Every ‘90s Kid Will Remember Pamela Anderson

Pamela Anderson looking her very best.

From the early 1990s all the way to the mid-2000s, Pamela Anderson reigned supreme. Every boy (and girl who appreciates girls) who grew up during this time period should wholeheartedly agree.

Who knew that one fateful day in 1989 an unknown pretty blonde girl from Canada would attend a B.C. Lions Canadian Football League game and set off a chain of events that would eventually lead to tens of millions of horny teenage boys spilling much of their seed during their formative years? The so-called “Butterfly Effect” can be a funny thing to behold.

Pamela Anderson soon afterward would pose for Playboy in October 1989, which launched her stardom. After moving to Los Angeles, short guest appearances on Home Improvement would lead to a prominently featured role in Baywatch, a TV show that launched a few other noteworthy (but not necessarily valuable) careers. And the rest, as they say, is history.

A groundbreaking sex tape, a few failed high-profile relationships, and several plastic surgeries later, Miss Anderson elevated herself beyond stardom. She became an icon. She became in the ‘90s what Marilyn Monroe was in the ‘50s, Raquel Welch in the ‘60s, Farrah Fawcett in the ‘70s, and Brooke Shields in the ‘80s. These women defined not just the beauty and fashion standards of those decades past, but the adolescent experiences of boys everywhere as well.

Although what Pamela Anderson added to the mix could either be the greatest thing or the worst thing ever. She added the element of actual sex to her iconic image. The infamous sex tape with Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee notwithstanding, she lived in a time period in which pornography started to become mainstream. And not just elegant “topless” glamour shots, but hardcore porn involving real sex acts, nudity that leaves nothing to the imagination, and unbridled sexual expression that makes no attempt to be subtle.

Miss Anderson could do what Marilyn Monroe could not (or would not) do. If Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly had participated in such explicit pornography, their careers would have been toast. They probably could never fully recover from such a scandal. Yet, regardless if you consider such breaking of social taboos to be positive or negative, there was something lost when hardcore porn turned mainstream: Classiness.

But that is a whole other discussion for another time. Let’s get back to the biography of Miss Anderson.

Pamela Denise Anderson was born on July 1, 1967 in Ladysmith, British Columbia, Canada. In addition to her modeling and television career, she’s become an outspoken animal rights activist, participating in many awareness campaigns conducted by the controversial People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She is obviously a vegan and eagerly encourages everyone to become one as well. Whether you choose to follow her advice is, well, completely up to you.

Pam offering up her ass.

As a woman who just turned 50 years old, Miss Anderson has for the most part been out of the spotlight since the mid-2000s. The problem with building a financial empire based solely on your physical appearance is that when your looks do start to erode, there’s not much left for you to do. She isn’t 25 anymore. She isn’t 35 anymore. And no amount of cosmetic surgery is going to change that. But somehow, one gets the impression she doesn’t have any regrets. It seems doubtful that she would still prefer to be in the public spotlight as if it were 1996 all over again. But that could be an incorrect assessment.

Pam recently returned to the national conversation when she expressed support for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Whether you think the man is a freedom fighter or a terrorist (or a puppet of Vladimir Putin), you got to give him credit if the “It-Girl” of twenty years ago who inspired millions of teenage boys to perfect the art of masturbation thinks you’re good for the vitality of democracy.

Alright, so what does Pamela Anderson have to do with muscular women? The answer is absolutely nothing. She’s always been a skinny blonde bimbo (which is meant to be endearing, not insulting) who never attempted to gain extraneous muscle mass in her life. She’s never been – or aspired to become – a bodybuilder, athlete, or fitness model. So what’s the big deal?

Perhaps the most significant contribution Pam made to modern day female muscle enthusiasts is providing us with our “Awakening” moment.

