In My Own Words: 28-year-old Male from Los Angeles

Today’s guest writer says Denise Hoshor is one of his favorites. The man has great taste!

Ask, and you shall receive! My last post featuring Zach from San Diego sure inspired a few of you to submit your thoughts to me! Today, I’d like to introduce you all to a 28-year-old guy from the Los Angeles area. He prefers to remain completely anonymous, so not even his first name will be mentioned. I’m fine with that.

Once again, you may contact me at ryantakahashi87 (at) yahoo (dot) com to join in on the party. You can contact this author at mufi (at) live (dot) com. He’d love to start a conversation with you!

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When did you first discover your love for female muscle?

I was exposed to muscular women at a really young age (11 or 12). Back then, the sports channels were still airing bodybuilding contests on TV. I happened to be flipping through the channels one night when I stumbled upon this contest (I think it may have been the Arnold Classic because it was around March). Initially they were showing the male competitors, but since there was nothing else on TV at the time I figured I would keep it on that channel for a bit. About 20 minutes later, the announcer said “Let’s take a look at the women’s contest.” The women they were showing were hitting these amazing poses and just looked so strong, proud, majestic, and confident. I was completely mesmerized. I had never seen women look like that before and I thought they were the most beautiful women I had ever seen in my life.

Shortly after watching the contest on TV, I received my first laptop (after talking my way out of getting caught looking at sexy photos of muscular women on the family computer!) and began going online and reading voraciously and learning everything I could about women’s bodybuilding. Pretty soon, I knew a lot about the competitors (by photos), the competitions, and the grueling regimen it takes to compete.

Why are you attracted to female bodybuilders?

I am attracted to female bodybuilders for a multitude of reasons. I always valued people or things that are unique – different from the herd. When I first saw those female competitors on TV, not only did I think about how sexy they were, I also thought about how intense they had to train and how many sacrifices they had to make (family, relationships, time, energy) to be on that stage. Not many women would possess the drive, perseverance, and the genetics to look like a female bodybuilder or physique competitor. That inner strength and the ability to just focus on yourself without worrying about what others say is incredibly sexy to me. And from a physical standpoint, I always preferred women with some curves – be it muscles or otherwise. I’ll take a woman with shapely muscles over a typical skinny (skin-on-bones) type of girl any day. She does not have to be a huge girl (I do have my limits), but a little shape is always appreciated.

Have you ever met a female bodybuilder?

Outside of a session, no. That being said, there are plenty of fit women out here in Southern California. It is not an uncommon sight to see a woman with some degree of muscle.

Have you ever engaged in a muscle worship session with an FBB?

Yes – once – and so far that is the only session I have ever done. I did this session during my grad school years (when I was 22). It was always a dream of mine to be able to meet and experience the presence of a muscular woman. Prior to even thinking about doing a session, I did a lot of due diligence. I knew I wanted to do it with a pretty well-known competitor, someone with session experience, and, preferably, someone who was preparing for an upcoming contest. I lucked out – she was visiting the city I was in at the time about a month before her competition.

She was a very beautiful and accommodating woman to me. Although I chose not to take things too far (out of respect for her and given it was my first time), I still had a memorable evening and I got a chance to learn a little bit about her as well.

He’s also a fan of Yaz Boyum. The guy knows his stuff.

How would you react to someone who says that a guy (or gal) who likes female bodybuilders is strange, weird, kooky, etc.?

I would just tell them that everyone has their preferences. People do have the freedom to choose who or what they like.

Have you ever told anyone that you’re into female muscle?

Yes. I’ve mentioned I like fit, muscular women to some of my friends. They don’t really mind. I feel like with the advent of many new gyms (especially CrossFit which features a plethora of muscular women), it’s less of a stigma nowadays to say you like physically strong women compared to say twenty or even ten years ago.

Matter of fact, one of the nicest compliments you can give a woman is to tell her she’s strong. I remember I was at physiotherapy and my physical therapist was a fairly young woman who, although she was short, was in really good shape. We were doing this tug-of-war exercise with an exercise ball to test my balance and she eventually got it out of my hands (I’m 6’1, 220 lbs. mind you). I told her as I was catching my breath “Wow you’re strong.” She smiled, and kind of did this little half double bicep flex which totally made my day. You’ve just got to make sure you don’t sound condescending or say it in a way like “oh, you’re strong for a girl.” – No bueno.

If you could tell someone who doesn’t understand your attraction to female muscle one thing, what would it be?

Everyone has got their own preferences. You may not see why I like it, but it’s my decision anyway and I’m not hurting anyone else by being attracted to a physically strong woman.

Do you ever foresee a situation in the future when women with muscles and people who admire them will become more accepted by society?

As I mentioned before, I think it is already the case. There is a lot more emphasis nowadays on physical fitness and keeping healthy. I think more people are accepting of a woman with some degree of muscularity. There still may be less of an acceptance of larger muscular women (FBBs), but I think the overall number of people who appreciate a muscular frame on a woman has certainly grown.

Nostalgic for Naughtiness

An old issue of Women’s Physique World featuring Shelley Beattie and Sharon Bruneau.

Every man who was once a teenage boy with raging hormones should be able to identify with this scenario:

You borrow a copy of a dirty magazine from a buddy at school. Or you steal it from a grocery store with the stealth skills of a Special Ops commander. Or you’re lucky enough to stumble upon an old issue of Playboy or Hustler sitting in a garbage can or recycling bin. No matter how you acquire said dirty magazine, it’s a prized possession that you will guard with your life.

Your brothers and sisters cannot know about it. Your parents especially cannot know about it. So it must be kept a secret from prying eyes, forever fated to be stuffed in your sock drawer or underneath your mattress. The only time you can look at it is at night under the cover of darkness. Bring it to school and you risk one of your teachers discovering it, confiscating it, and telling Mom or Dad about it. Talk about bad news. Can’t possibly risk that. No bloody way.

But what’s in that dirty magazine that’s so damn intriguing? It’s simple: Beautiful girls wearing very little (or no) clothing. Just a few short years ago, girls were disgusting creatures who were annoying, bad at sports, and had different hobbies than you. Today, it’s a whole different story. Girls are enigmatic creatures who make you feel wiggly inside. You cannot help but stare at the ones who were the prettiest or had the shapeliest bodies. And you definitely struggle to stop staring at the ones with big boobs. Oh boy…

But your magazine offers a special glimpse that you cannot possibly have while sitting in math class. Your treasured magazine shows you a whole new side of the female species that you’ve only just begun to discover. You finally get to see what a pair of breasts look like. You finally learn why Dad married Mom in the first place. And, you finally find out what girls have between their legs that you don’t.

This scenario should be especially familiar with those of you who are older than 30. However, as the Internet Age rolled around, teenage boys don’t have to sneak dirty magazines into their bedrooms in order to get their “fix.” Pictures of gorgeous naked women are only a simple Google search away (not to mention a furious effort to delete one’s browsing history before Grandma next uses the family computer). So as time goes on, one presumes this familiar scenario will become less familiar.

