The Slayers of Men

Selma Labat is a true slayer of anyone who gets in her way.

A common way we frame female bodybuilders is through the archetype of “Slayers of Men.” Within this framework, female bodybuilders are strong independent women who are here to smash gender stereotypes, the so-called “patriarchy,” and the notion that women are destined to be the weaker sex.

This explains why FBBs are often described as queens and goddesses. They are conquerors, leaders, rulers, creators, destroyers, punishers, and decision-makers. This, of course, has more to do with our fantasies involving FBBs rather than how we actually view FBBs. There’s some overlap, but the “Female Bodybuilders as Slayers of Men” trope exists more in our imaginations than in our literal fears.

In real life, female bodybuilders aren’t anymore violent than normal women. Sure, they have the capacity to cause more bodily harm than most, but that’s not the same thing. I’d rather take a punch to the face from Sarah Paulson than Sarah Hayes, but either way neither of them mean any harm to me unless I pose a direct threat first. Which is unlikely.

It is true that the mere existence of female bodybuilders challenges what we’ve previously thought about gender roles and biology – and this fact cannot be underestimated. But there is a big difference between admitting that “women can become stronger than men if they work hard enough” versus “a man ceases to be a man once a woman is able to lift more than him at the gym.” The former is a statement of fact. The latter is a subtle (or not so subtle) admission of insecurity.

There are many reasons why certain guys fear female bodybuilders. They fear them because they’re jealous. They fear them because they remind them that their title of “the stronger sex” isn’t guaranteed. They fear them because FBBs destroy any excuse they have about not getting bigger or stronger. They fear them because FBBs give permission to other women to get stronger – both physically and emotionally – and not take unnecessary bullshit from ungrateful jerks like them.

Oof.

But it should be obvious that these fears say more about (certain) guys than they do about FBBs in general. Guys who aren’t sexist jerks love strong women because they have no reason to be fearful or disgusted by them. If anything, we have every incentive to lift them up, celebrate them, and appreciate their impressive achievements. Female bodybuilders do not challenge our masculinity because real masculinity and strong femininity can peacefully co-exist together. They are not enemies, but rather two sides of the same coin.

Raquel Arranz looking as though she could defeat an entire army by herself.

Men who feel belittled by muscular women are actually expressing deep-rooted anxiety about themselves. FBBs remind them of their own weaknesses – both literal and figurative. That isn’t to say that guys who love FBBs are inherently stronger or possess rare emotional fortitude. Instead, guys who love muscular women have learned to move on beyond a cheap, surface-level understanding of gender roles, biology, and relationships. If a rising tide lifts all boats, muscular women also lift up all men.

One other way to look at female bodybuilders is to think of them as surrogate punishers for past sins. They are like movie monsters; larger-than-life creatures who act as destroyers sent to us to teach us all a lesson. Godzilla is Mother Nature’s way of punishing humankind for its sins of environmental degradation. King Kong is an allegorical reminder that pillaging, plundering, and economic exploitation are sins that will one day come back to haunt you. Even in the heart of New York City, a bright shining symbol of Western Civilization’s technological and social progress. Likewise, female bodybuilders are the physical embodiment of mankind’s punishment for sexism, misogyny, domestic violence, and structural gender-based oppression. Maybe not in the literal sense, but certainly in the symbolic sense.

Female bodybuilders aren’t lurking in the shadows ready to bash in the heads of guys who blurt out unsolicited catcalls or grab women’s butts, of course. That’s an avant-garde Frank Miller graphic novel just waiting to be written! However, from a psychological point of view FBBs essentially play that same role; as a constant reminder that if you’re not careful, women can strike back when provoked. And they can surpass you in terms of strength and size if you’re not on top of your game.

Even if the significance is more symbolic than literal, there is something to be said about female bodybuilders acting as proxy “Slayers of Rude, Idiotic Men” and, at the same time, allies of “Kind, Gentlemanly Men.” These battles don’t have to transpire on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram in order for them to have real substance. All they have to do is exist in our minds.

Because this is where the real battles are fought: in our minds. FBBs are often viewed as the Slayers of Men because either we fear that they are or we wish that they could be. It’s sort of like imagining Brandi Mae Akers riding on top of a fire-breathing dragon as it incinerates a town down below, Game of Thrones style. Except in this case it’s Miss Akers who’s slaying the hapless townspeople, not the dragon. Whether Brandi Mae ever ends up ruling her kingdom is a secondary matter. What’s really at stake is whether or not she taught those insubordinate plebeians down below a lesson.

