the chances of cultivating strong career prospects are becoming dimmer and slimmer as time marches on. Yet, money doesn’t fall from the skies and she has to make an income somehow. This is where things like personal training, one-on-one online consulting, fitness entrepreneurship, and ahem, offering wrestling or muscle worship sessions to paying customers (all under the table and away from the prying hands of tax collectors, of course!) fit into the picture. She may not necessarily want to do any or most of these things, but as I mentioned before, money doesn’t grow on trees and food won’t miraculously appear on the dinner table out of thin air. So, a female bodybuilder who wants to pursue bodybuilding as a profession – more or less – must adapt to her present circumstances or face the inevitable option of having to choose a different career path.

Another lovely and gorgeous Tina: Tina Chandler.

Another lovely and gorgeous Tina: Tina Chandler.

Adaptation isn’t easy or seamless, but it does happen. People who live in the real world adapt every single day of their lives. What worked yesterday won’t necessarily work today and sure as hell won’t work tomorrow, so it’s foolish to remain stilted in one’s ways of doing things. One must always look for the next best opportunity or face the consequences of becoming poor, irrelevant, or both. This requires understanding the bodybuilding industry well, knowing what customers want (if you get my drift), and being willing to forge a new pathway if the current ones leads to a dead end. I didn’t say it’s easy to do this, but it can be done. We can collectively name hundreds of female bodybuilders from all across the world who can testify to this.

Another aspect to female bodybuilding that’s important to realize is the independent nature of the sport. Unlike team sports like baseball, football (the one that features tackling, throwing, and catching), basketball, hockey, soccer, rugby, and others, bodybuilding isn’t a sport that consists of teams, teammates, and being dependent upon others to win games. It’s solely on the shoulders of each individual athlete.

Of course, it deserves to be said that every single top-level bodybuilder – male or female – has a large team of coaches, trainers, nutritional experts, doctors, and assistants who aid them on their journey to becoming an elite competitor. No man is an island, and perhaps no woman is an island either. So a female bodybuilder isn’t completely paddling a single canoe. But there’s no denying that bodybuilding is ruggedly individualistic in nature. The panel of judges that decides who wins and who doesn’t win only looks at the individual competitors, not who they have standing in their corner cheering them on.

Muhammad Ali is known as the greatest boxer of all time – not Muhammad Ali and his army of personal trainers, physicians, sparring partners, promoters, advisors, and so on. Though every top athlete has help from a team of professionals, but only one person is in the ring fighting against his or her opponent. And the last time I checked, Ali was the only one in that ring staring down his hapless challenger.

Bodybuilders of all stripes understand this reality intuitively. If they make a mistake, they alone must answer for it. They can’t blame a lazy teammate, idiotic coaching, or an overall poor supporting cast for being a perpetual loser. They only have themselves to blame if they placed 3rd at last year’s competition but 10th this year. That drop-off can have plenty of rational explanations (biased judging being a prominent one), but at the end of the day every single competitor is responsible for their own training, progress, dieting, and outcomes.

Which leads us to the next point…

Female bodybuilders aren’t striving to achieve a goal that exists only in the abstract. Rather, they bust their tails every day of their lives working toward a goal that’s specific, tangible, measurable, attainable, and very damn difficult to meet. There’s an element of poetic beauty integral to this reality, isn’t there?

If a new and up-and-coming female athlete looks at photos of Alina Popa, Debi Laszewski or Brigita Brezovac and says to herself, “I want to look like that one day,” guess what? She can! Granted, it won’t be easy and the journey from Point A to Point B will be arduous, tumultuous, and full of plenty of doubt. But nevertheless, one cannot deny that the goal can be met if she sets her mind to it and educates herself on what is necessary to get there.

Annie Rivieccio earns my vote for "Best Bicep Peak."

Annie Rivieccio earns my vote for “Best Bicep Peak.”

Unlike politicians who promise big and bold achievements that probably aren’t realistic and only will set their constituents up for disappointment, a female bodybuilder has a distinct goal in mind that’s specific and can accurately be visualized ahead of time. It doesn’t exist in a theoretical universe that looks great on paper or in a rousing speech but doesn’t actually work in real life. Bodybuilding is a sport where end results aren’t achieved by dumb luck or happenstance. It materializes when an athlete makes a definitive decision to take specific action toward achieving a precise goal.

Nobody will argue that it’ll be easy to look like Lisa Cross or Rene Campbell. That high degree of muscularity doesn’t come easily. But one cannot also argue that such objectives are impossible. They are quite possible to meet, albeit after one is eager to dramatically reorganize one’s lifestyle.

Point B isn’t a hypothetical reality that exists only in one’s mind. Building an impressive level of muscle mass is a concrete end that arises after participating in concrete means. Gaining x number of pounds of muscle or placing in the top five of a certain bodybuilding contest are measurable and quantifiable aims that are either achieved or not achieved. There is no middle ground. There is no ambiguity. Either it happened or it didn’t. Period.

And who is to blame if one sets out to gain bigger biceps and triceps and fails? You guessed it. The person who established these goals in the first place and nobody else.

One other facet of female bodybuilders that must be addressed is the fact that FBBs are, for the most part, not worried about being popular or widely accepted by society. A woman who chooses to pursue bodybuilding in any serious manner is opening herself up to a variety of different kinds of obstacles – many of which she would not face had she not decided to become a bodybuilder.

It’s no mystery that a woman with big muscles is an unusual sight to see. Simply put, these women are rare in our world. Yet, a small number of remarkable women are actively working to build big muscles despite the potential backlash that might come with it. Many will receive looks of repulsion or disgust. Accusations of being “too manly” or “becoming a man” will start to flood in. There will be those who will ask her “do you have to get that big?” Others will question her life choices and wonder if she’s hiding something.

But no matter what comes her way, a female bodybuilder must be tough-minded and relentless in the pursuit of her dreams. She must endure people looking at her differently. She must accept the fact trolls on the Internet will post nasty remarks about her. She knows the road to becoming a pro bodybuilder will be strenuous…but she does it regardless. That’s not easy to do. There aren’t too many of us in this world who are capable of breaking all those barriers, jumping over all those hurdles, and trudging through all those obstacles when the easier road is to not pursue bodybuilding in the first place.

She does what she wants to do knowing it won’t be popular with everyone. Yes, she will meet people along the way who will support her, but certainly that won’t be everybody. Doing the right thing – following your dreams – despite outside noise takes emotional and intellectual fortitude. Do you honestly believe some of our elected representatives share that same level of internal strength?

Catherine Holland could start a nuclear war over her physique.

Catherine Holland could start a nuclear war over her physique.

