A Most Magnificent Body of Work – Part One of Five

Tall muscle goddess Maria Wattel.

One more set, Debbie. That’s it. Just one more set.

Looking up at the bench press bar, Deborah knows she has only one more set of ten repetitions remaining before her chest workout would come to an end. Then she could cool down, work on her abs, shower, buy a protein smoothie, and go home.

At this point Deborah has worked her way up to benching 275 pounds. The only woman currently in the weight room, all eyes are on her and she’s well aware of it. Some men are rooting for her, others are hoping she will fail. But Deborah is determined to prove everybody wrong. Even her supporters.

“Alright, time to do this motherfucker,” Deborah whispers to no one in particular.

Deborah places both hands on the bar, equidistant apart, and lies down on the bench. Her forehead is dry, not a single drop of sweat is left remaining in her body. She takes a deep breath, closes her eyes, and imagines herself pumping this bar up and down ten times before putting it back on the rack. She can do this. She’s done this many times before. Even with all these idiots watching her. For her, pre-visualization is the key to success. If you cannot imagine yourself doing it, how can you actually do it?

Time to do it, Debbie. Time to make yourself stronger. Stronger than you’ve ever been before.

She opens her eyes, focuses on the ceiling fan above her, grips the bar tight with both hands, and lifts the bar off the rack.

Deep breath in.

Down, exhale, up. One.

Inhale.

Down, exhale, up. Two.

Inhale.

Down, exhale, up. Three.

Inhale.

Down, exhale, up. Four.

Inhale. Slight exhale. Another inhale.

Down, exhale, up. Five.

Inhale.

Down, exhale, up. Six.

Deep inhale. Holy shit. This is getting tough. Dammit.

Down, exhale, up. Seven.

Her eyes burn when a drip of sweat seeps into her eye socket. She was under the impression her body had no sweat left in it. She is wrong.

Fuck.

Inhale.

Down, exhale, up. Eight.

Fuck!!!

Inhale.

Down, exhale, up. Nine.

Oh, shit. She has to give up. Her arms tremble. She feels her elbows start to wobble. She’s going to drop the bar and smash her neck in half. She needs a spotter. But no! She refuses to give up. Nobody tells Deborah she can’t do anything. Fuck that shit. Deborah can do whatever the fuck she wants. Fuck the world. Fuck her doubters. Fuck anybody who thinks she’s a weakling because she’s a woman. Fuck that!!!

Inhale.

Down, exhale, up, up, up, up!

Just a little bit more….

Ten.

Deborah groans loudly, her booming voice reverberating across the room. She couldn’t care less if she’s distracting her fellow exercisers. This is all about her, nobody else. Fuck everybody else.

On the verge of collapsing, Deborah places the bar back on the rack and drops her arms to the floor. She’s gasping for air harder than a heavyweight prize fighter after the twelfth round. Her chest feels so tight it could burst with the prick of a needle. Her arms feel like jelly. She doubts she can move a single muscle until tomorrow morning.

But she has to move. She can’t spend the night and sleep here. No way. No fucking way.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. This is a classic case of mind vs. matter. And in Deborah Frost’s case, her mind won. She kicked matter’s ass. Big time. Oh yeah.

Yet another tall muscle goddess, this time it’s Shawn Tan.

After a minute or two (which felt like an hour), Deborah sits up, grabs her towel, and wipes herself off. She then stands up, wipes down the bench, and proceeds to take the weight plates off the bar and place them back where they belong. Her “audience” has moved on and returned to their own little worlds. She just bench pressed all that fucking weight and her doubters are left to eat their own shit. Let them eat shit.

Time to do some ab work.

Deborah’s tall 6 foot 2 inch frame is covered from head to toe with big, thick muscles. As ripped as a professional bodybuilder and athletic as an Olympic gymnast, Deborah Frost is a unique, one-of-a-kind physical specimen. She doubts anybody in the world has ever had a body quite like hers. And she’s determined to make sure it stays that way.

At 27 years old, Deborah is certainly young enough to still be in the prime of her physical potential. Everything depends on her work ethic. And her work ethic is off the charts.

Forty-five minutes later, Deborah is stark naked and standing at a shower stall, feeling the hot water cascade off her strong, muscular body. She is not alone, showering alongside a short elderly woman, a grossly obese high school girl, and a young ditzy blonde who looks like she could be a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.

Mmmm. Delicious. She’d love to lick her sweet pussy. She looks so soft, so sweet. She must smell like roses.

But Deborah isn’t usually into girls like her. She prefers women like Cassandra, her long-time girlfriend who lives with her. Like Deborah, Cassandra is as strong as an ox and refuses to let anybody tell her she can’t do anything. She’s just got back home after serving an eight month-long tour of duty in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marines. Cassandra was wounded when a road-side bomb hit her patrol vehicle, lodging a long piece of metal into her left leg. She sees a physical therapist every single day to help her recover.