And in this hypothetical scenario, it matters whether you’re rooting for Brandi Mae to succeed or wishing that she’ll fail. Do you love her or fear her? Which is it?

In the real world, this paradigm doesn’t have to exist. Female bodybuilders don’t have to be the actual or figurative Slayers of Men. They can be the Allies of Men. That is, if enough men agree to join in this mutually beneficial partnership. A strong woman does not invalidate the masculine identity of a man – no matter how “wrong” or “contradictory” it may feel. One could argue that there is no such thing as “masculine” and “feminine” qualities in any objective sense. I cannot speak to how valid that perspective is, but I understand where it comes from. For the time being, let’s assume that masculine and feminine characteristics are real – at least from a cultural standpoint.

Do not get Heather Armbrust angry!

Masculinity and femininity aren’t two separate spheres in which there is no overlap. On the contrary, there is plenty of crossover. Or maybe, our definitions of these two words are too broad. “Strength” is neither a masculine nor feminine quality. It’s both. Or neither. Maybe it exists on a list of things that aren’t gendered. I’ve argued before that female bodybuilders don’t redefine femininity so much as they expand it. They transform our thinking in regards to gender by forcing us to not think outside the box, but to shatter the box with a sledgehammer. Men and women are different, but not as different as you might think. Or, those differences are arbitrary. Or, those differences can change depending on who we’re talking about.

Your status as a “man” isn’t defined by how many masculine qualities you exhibit. This is because our definition of “masculinity” is unto itself subjective. Nor does it mean that women can’t also showcase a few “masculine” traits without compromising their feminine status. This all sounds complicated because what we’re really arguing about here is definition of words, not objective ideas. Words are more than what the dictionary says they mean. Words also carry heavy cultural connotations, historic baggage, and emotional context. None of those things can be properly conveyed by a simple one sentence definition.

Long story short, who you are as a man isn’t predicated on who women are as well. The same is true going the opposite direction. Seeing a strong muscular woman deadlift more than you at the gym doesn’t mean you’re “less of a man” or not “measuring up” to who you’re supposed to be. We are all allowed to go at our own pace. That woman, whom we’ll nickname Deadlift Lady, exists on her own plain. She is an island, floating around in an ocean full of deep-rooted cultural expectations. The same goes for every guy at that gym lifting weights near her. They are also islands – one particular colloquial expression notwithstanding. Let’s say Typical Dude is deadlifting next to her. He can only lift 215 pounds for one rep. Not bad, but not terribly impressive. But let’s say Deadlift Lady is lifting 375 pounds for 10 reps. That’s quite a lot. Way more than Typical Dude. What do we make of this situation?

Well, not much.

Typical Dude is going at his own pace. He’s setting his own personal agenda. His goals are his and his alone. As long as he’s happy, that’s all we need to know about him. Deadlift Lady, on the other hand, is also going at her own pace. Her personal agenda is probably much different than her male counterpart. After all, no lady who’s deadlifting 375 pounds does so by accident! There’s intention going on here. She’s worked her whole life to make it to this point. The biggest takeaway from this scenario is that the existence of one does not invalidate the existence of the other.

Would you be intimidated if you saw Shannon Courtney lifting next to you at the gym?

They are two human beings working out. They are trying to improve their strength, health, vitality, confidence, self-esteem, and sense of purpose. He may feel slightly insecure lifting in proximity to her, but that’s perfectly okay. And understandable. But it’s not because he has a real reason to feel insecure. It’s because the culture he lives in tells him that he should feel bad. He has no actual reason to feel that way. Deadlift Lady’s remarkable accomplishments do not denigrate or invalidate the accomplishments of Typical Dude. They are two unique, vulnerable human beings trying to make their way through this hostile universe.

Deadlift Lady isn’t slaying Typical Dude. No matter what people around them are saying or thinking, no one is getting “owned” by these two individuals existing side-by-side. They can co-exist because one does not overrule the other. Strong women do not automatically make men weaker. Guys who feel threatened by strong women feel that way because they’re recognize their own shortcomings. The presence of a strong woman makes those feelings bubble to the surface faster than a malfunctioning submarine. Strong women do not make guys feel inadequate; they only bring out those feelings that already exist.