When we were 12 or 13 years old and just beginning to go through the awkward phase of puberty, there came a moment for almost all of us that hit us like a ton of bricks. Yes, there are the simple moments like when that annoying girl you’ve known all your life suddenly becomes someone you actually enjoyed looking at. But more often than not, you had someone – most likely a celebrity – whose beauty punched you in the face so hard, you felt like your world has just been opened up to new possibilities.

From a personal point of view, I cannot remember the first time I “discovered” Pam. It was probably somewhere on TV. Or maybe during the early days of dial-up Internet. But it doesn’t really matter. Like many teenage boys and young men who grew up in the 1990s, Pamela Anderson single handedly sent us on the fast lane through adolescence into adulthood. I clearly remember downloading and printing nude pictures of her and stashing it underneath my bed for illicit late-night use. I’ll leave it up to your imagination as to what that “use” consisted of.

Pam with her “enhancements.”

For lots of us, Pamela Anderson opened our eyes to a whole new world called Female Beauty. For the first time in our lives, we learned why Daddy wanted to marry Mommy in the first place. We found out why Prince Charming felt the need to search the entire kingdom for Cinderella. Every kissing scene we ever saw in movies and TV shows suddenly developed a deeper meaning. She, and others like Carmen Electra and Cindy Margolis, gave us an education on human attraction, sexuality, reproduction, womanhood, and growing up that no textbook could ever come close to providing.

We were no longer boys. We were men. Because we discovered women.

While I don’t really hold a lot of nostalgic feelings for Pam, I can reflect upon my childhood and appreciate her for who she is: A gorgeous blonde bombshell who made my pulse race and my hormones rage into overdrive. There’s something to be said about that.

Coincidentally, at around the time Pamela started to fade into the pop culture background (God forbid she turn 40 years old!), I discovered female bodybuilders.

I don’t think the two events are related, but I cannot help but suspect that they are. I first discovered the glorious world of female bodybuilding during my freshman year in college, which would have been 2005. Pamela would have been 38 at that time, which from my perspective wasn’t super old, but old enough that I was ready to “move on” to other avenues of eye candy.

Female bodybuilders quickly filled that void and became that much-desired candy.

In a way, I felt like I had matured as well. I was not a dopy teenager anymore (even though I was still technically one at 18). I was now into “strong, independent women” who weren’t afraid to show off their big chiseled muscles. I tossed my old photos of Pamela Anderson in the trash can and replaced them with videos of Monica Brant, Karen Zaremba, and Deidre Pagnanelli saved on my laptop computer. I had moved on. Or had I?

I don’t want to suggest that muscular women are a “step up” from more traditionally beautiful women like Pam, Carmen, Sophie Marceau, or Monica Bellucci. I would never say that Monica Brant is definitely more beautiful than Monica Bellucci, because she isn’t. Miss Bellucci still holds a special place in my heart, even though she, like Pam, has never been anything close to a bodybuilder.

Muscular women are just one more tool in my toolshed. It’s one more taco I can put on my plate. Muscular women haven’t replaced traditionally beautiful women. Rather, they’ve just been added to the list. Even at the ripe age of 50, if Pamela Anderson – despite her years of extensive plastic surgery and sordid romantic past – were to approach me and ask me to take her to bed, I would not hesitate to say “yes.” I suspect many of you would probably do the same thing.

Pamela with one hell of a lucky guy.

Maybe that’s nostalgia somewhat kicking in, or maybe it’s not. If Alina Popa and Pamela Anderson both approached me with the same proposition and I had to only choose one of them, my decision would favor Miss Popa instead. As much as I (still) love Pam, I cannot say no to a younger muscle goddess who might be The Most Perfect Woman Ever Constructed on God’s Green Earth.

However, without question the female celebrities who defined my past have played an immeasurable role in shaping who I am today. I fully accept that if it weren’t Pamela, it would have been someone else. And yes, there were girls I knew in junior high and high school who caught my eye and made human sexuality more tangible for me. But I have to give credit where credit is due. Miss Anderson was a huge deal. It was like she held a baseball bat with the words “How to Appreciate Female Beauty” etched in it and whacked me on the back of the head a hundred times with it. I was for a brief period of time obsessed with her. I thought about her every night before I fell asleep. I never talked about her publicly (even with friends who were most likely sympathetic with my opinion of her), but she definitely pervaded my thoughts and fantasies during my early teen years.