The final point I’ll make (although I could go on further) is that a female bodybuilder possesses a deep understanding of how the world works and must apply this knowledge practically in the quest of her chosen profession. She needs to be an entrepreneur, agent, marketer, business manager, scheduler, public relations specialist, nutritionist, athletic trainer, and personal ambassador all at the same time. As a small fish in a big pond, an FBB’s success or failure wholly depends upon how well she understands her circumstances and how she can cultivate an accomplished career from it (or despite it).

In this respect, female bodybuilders earn what’s coming to them. They aren’t “given” success. Nobody votes for them to have large muscles or a chiseled physique. They have to expel blood, sweat, and tears day in and day out to achieve their bodies. Granted, a panel of judges does elect how she places at a competition, but that’s an exception. For the most part, she wouldn’t have been able to reach that point of being on that stage unless she put in the hard work beforehand. Besides, actual competing is only a small part of the rewards that come from bodybuilding.

The biggest reward is the personal satisfaction of knowing that you’ve accomplished something grand. Nobody can take that away from you. Your opponents may have more trophies than you, but what every single competitor has is the sense of triumphant pride that comes with pursuing a goal with manic obsession. Truly, an FBB earns her success. That’s how the real world operates.

Presidents, prime ministers, senators, representatives, governors, MPs, city councilmembers, mayors, and other positions of elected authority do not always share these same traits. It seems rather odd to have a system where the power to regulate, tax, create new laws, authorize war, or incarcerate citizens are given to people who get that job simply by winning a glorified popularity contest. Very strange, indeed. But, that’s the system we have until something better replaces it.

Here in the United States of America, we give the nuclear codes to people we wouldn’t trust to manage the local Burger King. We trust those who’ve never ran a business to regulate businesses. We ask people who’ve never served in the military to send young men and women they’ve never met to a foreign country and die for an ambiguous cause. To summarize, we elect people who don’t understand how the world works to decide how the world works.

Insanity.

However, ask I’ve just articulated, a female bodybuilder does understand how the world works. She has to in order to survive. She must understand how to relate to people. She knows what it’s like to be a businesswoman…because she essentially is a one-woman business. She does what she does regardless of how unpopular it might make her. At the end of the day, a female bodybuilder shares these characteristics:

  1. Mental toughness
  2. Adaptability
  3. Entrepreneurial savviness
  4. Focus
  5. Intelligence
  6. Knowledgeable about the real world
  7. Grit
  8. Strength – both physical and emotional
  9. Ability to earn her success
  10. Independence

As I’ve said before, the list can go on and on. But you get the idea. I’m not suggesting that we should actually elect current or former female bodybuilders to high positions of political power just because they happen to be current or former FBBs. However, what I do want to illustrate is that FBBs boast a unique perspective on life that cannot be easily replicated or transferred.

I'd appoint Nikki Fuller as my Secretary of Muscle.

I’d appoint Nikki Fuller as my Secretary of Muscle.

She’s earned her success. She’s forged her own path. She’s self-taught herself topics in areas like calisthenics, biology, science, nutrition, sports medicine, etc. She lives in an environment that can be cruel and adversarial toward her. She knows how to persevere through obstacles and come out better for it. She must adapt to her surroundings…or die refusing to do so.

That’s not an easy thing to do. It’s not for everyone. Certainly not people who’ve existed in an Ivy League-encrusted silver spoon-fed bubble for their entire lives. As Americans go to the polls on November 8 they should ask themselves, “How the hell did we get here in the first place?” It’s a perfectly valid question; one that doesn’t have any easy answers.

But perhaps the answer is simple. We, as a nation, don’t value the right things. We value what we want to hear, not what we should hear. We live in a fantasy world full of bright shiny objects, not in the real world where decisions have actual consequences.

Female bodybuilders, on the other hand, do not get to live in such a magical universe. They must always be on their toes. They cannot get lazy or entitled. They must continuously grind in order to reach the Promised Land – which nobody actually promised them at all. In short, female bodybuilders represent humanity at its best. FBBs don’t make empty promises about what they think they’ll do. They actually do it every single day of their lives.

I’d vote for that.

Nothing Beats a Female Bodybuilder Who “Gets” It

Brandi Mae Akers is not just your girl-next-door. She's your big-and-buff-girl-next-door!

Brandi Mae Akers is not just your girl-next-door. She’s your big-and-buff-girl-next-door!

Do you know what’s awesome? A female bodybuilder who “gets” it.

And by “gets” it, I mean a female bodybuilder who understands why people love her and is willing to provide her fans what they want.

You’d think the vast majority of female bodybuilders, athletes, and amateur muscular women would be taking advantage of this, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Many FBBs are either uncomfortable or against (for a wide variety of reasons) “giving the fans what they want,” which of course is their prerogative. Nobody is claiming that FBBs must please their fans at every opportunity they get or that appealing to the fanbase is somehow essential to staying relevant to the scene (at least, I’m not claiming these things). Obviously, female bodybuilders are under no obligation to do anything other than what they want to do – or not want to do.

But occasionally, you’ll encounter an FBB who truly understands what guys and gals love in a muscular woman and will enthusiastically utilize that knowledge for maximum gain. She benefits and we benefit. That’s a win-win scenario, right?

Right. Off the top of my head, eight women in particular who “get” it the best are Denise Masino, Angela Salvagno, Amber DeLuca, Lisa Cross, Victoria Dominguez, Lindsay Mulinazzi, Emery Miller, and Brandi Mae Akers. There are others, but these women in particular stand out to me.

These ladies are some of the most well-known female bodybuilders in the world not just because of their competitive accomplishments – although we should not downplay their achievements on the stage – but because of their willingness to put their personalities and bodies out there so publicly and prominently. If I’m in the mood to watch some erotic female muscle videos, odds are I’m going to do a Bing search (my search engine of choice for finding videos for whatever reason) of any of these eight women. Or all of them, if I have the time and the inclination.

In the world of branding, advertising, marketing, and public relations (terms that could be used interchangeably), one of the key rules is that people don’t purchase products just because they need the product for practical reasons. They purchase it because it makes them feel a certain way: cool, culturally relevant, in-the-know, a part of a larger community, socially-conscious, better than people who aren’t using the same product, et cetera. For example, there isn’t any practical reason why someone would spend $200 on a brand new pair of Beats By Dre headphones when a less expensive generic pair would work just as well. But, the point of paying more has nothing to do with practicality. You don’t purchase a more expensive product because the music you listen to will necessarily sound better. You purchase it because it makes you appear socially hip with the “young people these days” (get off my lawn!).

Lindsay Mulinazzi makes me feel all of the emotions. All of them.

Lindsay Mulinazzi makes me feel all of the emotions. All of them.