Female bodybuilders not only directly challenge one’s sense of masculine superiority, they also force us to reevaluate how we draw that line between men and women. Is it a hard line in the sand, or one that can easily be washed away by the rising tide?

Do not fear Kathy Johansson. Instead, lift her up!

Strength and weakness. Confidence and insecurity. Superiority and inferiority. Action and inaction. Accomplished and unproven. Happiness and fear. Self-love and self-loathing. Assuredness and doubt. Self-satisfaction and the endless need to prove one’s self.

These feelings are real, even if the reasons they exist are subjective.

The sooner we realize men and strong women are not in conflict with each other, the better off we’ll all be. Better yet, future generations will thank us. Alas, we are not there yet, but I pray one day we will be. Perhaps we can all make an impact, one grueling deadlift repetition at a time.

Strong women are not the Slayers of Men. Men who hate themselves and other women are the actual Slayers of Men. And how do we defeat this mortal enemy?

Easy. In addition to lifting those weights, lift up the people around you.

She Belongs in a Museum

Rachelle Carter belongs in a museum.

Female bodybuilders are both athletes and artists. Personally, I consider them to be more artists than athletes, but that’s just me. Of course, that isn’t to minimize their athletic prowess or their belonging in the world of competitive sports. It’s more of a reflection of how I perceive their modus operandi.

They build their bodies to look a certain way. They lift, eat, hydrate, supplement, rest, and strategically plan their lives in such a way to achieve their desired look. This is why I consider them to be artists. Mozart had his symphony. Picasso had his canvases. Hemingway had his typewriter. Scorsese has his camera. Female bodybuilders have their bodies.

Their bodies are their canvases. It’s a blank slate. A sheet music with no notes. A film stock with no pictures. A chapel ceiling with no paint. A chorus with no conductor. They are in charge of their own destinies. No one will give them what they want. That’s not possible (yet). You can’t go to a plastic surgeon and ask them to give you large muscles. You can’t purchase a muscular physique on Amazon. You can’t cheat your way to the top. Yes, even with steroids. Human growth hormones won’t automatically give you large bulging muscles. You still need to put in the hard work at the gym to obtain them. And keep going back in order to maintain them. Or else they go away like winter snow when spring arrives.

She can choose to be as large as a world-class bodybuilder. Or she can be as slender as a fitness model. Either way, it’s her choice. And which reality comes to pass is entirely up to her. Using “bad genetics” as an excuse is just that. An excuse. And a bad one at that.

But I’ve already written about this. Nothing about this is new. We all know female bodybuilders are artists. We all know their bodies are art. We all know that we’re patrons of that art.

Here’s a cool fantasy I’ve thought about a lot recently. Perhaps many of you have too. Here’s what it looks like:

Imagine you’re a wealthy philanthropist. You’ve assembled hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars of wealth during your eventful lifetime. It doesn’t matter how. Maybe you’re a tech CEO. Or a lucky investor. Who cares. One day, you get a brilliant idea. You want to sponsor an art exhibit at a local museum. Or better yet, open up your own museum, perhaps in a makeshift environment like an abandoned office building or factory.

But you don’t want to showcase paintings, photographs, drawings, sculptures, or multimedia installations. No, that’s too old school. Too basic. Too…mundane. Been there, done that. Yawn. Instead, you want to display human bodies. And not just any kind of human body: Human female bodies. And not just any kind of human female bodies. You want to feature muscular female bodies.

Real muscular female bodies.

In various forms of dress. And undress.

But, uh, mostly undress.

Imagine thirty or so nude female bodybuilders standing around in a large room. Women of all races, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, and sizes. Some are posing. A few others are lying down. Others are dancing. One or two are masturbating. You might even catch a glimpse of two FBBs making love to each other. These ladies are standing on the ground, on a dais, on a bed, suspended above ground on wires, and so on. Some are doing explicitly sexual activities, while others are simply showing off their hard work. No matter what, you cannot help but be enthralled by what you’re witnessing. It’s not every day that you get to see this much female muscle in one central location!

Hey! No taking pictures on your phone! Unless you’re Cindy Landolt, of course.

The rules are simple: no touching, no taking pictures on your phone, and do not try to conduct a conversation with any of them. They won’t talk back. You can only look with your eyes. Drink in the moment. Experience what you need to experience. Leave a changed person.

And like most “radical” art, this exhibit is supposed to shock you. It’s provocative. Sensual. Alluring. Unforgettable. Unsubtle. In-your-face. Subversive. Erotic. Educational. And of course, unapologetically sexy. Very sexy. Almost too sexy.