Will you accept this rose from Raye Hollitt?

Nevertheless, for those of us who love female bodybuilders, there’s an added dimension to our story of how we discovered what turns us on. In addition to conventionally beautiful lingerie and fashion models, we were also introduced to pretty women who sported a bit more muscle mass than usual. So not only were we smuggling copies of Playboy into our coat closets, we were also sneaking in contraband fitness and weightlifting magazines.

Sure, the majority of those publications featured big burly men. But on occasion, we got to feast our eyes on ladies with big burly muscles.

Oh baby.

In today’s modern world in which everything you can possibly think of can now be accessed through the Internet, it’s becoming easier and easier to indulge in your vices in complete privacy. Private web browsing has been a helpful tool in hiding your fetishes from anyone who also happens to use your computer. Granted, you still need to be cautious when you’re at work, but when you’re sitting at home you can be as freaky as you want to be without a single soul knowing about it.

Yet, with all this erotic material readily available at your fingertips, doesn’t it seem like the “old days” were a bit more, how shall we say it, “naughty?”

What is meant by that is the general feeling that back in the days when images of beautiful muscular women were rare, the few opportunities we got to feast our eyes on them seemed much more exciting than they do now. Today, we can easily scroll through hundreds of female bodybuilders, fitness models, and athletes on Instagram, Tumblr blogs, and fan websites without breaking a sweat. No need to sneak in magazines underneath your Mom’s watchful eye. No fear of Dad finding out. Also, no need to research where you can find these photos, which in our youth we treated as precious commodities like gold, diamonds, and crude oil.

With search engines and social media making our beloved ladies more easily available than ever before, why do simple Google searches fail to send that same tingling sensation down our spines that peering through old photos of Rachel McLish late at night in our bedrooms once did? Is it because we’re older and more accustomed to seeing photos of gorgeous muscular women, or is it something deeper?

Let’s explore the latter. It is not beyond comprehension that part of the reason why our adolescent brains were kicking into overdrive was because, well, the clichéd phrase “raging hormones” exists for a reason. So is it fair to say that as we get older our hormones get more under control, thus we become less fanatical in our desire to ogle beautiful women? Maybe, but that doesn’t appear to be the only answer. For the female muscle enthusiasts out there, another explanation must cover the territory of the “forbidden fruit.”

As if peering at photos of beautiful women weren’t scandalous (relatively speaking) enough, being turned on by photos of muscular beautiful women is a whole other story. Now we’re crossing into “weird” ground, not just “scandalous.” It’s not embarrassing to admit you’d like to tap Pamela Anderson (especially if you grew up in the 90s), but it would definitely raise a few eyebrows if you declare proudly that you’d also like to screw Kim Chizevsky. Especially if the people you were with knew who Kim is and what she looks like.

Talk about awkward.

But awkwardness is exactly the point. We’re embarrassed because we don’t want others to find out about our attraction to female bodybuilders, but we’re also somewhat embarrassed for our own sake. We start to wonder if something is wrong with us. We ask questions such as: Am I normal? Am I secretly gay? Why don’t more people feel the same way as I do?

But even those questions are starting to diminish. The Internet has played an integral role in breaking down almost every social taboo you can think of. You can easily locate like-minded individuals who are into the same “unusual” stuff as you. Do you enjoy drawing Game of Thrones fan art? Or writing Harry Potter fan fiction? Or immersing yourself into “Furry” culture (don’t look it up if you aren’t prepared to truly find out what it is)? Well, finding other people who are into the same things as you has never been easier. This is quite a blessing, especially if you are prone to wondering whether if you’re alone in the Universe. Odds are you are not.

The statuesque Bev Francis.

The same goes for female muscle fetishism. For all its flaws, Saradas.com is a popular forum for discussing and sharing content related to female bodybuilding, sessions, fantasy wrestling, and the like. You can easily connect and communicate with people all across the globe who enjoy the same female muscle-related activities as you. This level of connectivity with souls spread around the planet is unprecedented. Yet here we are. What a time to be alive.

However, despite the ease of which we can access photos/videos of muscular women and meet people who share our common interests, why does it seem like (to repeat the question articulated earlier) the old days were much naughtier? Maybe this isn’t true for everyone, but it’s not beyond the stretch of the imagination to say that once something becomes mainstream, it starts to lose a little bit of its juice. Granted, female bodybuilding is still (and probably never will be) not considered mainstream, but within the world of Internet subcultures, anything can be mainstream if you look in the right places. What’s the deal here?

The best explanation has to be the fact that before the Internet existed, most of us truly didn’t know if other people felt the same way about female bodybuilders as we did. Before Google allowed us to discover information faster and easier than before, we had no idea how many other people (if any at all) shared our fascination with them. It’s not just loneliness. It’s the fear that nobody else is crazy enough to get turned on by a woman with big muscles. And if that’s the case, isn’t the next logical conclusion that there must be something “off” about us?

Hence, our uncontrollable and unexplainable attraction to female muscle felt supremely naughty. And not just naughty in a moral sense, but also in a psychological sense. We didn’t know if our brains were working properly. That’s taking naughtiness to a whole new level.

The other explanation is the supply of female muscle-related media. Back in the pre-Internet age, our exposure to FBBs was limited to magazines, bodybuilding contests on television, and your old dusty VHS copy of “Pumping Iron II: The Women.” That’s about it. So the few instances in which we could find new photos of female bodybuilders were few and far between.

That made the experience all the more exciting. The rare occurrence when we could get our sweaty hands on a brand new issue of the latest fitness magazine seemed like a quasi-religious experience. It was as if we had found a Golden Ticket in our recently purchased Wonka Bar. We felt as giddy as if it were Christmas morning. But instead of a new bicycle or autographed football, it was a magazine chock full of images of powerful women with bulging biceps and massive quads. Hell, this beats the experience of tearing up presents underneath the decorated tree by a mile!

Who wants to lift with Cory Everson?

Back when the product is scarce, we appreciated it more. Now that the product is available in abundance, you’d think we would appreciate it more, but we don’t. Ironically, an overabundance of the product actually ends up making us appreciate it less. Thirty years ago, we had to risk life and limb to sneak a copy of a bodybuilding magazine into our rooms without our parents detecting it. Today, we can skim through endless Instagram feeds of scantily clad female bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness models with our only concern being whether we’ll run out of battery power.

This is a good thing, right? Of course it is. But human nature being what it is, we can’t help but sense a diminished sense of giddiness living in today’s media-saturated environment. Our love for female bodybuilders seems cheap. Easy. Casual. Maybe not mainstream, but certainly less-out-of-the-ordinary-than-before. Female muscle fetishism has lost some of its naughtiness. What should we make of this?

Well, not much. But this does provide a valuable lesson about the relationship between cultural acceptance and modern communications technology.