It’s not about what the product has to offer. It has to do with the elevation of your social status as a result of publicly using the product. It’s marketing genius to associate a mundane product with enhanced social status – no matter how superficial that status may be. That’s why some of us are billionaires and others of us aren’t.

Likewise, astute female bodybuilders understand that their muscular bodies – while a fine, fine product unto itself – aren’t the only reason why guys and gals like us love them. We love them because of how they make us feel: giddy, sexually aroused, titillated, curious, imaginative, fascinated, awe-inspired, weak-kneed, excited, nervous (in a good way), frightened (also in a good way), emasculated (definitely in a good way), and so on. It’s not just looking at their beautiful bodies that make us return back to them time and time again. Female bodybuilders – whether they realize it or not – conjure up inside ourselves a whole host of visceral emotions that are ready to burst at the seams.

Whenever you see a tantalizing photo of a nude female bodybuilder provocatively posing for the camera or a gorgeous muscular porn star showing off all her assets for leering eyes, it’s nearly impossible to not react in a primal sort of manner. Your imagination goes wild. Your heartbeat starts to race. Intense feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, or admiration bubble to the surface. Every female muscle fan knows what I’m referring to. You wouldn’t be reading this blog post if you didn’t!

Entrepreneurial female bodybuilders who both recognize this phenomena and know how to exploit it for maximum gain are in rare company. Actually, that might be a bit unfair. It’s not just understanding what the customer wants; it’s also about being willing to give them what they want. Lots of female bodybuilders, competitors, athletes, and fitness models have little interest in overtly sexualizing their identities. There’s without question a sexual aspect to any form of sport/modeling in which sculpting the human body toward fitting a certain desired aesthetic is involved, but there are lines that many women choose not to cross.

Denise Masino is my favorite. Need I explain why?

Denise Masino is my favorite. Need I explain why?

I personally know a fitness competitor (she’s a former co-worker) who is also a mother of two young daughters. I don’t think she’s the type of person who would, in the style of Brandi Mae Akers, get naked, masturbate with a big black dildo, drop f-bombs like a drunken sailor, and post the video onto the Internet for anyone to see. She has every right to do such a thing, but knowing her personality and religious convictions, I highly doubt she’d ever do something like that!

So it’s not just about “getting” it. It’s also about wanting to “go there.” Not everyone wants to do things that appeal to their fanbase’s fetishistic interests. And that’s perfectly okay. They are under no obligation to do so under any circumstances.

But for those who are eager to “go there,” hats off to you! We fans deeply and sincerely appreciate your enthusiasm toward branding yourself in a way that can be awkward, uncomfortable, and troubling to others. I cannot imagine what friends, family members, and spouses of porn stars – both muscular and non-muscular – must think about them. Do they approve of their chosen profession? Do the mothers and fathers of porn performers actually sit down and watch their sons/daughters suck the genitals of a random stranger as a form of entertainment? How awkward is that Thanksgiving dinner conversation?

Probably pretty darn awkward. While it is perfectly possible to excite, titillate, and thrill without being too explicit, what keeps customers coming back for more and more is when they encounter someone who stands out from the rest and consistently delivers on their promises.

But, it’s not just about being overtly sexual. The vast majority of sexually explicit porn out there is complete and utter garbage. It’s boring, crude, disgusting, and worse of all, unexciting. I don’t get excited watching two fake plastic surgery-enhanced nobodies having awful staged sex topped off with obnoxious screaming, moaning, and “orgasms” that are so phony even a pious Catholic nun could tell it’s not real. Even if it involves female bodybuilders. So what I’m talking about here isn’t necessarily explicit FBB porn, but the manner in which FBBs present themselves to their fans.

Devil in a Red Dress, that is Emery Miller.

Devil in a Red Dress, that is Emery Miller.

A female bodybuilder who “gets” it – as I’ve mentioned before – makes us feel things that we rarely feel. We’ve all seen attractive people before. I encounter physically beautiful women every single day of my life: at work, at the grocery store, on the street, at the gym, at a restaurant, at a bar, on the commuter train, etc. But none of them elicit the same response as whenever I am privileged to meet a female bodybuilder for a muscle worship session. In that moment, I’m not just meeting a beautiful woman. I’m meeting the most beautiful woman on the planet. Her strength makes me weak. Her confidence puts me in my place. I’m both scared and at ease. I’m turned on but still in awe. I’m completely focused on her but cannot make a rational thought. Time seems to stand still. That hour I spend with her seems like 20 minutes. She does things to my heart and mind that cannot be justifiably explained. But it doesn’t have to be. I know it and that’s all that matters.

Fans of FBBs gravitate toward women who make us feel these things. And this has very little to do with how sexy she acts, how “hardcore” she performs for the camera, or even what she physically looks like. For example, this is why I get completely aroused watching an FBB squat 400 pounds in sweat pants and a hoodie while I get totally bored watching two skinny topless college girls making out at a Mardi Gras party. Some people genuinely enjoy watching the latter. I prefer the former. I’d wager a guess that readers of this blog would agree with me.

Thankfully for us, there are lots of FBBs in this world who understand why we react this way. They understand why their muscles turn us on and why they personally turn us on. There are FBBs who understand the fetish of being an “older” woman and how turning 40 isn’t a curse, but instead an open door to captivating a whole new audience. She can add bonus points if she’s a mother. More bonus points if she’s a mother of multiple children. Hell, she can probably start rolling in the dough if she’s a grandmother as well!

In fact, many of us prefer our female bodybuilders to be on the “older” or “mature” side. We are enraptured by her experience, wisdom, and maternal acumen. An astute FBB won’t shy away from being older, but instead will milk it for all it’s worth. A business-savvy FBB won’t be embarrassed by her larger-than-normal penis-like clit; rather she points a camera directly in front of it and zooms in closely for everyone to see. A shrewd muscular woman doesn’t remain silent so that her unnaturally deep voice can’t be heard; she instead narrates for us exactly what she plans to do for us so that her rumbling voice is allowed to make the walls shake.

In many ways, an entrepreneurial female bodybuilder has to “think” like a customer. What do they like? What turns them on? Why do they love muscular women in the first place? Why do they keep coming back? Why do they like certain FBBs more than others? What can I learn from my competitors? What can I learn from my customers? How can I maximize my appeal while staying true to who I am? Where can I go from here? What is my potential?

FBBs who “get it” already know the answers to these questions. Denise Masino understands perfectly well there are millions of guys out there who drool over her large clitoris. Brandi Mae Akers doesn’t need to be told her pretty school-girl looks combined with impressively sexy muscularity make her irresistible. Angela Salvagno is very aware her dark olive complexion and meaty labia are her moneymakers. Amber DeLuca’s business card (assuming she even has business cards) only needs to say “Bad Muscle Girl” and nothing else. Need it say more?