She was one of the first celebrities who made me feel a certain way that I couldn’t quite explain. I knew she was attractive as hell. I knew there were only a small handful of human beings on planet Earth who looked as stunning as her. I knew she was a rare specimen. But what I couldn’t point my finger to was the root of my obsession with her.

I wasn’t obsessed in a “celebrity crush” sort of way. Rather, I was obsessed in an I-Can’t-Believe-Human-Beings-Are-Able-To-Be-As-Fucking-Gorgeous-As-Her sort of way. Perhaps it was because I was relatively young and inexperienced in appreciating Female Beauty, but I could have sworn that Pamela couldn’t actually be real. She has to be a human-looking cyborg who was developed in an underground laboratory specifically to test the limits of human beauty. After all, how can someone actually be that beautiful?

Well, someone can. Later, other women would either replace or complement Pamela as objects of obsession. Rena Mero, Trish Stratus, Sophie Marceau, Famke Janssen, Monica Bellucci, Carmen Electra, Cindy Crawford, and Halle Berry immediately come to mind. And yes, female bodybuilders would also follow. But Pamela still holds a special place in my heart. Even as she began to age (not-so-gracefully, unfortunately) and newer and younger sex symbols took her place (paging Megan Fox), I would come to appreciate a middle-aged Pamela and realize that one cannot stay young forever. Nobody wants to become Joan Rivers. Nor should anybody.

Pam cooling off in the sexiest way possible.

Still, looking back upon Pamela’s career, I’m saddened by how she’s become more of a punchline than someone whose contributions to pop culture are rightfully recognized as being noteworthy. If you were to ask the typical person on the street (who’s older than 25) what you think about Pamela Anderson, you’d probably get two typical responses:

  1. Wasn’t she the one who couldn’t decide what kind of boobs she wanted?
  2. Didn’t she make that horribly crass sex tape with Tommy Lee?

While both observations explain why her name was always in the tabloids, they both ignore what she truly provided for the lives of teen boys (who are now adults) like myself:

The discovery of Female Beauty.

Through her, we learned what it means to be so darn attracted to a woman that it would drive you to do things you’d never thought you could do. I never knew about the concept of masturbation until I accidentally tried it one fateful Saturday afternoon – and oh boy, did that leave an unexpected mess! I never thought I’d ever download porn, print it out on our shabby HP printer, and hide it underneath my bed. I never thought I’d be sweating bullets every time my brother or parents wandered into my room, fearing they’d inadvertently stumble upon my “collection.” But the discoveries we make as adolescents do lead to bizarre and unexpected life choices.

Pam looking coy.

I realize as I write this that the unexplainable electric feeling Pamela conjured up inside me would later return the moment I first discovered female bodybuilders. It was as though Pamela first introduced me to Female Beauty and female bodybuilders later introduced me to a whole new subculture within Female Beauty. They are two sides of the same coin.

So that’s it. My obsession with Pamela eventually faded away, but it wasn’t because I “grew up” or “matured.” It’s because someone else took her place. Or more specifically, hundreds of others took her place. Lindsay Mulinazzi. Denise Masino. Debi Laszewski. Emery Miller. Victoria Dominguez. Ginger Martin. Brandi Mae Akers. Tina Nguyen. Amber DeLuca. Angela Salvagno. Shawn Tan. Mavi Gioia. Monica Martin. Larissa Reis. Annie Rivieccio. The list goes on and on.