Many people have seen photos of female bodybuilders in old sports magazines or TV documentaries. But few have been in the same room as one. And the experience will certainly be an eye-opener. You will not believe that such women can be real. No Photoshop or Hollywood-grade CGI are at play here. None of that. It’s all real. As real as it can get. Get used to it.

For fans of female bodybuilders, it’s a shame that our favorite ladies aren’t more prominently celebrated by our culture. They aren’t as “seen” as we’d like them to be. We love female bodybuilders but have limited opportunities to demonstrate that love. But more than that, we want FBBs to feel empowered, appreciated, and visible. They’ve worked their whole lives and made numerous sacrifices to look the way they look. One does not get hypermuscular by accident. It’s not a coincidence. You only look like that if you make a concerted effort to look like that. You have to expend blood, sweat, and tears over the course of several years to become that swollen. It takes pain – both physical and psychological – to achieve that level of muscularity. For women, it probably takes more labor and toil to get that big compared to their male counterparts. Life isn’t fair, kids.

So, it’s only fitting that they receive the chance to show off their hard work for an audience that might not necessarily want to see them. It’s one thing for a sympathetic audience to appreciate you. It’s quite another for an unexpected audience – or even one that’s pessimistic – to regard your body of work. And “body of work” should be interpreted literally, not just figuratively. The people who visit this art exhibit know theoretically what they’re getting themselves into, but they can’t truly comprehend what it’s like to see a muscular woman up-close until it actually happens.

The experience of looking at a muscular woman should be audacious. Exploitative. Daring. Bold. Offensive. It’s a powerful experience made more memorable by the fact that such sculpted women are so rare in our world. You don’t see women who look like Brigita Brezovac walking down the street every day. Heck, you may never in your life encounter a woman who looks like her. But if you are lucky enough to be able to, I can guarantee you will remember it for the rest of your existence.

One exhibit should feature Larissa Reis posing exactly like this.

Whenever I have the privilege of meeting a female bodybuilder for a muscle worship session, inevitably there’s going to be a moment during our time together when I think to myself “she belongs in a museum.” I may even tell her that. It’s a natural reaction when you’re in the throes of touching her hard, curvy body in the most appreciative and intimate manner possible. A point I’ve made before that bears repeating is the fact that for most highly accomplished people, their impressive accomplishments are not immediately obvious. For example, you could be sitting on the bus or at a coffee shop or at the library and for all you know the random person sitting next to you is a world-class violinist. Or expert astronomer. Or well-respected heart surgeon. Or once appeared as an extra in a James Bond movie or an episode of Game of Thrones. Or served in the military many years ago and came within a few inches of assassinating Osama bin Laden long before 9/11. Or someone who hosts a podcast that gets two million downloads a month. Or someone who once played the bass for a famous band during one forgettable summer concert.

Regardless, for these highly accomplished people, you can’t really tell what their accomplishments are unless you ask them. Or if they volunteer that information to you. But for a female bodybuilder – and male bodybuilders too – her accomplishments are right out in the open. It’s plain for all to see. It’s embedded onto every fiber of her body. Her artistic achievement isn’t just on her body (like a tattoo artist), but it is her body. Her body is her art. Her art is her body. And for that reason, she definitely belongs in a museum.

But more than that, the sight of a muscular woman elicits a different emotional reaction than seeing a muscular man. By and large, our society is conditioned to not think of a muscular man as being unusual. We know that guys who look shredded like an NFL linebacker are still statistically rare, but seeing a fellow like that up close and personal isn’t something that will make you stop dead in your tracks. Seeing a muscular woman, on the other hand, will make your jaw drop to the floor. As it should.

The sight of a muscular woman makes some people feel disgusted. Or insecure. Or inadequate. Or confused. Or aroused. Or angry. Anger can be a byproduct of insecurity – or a method for disguising one’s insecurity. Seeing a muscular woman distorts our reality and causes cognitive dissonance. We are unable to process what we’re seeing precisely because we rarely ever get to see something like this. Our brains hurt because our brains are processing new information. Women are supposed to be small and dainty. Guys are supposed to be large and buff. But to see a woman with muscle mass that surpasses that of your typical gym bro dude…that visual subversion creates psychological conflict in our minds. Conflict that makes us feel strong feelings. Feelings we cannot easily explain or articulate into words.