But all Deborah could think about is fantasizing about Cheerleader Girl. That, and getting clean. Maybe she should focus more on getting clean.

Cheerleader Girl turns off her shower and walks away to her towel hanging on the wall. Deborah watches her curvy, round butt sway from side to side as she struts. Deborah can feel an electrical current pulsate between her legs. God, she needs release. Really bad. All this pent-up energy can’t be taken out through a workout. She needs a good, old-fashioned fuck.

Cassandra can help her with this when she gets home.

Gorgeous blonde FBB Cindy Phillips.

After her shower, Deborah quickly dresses and buys a small protein smoothie at the gym’s food bar. Her preference is banana strawberry. It’s fucking fantastic.

“Thank you. Have a good night,” the Smoothie Guy says. Deborah cannot remember his name to save her life and it’s beyond the point of embarrassment to ask him again. So she just smiles and nods as pleasantly as she can.

“You’re welcome. See you next time!”

He’s cute. A bit short and pudgy, his dark hair and perpetual five o’clock shadow is too irresistible to ignore. Deborah hasn’t had sex with a guy in nearly a decade, but she’d consider it if Smoothie Guy ever mustered up the courage to ask her. Or the foolishness to ask her. Same thing.

“See you tomorrow, right?” The Front Desk Gal asks.

“Yup, tomorrow. For sure. Today was chest day, so tomorrow is back and shoulders. Got to balance yourself out, you know what I mean?” Front Desk Gal nods. Deborah flashes her a subtle smile and sashays out of the gym.

The time approaches 10:30 p.m., which is a little bit later than she’s used to working out. Today she had a late start because she had to drive Cassandra to and from her therapy appointment. Usually she can snag a ride from her sister, but not today. Today, Cassie’s sister was meeting with her brand new sugar daddy. Deborah hopes things work out this time. Heaven knows she needs one right now.

Tonight, Deborah parked her car in the back lot. The gym’s super popular Zumba teacher taught back-to-back classes today so the front lot was completely full when Deborah arrived. Oh well. It could be worse. Heck, odds are stupid aerobic classes like that keep the gym in business. So she doesn’t have a whole lot to complain about.

Deborah fumbles with her car keys. She really needs to simplify how many damn keys she carries around in her tiny purse–

“Miss Frost?”

Deborah turns around to see whose voice it is that called out her name. It’s pitch black outside, so it’s nearly impossible to properly see who it is.

“Yes? Who is it?”

Standing next to a broken light post smoking a cigarette is a thin man wearing a black overcoat, a burgundy red fleece scarf, and a light gray fedora. The man approaches her nonchalantly. Even though she has every reason to feel threatened, she remains calm and collected. The man takes one last drag and tosses the cigarette on the ground. He steps on it for good measure.

“Good evening. Don’t feel alarmed. I’m not with the paparazzi or anything like that,” the man says. “I know people like that are constantly swarming you.”

“From time to time. But not for a while.” Deborah briefly dated in college a guy who was the school’s stud quarterback. He was drafted in the top ten and played two seasons in the NFL before overdosing on heroin. Deborah had broken up with him prior to his death, but the mysterious circumstances surrounding his sudden passing made her the subject of a criminal investigation. His fame, combined with her unusual muscular body, created a temporary media firestorm. Eventually, her name was cleared and she resumed living her life as normal.

Mysterious man wearing a fedora and smoking a cigarette.

She and William never had sex because he was secretly gay but refused to publicly come out. She was just a “girlfriend” for show. He felt like being outed would hurt his chances of playing in the pros. He wasn’t totally wrong. She went along with the charade as long as she received a cut of his paycheck. He agreed to this arrangement. Their phony relationship resulted in her receiving $15,000 per month from him in cash. They were both happy with this “business arrangement.” They both benefitted. But eventually even that had to come to an end, like everything does.

“I’m glad. It’s good to see your life has returned back to the way it was.”

“What do you want? An autograph?”

The Thin Fedora Man takes another step toward her. Deborah’s heart rate increases slightly.

“Oh, no. I’m not looking for that at all. I’m actually here to deliver a message to you. Would you like to hear it? I believe you will find it financially rewarding.” Deborah’s ears perk up at the mention of money. Due to her living life as a professional bodybuilder – which pays very little – and Cassandra having to spend so much of her money on therapy sessions, money is always tight with them. Always.

“Go away.” Deborah unlocks her car and takes one step toward it.

“Very well. As you wish. I will inform my client that you have refused his offer before even hearing it. He will be quite displeased with this news.” The Thin Fedora Man turns around and walks away. Impulsively, Deborah shouts back at him.