I’d like to thank Pamela Anderson for playing a role that she probably never intended to play. She acted as the catalyst for hundreds of millions of boys to discover a whole new facet of their humanity that they never knew existed. She made all of us feel a certain way that we couldn’t put into words but are certainly not complaining about. While I would never go as far as to say that if it weren’t for Pamela I wouldn’t have discovered female bodybuilders, I think a compelling argument could be made that she opened my mind to new possibilities. She inspired me to seek out beauty in new and wondrous places. She put me on the path toward searching for other women who could conjure up those same feelings I had for her when I was 14.

I craved bolder forms of Female Beauty that would push the limits of my imagination and light a fire inside my soul that I thought had died out the moment I left childhood. I wanted to rekindle that fervor. Badly.

Well, I eventually found what I was looking for.

You can probably guess what that was.

How to Deal with Negativity Directed Against Female Bodybuilders

Love the tight red dress Glenese Markes is wearing.

Love the tight red dress Glenese Markes is wearing.

Let’s face it. Being a female bodybuilder isn’t easy.

And I’m not talking about the lifestyle, dieting, excruciating workout regiments, supplementations, lack of financial security, intense preparation, competitive nature of the business, paying for food/personal trainers/gym memberships, or any of that.

I’m referring to the negativity that can be directed against them on a daily basis.

I’m not a female bodybuilder, of course. But from what I’ve read in online comment sections, chat forums and Facebook conversation threads, nastiness targeted against our beloved ladies is all too common. The advent of the Internet has made this type of negativity easier to propagate.

To a lesser extent, fans of female bodybuilders (especially straight men) are also susceptible to mean spirited attacks, jabs, jokes and insults.

Now please don’t misinterpret me. I am in no way shape or form comparing the trials and tribulations of a female bodybuilder to that of their fans. The negativity we face does not even come close to comparing to the social taboo of a human female putting lots and lots of strong muscles on her body. There is no comparison.

But, both sides face unfortunate backlash nevertheless. This explains why so many of us choose to explore our female muscle fandom in secret. Anonymity is a gift from God. In today’s world, we are freer than ever before to pursue our interests without fearing our friends, family or neighbors will ever find out.

Female bodybuilders do not have such a luxury. Not only is the evidence of their life’s calling bare for all to see, it’s very difficult to hide other activities (such as offering muscle worship services, participating in pornographic photo/video shoots, maintaining a sexually explicit website, etc.) from the public’s eye. Not in our 21st century world of high speed communications and the proliferation of user-generated media.

So, it seems appropriate to discuss how female muscle fans should respond to such negativity. Insults, dehumanizing attitudes, negative stereotypes, gender-based discrimination – all of that exists out there for everyone to witness. And this goes way beyond the world of female bodybuilding. Politics, religion, pop culture, sports…the list goes on and on.

Why can explain this? Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems like our ability as a society to conduct calm, rational and productive dialogue has gone totally out the window. But, to be completely honest, this is a whole other discussion for another time.

For the time being, here are some practical strategies, tips and general guidelines both female bodybuilders (and I do know for a fact that a small handful of real-life FBBs regularly read my blog!) and avid fans of female bodybuilders can follow when dealing with negativity directed against our collective interests.

1. Negativity is inevitable and will probably never go away

This is a difficult reality to deal with, but unfortunately it’s true. I’m sure many of you have heard this popular catchphrase before:

Haters gonna hate.

Sound familiar? It should. Basically, the colloquial expression “haters gonna hate” means your critics are going to criticize you regardless of who you are, what you’ve done, or what you plan on doing. Celebrities, politicians, athletes, powerful business leaders and nearly everyone who puts themselves out there in the public domain will experience “hate” from someone.

I should hurry up and say that “hate” is a strong word, as our mothers have all pointed out to us before. While there are disturbed people out there who truly hate certain others (and have very dangerous ill intentions toward them), most of the “hate” I’m referring to is more of a “dislike.” Most of the negativity thrown toward a female bodybuilder on a Facebook conversation thread is not “hate speech.” I wouldn’t categorize it that way.

Erica Cordie showing off her triceps while wearing a gorgeous white dress.