What should Angela Salvagno's business card say?

What should Angela Salvagno’s business card say?

For these ladies and countless others, they’ve reached their levels of success because of two things: drive and smarts. The personal drive and determination to become a world-class bodybuilder need no explanation. You don’t become as big and buff as Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia by being a couch potato. Slackers need not apply. Large muscularity doesn’t happen by accident. It happens because you put in the blood, sweat, and tears necessary to build the body you want.

But the other aspect to this is smarts. And not just being strategic about lifting, eating, resting, and supplementation. That’s important too, but what I’m talking about is being smart in the business side of being a female bodybuilder in the 21st century. FBBs who are able to earn a living doing what they do must adapt to the economic realities they face. This means being willing to offer up your product (which, as unusual as it sounds, is your very own body) to your customers (people like us who blog and read blogs about female muscle) in an intelligent and strategic manner. Thankfully for everyone involved, there are plenty of FBBs who do this every single day.

So how do they do this? Do they procure customer surveys to learn what people like? A muscle worship session is very different than getting your oil changed or your roof reshingled, but the basic concept of offering a client value for a service remains the same. Do they ask a focus group of teenagers, millennials, the elderly, and stay-at-home mothers what kind of female muscle-themed porn they prefer to masturbate to? I wouldn’t want to sit in on that meeting or sift through those surveys.

Well, they just know. They have a keen awareness of human sexuality and what makes people tick. They are able to see their own bodies through the eyes of an adoring fan. They can empathize with others. They don’t judge harshly or unfairly the fetishes of others. They may not always understand what people like, but they respect their preferences nevertheless as long as no one is harmed.

There’s a reason why you’re attracted to certain female bodybuilders and have only a passing interest in others. You may not comprehend why or how that happens, but rest assured there are many bright and intelligent FBBs out there who do.

You Can’t Please Everybody: The Difficulty a Female Bodybuilder Faces in Maintaining the “Perfect” Balance

Dayana Cadeau may not be able to please everybody, but she can sure please me!

Dayana Cadeau may not be able to please everybody, but she can sure please me!

There are some people in this world who need to please others. And not just please them every so often; they have this burning desire to please everybody every time with everything they do.

This, of course, is an impossible task. But that doesn’t stop certain people from trying to do so with all their might.

Call it insecurity. Call it a psychological complex. Call it irrational. Or you can chalk it up to good business sense. Being a bodybuilder isn’t just a lifestyle. It’s a business venture. Like all business ventures, success isn’t guaranteed, nor is the formula for success set in stone permanently. In our ever-changing market of goods and services (which is becoming more internationally-driven as the years go on), what works today won’t work ten years from now; just as what worked ten years ago isn’t the same as what works today.

The same is true for how a female bodybuilder has to promote herself to the public. In decades past, there were more “traditional” routes to how she could achieve financial success. Competitions were still fairly lucrative and endorsement deals were there for the taking. The money in it wasn’t always reliable or plentiful, but you knew where it was if you wanted it.

Today, things are much different. Big, brawny female bodybuilders aren’t given the opportunities they once were. They aren’t becoming extinct by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s hard to imagine the glory years of the 1970s and 80s returning any time soon.

Jill St. Laurent is a true saint in my book.

Jill St. Laurent is a true saint in my book.

So here’s the fundamental dilemma: The general public – and whether this assertion if fair or not can be up for debate – tends to gravitate toward people who fit “one size fits all” molds. If we’re talking about strong women, they want these women to fit all these criteria:

  • Tough, yet approachable
  • Strong, yet vulnerable
  • Muscular, yet traditionally feminine
  • Accomplished, yet still physically beautiful
  • Intelligent, yet not condescending
  • Individualistic, yet still marketable
  • Talented, yet unintimidating
  • A woman, yet not defined by her gender
  • Speaks her mind, yet doesn’t ruffle any feathers
  • Dedicated to her craft, yet still has time to do “woman” things like get married and raise children

These hideous double standards are obviously not felt by the majority of male athletes. Whether the typical sports fan would ever admit this or not, this is how we treat our female athletes. In many cases, they feel this way without even explicitly knowing it! Talk about having certain attitudes ingrained into our psyche from birth.

Nobody can chain down Fabiola Boulanger!

Nobody can chain down Fabiola Boulanger!

If a female bodybuilder were to be one of those types who needs to please everybody every single time, she’ll go crazy and would tear all her hair out. Thankfully, the vast majority of FBBs are mentally strong and ignore useless nonsense like that. But this illustrates the predicament that comes with the territory of working in the industry. Female bodybuilders cannot possibly please everyone. The so-called “perfect balance” of being someone who can appeal to all audiences is a myth. Not even the most popular celebrities in our society are universally popular with all people. Singers, actors, TV personalities, writers, sports heroes, etc. Everyone has their fair share of critics. This isn’t a reflection of them, however. This is more of a reflection of the diverse tastes, opinions, and aesthetic standards we have available to us.

So how does one survive in a business where appeal is the name of the game? After all, if enough people don’t like your brand, your earning power will quickly diminish. Blockbuster Video no longer exists because Netflix (and, ahem, online pirating) replaced it as the consumer’s top choice for purchasing cinematic entertainment. Therefore, FBBs cannot completely ignore the importance of mass appeal.

What is she to do? There are two routes:

  1. Appeal to as many different audiences as possible
  2. Appeal to a very specific audience and take full advantage of this niche market

One could argue an FBB would best be served if she pursued route #2. Non-bodybuilders like soccer players, tennis players, basketball players, MMA fighters, and prominent fitness celebrities are more likely to find financial success if she dips her toes in route #1. But this could very well be wrong.

To an extent, appealing to a niche audience is what FBBs do currently. In many respects this is their only viable option to staying financially secure in today’s world. This isn’t a criticism of the “Female Bodybuilding Business Model.” This is just an observation of what actually works.

Ever heard of the “80/20 Rule?” Also known as the “Pareto principle,” in the business world it states that in general, 80 percent of your business revenue will come from 20 percent of your customers. If you open up a coffee shop in the middle of a busy downtown business district, your most valuable clients will be the people who buy an iced latte or white chocolate mocha from you five days a week. The spunky happy-go-lucky traveler who’s in town temporarily to visit his in-laws and decides to stop by your establishment only one time isn’t. That guy may be a totally nice person, but his value to your business is limited. Your repeat customers who loyally visit your shop on a consistent basis are way more important in the long-term.

Brandi Mae Akers posing in a sexy see-through dress.