“Wait! Come back. I want to hear your offer.” The Thin Fedora Man stops dead in his tracks and smiles. He turns around and faces Deborah, a woman who is by far the most muscular he’s ever seen in his life.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. I want to hear it. Go on.” How fucking pathetic does she look right now? Deborah shudders at the thought of her actually talking to a complete stranger who claims to represent someone interested in giving her a lot of money…

“Fantastic. I will not reveal my client’s name, but he will reveal himself if you choose to meet with him. He is offering you this: My client wants to spend one evening with you at a location of his choosing. The time parameters will be agreed upon beforehand,” he says.

“During this time together, he asks that you allow him to do whatever he pleases with you. Whatever he pleases, if I may reiterate that crucial point. Don’t worry, no physical or psychological harm will come to you. He can assure you of that. In return, you will receive $1 million in cash on the spot. No questions asked. No need to do anything else after that.”

Deborah can smell Thin Fedora Man’s smoky breath from several paces away. She tries to not cough. The struggle is real.

“Wow. That’s quite an offer. I’ll give you and your client credit. I’ve never been approached before about something so elaborate. But my answer is still no,” Deborah says. She begins to walk away toward her car for the second time.

“He figured you would immediately refuse. I also can sympathize with your reaction. This is why he’s offering you this ahead of time.” Thin Fedora Man takes out a white envelope from his coat pocket and hands it to Deborah. “It’s $10,000 in cash. Straight up. Even if you ultimately refuse my client’s offer, the money is still yours. No need to return it. Go ahead. Open it. It’s yours.”

Cautiously, Deborah takes the envelope from him and opens it. She peers inside. Sure enough, a thick stack of 100 dollar bills greets her. She gasps.

“Fuck me. You’re not joking around,” she mutters under her breath.

An envelope full of cash.

“No, he is not,” Thin Fedora Man chuckles. “Also inside this envelop is a business card with a phone number that you are to call if you would like to take him up on his generous offer. You have 48 hours to respond. If he does not hear from you, he will then pursue other potential candidates for this particular escapade. Understood?”

Unable to believe her eyes, Deborah looks up at Thin Fedora Man and nods her head faintly. “Yes, I understand completely.”

“Good! We look forward to your response. Have a pleasant rest of your evening, Miss Frost.”

And just like that, Thin Fedora Man turns around and calmly walks away. He gets inside a car parked several yards away and turns on the engine. Deborah still has not moved an inch since looking at the stack of bills. She sees red break lights illuminate the pitch black parking lot as the vehicle driven by the enigmatic man backs up. A chill runs down her spine.

“Holy hell. Is this guy for real?” she says to herself.

Dumbstruck and clutching the envelope as if her life depended upon it, Deborah can do nothing but watch Thin Fedora Man’s car speed off toward the main highway, leaving behind a thin trail of dust floating around in the darkness.

To be continued…

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In the Palm of Her Calloused Hand: Female Bodybuilders and Exhibitionism

Seeing Gillian Kovack wearing that dress in public would definitely make me stop dead in my tracks.

Seeing Gillian Kovack wearing that dress in public would definitely make me stop dead in my tracks.

When a female bodybuilder walks into a crowded shopping mall, how can you not stop whatever you’re doing and just stare at her?

After you pick your jaw up from the floor, you might need to sit down on a nearby bench to prevent your heart from going into overdrive. You wouldn’t want to die from cardiac arrest right then and there, huh?

Well, if a brief moment of regarding upon the stunning physique of a beautiful female bodybuilder happens to be your final life experience before the Almighty claims you, at least you died happy!

But consider this: The moment our hypothetical female bodybuilder walks into that public space, does she want people to notice her? Does she want people to freeze in place and do nothing but stare at her body? Does she want her muscles to be the center of attention?

Obviously, the answer more often than not is “no.” Female bodybuilders, like celebrities and other famous people, want to be able to enjoy their lives with a minimal amount of disruptions. She wants to be able to go to the movies without being harassed. She wants to be able to take her dog out for a walk without being the unintended cause of a fender bender caused by a negligent driver who was distracted by her and took his eyes off the road. She wants to be able to be in public without seeing people whisper to each other about her, gossip about her, or creepily fetishize her. These are all things non-bodybuilders and non-famous people take for granted.

Yet, it is interesting to wonder whether or not if, deep down inside, a female bodybuilder wants people to stare at her. Maybe not all the time, but at certain moments. If she’s going out to a popular nightclub and is wearing a sexy revealing dress, that’s certainly an example of her wanting people to notice her body. She obviously doesn’t want people to harass her, but perhaps she’d welcome a few conspicuous stares of admiration, awe, and lust.