Another features Julie Ann Kulla sitting on a bed looking exactly like this.

For misogynists who don’t like strong women – “strong” both in the physical and emotional sense – seeing a muscular woman in the flesh feels like a sledgehammer being smashed into their toxic narrowmindedness. It’s a harsh reminder that their limited understanding of the world is probably a product of their own internal self-hatred. They hate strong women because they themselves are weak, feeble, and hopeless. They’re projecting their own inadequacies onto highly accomplished women who’ve done things they can only dream of doing. Female bodybuilders challenge in the most explicit way possible the notion that women are destined to be the “weaker sex” and that men own a monopoly on strength. Men do not, as it turns out, own any such claim.

I don’t want to suggest that guys who love female bodybuilders are more enlightened, intelligent, and socially progressive than those who do not. In all seriousness, there might be a small sliver of truth to that, but overall the love of FBBs can be politically neutral. I do believe, however, that guys who love FBBs are probably less sexist and hateful than guys who are genuinely disgusted by them. But I could be wrong about that.

But let’s return to my hypothetical situation involving the female muscle museum exhibit. Imagine being a sexist loser who is forced to walk through this room full of strong ladies. Everywhere you look, there are women with bigger muscles than you. They’re happier, more powerful, and more beloved than you’ll ever be. Do you react with bitterness, or a renewed commitment to becoming a better person? I sure hope it’s the latter, not the former. In this respect, this female muscle showcase can be a much-needed wake up call. A reminder that being angry does not make you righteous. That hating someone is less an indication of who they are and more a reflection of who you are. That you can become a better person if you choose to work on who you are. That you are not destined to be a loser for the rest of your life.

Siska Bossert looking like a chiseled sculpture. Because she is!

Beautiful female bodies deserve to be seen. Female bodybuilders deserve more visibility, a larger share of the pie of our nation’s multimedia landscape. And I write this not out of a sense of self-serving fetishism, but out of a belief that muscular women can change the world. They can alter our perspectives. They can inspire us to become better people. They can force us to reevaluate our own prejudices and dedicate our lives to self-improvement.

Because female bodybuilders are beautiful. Because female bodybuilders are awe-inspiring. Because female bodybuilders have the potential to break the chains of hatred and foment the foundations of progress. Because of this, there’s no doubt that…

…she belongs in a museum.

So pay your ticket, stand in line, and prepare to have your eyes, heart, and imagination opened. You might just like what you see.

The Vulnerable Female Bodybuilder

The seemingly invincible Ginger Martin.

Female bodybuilders are strong. They seem invincible. Unstoppable. Powerful. Authoritative. A force of nature. One who shall not be reckoned with.

If you mess with her, she’ll mess with you. And you don’t want that to happen to you. Trust us.

Fans of female bodybuilders have put these ladies onto a pedestal, one in which they don’t seem to be human. FBBs are often described in quasi-spiritual terms; using words such as “goddess,” “angel,” or “queen.” These words evoke ethereal images of immortals walking amongst men. FBBs are somehow not human because a “normal” human can never actually look that breathtakingly beautiful. Regular human beings are not able to make your heart skip a beat, your jaw drop to the floor, and a chill run down your spine just by simply posting an untouched photo of themselves on Instagram.

But alas, many FBBs are able to do just that. Many times over, in fact.

Yet, in the back of our minds we know that FBBs are not actually goddesses. They are flesh and blood human beings with feelings, thoughts, fears, insecurities, families, hobbies, and faults. We know that intellectually, on a theoretical level. But emotionally, we cannot help but view these ladies as invulnerable angels whose unique beauty somehow endow them with some sort of shield against typical human imperfections.

In our fantasies, our favorite FBBs are warriors who can slay thousands of enemies at a time. They’re powerful deities who can make the most formidable kingdoms tremble to their knees. They’re sirens who can enslave men to do their will. They’re so breathtakingly beautiful you cannot imagine a moment when they’d ever be sad, intimidated, or not in control.

Yet…

…yet we know the reality of things is much more mundane. But we don’t want to think about that. We’d rather focus on an FBB’s perfections instead of her basic humanity. However, it is worthwhile to keep this important point in mind: Female bodybuilders are much more vulnerable than you’d think.

Here’s why:

First, female bodybuilders exist in a world that doesn’t always accept them for who they are.