Erica Cordie showing off her triceps while wearing a gorgeous white dress.

But feelings of disgust, distrust, suspicion, jealousy, envy and betrayal are par for the course for any celebrity, regardless of who they are or what they’ve actually done to garner this negativity. It’s going to happen. It sucks, but it happens and there’s no use in denying it or crossing your fingers and hoping it will miraculously go away.

It won’t. Sorry.

Haters gonna hate. It sucks. But you have no choice but to grit your teeth and live with it.

Now that we’ve established this fact, let’s move on to my next point…

2. You don’t have to personally respond to every bit of negativity

It’s tempting to respond to a bigoted comment with an equally bigoted one of your own. My recommendation is that you don’t do that. Try to avoid becoming the attacker yourself even after you’ve been the victim of an attack.

Even though the popular adage “fight fire with fire” is perfectly appropriate to certain areas of life, it simply isn’t always the most prudent strategy. If negativity is inevitable and will probably never go away (as we previously discussed above), then why fight against it? Why fight against every little attack that comes your way? Why pull yourself into battles that will make you lose your temper and could potentially ruin your day?

My basic point is that life is all about picking and choosing your battles. Some battles are more important than others.

If a complete stranger on the web thinks all female bodybuilders are gross and look like men, do you really want to feed into this troll’s desire to instigate a fight? If they truly feel that way and aren’t trolling, will viciously attacking them radically make them change their minds?

Probably not.

If you do feel obligated to respond to a severe ad hominem attack, consider why you’re responding and whether it’s worth the effort. Not every attacker deserves to be counter-attacked. Pick and choose your battles because if you exhaust yourself fighting a series of “little battles,” will you not be drained of all your energy once a truly “big battle” comes your way?

3. Consider the appropriate way to respond before actually responding

The problem with our instant gratification society is that we can speak our minds in a public forum at an instantaneous rate which leaves us vulnerable to letting our emotions get the better of us.

Thankfully, you don’t have to be like that. If you do choose to respond to vitriol, make sure your response is well thought-out, appropriate and productive.

Countering an inflammatory remark with one of your own only adds fuel to an already out-of-control fire. Don’t give in to that garbage. Instead, be the “better person” and take the “high road” if possible. Remember that the person you’re responding to is an actual human being who deserves dignity (and yes, respect!) even though you may not think he/she does.

Melissa Wee showing off her bikini body.

Melissa Wee showing off her bikini body.

I want to highlight the importance of “productive.” In my estimation, “productive” is achieved when you create an open dialogue that tries to reach a level of mutual understanding. You don’t necessarily need to “convince” this person to come over to your side, but you do need to communicate your point while at the same time understanding where they’re coming from.

I’m not telling you what to do. All I’m recommending is that whatever you do you should have some sort of tangible objective in mind. Instead of just satisfying a raw emotional need to lash out against your “haters,” consider what good can come out of this.

4. Never stoop down to their level

This is really important when trying to conduct a dialogue with someone. No matter how tempting it is to get in the trenches and engage in a war of words with them, never stoop down to their level. Even if it means bailing out on a conversation, you should always maintain your own dignity at all times.

We’re female muscle fans. We love strong women. Why should we get defensive whenever someone verbally attacks the women we love so much? We’re better than that. We need to be strong, too. We need to prove that our love for female bodybuilders doesn’t need to be defended. There’s nothing to defend. It is what it is. It’s our interest. We don’t have to justify ourselves to anyone, especially someone who finds our admiration for them disgusting.

Never reduce yourself to the point where you’re trading insults with more insults. Don’t argue that we love strong women because fat women are disgusting or a “real woman” has meat on her bones, not all skin and bones.

I have nothing negative to say about Danielle Reardon.

I have nothing negative to say about Danielle Reardon.

That’s not the right approach. Bringing down others in order to make yourself feel better is never justified. Becoming malevolent rarely ends well. Be cautious about your tone. Respond with ideas, not raw emotions.