On this blog there is an article discussing the fact that female bodybuilders are always nude in public, even when fully clothed. Please read that column before reading this one. To summarize, it discusses the idea that because large muscular women are rare in our society, she stands out like a sore thumb. So even if she has no intention of being seen or noticed in public, she can’t help but be seen and noticed in public. She can’t wear an oversized parka for the rest of her life. So she’s always nude (in a symbolic sense, of course) whether she wants to be or not.

This article is a sort of follow-up piece to the previous one. This time, we’re going to discuss the flip side of the coin. We now know a female bodybuilder will inevitably receive unwelcomed and unsolicited attention from complete strangers purely because of the shape of her body. Most of the time, our culture would interpret this as her being in a vulnerable position. Our society teaches us not to judge other people by their looks, but a female bodybuilder is constantly being judged by her looks.

In fact, if she’s a competitive bodybuilder (or physique/fitness/bikini competitor) she intentionally goes out of her way to be judged by her looks. Therefore, the other side of the issue is this: Instead of a female bodybuilder being in a position of vulnerability when she’s in public, is she instead in a position of immense and total power?

Sophie Arvebrink has a body that can cause time to stop.

Sophie Arvebrink has a body that can cause time to stop.

Her body can cause car accidents. Her body can make men (and women and children) stop dead in their tracks and lose all sense of appropriate social behavior. Her body can make guys shell out hundreds of their hard-earned dollars just for the opportunity to touch it. Her body can spark arguments over the Internet. Her body alone can provide her hundreds of thousands of social media followers. Her body can give her a stable career, money in her pocket, and adoration from fans across the globe.

That’s power. That is a tremendous amount of power. A muscular woman’s body is so powerful she can gain massive amounts of attention with little to no effort toward promoting herself. An anonymous woman with an affinity toward exercise and fitness could post a selfie taken in her wretched bathroom on Instagram, use the right hashtags, and find herself in front of thousands of eyeballs around the world within minutes. And she didn’t have to spend a single dime to gather that kind of international attention.

Wow. What a world we live in these days!

A woman with a muscular body has an asset (or several assets, if you get my meaning) that’s indispensable. Her body can be as financially lucrative as she wants it to be. If our hypothetical female bodybuilder wants to offer muscle worship sessions, she can easily earn $1,000 of tax-free income (yay for avoiding government regulations!) for one evening’s worth of work. If you take traveling expenses out of the equation, that’s a significant chunk of change.

But let’s talk about this from another angle. Does there exist deep within her psyche a hidden streak of exhibitionism? In case you need a refresher, exhibitionism is defined as:

  1. A perversion in which sexual gratification is obtained from the indecent exposure of one’s genitals (as to a stranger).
  2. The act or practice of behaving so as to attract attention to oneself.

Psychologically speaking, exhibitionism is when someone fetishizes the act of exposing himself or herself to the public. Streakers at professional sporting games or creepy people who flash their genitals to complete strangers are prime examples. Theoretically, one could also include people who like to send unsolicited “dick pics,” web cam performers, and Tumblr users who enjoy uploading their own amateurish porn. But in this context, we’re talking about exhibitionism in a more casual sense.

We’re dealing with definition #2 instead of definition #1. Deep down inside, are female bodybuilders inherently exhibitionistic? It’s an interesting question; one that doesn’t have a definitive answer but should be explored nevertheless.

There probably isn’t any concrete scientific research to back this up either way, but it seems like a small streak of exhibitionism is sort of inevitable when we’re dealing with female bodybuilders. As mentioned earlier, FBBs exist in a world that runs counter to what our society is currently teaching us not to do.

Remember those ads launched by Unilever (an Anglo-Dutch multinational consumer goods company that specializes in creating food, beverage, cleaning agents, and personal care products) called The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty? The marketing campaign aimed to show what “real women” looked like, which was presumably supposed to provide a counterbalance to the countless Photoshopped supermodels we traditionally see in mainstream advertising. Despite its criticism, the ads were effective in changing the national conversation around beauty standards and how we should (or shouldn’t) judge women’s bodies.

This national and international movement to change people’s minds around beauty standards has caught fire in the past few decades. Anyone who values self-worth should applaud these developments. The creators of these marketing campaigns are right that the images of women (and men) you see in mass media do not accurately represent the entirety of womanhood. These images that are reinforced everywhere – movies, television, billboards, magazines, books, Internet ads, pornography, etc. – have the unfortunate symptom of creating self-esteem issues for women of all ages, shapes, and sizes.

Every body is beautiful. Especially the body of Coco Crush.

Every body is beautiful. Especially the body of Coco Crush.