The aesthetic of a woman with big muscles certainly excites some of us, but not all of us. As incomprehensible as this sounds, not everyone appreciates the beauty of female bodybuilders. Some are disgusted by a nontraditional feminine figure that doesn’t fit into the narrow box society has come to define. This could be caused by people not liking what they’re not familiar with, but it goes deeper than that.

They’re disgusted because the sight of veins popping out of a muscular arm isn’t terribly appealing – regardless of the gender of the person it belongs to. But especially if it’s a female arm. We’re taught to believe that a beautiful woman should be smooth, angular, and soft. Female bodybuilders are not smooth, angular, and soft. They’re rough, bulky, and coarse. Their bodies do not fit within the acceptable parameters society (properly understood, that is) has arbitrarily established. And because of that, female bodybuilders are always at a disadvantage when it comes to breaking into the entertainment and modeling industries. Even the fitness industry seems to prefer the “fit” look instead of the hypermuscular look.

This lack of acceptance has pushed the female bodybuilding community underground, away from mainstream attention. Is there any need to bring up the unfortunate demise of the Ms. Olympia contest?

Of course, there will always be the token role in a sitcom for a “muscle chick” who shows up, looks menacing, and does something comedic to the male star like kick his ass or wallop him at arm wrestling. They’re not there as a character, but as comedic foil. It’s a bit dehumanizing, but when it’s slim pickings in the entertainment industry, beggars can’t be choosers. You have to accept whatever paying job you can get. Jayne Trcka’s role in Scary Movie (2000) exploits every single negative stereotype about female bodybuilders you can possibly imagine. But from her perspective, it’s a paying job in a major Hollywood production. Can you really blame her?

Kathy Johansson enjoying fun in the sun.

Second, and this point is directly related to the first one, female bodybuilding isn’t a very lucrative profession.

There’s almost no money to be made through competitions. Traditional modeling jobs don’t pay a whole lot no matter what your body type happens to be. You can work as a personal trainer or fitness coach, but being a bodybuilder isn’t necessarily an advantage. It’s not a disadvantage (as far as one can tell), but there are no “bonus points” to be had from being a bodybuilder except for it gives you an extra sense of validity. But not everyone thinks that’s a deal breaker.

And living the life of a bodybuilder isn’t cheap either. The food and supplementation alone costs quite a bit of money if you’re trying to eat clean, often, and strategically. It takes time to go to the gym, lift, do cardio, stretch, shower, and go home to eat and devour a protein shake. It’s challenging to balance working full time, training as a bodybuilder (even if you’re not competing professionally), and enjoying personal time with friends and family. It boggles the mind to ponder how male and female bodybuilders are able to do it.

In other words, female bodybuilders are essentially normal people like us with much different kinds of living expenses. Unlike pro baseball or basketball players, pro bodybuilders aren’t making $20 million per year. They need to hold down a regular 9-5 job just like the rest of us, except squeeze in several hours of training on top of that. You don’t need to be a life coach to understand the difficulties of balancing all of these priorities.

But where exactly is the money at? Well, one can make plenty of dough if they’re willing to offer muscle worship or wrestling sessions. Which conveniently transitions us to our next point:

Being a session provider can be a risky business.

If you need a primer on what “muscle worship” means, you can read all about it in a prior post. While most of us think (and fantasize) about muscle worship and wrestling sessions from the perspective of the client, we mustn’t ignore the provider’s side of the story. Even if rules are set and established beforehand, participating in a fantasy wrestling session can be quite risky.

You never know when you’ll accidentally get injured. Or intentionally get injured by someone with less-than-honorable intentions (there are a lot of strangely insecure guys who feel like they have something to “prove” to a well-meaning FBB who is just trying to earn a living). Or meet a creepy person who stalks you afterward – both online and perhaps even in-person. Stalkers affect all sorts of people, but female bodybuilders are a special breed. They’re as rare as a solar eclipse, which can drive a person whose mental state is already “shaky” at best to do things that definitely cross the line of sane behavior.

For these reasons, FBBs often lay down ground rules before the session even begins. They want to know how much you weigh if you’re interested in “lift and carry” activities. They want to make clear that the wrestling is for fantasy purposes only, as opposed to being a recreation of the Olympic trials. They want to be clear that “tap out” rules will be honored by both sides. In other words, they want to know that they – and the participant – will be safe at all times.