Brandi Mae Akers posing in a sexy see-through dress.

For an entrepreneurial female bodybuilder, she must take heed of the 80/20 Rule. She may not have the largest number of clients available to her, but she can have a smaller group of fans who will follower her to the ends of the Earth. They may be small in size, but their return on investment (ROI) may be significant. One person who will buy tickets to a bodybuilding competition, pay you $500 for a muscle worship session, and purchase customized swag through your website is more valuable than 20 people who know your name but don’t want to have anything to do with you.

This small group of fans will adore you for who you are. They aren’t disgusted by your large size, shrunken breasts, deepened voice, and blunt personality. In fact, they love you because of all those things! Sadly, some FBBs feel like they need to get “smaller” in order to survive in the industry. That’s sad and hopefully they choose to look the way they want to look regardless of what other people think. But the pressure of being an elite athlete who remains unambiguously “feminine” persists whether we like it or not.

However, that doesn’t mean an FBB should be compelled to sell out who she is as a human being in order to earn a steady income. If she wants to squat so much her legs grow to the size of tree trunks, then she has every right to do that. If there are people out there who want her to stop squatting so damn much because she’ll end up “looking like a man,” here’s a pithy comeback for them:

Go fuck yourself.

That’s right! An FBB doesn’t have to be that crude, but she can be if the situation calls for it. The truth is, not everyone in the general population appreciates thick strong legs on a woman. But for those of us who know who Shannon Courtney is, a small but significant portion of us do in fact appreciate the finer things in life. Miss Courtney’s legs are definitely in the category of the “Finer Things in Life,” right up there with 50-year-old scotch whiskey, the cinema of François Truffaut, Lamborghinis, and Thai cuisine.

Shannon Courtney’s legs might be the best illustration of the 80/20 Rule. A vast number of us would appreciate her hard work and provide her a “you go girl!” compliment. A smaller number of us would willingly pay her $300 for the right to touch her legs. I have no idea if Shannon offers these kinds of services, but that’s not the point. If she wanted to, she could make a healthy buck on the side. For many female bodybuilders, they actually make a living wage offering customers the ability to touch their hard-earned bodies.

Shannon Courtney - definitely one of the finer things in life.

Shannon Courtney – definitely one of the finer things in life.

In order to survive in today’s interconnected world, a female bodybuilder doesn’t have to appeal to large audiences. She only has to find a specific niche and saturate that market to the best of her ability. And there is no doubt that such a niche market exists. It may not be obvious or widely talked about, but there are plenty of guys and gals in this world who share a keen interest in muscular women.

These are the people who matter to an FBB. Not the rest who are openly disgusted by her life’s choices. An FBB shouldn’t waste her time trying to please people who don’t already appreciate her beautiful muscles. Trying to convert them will be an exercise in futility. Instead, she should focus her attention on cultivating meaningful relationships with clients who already love her muscles. That will reap much more ROI.

Thankfully, most female bodybuilders are already doing this! This essay isn’t telling them anything they don’t know already. But it can serve as a reminder to the rest of us that living life as an FBB can be arduous, frustrating, and unpredictable. There are outside forces working against you. The deck is not stacked in your favor. But all is not lost. There are avenues to success that are proven to work on a practical level. The challenge is tapping into those avenues and feeling confident, supported, and empowered to do so.

Indeed, you cannot please everybody. This requires either maintaining the (impossible) “perfect balance” that appeals to all audiences … or diluting your product. The first option is impractical and the second option forces you to compromise your integrity. Either one stinks. So your third option is probably your best option: Screw what the masses think and embrace what your dedicated fans think.

And let’s be honest. Not even your most dedicated fans will appreciate everything you do 100 percent of the time. That’s totally fine. But you know they’re in your corner, cheering for you every step of the way. They may not make up large numbers, but their proud loyalty amplifies their voices ten-fold.

Denise Masino Might Be the Greatest Female Bodybuilder of All Time (NSFW)

A woman of Denise Masino's caliber deserves a tribute blog post, wouldn't you agree?

A woman of Denise Masino’s caliber deserves a tribute blog post, wouldn’t you agree?

It’s not too often that I’ll make firm declarative statements on this blog, but here’s one for the record:

Denise Masino might be the greatest female bodybuilder of all time.

Uh, what? Really? Out of all the thousands of women in this world who’ve pursued the sport of bodybuilding at some point in their lives, is Denise Masino really the GOAT (Greatest of All Time)? Surely there must be someone else, like Iris Kyle or Cory Everson, who should really take this prize. What on earth are you thinking, Ryan?

Well, hear me out on this. My opinion here is based less on competitive merits and more on entrepreneurial success. So maybe the “Greatest Female Bodybuilder of All Time” is a bit inaccurate. Perhaps “Greatest Female Bodybuilding Businesswoman of All Time” is closer to the truth.

First, some background information on Ms. Masino.

Denise Masino was born Denise Sanchez on May 1, 1968 in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents are from Puerto Rican descent. A diminutive 5’2”, Denise was married to Robert Masino for 14 years before her current marriage to Gregg R. Simpson, a filmmaker. She credits her parents for instilling in her a hard work ethic and belief in her ability to carve her own pathway to success. Clearly, her parents taught their daughter well.

Her competitive history is respectable but not overly impressive. She won her first contest in 1994 by being the first overall winner at the 94’ NPC Florida Championships. Between the mid-1990s to 2007, Denise placed consistently in the top 10 in competitions such as the NPC Nationals, Jan Tana Classic, Ms. International and the most prestigious of them all, the Ms. Olympia. Her best placement at the Olympia was 2nd in 2004 in the lightweight category.

Nevertheless, Denise has made her mark on the world of female bodybuilding by being a shrewd businesswoman. She has many assets and isn’t afraid to show every single one of them off. Denise has graced such publications as Muscle & Fitness, Flex Magazine, Muscular Development, Muscle Mag, Women’s Physique World, Playboy Europe and others. She’s also appeared in a few independent films and has made a handful of television appearances. She remains on good terms with her ex-husband Robert and frequently collaborates with him on projects. Denise currently lives in Fort Myers, Florida but regularly visits Los Angeles for business purposes.

Alright, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into why I believe Denise deserves such high praise.

In a previous blog article, I listed my top 10 favorite female bodybuilders and foolishly ranked Denise at #4. Big mistake! She should be my #1 favorite, which is where she stands as of right now. No disrespect to anyone else, but Denise is clearly a head above the rest. I hope I don’t offend any of my faithful readers who are actual FBBs themselves! I love you all dearly, too!