But standing in stark contrast to this – but not in opposition to, it should be noted – is the industry of bodybuilding. We are taught to not judge women by their looks, but female bodybuilders are encouraging people (or more specifically, a panel of judges) to do exactly that. Competitive FBBs train, diet, and work for years and years on end for the purpose of gaining certain people’s approval. It’s a strange juxtaposition, but that’s the nature of the business.

So logically, it follows that female bodybuilders, to a certain extent, want to be noticed by people. She wants to be judged. She wants the public to observe her physicality. She wants all her hard work to be put on display and appreciated by others. A female bodybuilder doesn’t just sculpt her body for the sake of a few judges. She sculpts her body for a whole host of people to see: Fellow bodybuilders, customers, fans of the sport, the media, corporate sponsors, friends and family, and so on.

Lindsay Mulinazzi doesn’t bust her tail just for a small select number of people to see her fabulous figure. Rather, she wants as many people as possible to see the fruits of her innumerable hours of sweat and labor. Many FBBs proudly display their bodies on social media and other places on the web. Obviously, we are grateful for such presentations of their beautiful bodies. Debi Laszewski doesn’t hide her hard work. She makes damn sure we all know she’s a bodybuilder. Whether we’re disgusted by her or aroused by her, she doesn’t apologize for her muscles. Nor does she go out of her way to shield her muscles from public view.

Whether it’s a small child or a Catholic nun walking by her, it doesn’t matter. Debi will not hide who she is. She’s a muscular woman. Deal with it.

Yes, there definitely is an element of exhibitionism inherent in the sport of bodybuilding. Whether an FBB receives any sexual thrills from displaying her body is almost beside the point. She wouldn’t be doing what she’s doing unless she enjoys people noticing her work.

A classically trained pianist doesn’t practice for hours upon hours just to play their instrument in complete solitude. He or she wants to eventually play at Carnegie Hall. A painter doesn’t dedicate his or her life to creating gorgeous canvases just to allow their artwork to collect dust in their basements. They dream of having their work hung up in The Louvre. No little kid grows up dreaming of playing basketball in the driveway with their buddies. They aspire to make slam dunks in front of thousands of screaming fans in jam packed stadiums across the country.

Likewise, a female bodybuilder doesn’t endure the daily grind of being a bodybuilder just to wear baggy clothing all day and be anti-social. She craves the attention. She feeds off of the jealousy, lust, and admiration her body instigates. Her body is a catalyst for sparking strong societal reactions – both negative and positive – whether she intends it to or not. And this isn’t necessarily an intentional choice; it’s an inevitable outcome.

Karen Zaremba is a woman who inspired me to start this blog four years ago. I highly doubt it was ever Miss Zaremba’s intention to motivate a random guy like me to launch a website dedicated to talking about female muscle. But whether she knows it or not (I highly doubt Karen even knows this website exists), she did indeed inspire that kind of action. She never asked me to do this. She’s never spoken with me or communicated with me in any way. All she did was display her gorgeous body on the Internet. And the rest is history.

However, I do wonder if FBBs care about the ramifications of their bodies being displayed in public. I wonder how often Pamela Anderson (who will be 50 next year!) ever thinks about the hundreds of thousands of adolescent boys and young men (and older men) over the years who have masturbated while thinking about her. Think about how many millions of self-induced orgasms Miss Anderson has encouraged throughout the past few decades. Count me in as someone who has contributed to this phenomenon.

Does Pamela Anderson get an erotic thrill knowing she solicits this kind of reaction out of people? Or for that matter, any high profile female celebrity who puts herself out there? It’s an interesting question. Female bodybuilders should be included in this conversation as well. But, to add fuel to the fire, unlike most mainstream female celebrities, the reactions elicited from an FBB’s body can be polarizing. To be fair, every celebrity is going to have their fair share of critics, but without a doubt muscular women will have much more.

They may not have the sheer volume of passionate vitriol thrown their way, but within mainstream culture muscular women are polarizing. To add an additional layer to this conversation, not only are muscular women primed to be noticed by the public, they also frequently spark debate, arguments, and raging fits of jealousy. I wonder how a lot of FBBs feel about that.

A lineup of gorgeous ladies at the 2015 Arnold Classic Australia.

A lineup of gorgeous ladies at the 2015 Arnold Classic Australia.

When a female athlete decides to pursue the life of a bodybuilder, she’s making a bold choice. She isn’t just signing herself up for radically changing her exercise, diet, and sleep habits. She’s agreeing to put up with everything we just talked about: people will react to her with admiration, repulsion, respect, jealousy, fascination, lust, perplexity, confusion, cognitive dissonance, irrationality, etc. One cannot avoid this; it’s deeply embedded within the reality of being a female bodybuilder.