People tend to react viscerally to things that are unusual, even if they aren’t necessarily “weird.” Unusual is simply anything that is not usual. But the more common it becomes, the less unusual it is, and the more “normal” it seems. This is not rocket science. This simple observation is also true for female muscle and our reaction to it. We think it’s strange to see women with big muscles precisely because women with big muscles are rare. But as our definition of “mainstream” starts to veer away from legacy corporate advertising and toward more grassroots-based media, the doors to almost anything will swing wide open.

The list goes on regarding things you once never saw but now can see whenever you feel like it: Plus-sized models, South Korean soap operas, documentaries about dwarfs (not the Lord of the Rings kind), Bollywood movies, Japanese pop music, Australian rugby matches, Brazilian cooking shows, cosplay conventions, Facebook groups for people who identify as “Gender Non-Conforming,” and so on. And yes, this includes photos, videos, blogs, and communities dedicated to female muscle. Almost anything you can think of is out there for public consumption.

An iconic female bodybuilder, Rachel McLish.

You just have to know where to look for it. Because not all of it will appear right under your nose when you least expect it.

Maybe this is why our love for female bodybuilders seems less naughty in today’s world than it did in yesteryear’s world. It’s not mainstream in the traditional sense of the word, but the very concept of “mainstream” is being challenged like never before. The Internet has allowed for the proliferation of subcultures and subcultures within subcultures to meet and convene in ways that were unimaginable even twenty years ago. And that’s not a long time ago, in relative terms.

Hence, we may be reaching – or have already reached – the point where the familiar scenario outlined in the beginning of this article will no longer be familiar to the younger generation. Those of us in our late 20s and early 30s might be the last cohort who remembers sneaking dirty magazines into our bedrooms. Today, this is a thing of the past. Those days are over. Everything we love is now digitalized. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Only time will tell.

Laurie Noack Gibson by the swimming pool. Want to jump in?

But what we can conclude is that for lovers of female muscle, this is a fantastic cultural development. Our access to beautiful muscular women has reached unprecedented levels. Well, actually, our access to anything you can possibly think of has reached unprecedented levels. As much as this can be a cause for celebration and popping the champagne corks, there is something tangible that’s been lost. That rush of adrenaline we all felt when we were scared out of our wits about being caught with muscle magazines has now been replaced with remembering to delete your browsing history. Ho hum. Boring!

Or is it? Is feeling naughty – and by extension, guilty – really a positive thing? Or does it only serve to suppress our natural desires and keep us shackled to society’s stringent standards? The answer to this is impossible to fully know, and perhaps we’re just being prisoners of nostalgia. We want the next generation to experience the same things we did when we were younger…for no other reason than we enjoyed it.

But will they? Maybe all this sneaking around wasn’t healthy at all and that society will actually benefit from being more open about sexual attraction, desire, and impulses. In this case, we should applaud the trends we’re currently witnessing.

But one suspects that being naughty, no matter what form that takes, will always be with us. And if that’s the case, does it matter how crotchety old fogies like us think about it?

In My Own Words: Zack from San Diego

Alina Popa wants you to share your personal story!

Exactly four years ago – holy cow, time sure flies! – I posted on this blog a message calling for readers to submit their own personal stories about how they discovered female bodybuilders, why they love them so much, and what they wish they could tell the world about this shared interest. All anonymously, of course.

Sadly, in the past four years I haven’t gotten a whole lot of feedback from you folks. Oh well. But last week ago a brave soul finally reached out to me and provided answers to the questions I suggested. His name is Zack and he resides in (perpetually) sunny San Diego.

He comes across as a female muscle fan who thinks deeply about his love for FBBs. I’m sure that describes much of you out there! So, read what he has to say. And if you feel compelled to contribute your own thoughts, feel free to email me at ryantakahashi87 (at) yahoo (dot) com. Here’s my original post calling for reader submissions in case you need further context.

You can answer the questions I’ve posed, or you can just spew your thoughts out on your computer and send them my way. Whichever you prefer!

So, without further ado, here’s what Zack has to say, in his own words:

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San Diego, where it’s the same weather 365 days out of the year.

When did I first discover my love for female muscle?

It all started when I was a 14-year-old high school freshman with hormones that started berserking like typical young men at that stage. One day, I was watching an episode of Fear Factor and I saw one female contestant who wasn’t exactly a “bodybuilder” type but was still well-built and did a couple “poses” before attempting a stunt that required some great physical capabilities. At the time, I was also taking a PE class that had some classroom-esque instruction in the gym involving weight training and my PE teacher was talking about what men and women each like to gain when working with weights (men obviously putting on size, but women wanting to stay firm and sturdy, etc.).

I started pondering the female stature even more to the point where I’d keep an eye out for those Bowflex commercials to catch women toning their symmetrics and continuing my Fear Factor viewings hoping to catch a glimpse of women with the real awesome statures. One day it finally occurred to me to use the wonderful tool of Google to find images of the real treasures and I was hooked. They were a safer alternative to Playboy because many of my peers had to be careful if we ever dared to seek a Playboy magazine in our old man’s secret stash (LOL). As I progressed through high school, my passion for these goddesses was known only to my mom and my sister who would occasionally glance through the internet browsing history on our computer, but they didn’t know what it was evolving into. I even stumbled upon an exercise book on my mom’s bookshelf by the great Rachel McLish, which I would discreetly glance through every now and then.

After my sophomore year, I took a part-time job at a grocery store near my house which gave me convenient access to Oxygen magazine, which I would purchase at the self-checkout machines to avoid any of my coworkers asking me questions about this hidden passion of mine. I guess you could tag it (and still can) as my “guilty pleasure.” Midway through junior year, after a few months of ogling over these glorious goddesses on paper, I had a deep dream one night and it finally happened. I woke up at about 2:00 a.m. after feeling an amazing vision involving a really close bond with the magnificent Monica Brant that resulted in my “little soldiers” deploying themselves for the very first time.

Why do I admire female bodybuilders?

For starters, let’s say I would much rather have Wonder Woman as my girlfriend instead of Sleeping Beauty (LOL).

I admire women of physical and mental strength because just as a typical woman loves a man with confidence, I would want my potential suitor to have the same qualities in herself. During our early years, we become so fixated on comparing ourselves to others that often times we forget about trying to be the best version of our individual selves. If anything, I wholeheartedly embrace my differences because they are a part of what enables me to write my own life’s story by viewing the world from my own perception rather than somebody else’s tunnel vision. Women who are not ashamed/afraid and embrace the fact that they are different turn me on. Muscle is a natural element of the human body for both men and women. Bodybuilding is a sport and form of art; neither of which are reserved for either gender in the first place.

However, I do draw the line somewhere. When it comes to female bodybuilders, the details that determine whether they maintain their femininity or cross the line into the dark territory of being masculine come not from the size of their muscles, but rather their shape and symmetry. If they have deep voices, hair growing in places it shouldn’t be, square-pecs, square-jaw, or other physical traits that are exclusive to men, I am turned off by it and rather ashamed that they would wreck themselves with steroids, destroying and disgracing a pure form of art in the process.

Have I ever met a female bodybuilder (or a woman with a lot of muscles)? If so, what were the circumstances?