However, Denise has an incredible arsenal of talents and assets that are unmatched compared to her competition. She has an almost flawless combination of natural beauty, muscularity, intelligence, business savvy and personality that makes her a winner in all categories. She’s a gorgeous muscle woman who’s unquestionably feminine and celebrates her femininity. She’s highly intelligent but doesn’t condescend down to anyone. She’s sexy but playful at the same time. She’s not afraid to become erotic for the camera but never resorts to crudity or crass behavior. She’s also not afraid to showcase her most unforgettable physical asset (we’ll get into this later) and does so with class, dignity and pride. She reveals a lot about herself but keeps just enough under wraps so that we keep begging her for more. I could be wrong about some of this, but I should never let facts get in the way of a good argument!

Denise showing off her most talked about asset.

Denise showing off her most talked about asset.

Luckily for us, Denise is quite active in the adult film industry. Though not a “star” in the traditional sense, for anyone who loves female muscle, she’s a superstar. But it’s not just her large volume of erotic videos that endear her to us; it’s her personality that makes her so irresistible.

I get the feeling Denise is the one who crafts her own image. She obviously has a team of marketing professionals (web designer, videographer, photographer, copywriter, etc.) who work closely with her to build her brand, but without Denise’s own shrewdness, none of that would make a difference. Denise knows what people want and is not afraid to deliver with a bang. She’s also smart enough to deny her fans just enough so that they remain hopelessly intrigued with her forever. These are rare talents.

Denise’s brand is simple yet brilliant. She’s a beautiful, strong woman who loves sex, embraces her sexuality, loves to have fun in her life and isn’t afraid to be herself…all while maintaining an approachable, friendly persona. Denise Masino isn’t intimidating. She isn’t scary. She isn’t a powerful female muscle Goddess who will dominate you or humiliate you. She’s essentially that cool lady at the bar who will shoot pool with the guys and can probably bench press more than all of them. Her sexiness doesn’t feel forced. Her personality doesn’t appear to be manufactured. It’s all real. It’s genuine. You can trust Denise to be just Denise.

In reality, every media star has to craft a somewhat fake persona to a certain degree. We all know our favorite Hollywood movie stars aren’t necessarily in reality how they act on the red carpet or while sitting next to Jimmy Fallon’s desk. Hollywood can be very fake. We all know this. So to a degree, how Denise comes across in interviews and in her videos may or may not be how she is in real life. But I’d wager that’s pretty darn close to being the real Denise Masino.

Her personality is what really stands out. I genuinely would want to sit down with her and chat with her over a few beers. She could be wearing sweat pants, a fuzzy parka and no make-up and I’d still want to hang out with her. She’s an undeniably beautiful woman, but she also appears to be sweet, genuine and has a lot to say about certain things.

Outside of who Denise is as a person, everyone who knows about her will remember her for one particularly striking physical asset:

Her enormous clitoris.

And, to an extent, her meaty labia.

Yes, it’s unusual for anyone to hone in on someone’s genitalia like that (or is it?), but her large feminine endowment is without a doubt her most memorable physical trait. But it’s not this endowment that unto itself adds to her legend (although it most certainly takes on a life of its own), it’s how open she is to showing it off. I’ve written before why men – and women – are fascinated with a female bodybuilder’s genitalia, so there’s no need to get too detailed into this. However, it is crucial to understand that what lies between her legs is one of the most enticing and sexually titillating features I’ve ever seen on any human being, male or female.

I would argue that Angela Salvagno also possesses between her legs beautiful feminine flesh that matches Ms. Masino’s, but that’s not entirely the point here. Denise does an expert job at exploiting her best physical attribute for the camera in a way that challenges us to look away. We cannot look away. Whether we’re disgusted by her clitoris or we’re uncontrollably aroused by it, either way once we’ve seen what she has, there’s no turning back. She has us in the palm of her hand and we’re powerless to resist.

I can't even.

I can’t even.

Let’s be very clear here. Many female bodybuilders possess enlarged clits. They are not penises. Not by a long shot. A feminine endowment is in no way comparable (though biologically symmetrical) to a male endowment. Female bodybuilders are women – period, end of story. There’s no debating this. But we’re especially intrigued by FBBs because their physical strength and atypical anatomical features come just close enough to traversing into the territory of masculinity…but remain clearly set in the realm of femininity.

When Denise masturbates for the camera, we watch her not as a woman masturbating like a woman, but rather as a woman masturbating like a man. She “jerks off” her clit very much like how guys jerk off their penises. When she climaxes, we half-way expect her to ejaculate semen like the rest of us. She doesn’t of course, but the thought is still in the back of our minds. In this respect, Denise almost seems like “one of the guys” while still unambiguously remaining a woman. When Denise experiments with a clit pump, her sensitive nub of flesh nearly grows to the size of a small penis, which further titillates our imagination. We know she doesn’t have a penis, but it looks so much like one that we seem to (at least momentarily) identify with her.

Perhaps that’s it. Maybe thanks to our society’s increasing sexual multilateralism, the stark differences between “men” and “women” are starting to crumble. It isn’t enough for “men to be men” and “women to be women.” We sort of like it when a woman temporarily takes on masculine characteristics while staying true to her established feminine identity. Not only does she sort of “become one of us,” we can still find her sexually attractive as a woman at the same time.

In our modern age of social media, media saturation, sexual pluralism and postmodern sexual mores, it’s not enough to just look at photos of a beautiful woman or watch her engage in sexual activities for the camera. We also want to know who she is as a person. If she seems like a “pretty cool chick,” we feel more at ease in watching her do her thing. Perhaps this is a victory of sorts for 20th century Feminism. We don’t see women as being mere sexual objects. We see them as peers who can also carry immense sexual appeal. I don’t know if that counts as a “victory” per se, so I’ll leave that conclusion up to you.

I have one final observation to point out. Pay attention to what kinds of videos and photos Denise participates in. She’s either by herself (going solo) or in the company of other women. She’s never, to my knowledge, done any videos or photoshoots with other men. Perhaps content like that exists somewhere, but I’ve yet to locate it. If it does, feel free to send it to me! I will, ahem, gladly study it for academic enlightenment.

Looking like one sexy college co-ed.

Looking like one sexy college co-ed.

So she’s seen either performing solo or engaging in sex with other women. She masturbates, poses for the camera, uses a clit pump, has cunnilingus performed on her by another FBB, allows an FBB to penetrate her with a dildo or strap-on, penetrates herself with a dildo, and engages in other activities that don’t involve a man. I’m guessing she chooses to do this because she’s married and doesn’t want to put her husband in an awkward situation, so I get that completely. But this also works to her advantage whether she intends it to or not.