Thus, is it fair to say that some FBBs enjoy doing this to people? Do they welcome the “haters” just as much as they appreciate their adoring fans? Do they relish the fact there are guys and gals around her who are envious of her and wish for nothing but her downfall? Do they secretly get a thrill from knowing there are large numbers of men scattered around the world who masturbate to photos of them on the Internet? They obviously know this happens, but do they delight in all of it – the good, the bad, and the ugly?

The answers to these questions differ from FBB to FBB, of course. But even to the slightest degree, I’m sure every single muscular woman has a streak of exhibitionism residing inside her. There may not be a sexual component to this. Maybe she just loves the attention. It feeds her ego. It makes her feel empowered and emboldened. She loves the compliments. She loves seeing the looks on the faces of jealous girlfriends who cannot stop their boyfriends from staring at her. It’s just another day at the office.

The power a female bodybuilder has over the people around her cannot be underestimated. She holds more influence over people’s thoughts and feelings than she probably realizes. But undoubtedly there are plenty of FBBs who fully understand this power. And they stop at nothing to capitalize on it. These are the FBBs who are financially successful. They are the real winners, whether they formally compete or not.

Cindy Phillips is making many bold statements with her muscular body.

Cindy Phillips is making many bold statements with her muscular body.

So when a muscular woman goes to the gym and pumps iron, she’s not just making herself physically stronger. She’s also making her entire presence stronger. Her grip on other people’s minds becomes stronger and stronger with every muscle fiber growing in size. When she walks into a room, she has everyone inside it in the palm of her calloused hand. She controls how they think, what they think about, and even how they choose to behave.

Will the guy lifting next to her be able to concentrate on his workout…or will he be distracted and accidentally drop a dumbbell on his foot? When she goes out to eat at a fancy restaurant, will an infatuated waiter bump into an unsuspecting patron and drop $250 worth of steak and lobster on the floor? When she goes home and makes love to her husband, will a Peeping Tom neighbor try to sneak a peek through the semi-closed blinds?

That type of power isn’t given. It’s earned. Earned with blood, sweat, and tears. If power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, female bodybuilders must be constantly turned on every single moment of their waking lives.

Whoa. Now there’s a thought! No matter how many blog posts I write about female bodybuilders, I will always find more material to talk about. That’s another indication of the power they have over people like me.

And you know what? I’m not complaining one bit!

In closing, female bodybuilders may or may not be exhibitionistic. It’s impossible to assess who has that fetish and who doesn’t. But that’s not nearly as important as recognizing that FBBs are always being watched. And the people doing the watching often times cannot control their behavior, no matter how rational or sexually mature they think they are. When she’s being watched, she’s not in a position of vulnerability. She’s in a prime position of power. If that turns her on, so be it. If it doesn’t, I understand why. But no matter who we’re dealing with, even the most sexually prudent female bodybuilder must receive some kind of thrill from knowing she’s at the center of attention every damn time she’s in public.

Even if she doesn’t, we can all sleep well at night knowing there are millions of people on planet Earth who get a thrill from seeing her. That I can guarantee!

Respecting Those We Lust After: The Sexual Objectification of Female Bodybuilders

Dina al-Sabah, the Muscle Goddess from Kuwait.

Dina al-Sabah, the Muscle Goddess from Kuwait.

I love female muscle.

That should be obvious to everyone. I really love strong women. I love the way they look. I love the giddy feelings they give me whenever I look at pictures of them. I love meeting them in person for muscle worship sessions. I love talking to them about their careers, their lifestyles and the sacrifices they’ve had to make to achieve their immaculate physique.

But there’s a problem here. A problem I feel compelled to address both honestly and openly.

Am I objectifying them?

It’s a fair question. Do I merely lust after these women instead of “admiring” them as world-class athletes? Is my attempt to intellectualize my respect for female bodybuilders just my way of hiding the fact that I really think of them as sex objects instead of human beings? Am I dehumanizing these women whenever I have lustful thoughts about them?

All fair questions. And all of them deserve to be discussed in detail. I’m a big proponent of open, productive dialogue. So let’s begin this discourse!

Of course, I’m biased (because I’m talking about myself), but I don’t believe I’m objectifying the very women I’ve spent the past few years writing about. But let’s first discuss semantics. What exactly does “objectify” mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “objectify” means “to treat as an object or cause to have objective reality.”

Simply put, in regards to interpersonal relationships, it means when you treat a person not as a human being but as tool for your own personal benefit. In popular vernacular, “objectify” usually connotes sexual objectification. When someone treats another person as merely an object for their selfish sexual gratification, that person is objectifying the other. This is considered dehumanizing because you don’t care about their feelings, thoughts and/or point of view. You only care about what they have to offer you personally.

Countless books and academic dissertations have been written on the subject. I highly encourage you to read more about this if you’re truly interested.