Plenty of times, yes. However, I have yet to secure a date with them because they are a scarce thing to find and whenever I’ve encountered them they are either taken or in a situation where it is not easy to strike up a conversation that could possibly lead to a date. It’s happened at the gym and at fitness expos too. Just got to keep my eyes open, wait for the right timing, and it’ll happen. Patience is one of the highest virtues I pride myself on.

Have you ever engaged in a muscle worship or BDSM session with an FBB? If so, how did it go?

I did have one with a prominent FBB from Latin America whom I won’t name for privacy reasons and it went very well. I speak some Spanish (her native tongue) and had a good time and would definitely see her again if I ever travel back to Florida.

How would you react to someone who says that a guy (or gal) who likes female bodybuilders is strange, weird, kooky in the head, etc.?

It’s happened already but I am more than capable of shrugging it off because haters are gonna hate.

Have I ever told anyone that I’m into female muscle?

Through the course of my Navy career thus far I have been on two deployments and porn is naturally an essential for the occasion and I did show to my shipmates the special stash of FBB videos (including nude ones) on my computer which I’ve accumulated over the years. A couple of my friends who are already fitness buffs themselves enjoyed it but everybody else gave the typical negative comments.

If I could tell someone who doesn’t understand your attraction to female muscle one thing, what would it be?

Muscle is a natural element of the human body. That goes for males AND females.

Nude: A Muscular Woman’s Natural State (NSFW)

Emery Miller in her natural state.

Emery Miller in her natural state.

One year ago, I published a post titled “A Muscular Woman is Always Nude in Public, Even When Fully Clothed.” The basic gist of my article is that a woman with muscles cannot easily hide her muscles from the public. Even if she wears baggy clothing and acts as inconspicuous as possible, she can never fully conceal the fact that she is indeed a woman with big muscles.

So no matter what she does, where she goes, or who she associates with, her identity as a “female bodybuilder” is forever branded on her body – that is, until she decides to stop training and lets her muscles atrophy. She can run, but she can’t hide.

However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. One does not pursue bodybuilding unless he or she is okay with, ahem, looking like a bodybuilder. That’s the whole point, isn’t it?

Yes, it is the whole point. No arguments there. I’d like to follow up this post with more thoughts on the concept of female muscle and nudity. Here it goes. Not only is a female bodybuilder always nude even when she’s fully clothed, when she is nude she’s actually in her “natural state.”

By “natural state,” I mean the way in which nature intended for something to be presented. As human beings living in human civilization, it is not encouraged to be naked in public. Nor is it natural for people to live clustered sedentary lives where they spend all their free time glued to a computer screen. In-person human interaction involving people actually looking at and talking to another human being has (nearly) gone by the wayside, thanks to the introduction of social media, texting, and other digital distractions. Life in the 21st Century may resemble a quasi-dystopian (and heavily exaggerated pre-apocalyptic) reality, but that doesn’t mean we can’t occasionally turn back the clock and return back to how we were supposed to behave.

Kathy Johansson showing off her best side.

Kathy Johansson showing off her best side.

As a particular sub-species of humanity, female bodybuilders belong in a unique category. Female bodybuilders are, in many respects, a prototypical 21st Century human being: Strong, independent, rebellious, entrepreneurial, and “feminine” by her own definition. Never mind the fact that female bodybuilders are not celebrated by our culture in quite the same way that pop stars and loudmouth politicians are; FBBs are women who are known to exist but aren’t given the adequate public space that they deserve to exist in.

So in a realistic sense, FBBs will forever be relegated to the backburner of greater society’s consciousness. Or more specifically, they’ll inhabit the backburner of the stove located in the shanty sitting 20 miles away from our culture’s proverbial kitchen. It’s a hard knock life, but a life that our beloved FBBs are willing and able to wade through.

But within the female muscle fan community – and to be sure, God knows how many of us are out there – the accomplishments of FBBs do not go unnoticed. In fact, we spend an inordinate amount of time experiencing these ladies as many ways as we can: Meeting them for muscle worship/wrestling sessions, watching their videos, looking at their photos, reading articles about them, following them on Instagram, etc. And if there is one theme that consistently comes up, it’s that we love seeing our gorgeous strong ladies wearing as little clothing as possible.

Granted, the desire to see a beautiful person without clothing isn’t particularly unusual. Adam didn’t notice Eve while she was wearing a nuclear hazmat suit. He noticed her when she was wearing…uh, nothing at all. I’m pretty sure if any of us were to see a beautiful person walking down the street wearing his or her birthday suit, we’d all stop what we’re doing and stare. If you wouldn’t so such a thing, well, I don’t know what to say to you.

However, in a strangely poetic way, female bodybuilders aren’t just beautiful women whom we would like to see naked. They’re beautiful women who should be naked all the time. A muscular woman should never be covered up. Her body should always be displayed in all its natural glory. A clothed muscular woman is a travesty. It’s an abomination. It’s unnatural, just like eating tropical fruit in the winter or listening to Christmas music in July.

The gorgeous Lindsay Mulinazzi.

The gorgeous Lindsay Mulinazzi.

As bodybuilders, FBBs dedicate their whole lives to developing their physical bodies to fit a certain desired aesthetic. It’s not a hobby. Nor is it just a career choice. It’s a lifestyle. What they eat, how they train, when they sleep, where they find themselves at any given moment, what they spend their money on; it’s all part of the life of being a pro (or exceedingly dedicated amateur) bodybuilder. In short, you don’t become a bodybuilder. Bodybuilding becomes you!

And the human body, when deliberately sculpted to look a certain way, deserves to be seen in its proper context. There’s a reason why bodybuilding contests feature contestants wearing almost nothing. Obviously, the competitors won’t wear anything that isn’t acceptable at any public beach, because “going commando” is still pretty taboo. It’s like going to the movies: Seeing hundreds of people get shot and blown up is okay, but seeing a bare female breast is totally wrong.

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but plenty of things in life don’t make a lick of sense when you think about it.

So forget about this in a practical sense. I’m not suggesting female bodybuilders – and male bodybuilders, I suppose – should go around completely naked all the time. This is more of a philosophical discussion with regards to who female bodybuilders are and what they represent, not a call to action to defy indecent exposure laws!

Simply put, female bodybuilders should be appreciated in the nude whenever possible. Yes, it can be incredibly sexy to see a gorgeous FBB wearing frilly lingerie or a g-string bikini or a French maid’s outfit. But that’s all fun and games. I’m talking about how a female bodybuilder deserves to be seen.

What can you conclude by seeing Michelle Tuggle fully nude?

What can you conclude by seeing Michelle Tuggle fully nude?

You cannot fully appreciate her hard work unless you see every single square inch of her body. Her calves. Her quads. Her hips. Her butt. Her abs. Her arms. Her chest. Her neck. Her back. Her face. Her breasts. And yes, her genitals.