5. Point out the positives of loving female bodybuilders whenever you can

I think there is great value in appreciating strong women. Not only are we encouraging women to pursue their dreams of strengthening and bettering themselves, we’re helping shatter the stereotype of women being “weak” or “dainty.” You only stay weak if you start to accept your weakness. By admiring female bodybuilders and athletes, we’re expressing our beliefs that women can be strong too (and that women should be strong). How can you not go along with that?

A great way to respond to negativity is to point out the positives. A positive mixed with a negative becomes neutral, right? I’m no chemist, but let’s pretend I’m right.

Point out that strong women are beautiful. Mention that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Never refrain from saying that female bodybuilders are some of the most driven, rebellious and hardworking human beings on this planet. Discuss the idea that men who love female muscle aren’t weird, but open-minded and open-hearted.

Counter hate with love. Don’t tear down a person’s argument by attacking them. Instead, try building up your own argument. People hate what they don’t understand. Make them understand.

Aleesha Young is simply a spectacle to behold.

Aleesha Young is simply a spectacle to behold.

6. When all else fails, tune out the noise

Sometimes, it’s best to just ignore the vitriol. If haters gonna hate, why even bother listening in the first place? You’re only going to just make yourself more and more angry.

Life is too short to be upset all the time. I understand there’s a lot of terrible stuff happening in the world every single day. I get that. But do you really have to let every little bit of negativity that comes your way affect you on a personal level?

Some people will never understand. Others will try to understand but still choose to be repulsed by it. Oh well. That happens. Shit happens. Accept it. Tune out the noise. Don’t let it drag on your psyche. Don’t let venom cramp your style.

Don’t hesitate to put on your imaginary headphones and play your own music if the tunes you’re stuck with in the real world suck big time. Just make sure you don’t bottle yourself up in a silo of self-righteousness. That is also unhealthy.

7. Enjoy your female muscle fandom in all its glory

Have fun. Go to bodybuilding shows. Watch videos of your favorite ladies working on their craft. Read their blogs. Visit their websites. Set up muscle worship sessions with them if they’re travelling to your area. Live out your female muscle fandom to the fullest.

I’m going to assume that female bodybuilders love their fans. Who wouldn’t? Be the best fan you can be. Don’t let those “haters” prevent you from pursuing your interests. Our interests are unusual. But they don’t have to be suppressed.

Explore your interests in a healthy way, of course. Don’t become a stalker or spend all your money on sessions when you don’t have the resources to do so. But never let society dictate what you like. You decide what you like. So like it!

***

To summarize, the lesson to be learned is simple: Always take the high road.

Always.

I understand why vitriol exists. People feel entitled to their opinions, and consequently, entitled to sharing those opinions! I’m a big fan of freedom of expression and freedom of speech. But with that comes the challenge of dealing with the inevitable hurt feelings, wounded pride and fear of public humiliation.

For all of us female muscle fans (and those of you who are actual FBBs), I suggest taking the high road whenever possible. Don’t feel scared about being attracted to a woman with muscles on her body. Embrace it! Don’t feel obligated to respond to every venomous comment. Life is too short to spend all your free time wallowing in bitter resentment.

Instead, be strong. Be strong in your convictions, your thoughts, your feelings, your interests. Be strong in who you are and what you like.

Always.

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.

Starting a Dialogue, Creating a Better World: An Open Letter from Ryan Takahashi

I never heard of Holland Canter before a young reader e-mailed me and mentioned her.

I never heard of Holland Canter before a young reader e-mailed me and mentioned her.

Dear readers,

When I first started this blog back in the spring of 2012, I did it because I had a fire lit inside me.

This fire was fueled by strong muscular women and my newly discovered attraction to them. This fire was unquenchable. A whole ocean of rushing water could not put out this flame.

Anyone who has discovered the world of female muscle knows what I’m talking about. What once seemed foreign is now more desired than whatever you previously considered “normal.” You’ll never look at a professional female athlete the same way. You’ll never look at a male athlete the same way either.