But on the other hand, it’s perfectly normal to be sexually attracted to someone. Human beings have desires they cannot control. I didn’t choose to be smitten by the beauty of my high school crush. It just happened. Yes, I liked her for different reasons too (she was very smart and we came from similar cultural backgrounds), but her physical beauty was what initially attracted me to her. Everything else I liked about her I discovered later once we got to know each other.

The object of my desire, Monique Jones.

The object of my desire, Monique Jones.

The same goes for my love of female muscle. I love muscular women. I love the way they look. I think muscles on a feminine form is beautiful. Beautiful beyond words. Beyond description. I’ve written many essays discussing why I love female muscle and how psychologically impactful they’ve been on me. Many of my readers share this love with me. Just take a moment to read some of the comments on my articles.

But my love for female muscle isn’t just aesthetic. It’s also emotional. I think it’s brave to sculpt your body to a standard that completely contradicts what society at large preaches to us. I’m a strong believer in the social benefits of women lifting weights at the gym (there are also obvious health benefits too). I think our world would be a much better place for all of us if we encouraged the “strong is beautiful” mantra instead of “skinny is beautiful.” The latter has faced significant backlash in recent years. The former is just starting to emerge.

So, where does that leave us? How is it possible to humanize someone that I can only see from a distance?

I will admit that there is a fine line between objectifying a woman and being sexually attracted to her. Obviously, I will never actually meet most of the women I’ve come to love. I’ve only met three female bodybuilders in my life, all from participating in muscle worship sessions with them. So for me, it’s hard to get to know someone you simply…can’t ever get to know. Unlike my high school crush that I eventually mustered the courage to ask to the Homecoming dance during my senior year in high school, I will have virtually no chance of meeting and interacting with any of these FBBs.

But that’s not my only “way out.” I realize that an FBB is a human being, no different than you or I. I fully understand that a muscular woman doesn’t exist solely to satiate my own personal fetishes. Even the three FBBs I’ve had the pleasure of meeting I treated with the utmost respect. I tried to be kind. I apologized to one who had the misfortune of having a lot of cancellations before coming to Seattle. I know many of these women may not even like doing these sessions, but they do them because it gives them a consistent source of income. Travelling takes you away from your friends and family. It’s tough to financially support yourself when you’re involved in a career that isn’t terribly lucrative.

On a personal level, I recognize their humanity and never feel I am entitled to receive whatever I want from them. I hope other people who interact with FBBs do the same.

Dana Lynn Bailey is a living legend.

Dana Lynn Bailey is a living legend.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to preach some “holier-than-thou” message and condemn anyone who made a mistake and treated a muscular woman with rudeness. That is not my intention at all. Rather, I’m just trying to wrap my mind around rationalizing my love for female muscle without falling into the trap of “objectifying” them.

Let’s put it this way: the concept of misogyny. Misogyny is “the hatred of women.” I am far from being a misogynist. But as any feminist critic will tell you, there is a long list of behaviors and attitudes that can be construed as “misogynistic.” Unfortunately, when discussing sexuality, gender relations and feminist theory in general, too often the discussion becomes a shouting match instead of a productive discussion. It’s easy to label men like us as misogynistic because of how much we lust after FBBs.

Is my love for female muscle linked to some deep-seeded hatred for women? Do I love them because they’re women who are more like men, whom obviously I believe are far superior? The answer to these questions is a resounding “NO!”

A great shot of Roberta Toth.

A great shot of Roberta Toth.

My love for muscular women has nothing to do with the fact their physique makes them “look like a man.” It’s easy to slam a person as “objectifying” a muscular woman when you don’t see the world from their perspective. If anything, we’re anti-misogynistic because we love these women for being empowered, powerful (both physically and mentally), determined, goal-oriented and not caring what the rest of the world thinks.

But I digress (boy, what a cliché!) This can be a little extreme. I don’t think too many people who criticize men who love strong women truly believe they actually hate them to any degree. Instead, I think the main criticism we face mostly comes from the accusation that we fetishize these ladies. For example:

White men who only date Asian women are always accused of fetishizing them:

You don’t like them because of who they are. You like them because you love their Asian features and behaviors. You don’t care about them as a person. You only married her because you can’t get enough of her slanted eyes, black hair, slim figure and golden yellow skin. You keep her around because you expect her to be subservient and satisfy your every sexual desire unconditionally.

We’ve all heard this before. And this is just one example. There are plenty more out there. Suffice to say, men who love muscular women might also be slandered for feeling the same way:

You only like them because their muscles turn you on! You only like them because you find their bodies attractive, not them as people. The only purpose a female bodybuilder serves to you is to help you satisfy your personal sexual gratifications. They’re a fetish to you, no different than watching porn or seeing young girls in Catholic school uniforms.