It allows guys like me to fantasize. I know she’s married. I know I have a snowball’s chance in Hades to ever have sex with her. However, I can watch her have sex with other women and not feel jealous. I can watch dildos penetrate her but not feel slighted or excluded in any way. But I’ve never seen an actual man’s penis penetrate her. I know she probably gets plenty of sex in her everyday life, but that makes not a lick of difference. In my own personal fantasy world, I can continue to imagine what it would be like for me and Denise to enjoy a romantic evening consisting of a candle-lit dinner, an expensive bottle of wine, a glowing fireplace, and a long warm evening of lovemaking.

Obviously I’ll never be able to experience that with her. But that’s the beauty of fantasy. It’s your own reality, independent from actual reality. And her choice to never do any scenes or photos with other men makes it easier for me to have these fantasies. My fantasies aren’t “spoiled” by images of real guys having sex with her. There’s no “other man” for me to compete with. Yes, I know she’s married. And I’m sure Denise and her husband have an active sex life that rivals that of the characters in a romance novel. But that’s not important. In my own mind, that “only man” could be me. Heck, in my dreams, it is me.

Denise being Denise. What I'd give to be her left hand at this moment in time.

Denise being Denise. What I’d give to be her left hand at this moment in time.

So that’s it. That’s why Denise Masino might be the “Greatest Female Bodybuilding Businesswoman of All Time.” She understands branding better than few others in the industry. Denise knows what makes her marketable and isn’t afraid to use it to her advantage. More power to her. She’s stunningly beautiful yet approachable. She’s sweet yet possesses a kinkier side. She’s a strong independent woman, but she appeals to men of all types. She’s the type of woman you want to be your friend and your girlfriend at the same time. She has physical assets that she isn’t shy about showing off. She’s proud of what makes her unique. There’s a lot to be said about confidence. Confidence is sexy, no doubt about it. She allows us to indulge in our fantasies while smartly not going too far and mistakenly ruining the fantasy. She is who she is and is damn proud of it.

This is a difficult balance. Only a shrewd businesswoman can maintain this persona year after year with impeccable precision. That’s Denise for you. I get the feeling she doesn’t struggle to build her brand. She does it seamlessly. It’s second nature to her. It’s tough being a self-made entrepreneur in today’s stagnant globalized economy when you work in an industry that’s shunning women more and more. But if there’s anybody who can do it successfully and with grace, it’s her.

Sex Sells! Especially if You’re an Entrepreneurial Female Bodybuilder

Ready to get your beach body back? Timea Majorova would make the perfect poster child!

Ready to get your beach body back? Timea Majorova would make the perfect poster child!

Clichés become clichés because they’re based on, for the most part, a certain degree of observable truth. They may not be true in the purest sense, but conventional wisdom has a funny way of speaking to reality more often than not.

No matter how sick and tired we get of hearing tired adages like “the early bird gets the worm” or “birds of a feather flock together,” we keep seeing them used over and over again because…well, they’re true. Maybe not true 100 percent of the time, but enough times that we don’t retire them to Cliché Heaven.

Here’s another one. “Sex sells.” Does it? Does sex actually sell? You bet your horny ass it does.

Why? Simple explanation: No matter how old we get, how mature we think we become, or how pious we try to act, the erotic will always catch our attention. Always. Especially if it hits right in your wheelhouse. Sex does indeed sell. And in a world that’s dictated by the health and vitality of the free markets, you can bet with both hands that sex will continue to sell as long as it remains a reliable source of profit.

Every Victoria’s Secret magazine spread, shampoo commercial or Abercrombie & Fitch mall banner preys upon this very philosophy. Sex sells anything from TV subscriptions to hair brushes. In fact, it’s so pervasive in our society that we don’t always notice it. I’d go even further and say that it’s so saturated in our culture that sometimes sex doesn’t sell because we’ve become so accustomed to it. If it ceases to titillate us, we might ignore it. So this is why every advertising agency has to keep on pushing the boundaries of good taste as the years go on. When a beautiful girl in a cute dress can be overshadowed by a sexy woman in a g-string bikini, you know it’s only a matter of time when all-out nudity will be considered acceptable in the public sphere.

Female bodybuilders know this reality all too well. As I’ve discussed before, the lifestyle of being a bodybuilder can be quite costly. The monetary rewards that come with competing can be few and far between. Only the elite level athletes are able to make a substantial income from the sport alone. Few others are selected to endorse products that can help generate additional revenue. So many FBBs are stuck having to ride the gravy train of our favorite cliché. Sex sells.

Hop on while you can. All aboard! Next stop, Hornyville, USA!

So how do FBBs sell their sexuality? There are many ways. Sexy workout videos are one way. Sexy photoshoots are another. Also, sexy websites and social media posts can keep fans enthralled. Live webcam shows, specialty content for “members only” and sexy merchandise are par for the course. Then you can go deeper and add sensual sessions to the mix. Whether an FBB offers BDSM services or muscle worship sessions, a slew of appointments from eager fans can add up pretty quickly to a lot of dough. If that doesn’t seem like enough, there’s the good old fashioned “adult entertainment” industry. Don’t tell me you’ve never been curious to explore what that’s all about!

An elegant Jay Fuchs.

An elegant Jay Fuchs.

There are probably other ways that FBBs take advantage of the free market, but what I mentioned above pretty much covers most of it.

However, there are a lot of people who are uncomfortable by all this. They might not necessarily say it out loud, but for many folks the idea of a female bodybuilder using her sexuality for financial gain is disconcerting. There are many reasons for this, so let’s dive right into it.

First, the most prominent argument is that taking advantage of one’s sexuality demeans the sport and one’s peers within the sport, male or female. Female athletes across all sports already are gratuitously sexualized, so this only adds additional fuel to the fire. This makes a lot of sense. In many ways, a female bodybuilder doesn’t just act on her own behalf. She also acts – although not intentionally – on behalf of every single female bodybuilder in existence. It’s not fair, but that’s the way it is.

Understandably, male and female bodybuilders alike struggle to fit into the mainstream of global competitive sports. Today, bodybuilding seems more like a fringe subculture than a universally recognized sporting industry. How many people can identify Peyton Manning if he were to walk down a crowded street? Since he’s just won his second Super Bowl, I’d imagine quite a lot. On the other hand, how many people could identify by name Phil Heath? He’d definitely stand out for being such a large human being, but we can all agree he doesn’t have nearly the face or name recognition as Mr. Manning, LeBron James, Steph Curry or Serena Williams.

This isn’t meant to insult Mr. Heath or anybody else in the bodybuilding world. This is meant to point out a simple fact that the sport isn’t mainstream. Not by a long shot. So how do you make it more mainstream? Quite simply, it has to resemble other mainstream sports. Unfortunately, when a female bodybuilder is seen using her sexuality to make a living, in the minds of the general public this starts to make the sport look more like a muscle beauty contest than the U.S. Open. It’s understandable why so many male and female bodybuilders are uncomfortable by the marriage of their sport with overt sexual expression.