Any look a man can achieve a woman could achieve as well!” you’d enthusiastically say.

When I first launched this blog, the purpose was to give myself a place to publicly feature my fiction writing. It all started with “The Adventures of Ryan Takahashi” series. Since then I’ve written numerous articles and essays all about my personal attraction to female muscle. I’ve also been fortunate to have gathered an international readership that crosses multiple language and cultural barriers. For this I am eternally humbled.

Now my purpose has slightly changed. I’m no longer running this blog for personal reasons. I want to run it for more altruistic and educational reasons. I want to start a dialogue. I want to contribute to a larger conversation about sexuality, gender relations, sexism, pop culture and society. I want my writing to inform people. I want to comfort those who feel “weird” that they like muscular women. I want to inspire women who are insecure about their bodies that it’s okay to lift at the gym (and that it’s perfectly healthy to do so!). I want to teach people who think strong women are “gross” that they aren’t. They’re beautiful in ways you could never imagine.

I want people to open their minds, and ultimately…their hearts.

I want to start a dialogue. A rational, productive dialogue. No screaming matches. No hurling insults. No calling people hurtful names. No shouting, belittling or making condescending remarks. I want none of that. I want people to intelligently talk about these issues and discuss how we can all become better people.

Monica Brant was one of my first ever female muscle crushes. Wonder why?

Monica Brant was one of my first ever female muscle crushes. Wonder why?

I realize this is a pretty lofty goal. I understand that finding muscular women attractive isn’t the only sexual kink that needs to be de-stigmatized. I know we need to have a lot more discussions about a wider range of topics in order to truly make this world a better place. I’m not naïve to those facts.

But nevertheless, I want this blog to be a place where people can come together and share their stories, experiences, ideas, secrets and anecdotes in a safe, nonjudgmental environment. After all, that’s the beauty of the Internet. You can be completely anonymous. No one will ever know who you are unless you tell them.

“Ryan Takahashi” isn’t my real name. I don’t even live in Seattle. I live just outside of Seattle. But I am Japanese-American and a male under 30 years old. All this you can be assured of, I promise you.

I also can promise you that I respect privacy. No real names will be published here unless you want it mentioned. I’m also very open-minded and will not judge you for expressing your voice.

So this is an open invitation to start a dialogue with me. I’ve already received a number of e-mails from people all over the world who have come to me asking questions and wanting answers. I will admit I do not have all the answers. I’m not God. I’m just one person trying to make my way through this crazy universe. My perspective is no more valid than yours.

Think all Asian women are small and petite? Rebekah Kresila should change your mind about that.

Think all Asian women are small and petite? Rebekah Kresila should change your mind about that.

All I’ve done is put into words the feelings, desires and thoughts many of us share together. Someone has already dubbed me a “spokesman” for female muscle fans. Thank you for thinking of me in this way!

So, feel free to send me e-mails or write comments in any of the articles you read here. My e-mail address is ryantakahashi87 (at) yahoo (dot) com. (FYI – I write it out in this format to avoid Spam messages from unwanted sources)

Ask me anything. Vent to me. Give me suggestions on topics you want discussed on this blog. Feel free to disagree with me. Don’t feel like the conversation has to end with my words. If you want to be a guest writer, send whatever you’ve written and I’ll definitely consider publishing it on here. Fiction, non-fiction, random thoughts, incoherent ramblings, it doesn’t matter. Send me anything.

I don’t want to be the only voice on this forum.

We all have a voice. We all have ideas. Everyone has a story to share. Please, share it with me. I want to talk with you. I can guarantee others do as well.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my writings. I am truly humbled by all of you. Without you, I wouldn’t be doing this.

Peace be with you always.

Sincerely,

Ryan

I leave you with an image of Brenda Smith flexing her amazing biceps.

I leave you with an image of Brenda Smith flexing her amazing biceps.