And so on. We’re not fans of these women. We’re creepy, animalistic chauvinist pigs. The fact these women are physically strong means nothing. If you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig. If you put muscles on a woman, it doesn’t change the fact you’re unequivocally objectifying her.

I really love Lindsay Mulinazzi.

I really love Lindsay Mulinazzi.

But let’s hold on for a moment. All judging aside, there’s nothing wrong with being enamored by someone’s physical beauty. It’s nature. It’s natural. It’s a product of hormones, biology and generations and generations of reproduction. Also, there’s nothing morally reprehensible about being physically attracted to someone. Man or woman, gay or straight, it’s all part of human nature. But how you treat a person, however, is a whole other can of worms.

That’s really what this entire conversation boils down to in a nutshell (wait, can you really boil something down to a nutshell? I may have meshed two idioms into one…). How you treat a person. The Miss America pageant is criticized for putting attractive young women on display for no purpose other than to give male viewers something pleasant to look at for a few hours. The Legends Football League (formerly the Lingerie Football League)? Infamous at best. Misogynistic at worst. But nevertheless, no one watches it for the “sport.”

I will admit this is a difficult subject to broach. This conversation hits a lot of us on a gut level. It’s hard to separate my personal desires from my yearning to communicate fairly and objectively. So here is how I will approach this issue:

Objectification, at its core, is a personal thing. Try as we may, we can never know what’s in someone’s heart. Are there men out there who treat FBBs only as sex objects and not as people? Yes. Are there people (men and women) out there who detest FBBs because of their outdated definitions of “femininity?” Yes. Are some female muscle fantasies (for example, wanting to hurt, degrade or humiliate an FBB) shared by some of us rooted in misogyny? Yes, it’s quite possible.

Diana Tinnelle Stanback is someone I've recently discovered. Why haven't I known about her longer?

Diana Tinnelle Stanback is someone I’ve recently discovered. Why haven’t I known about her longer?

I’m not here to deny that objectification happens. I’m not going to argue that misogyny is a thing of the past. Unfortunately, both are still prevalent in our world.

But…we’ll never know for sure how someone feels. What lies in your heart is something no one else will ever know. I know in my heart that I’ve never dehumanized a muscular woman. I treat them as people, not toys. But no matter how much I try to convince myself of this, there’s always that lingering bit of doubt in my mind.

The sport of bodybuilding is all about aesthetic and judging this aesthetic. It goes against what we’ve been taught about how to treat people. A judge at a bodybuilding contest judges a competitor purely based on what their body looks like. How nice they are, how smart they are, and how hard they’ve worked to get to this point doesn’t matter. What matters is how they appear in your subjective (though based on predetermined objective criteria) viewpoint. This goes counter to our culture that teaches us not to be shallow and judge someone on their looks. But within the context of the sport of bodybuilding, this type of judgment is completely justified.

A bodybuilder willingly puts themselves out there to be judged. This requires a level of self-esteem most of us do not possess. So if you really like how they look, is that such a bad thing? After all, their livelihood depends on improving their body’s appearance. If fans out there love the results, what’s the harm?

So we’re in a strange situation where we’re discussing people who willingly put themselves out there and dedicate their lives to shaping their bodies to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible. While a bodybuilder’s chief objective isn’t to maximize their sex appeal, inevitably they’re going to enhance their sex appeal whether they like it or not. True, they’re athletes, not models. But when you sculpt your body to superhuman proportions, eventually somebody’s going to notice!

The lesson to be learned is simple: treat others as you would want to be treated. The Golden Rule is as old as time, but it’s stood the test of time for a reason. It’s a damn good rule to follow!

Don’t treat a female bodybuilder like a piece of meat. If you ever encounter one, treat her with respect. Don’t expect her to do certain things for you or allow you to do certain things to her just because you saw a video of her doing similar activities to a paid actor. Recognize their humanity. Accept that it’s perfectly okay to find her sexually attractive, but don’t allow this attraction to warp your perceptions of them.

The Blonde Muscle Goddess Cindy Phillips.

The Blonde Muscle Goddess Cindy Phillips.

Essentially, don’t be a jerk. You’ll be fine if you always act as kind and respectful as you can.

Will some people continue to ridicule you? Of course. Will certain folks still insist there’s something fundamentally “wrong” with you? Naturally. Just tune them out. Only you know what’s in your mind and heart.

The issue of sexual objectification is a tough one to tackle. Human history is chock full of battles between people wanting to be acknowledged as human beings and people who refuse to treat them like that. This still continues today.

People are people. We are all people trying to make our way through this confusing universe. Our time is limited here on planet Earth. We shouldn’t make things harder on each other if we can avoid it.

So embrace your female muscle fandom. And show your appreciation for these ladies and all their hard work. It’s the most respectful thing you can do.