Her genitals may seem inconsequential, but they are not. Seeing a woman with big muscles and female genitalia proves the point once and for all that she’s a real woman. Whether her clitoris is small or abnormally large doesn’t really matter. What matters is the stark reminder that this hypermuscular human body is also a female body. Whether her breasts are small or large also doesn’t matter. They need to be seen. If her breasts are normal-sized, they serve as further reinforcement of her femininity. If they are flat, they could then be used to argue either that one doesn’t need breasts in order to be a woman or that “womanhood” needs to be redefined. Or more specifically, our concept of “womanhood” needs to be tossed out the window altogether.

The size of her muscles, the appearance of her genitalia and breasts, and the confidence in which she carries herself (or perhaps, lack of confidence if she’s self-conscious about anything) all tell us the complete story about her. If she’s embarrassed by her small breasts and large clit, this offers a clue to how she views her own femininity. If she’s damn proud of her big muscles, flat chest, and oversized genitals, we can surmise that she doesn’t give a damn what society says or that she wants society to dramatically change the way we view women.

As I’ve written before in a previous blog article, a large clitoris is beneficial for the perception of women and their sexualities. It proves that women are indeed sexually sovereign beings who deserve to experience pleasure whenever they desire to. The vagina is often (unfairly) mischaracterized as a passive bodily organ that only serves to receive a man’s penis during intercourse and to deliver a child during birth. Add to it a clitoris that is often too small to see (without zooming in very closely!) and you get a set of genitals that can be viewed as being submissive, dependent, and unremarkable.

A very sultry Desiree Ellis.

A very sultry Desiree Ellis.

However, that’s not even close to being true. But as far as perception goes, a big clitoris that resembles a very small penis can go a long way in proving the point that women do in fact possess an organ that exists solely to give her pleasure. We might know that in the back of our minds, but a larger-than-life clitoris that shocks you when you see it accentuates that point a hundred-fold.

Thus, yes, her genitals do matter. Every single inch of her body matters. You cannot truly understand who a female bodybuilder is unless you see her completely nude. But do not mistaken nudity with vulnerability. There’s a difference between being naked and being nude. “Naked” is when someone lacks clothing. “Nude” is a state of being in which one shows off all their skin. In other words, “naked” implies vulnerability, deficiency, and being unprotected. “Nude,” on the other hand, connotes an active choice to be bare.

Being naked is humiliating. Being nude is an empowering choice. See the difference?

A nude female bodybuilder is most likely to be in the “empowered” camp. But I guess that’s not always the case. In addition to being embarrassed by her genitalia or breasts, not everyone is comfortable being naked…regardless of the circumstances. Obviously, bodybuilders (male and female) tend to have fantastic looking bodies, but we all hold differing mores when it comes to showing off skin to the public.

There’s an undeniable difference between seeing a muscular woman clothed and a muscular woman completely nude. When clothed, we are reminded of her ordinariness. She wears shirts, pants, socks, shoes, and jackets just like the rest of us. It’s like she’s covering up who she really is, as if wearing clothes is just like Clark Kent wearing glasses to disguise the fact that he’s actually Superman. A female bodybuilder who’s wearing clothes is shielding her identity, albeit not completely.

Yes, you can still tell that she’s really darn muscular. Her tight jeans may generously show off her sculpted glutes and rock hard thighs, but it’s not even close to seeing the actual thing. I’m sure Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen suspected that Mr. Kent was actually somebody else, but who in their right mind would go all the way and suggest that he’s actually the Man of Steel? Preposterous!

Likewise, it’s not the same to look upon a fully-clothed female bodybuilder with a similar amount of awe and wonder if she were nude. That even goes for her wearing a bikini. She’s mostly nude…however there are still a few crucial parts still left uncovered.

Now, contrast that with a fully nude muscular woman. It’s as though you’re seeing her from a whole new perspective. She transcends her humanity and becomes a goddess. When you see her in her “natural state,” you truly are able to comprehend just how amazing her body is. You witness not just her physical beauty; you also get to experience her entire essence. Her personality, her hard work, her sacrifices, her lifestyle choices, her fears, her doubts, her dreams, her hopes; everything is right there on display. She hides nothing because this is who she really is.

This is how she’s meant to be seen.

You may be asking yourself: Does the same apply to a gorgeous non-bodybuilder woman? Well, not really. Without question, the sight of a beautiful nude woman is always pleasant to regard, whether she has big muscles or not. I’m only human. However, the major dissimilarity is that an FBB’s sculpted body is so crucial to her identity. Her chiseled physique is central to who she is as a person and what she’s dedicated her life toward accomplishing.

The real Jungle Woman: Rita Sargo.

The real Jungle Woman: Rita Sargo.

A beautiful non-muscular woman isn’t quite the same. A supermodel can wear a sultry black dress and make jaws drop to the floor (although I believe “slay” has become the currently accepted nomenclature). If a female bodybuilder were to wear the exact same dress, she could garner the exact same reaction…but it wouldn’t feel the same. Instead, the dress would seem like a burden. The dress becomes a distraction, an unnecessary diversion away from what’s really important.

And what is actually important? You guessed it! Her hard chiseled muscles.

Perhaps that’s the heart of this discussion. That’s my core message. Clothing seems unnatural when placed on a female bodybuilder’s body. And not just unnatural; it seems sacrilegious. A masterpiece by Monet deserves to be viewed by millions of people at a museum, not locked away in a vault somewhere in an undisclosed underground location. A grand piano deserves to be played, as opposed to serving as a glorified piece of furniture. A novel sitting on a shelf and doing nothing is degrading. It must be read and enjoyed, not relegated as common clutter.

In the same manner, a female bodybuilder’s body needs to be seen in its entirety. And that means she must be fully nude. I’m not suggesting every single bodybuilder must be forced to strip naked and pose for pictures. Heavens no! That’s the furthest thing that I would advocate for, trust me. Rather, I’m talking about this in a metaphysical sense.

A female bodybuilder’s body is maximizing its utility (or purpose) when it’s displayed in the nude. More than being athletes, female bodybuilders are also artists. And like Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci before them, FBBs warrant having their handiwork displayed in a way that provides the viewer an optimal experience:

Nude. No clothing. At all. Just her beautiful body and nothing else shielding it. That’s the way she is meant to be seen. That’s the way nature intended it.

Anything else would be a disservice to all her years and years of shedding blood, sweat, and tears. Maybe I was wrong in my initial assessment that a muscular woman is always nude in public, even when she’s fully clothed. When she’s wearing clothes, she’s just like the Monet sitting in a dark vault or the masterpiece of a novel collecting dust. We’re in the presence of greatness; we just don’t know it. And this is perhaps the greatest tragedy of them all.

That being said, when she’s completely nude, our eyes aren’t the only things that become wide open. So do our minds, hearts, and souls.

The Year That Was 2016: Muscular Women Will Bring Us Together

Debbie Leung would like to wish you a happy new year!

Debbie Leung would like to wish you a happy new year!

If you were to ask a random person on the street whether 2016 was a good year or a bad year, I’d wager a guess that the vast majority of respondents would say it was an atrocious year.