Honest accidents without any malice will inevitably happen from time to time. That is unfortunate, but a reasonable risk one faces when engaging in such strenuous activities. If you want a job without any physical hazards, get a desk job where you sit at a computer and type all day long. But that is not what an FBB who offers muscle worship/fantasy wrestling appointments chooses to do.

A coy looking Tina Nguyen.

Injuries stink for obvious reasons. They hurt, can lead to future health problems, and can be demoralizing. Injuries also inhibit your ability to train, work, travel, and live comfortably. And when your body and health are central to your income stream, being hurt is a double whammy. It’s difficult to earn a living when you’re preoccupied with healing up from a recent torn ligament or fractured bone.

Any lifestyle that is that physically demanding with carry with it inherent risks. And when you throw in clients who may or may not be familiar with you (not every session provider asks for a reference or makes background checks), you never know what sort of person you’ll be spending the next hour or two with. That can be a scary proposition, no matter how emotionally and physically strong you are.

On top of all that, travelling from city to city takes you away from your friends and family for long stretches of time. It’s hard to imagine what that type of life is like unless you’ve lived it. If you have young children – or even older children – being away from them for long periods of time can be stressful. Think of it from the mother’s perspective. Then the children’s. See why this can be a volatile profession?

The next point goes along with that concept: Being a female bodybuilder can be really awkward at times – both for you and your loved ones.

Can you imagine being a little kid and having a mom who “doesn’t look like the other moms?” She’s a lot bigger, stronger, and physically imposing than Billy and Jimmy’s moms. She even has a deeper voice, smaller boobs, and more veins popping out of her arms than is typically considered, uh, typical. And she can bench press more than all the dads out there.

Talk about awkward.

This idea is directly connected to the first point about FBBs living in a world that doesn’t always accept them for who they are. This explores that very concept from everyone else’s perspective.

The older kids get, the more vicious the rumors will become. It doesn’t take a hardboiled private detective to find out what happens at those mysterious muscle worship sessions. It doesn’t take an avid porn aficionado to stumble upon an obscure video of an FBB giving a blow job or hand job to a nameless and faceless beta male client. This sort of information is out there for anyone who is willing to search for it. And not every blog is as respectful as the one you’re currently reading right now. Some blogs and comment sections (ah, yes. The dreaded “comments section” that has single-handedly contributed to the catastrophic dumbing down of our society) can be quite crude in describing what goes on behind closed doors. And come to think of it, it isn’t necessarily crudeness that makes this an issue. Just the basic knowledge that prominent FBBs provide sessions as a side gig is enough to get people to chat, gossip, and speculate on what actually is going on in those remote hotel rooms.

Rumors are rumors, but when rumors are spread widely and loudly enough, they start to become “fact,” even if they are not actually facts. No need to bring up “fake news,” is there?

Can you imagine being a normal kid who does a Google search on your mom and discovers she gives hand jobs to hundreds of guys across the world each year? And she does it for cash that eventually will help fund your college tuition? Talk about an epic discovery that you’d want to erase from your memory “Eternal Sunshine-style.”

Can you imagine being teased for this by the other kids whose parents are more “normal,” if such a thing even exists? Perhaps your FBB mama is remarkably open about her life’s work. Or maybe she tries to shield you from it. In today’s Internet age, it’s nearly impossible to keep something like that under wraps forever. Eventually, the truth will come out if you wait long enough. Nothing can stay hidden for good. Not anymore. We’re far beyond that point. If there’s a grainy video of you – even if this video is more than twenty years old – doing something even slightly embarrassing (never mind performing sexual acts on strangers), you know for a fact it will eventually smack you in the face. Usually when you least expect it. And especially when you don’t ask for it.

Kiana Phi showing off her hard work.

Here’s a true story that I feel compelled to share: Not too long ago a real-life female bodybuilder whom I’ve met for a muscle worship session once before contacted me via e-mail about a recent blog post I had written. She kindly asked that I remove a photo of her that appears in it. The blog article wasn’t about her specifically, but I wanted her picture to be in it because I like her so much.

I dutifully did remove it, carrying out her request as swiftly as I could. She didn’t want her name and reputation to be tarnished. She didn’t want to be associated with an underground subculture that could come back to haunt her, her husband, and her kids.

She didn’t want her daughters to be teased about what their beloved mama does with men in hotel rooms across America. Even if these rumors aren’t based in reality, that doesn’t matter. Harmful gossip is harmful regardless of its truthfulness. I removed her photo because I didn’t want to upset her, but I also did so because I instantly put myself in her shoes. I choose to remain anonymous on this blog because I wouldn’t want my friends and family to know about my unusual fetish. I can grant myself anonymity with very little effort on my part. For an FBB who is considered a “celebrity” in the eyes of many people worldwide, they do not have that luxury.