It’s easy to see why a pro bodybuilder would be offended by women who choose to also work in the session business and adult entertainment industry. No one wants their profession viewed by the public with subtle associations of prostitution and pornography. Please keep in mind that I’m not calling FBBs who do sessions “prostitutes.” I am not making that distinction. What I am saying is that this association is not outside the realm of comprehension. The human brain is a funny thing. If a dog quacks like a duck, we may subconsciously think it’s a duck, even though our eyes tell us a different story. FBBs who choose to do sessions and pornographic films are still athletes, even though our brains may tell us they’re sex workers instead. And whatever negative stereotypes we hold against sex workers will unfairly be thrust upon these women whether we acknowledge it or not.

The future of the sport, Danielle Reardon.

The future of the sport, Danielle Reardon.

Second, using sexuality to make a viable income is seen not just as demeaning to the sport, but also demeaning to the individual. The “sex sells” mantra is so well-known that it’s become an easy way to make a quick buck. What can a Hollywood producer do to make sure his upcoming summer blockbuster makes even more money? Easy! Give the female lead a topless scene. How can a TV producer ensure her pilot sitcom will garner substantial ratings? Simple! Create a promo where one of the female characters comes out wearing a bikini. How can a CEO sell more sticks of deodorant? Ah ha! Shoot a commercial where a slovenly slacker dude buys the product, uses it and within seconds finds himself surrounded by hordes of young beautiful sorority co-eds. That’ll have the deodorant flying off the shelves!

“Sex sells,” therefore, feels like you’re selling out. It appears like you cannot sell your product on its own merits, thus you have to “sex” it up in order to grab people’s attention. I can see why this rubs people the wrong way whenever they see a female bodybuilder using her sexuality for financial gain. Why can’t a female athlete just be an athlete, not a “sexy female athlete?”

This is a valid concern. All too often female athletes of every sport are forced (either directly or indirectly) to sexualize their image in order to substantiate their bank accounts. We all know the vast majority of women athletes aren’t super rich like many of their male counterparts, so any extra income they can legitimately earn must be pursued.

Third, the “sex sells” mantra perhaps also demeans the rest of us. Are we such sex-crazed horny animals that we won’t buy a tube of toothpaste unless a beautiful woman is shown brushing her pearly whites with them? Are we so dimwitted that a girl in a bikini must be the determining factor in helping us decide which car we want to purchase? I mean, cars are pretty expensive. Some have better gas mileage than others. Others last longer. But if I see an ad with a blonde bimbo plastered all over it, by golly I’m going to spend a quarter of my yearly income on that!

Check out the beautiful smile of Roberta Toth!

Check out the beautiful smile of Roberta Toth!

Well, as silly as all this sounds, there might be an element of truth to it. I don’t think we’re incapable of controlling our sexual urges, but maybe I have a more optimistic viewpoint of human behavior than I should. But hopefully you get where I’m coming from. I tend to also get peeved when I see marketing ploys that shamelessly exploit sexuality in a completely unnecessary manner. Did they really have to go there? I guess they must think we’re all idiots. Perhaps we are…

To be fair, I don’t think advertising moguls actually think we’re all horned up bunny rabbits. I think the overuse of the “sex sells” philosophy reflects a lack of creativity and laziness rather than a low opinion of society. But I could be wrong.

So I can see why a lot of us instinctively react negatively when we see female bodybuilders utilizing their sex appeal for personal gain. We can be protective creatures. We want to maintain a righteous sense of dignity toward the institutions we respect, whether we’re talking about the bodybuilding industry, the world of female sports or the human race. I’m not here to criticize anyone’s personal moral or ethical sensibilities. Everyone comes from a different path in life. However, I do believe it is imperative that we look at the world through somebody else’s eyes for once. If you’re a dedicated and passionate female bodybuilder who exists in a male-dominated sport that’s increasingly marginalizing competitors like you, well, I don’t blame you for doing whatever you can to make a living. I’m not a female bodybuilder, so I don’t know what “the struggle” is like.

But I do possess a basic understanding of economics. Sometimes, “sex sells” makes perfect business sense. I don’t have fancy pie charts or Excel spreadsheets to back me up, but if your current business model isn’t producing adequate streams of revenue, keeping on hammering away at the status quo would be financial suicide. A willingness to adapt to new market conditions is vital for survival. We may not like it (at first, or ever), but you can’t argue with bankruptcy.

In many respects, female bodybuilders have to think of themselves less as athletes and more as entrepreneurs. I will explore this topic in future blog posts, so I won’t get too deep into this right now. For now, let’s just say it appears to be the wave of the future. It’s perfectly understandable why the marriage between bodybuilding and sexuality makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Your personal values notwithstanding, it could come across like a desperate last attempt to revive a dying industry.

The “sex sells” business model, however, doesn’t have to appear like a Hail Mary pass to the end zone to save the season. Could we see it instead as an alternative form of the sport? Or not part of the sport at all? There are a lot of female bodybuilders who refuse to market themselves as sex objects. I respect that. They have every right to portray themselves in any light they choose. However, so do the women who willingly (and proudly) showcase their sex appeal for adoring fans. Why all the judgment? Why do we have to fight each other?

One of the undeniable superstars of the sport today, Tina Chandler.

One of the undeniable superstars of the sport today, Tina Chandler.

If we can’t agree to disagree, then perhaps in the interim we can do our best to make a clear distinction between the sport of female bodybuilding and the independent business ventures of individual female bodybuilders – whether these women officially compete or not. Many FBBs compete sparingly. Some not at all. Regardless, they’re allowed to develop their personal brands in any way they choose. I’m a full supporter of self-empowerment.

The entertainment/media industry can be a harsh one. There’s no questioning that. Sports fall under this category, and we know for sure it can be an unforgiving world. Rarely do professional athletes live perfect storybook lives. The industry can chew up the best of us and spit us out at a moment’s notice without pomp or circumstance. Whatever you got to do to survive is sometimes the only path you can choose. If you have to choose between abandoning the profession you love or violating your principles every now and then, do you really wish ill on anyone who chooses the latter?

“Sex sells” is an undeniable truth. However, is it truthful because that’s the way it is, or because we allow it to be true? I cannot answer that fully, but I can see what’s right in front of my eyes. There are plenty of beautiful and intelligent female bodybuilders who happily make a living doing what they do thanks to their irresistible sex appeal. If they receive professional fulfillment and joy showing off their gorgeous bodies to adoring fans, I have absolutely no quarrel with that.