What would prompt someone to say such a thing, you might ask? Let’s count the ways why 2016 could be considered a disappointing year for all of us:

  • Beloved celebrities passing away
  • Political and social unrest
  • Undesirable election outcomes
  • Mass shootings, riots, bombings, terror attacks, and random acts of violence that threaten our sense of safety and stability
  • International conflicts like war, famine, genocide, territorial disputes, religious conflict, etc.
  • Terrorism, despotism, and rising civil conflicts
  • Technological advancements that threaten the job prospects of working class people
  • Uneasiness about environmental issues
  • Eroding distrust in governments, media, and academic institutions
  • Economic insecurity
  • Rumors of war, belligerence, and frightening socio-political trends
  • Dissipating freedoms of speech, choice, religion, and association
  • Disintegrating sense of “national unity” and “common culture”
  • General feelings of anger, anxiety, and cynicism on a global scale

Yikes. You may not necessarily feel all of these things, but certainly if you’ve been paying attention to the news – regardless of where on planet Earth you live – you must recognize at least a few of the tribulations listed above. Some historians (and quasi-historians) compare the times we’re currently living in to the 1930s when we were on the cusp of World War II, which caused devastation on a scale never before seen in human history. I tend to not buy into a lot of that hype and fearmongering, but I sympathize with people who do. That’s not me being snarky or dismissive.

I’m not an expert in international relations, social psychology or foreseeing the future. However, I am someone who is keen on attempting to clarify the unexplainable. Perhaps this is why I started my blog in the first place. Yeah, I wanted an avenue for publishing my fiction writing, but as it turns out my essays are what drive traffic to my humble website. My audience spans the globe, a reality that still has not set in yet. Can you believe that? Wow!

Wow, indeed. So in a futile attempt to wrap a somewhat positive bow on the year 2016 Anno Domini, which hasn’t been so positive for far too many of us, I’ll try to talk about how muscular women can bring us together. Maybe not all of us, but certainly some of us.

Muscular women are, in many respects, the ultimate symbol of postmodernism. In case you need a quick refresher, “postmodernism” was essentially a social, artistic, and cultural movement in the 20th Century that rejected and challenged previously held assumptions about the world. It’s unfair to think about postmodernism as being over, because it definitely is not. Even in the 21st Century, we’re still questioning how we traditionally think about things like gender constructs, science, political movements, sexual identities, philosophy, religion, aesthetics, and social cooperation. So postmodernism isn’t dead and buried by any stretch of the imagination.

I hope Annie Rivieccio becomes famous one day.

I hope Annie Rivieccio becomes famous one day.

If you want to point to one facet of modern life that encompasses so much of the conversation surrounding postmodern thought, it would be the world of female bodybuilding. The existence of muscular women challenge so many of our previously held assumptions about gender, biology, sex roles, femininity, masculinity, identity, and lust. A woman with big muscles would have been unthinkable 200 years ago. Or 100 years ago. Even today many of us have a hard time believing a woman can get that muscular without freakish genetics or a comical amount of steroids.

Let’s spin this another way: Consider the way our culture celebrates the concept of the “strong independent woman.” It’s a motif that we see everywhere: novels, movies, comic books, television shows, music, political campaigns, social media, and everyday casual conversations with friends. We saw Britain appoint its second ever female prime minister. The United States saw a woman run for president for the first time. Tsai Ing-wen was elected Taiwan’s first female president, a country that exists in the shadows of an increasingly confrontational China.

Yet, the concept of the “strong independent woman” has more or less been watered down by pop culture to mean a woman who uses the right hashtags and properly criticizes Donald Trump. It’s more of a rallying cry than an actual archetype that’s justifiably acknowledged. Most of the women in the world who are creating significant social change are scientists, teachers, engineers, data analysts, and investors whom most of us have never heard of before. The visible “strong independent women” celebrated by pop culture are usually pampered celebrities who don’t actually deserve such accolades.

How funny it is that real “strong independent women” like female bodybuilders are largely ignored by our society while a pop singer like Beyoncé is heralded as the lady version of Alexander the Great or William the Conqueror. I have nothing against the Queen Bey (her music is okay), but being a major celebrity isn’t that much of an accomplishment considering there are countless anonymous female scientists out there who are working to find cures to cancer.

Isabelle Turell is a genuine strong independent woman.

Isabelle Turell is a genuine strong independent woman.

Likewise, female bodybuilders are, for the most part, anonymous. Not to readers of this blog, of course, but to the general public. It’s too bad that women like Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande will always be more famous than Shawn Tan and Annie Rivieccio, but that’s the way it is. There’s no use complaining about something that’ll never change.

However, that’s not something worth fretting over. Seriously. Muscular women may not be able to change the entire world, but they can definitely change our world. As we transition from 2016 to 2017, this is a fantastic opportunity to remind ourselves that at the end of the day, we are in control over our own destinies. It may not always seem that way, but it’s true for the most part. Consider the lessons female bodybuilders can offer us:

FBBs live in a hostile world. They are women who break convention, defy our traditional definitions of femininity, and forge their own paths despite what others say. They face obstacles that are both seen and unseen, spoken and unspoken, obvious and not-so-obvious. They are at a biological disadvantage, as well as a social disadvantage. How many times have FBBs heard the pestering question “do you really want to look that way?

Well, yes they do. They do in fact want to look that way, thank you very much. But despite the peer pressure to resist building up muscle mass, there are plenty of women in this world who ignore the noise and pursue their dreams regardless of what others say. We should applaud them, as many of us often do. Let this be a crucial lesson to all of us that you can do whatever you dream of doing – no matter how many people tell you it’s unacceptable, irresponsible or improper. I completely understand that there’s a fine line between doing foolishly stupid things (like dreaming of becoming a world famous stunt motorcycle driver) and things that are merely “frowned upon” in polite company. I get that. But there’s nothing terribly risky about being a bodybuilder, unless you recklessly put God-knows-what kind of chemicals into your body to get “gains.” That’s a whole other matter.

Female bodybuilders don’t aspire to attain the impossible. They strive to attain the possible, though far too many of us think it’s impossible. There’s the difference. It is possible for a woman to be both irresistibly sexy and ridiculously muscular concurrently. Most of us don’t think it’s possible, therefore we look down upon those who pursue this path. That being said, no matter how rocky the road will be and how choppy the waters will seem, FBBs prevail at the end.

Kim Perez is like she's from my dreams.

Kim Perez is like she’s from my dreams.

They exist. Female bodybuilders exist. And that’s all they need to do to defy an unsympathetic society that treats them with unfair skepticism. In this regard, FBBs personify a thought-provoking paradigm: Muscular women aren’t supposed to be real. But they are. Period.

This is the essence of the postmodern worldview. Whatever assumptions we previously held about the nature of femininity, biology, and human sexual attraction must be questioned and subsequently tossed out the window. Not only do muscular women exist, but they should exist. They need to exist. It’s critical that the world be able to bear witness to a group of human beings who’ve chosen to ignore thousands of years of conventional wisdom and cultivate a new reality. There isn’t a logical reason why a woman (or man) should choose to build superhuman-sized muscles, but there doesn’t have to be. People do things because we can. We create goals and try to reach them even though it doesn’t provide any apparent utility.

We climb Mount Everest because we can. We sent a rocket ship to the moon because we can. We landed a spacecraft on Mars because we can. We don’t need to, but we want to. Want. That’s all this is about. The desire to accomplish something awesome and the will to go for it.

I’m not naïve. Female bodybuilders won’t become more popular in 2017. I don’t know if they’ll become less popular (as if such a standard can be adequately measured), but certainly I don’t foresee muscular women popping up everywhere in the media. But that’s irrelevant to this discussion. FBBs will never – although it may be imprudent to use the word “never” – achieve a high degree of popularity in our mass culture. However, they’ve been able to carve out a fine little niche with folks like you and I. It’s better to have a thousand passionate supporters than one million casual onlookers.

This is how female bodybuilders continue to exist. The support from their tiny army of rabid fans will sustain their lifestyles more than being featured as a token extra on Game of Thrones or the next Avengers flick. This business arrangement won’t be radically different in 2017 than it was in 2016 (or 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and so on), but that’s just fine. It doesn’t have to be. Economic prospects for female bodybuilders could always be better, naturally. The same could be said for any industry. But until we reach a point of financial unsustainability, I wouldn’t sweat it too much.

Will Jennifer Thomas be a breakout star in 2017? One could only hope...

Will Jennifer Thomas be a breakout star in 2017? One could only hope…

The truth is, the changing of years don’t really matter all that much. The universe won’t look profoundly different on January 1 than it did on December 31. A year is just an artificial benchmark we use to signify when the Earth makes a full rotation around the Sun. So for as bad as we think 2016 was, it makes no difference whatsoever. Events (both good and bad) happen to us regardless of what day, month, or year it is. That’s just the way it is. The concept of New Year’s Day is just a fun excuse to party too much, drink too much, and watch a crystal ball drop in Times Square. For what it’s worth, that’s okay with me.

Contrary to the title of this blog post, muscular women won’t actually bring us together. At least, they won’t bring billions of people across all cultures, languages, religious convictions, and skin colors together. Realistically, they can bring hope and joy to certain individuals who are feeling down on their luck. Sadly, there are way too many folks in this world who are feeling that way. Perhaps when it seems like optimism is lost and everything is spiraling out of control, we’ll suddenly remember ladies like Denise Masino and Brandi Mae Akers who are unapologetically sexy and don’t seem to be ready to quit anytime soon.

Remember what they have to go through every single day to achieve their dreams. Keep in mind how emotionally and physically strenuous it is to maintain a muscular body – especially for a woman. When the going gets tough, FBBs worldwide don’t just get going…they look damn good while doing it.

Oh yeah, they sure do. So here’s to another year of female muscle fandom. May 2017 bring you peace, love, joy, and unbridled sexiness.

Muscular Women in Still Motion

This old school photo of Cory Everson still gives us chills all these years later.

This old school photo of Cory Everson still gives us chills all these years later.

They say a photograph is a moment in time captured on film; one that can never be reproduced because such a moment will never happen exactly as it did ever again.

Well, today most photos are taken digitally from point-and-click cameras or cell phones. But the idea remains the same: The purpose of still images is to provide a snapshot of a particular moment in time and to allow the viewer – whether they see it a hundred days later or a hundred years later – to experience from a distance what the moment might have been like.

Maybe we’re talking about a photo from your kid’s 6th birthday party. Or your father’s grand retirement celebration. Or when your mom won a prestigious community service award. Or when you and your buddies experienced your team winning the World Series. Or when your lovely partner finally said “I do.” The possibilities are endless.

That’s the inherent advantage between a still photo and a video clip. A still photo captures a precise moment in time. A video captures a stretch of time, which could last seven seconds or seven hours. Technically speaking, a video clip is more accurate in documenting reality while a photograph can be deceptive. How many times have we seen a nice photograph of a couple enjoying a night out on the town only to learn this couple tragically died in a fatal car accident only hours later? Or an image of a star high school athlete relishing in triumphant victory…but later his or her life is unexpectedly cut short after he or she is victim to a heartless shooting?

Thus, the beauty of photographs is that they encapsulate a specific moment without delving too deep into the context of said moment. Even if the subjects of the picture are moving around (as opposed to posing for the photographer), moments very rarely happen in stillness. Yet, a photograph is still. They don’t move or communicate motion. Think about those creepy turn-of-the-century black and white family photos where one of the “posing” members is a dead body. Don’t believe me? Look it up.

The subjects of photos appear to be not just still, but frozen in time. We see who they are instead of what they’re doing. It illustrates the poetic truth that time is not a continuous arc of events, but rather a series of individually poignant moments.

Except when it comes to female bodybuilders.

You knew I’d eventually get around to this subject, right?

For us fans of female bodybuilders, muscular women, athletes, fitness models, and amateur gym rats, the most prominent way we’re able to “experience” these women is through still images. Thanks to YouTube, social media, Vimeo, and other video sharing platforms we’re also able to watch them in action. But the most significant avenue through which we satisfy our female muscle fix is through good old fashioned still photos that we can view on our computer, phone, or tablet device.

What hides under the pasties being worn by Larissa Reis?

What hides under the pasties being worn by Larissa Reis?

Back in the day all we had were fitness/bodybuilding magazines that we tried to purchase inconspicuously at the grocery store and hide under the bed away from prying eyes. Thank God for the Internet.

Recently, I had a bit of an epiphany while scrolling through a Tumblr blog dedicated to muscular and fit women. This blogger also posts photos of “normal” women – meaning they’re gorgeous but gorgeous within mainstream parameters. I began to notice something strange when seeing images of muscular women juxtaposed with images of non-muscular women.

The muscular women seemed to be more alive.

That’s an odd observation considering all the women featured on this blog are, uh living and breathing. No dead bodies posed to look like they’re still alive. But when you take the time and actually look at images of female bodybuilders next to images of non-muscular women, the contrast is both jarring and difficult to explain.

Their body language is nearly identical. Most modeling shots consist of the subjects (or “talent,” using industry parlance) sitting on couches, standing around, laying down provocatively, leaning against a wall or large object, engaging in a suggestive activity, or contorting their bodies in weird ways. Sometimes the subject looks directly at the camera, other times they pretend like there’s nobody in the environment with them. While FBBs will frequently pose for photos of them at the gym doing what they do best, for the most part what their non-muscular counterparts do they will do also.

So, what exactly do I mean when I say that female bodybuilders seem to exist in “still motion” when photographed?

More old school images: Laura Creavalle.

More old school images: Laura Creavalle.

In short, there’s something inherently and inexplicably “active” about a muscular woman. Her muscles give her a sense of liveliness that isn’t present in women who aren’t muscular. A photograph of an FBB conveys energy, vivacity, and dynamism like nothing else. This isn’t true of all photos of female bodybuilders, of course. Ones taken in poor light, terrible conditions, or on a grainy cell phone camera obviously aren’t nearly as good as ones taken by a professional photographer (which goes to show you that the world still needs professional photographers, online photo “filters” be damned). I’m only referring to images that are produced with a certain degree of artistic integrity.

A lot of this has to do with how a woman earns her muscles to begin with. She didn’t get big and buff sitting on her couch eating potato chips and watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory. She earned her impressive physique through sweat, labor, supplementation, dieting, and making wholesale lifestyle changes. So because of this, when we see a still photo of a female bodybuilder, even if she’s not doing anything explicitly active, we know she leads a highly active lifestyle when she’s away from shutterbugs.

She’s constantly lifting, running, stretching, eating, cooking, drinking protein shakes, working, lifting, jogging, eating, lifting some more, eating a bit more, cooking more food that she’ll eat later, and lifting.

Did I mention that female bodybuilders lift weights on occasion?

The point is that female bodybuilders seem to be more active because they are more physically active than the average adult. So it makes sense that their proactive and demanding lives would transfer over to photographs taken of them, even if they’re just sitting down on a chaise or lying down in a frilly white bed. When you see her posing for the camera, you know in the back of your mind that she wouldn’t be in that position in the first place if it weren’t for her impressive muscularity.

That is, you wouldn’t be completely enraptured by her beauty unless she were as muscular as she is. She could very well be quite beautiful even if she didn’t have muscles, but it’s not the same thing. Not even close. A female bodybuilder’s muscles is what takes center stage when we look at her.

Sharon Madderson definitely jumps off the screen.

Sharon Madderson definitely jumps off the screen.

Yes, we know that muscular women are active in their everyday lives. That’s obvious. But that still doesn’t fully explain why they look like they’re ready to jump off the celluloid and into your lap.

Another reason is how surreal it is to actually look at a woman with big muscles. For as many years as I’ve been appreciating female bodybuilders, I still sometimes do a “double take” when I see a picture of a muscular woman unexpectedly. For example, not too long ago a friend of mine shared on Facebook an article talking about HIIT – or high intensity interval training. I don’t know whether this method is best for burning fat and staying in shape, but that’s not the point. The point is that the article featured a picture of a beautiful young lady with gorgeous curvy muscles. I was taken aback. My heart fluttered a bit. I felt a surge of energy run through my core.

Why did I suddenly react this way? I’ve spent countless hours watching and looking at hundreds of muscular women. Why did this “out of the blue” experience cause me to react as if I had just seen my first ever female bodybuilder?

It’s because it was unexpected and out of context. When I’m searching my usual lineup of blogs for pictures of beautiful muscular women, I know what I’m going to get. But if I stumble upon an image of one accidentally, it’s as though someone just socked me in the face. I think this is because at the end of the day, no matter how many hours I spend looking at images of muscle-bound women, my brain is preconditioned to produce a strong reaction whenever I witness them. I’m socialized to think of muscular women as being “abnormal” no matter how normalized they seem to be to me.

This is why muscular women appear to be suspended in still motion when photographed. My brain subconsciously tells me that this is unusual and therefore I should react accordingly. No amount of zombie movies will actually prepare you for a real-life zombie invasion. You can read all the post-apocalyptic themed fiction you want; if World War III is ever right around the corner (don’t be too surprised!) you’ll have no idea what to do next.

Likewise, you can watch thousands of hours of female muscle videos and meet dozens of FBBs for muscle worship sessions. Still, your mind will intuitively tell you that the sight of a woman with muscles is strange. Strange, bizarre, peculiar, irregular, atypical, odd. That’s not a product of how you personally view muscular women; rather it’s a product of the lack of muscular women in our society.

Anything that’s rare will stand out when it happens. Throwing a perfect game is so unusual that many baseball aficionados could probably name at least a dozen pitchers who’ve done it throughout the game’s history. And when it happens, it’s huge news. The same goes for muscular women. No matter how familiar you are with seeing FBBs, it’s still a memorable experience when it happens outside of normal parameters.

Unlike most amateur photographs, modeling shots are intended to capture the essence of the subject, not the moment. What a model is actually doing is not nearly as important as what they look like doing it. The same goes for FBBs who pose for model shots, but our reactions to seeing them are remarkably different. We don’t just see who they are. We also see their accomplishments, hopes, dreams, successes, aspirations, and passions. A muscular woman doesn’t just stand around and look pretty. She invades her space. She communicates a clear message to the viewer. She owns the frame. She doesn’t want you to just look at her, she wants you to react viscerally toward her.

See the difference?

Back in the glory days of the 90s, I’d surf the Internet and ogle photos of Pamela Anderson, Cindy Crawford, and Anna Nicole Smith. As an inexperienced teenager with raging hormones, I was introducing myself to a whole new world that I’d never known before: female beauty. It was an epic time of discovery. But even back then, I never experienced any sort of spiritual connection with the gorgeous ladies popping up on my computer screen. As odd as it sounds, I sort of feel that way with photos of muscular women. Sort of.

The lovely Elena Oana Hreapca rocking a sexy silver dress.

The lovely Elena Oana Hreapca rocking a sexy silver dress.

It’s as though photos of FBBs exist for purposes that go beyond that of normal photos of beautiful women. Cindy Crawford wants you to appreciate her natural beauty. Debi Laszewski wants to challenge your notions of femininity, gender roles, social stereotypes, and human biology. I don’t think these thoughts literally go through Debi’s mind as she’s posing for the camera, but that’s the sense I get when I look at her flawless visage. Pamela Anderson inspired hundreds of thousands of teenage boys – myself included – to masturbate in the privacy of their bedrooms. Cory Everson may have inspired similar reactions (though on a much smaller scale), but what she’s done that Pamela couldn’t is transform the way you view humanity: Women can be as buff as men – and look fabulous at the same time!

Muscular women can do that, even though many of them don’t intend to. They allude a degree of power and influence that most of them – including fans like us – don’t entirely comprehend. Hell, I’ve been writing about muscular women for nearly five years and even I continue to struggle to articulate this phenomena into words. Our love for female bodybuilders isn’t just rooted in good old fashioned lust. It’s also explained by our intrinsic desire to make sense out of a hectic and chaotic world. Muscular women, simply put, create chaos. How we adjust to that chaos is up to us on an individual level.

So that must be it. There’s the kicker. Muscular women create chaos in our brains. They cause our imaginations to spin out of control. They challenge our beliefs. They unleash our hidden impulses. They awaken our basest desires. They grapple our minds and refuse to let go, even for a moment. And this is something we don’t try to stop because we love every single minute of it. Isn’t that something?

Female bodybuilders appear to be in still motion because they’re perpetually active, even when they’re captured in a lifeless photograph. They activate our hearts, minds, and souls like nothing else can. In this respect, a photograph doesn’t just capture a single moment in time. It captures many moments, both those that have come and those that are yet to be.

As the old cliché goes, a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. But not just words that immediately come to mind, but also words that are yet to be written or conceived. When we stare at a still image of a beautiful muscular woman, we’re not just staring at her. We’re staring at ourselves. And others. And everything around us. All at the same time.

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.