Public figures cannot control what people say about them. And not everyone can pay a high-quality spin team, PR representative, or “search engine scrubber” who can find creative ways to hide bad stuff said about you. It’s just not possible in today’s interconnected and plugged-in world to totally control your online reputation. I can create a Ryan Takahashi avatar and establish whatever persona I want to. Public figures cannot do that as easily.

Isabelle Turell – what a woman!

This is something I must – and the rest of you, too – keep in mind at all times. When you write about an FBB, wrestler, or session provider on an Internet chat forum, you’re not just communicating to the people with whom you’re directly corresponding. You’re also spreading information – and this includes both accurate and inaccurate information – to the world at large. That’s someone’s reputation. That’s someone’s mom, sister, wife, friend, or lover. That’s another human being, not a brand new air conditioner that deserves a four star rating out of five.

When you call her a whore, you’re saying that about a person with feelings. When you reveal what goes on behind closed doors without honoring her anonymity, you risk harming her reputation. It makes perfect sense why many FBBs are reluctant about allowing people to write reviews about them on chat forums. Who knows what some disgruntled yahoo will say to a captivated audience?

Female bodybuilders are some of the strongest willed people on planet Earth. But they are not invincible. They are flesh and blood human beings who are just as vulnerable as you or I. They may not seem like it in the fever pitch depths of our imaginations, but this is the truth. They are vulnerable, often times in ways you cannot see or understand.

Believe It or Not, Muscle Worship May Be a More Intimate Activity than Sex

Shawna Strong's last name is sure appropriate, wouldn't you say?

Shawna Strong’s last name is sure appropriate, wouldn’t you say?

I’ve written at length about muscle worship. If you need a summary of what this is all about, please refer to a previous blog post. I’ve even written detailed accounts of two of my past muscle worship experiences with female bodybuilders.

If you have some unquenched need to live vicariously through me (who doesn’t?), go check them out here and here.

One aspect of muscle worship sessions that I’ve formulated in my mind recently is one that I’m not entirely convinced of, but one I believe deserves to be discussed. Muscle worship is, simply defined, an activity involving a muscular participant (it could be a man or a woman) who allows a client to touch their body, usually for sexual gratification purposes. Other side activities usually occur in addition to this, but the crux of the matter involves intimately exploring a muscular person’s physical body in exchange for payment.

One thought I’ve had about this phenomenon may sound crazy at first, but sort of makes sense the more I think about it. Muscle worship may be a more personally intimate activity than sex.

I don’t want to make any blanket statements and say this is always true 100 percent of the time, but in certain circumstances this can possibly be true. Let me explain further.

Sex between two people is without a doubt a supremely intimate act. Perhaps the most intimate act you could do with another person. We won’t even get into sex between three, four, five or six people! So it seems rather odd that I would say such a thing like muscle worship can be more personal than sex.

Obviously, not all sex is created equal. Context matters a great deal. Sex between a long-time married couple who’s going through the motions definitely isn’t the same as awkward teenage lovers wanting to lose their virginities together during a romantic camping trip. There is a great deal of difference between these two scenarios. The same goes between a prostitute meeting a client versus a couple who has just been reunited after several months away from each other (think of a military veteran returning from an overseas war). Context is everything.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume we’re talking about ordinary run-of-the-mill sex between a couple who knows each other well and has no external drama going on. Got it?

Muscle worship, on the other hand, involves a female bodybuilder – and I’ll be talking exclusively about female bodybuilders, obviously! – providing her client access to her body. The degree of intimacy allowed varies from session provider to session provider, but the basic idea stays the same. Generally speaking, sex is an act where two people share their bodies together for the sake of mutual pleasure. Muscle worship is, by and large, a one-way road where the provider shares her body with her client but the client isn’t expected to share anything back (other than monetary compensation).

A female bodybuilder’s body isn’t just the flesh and blood she carries around on this physical planet. It’s her entire livelihood. From head to toe, even if she isn’t competing in contests, her body is what defines her professional identity. Of course, an FBB is way more than just her physical self. She has her own mind, soul, and divine worth. But her means of making a living depends solely on her body. A tax accountant, for example, offers services that are useful but at the end of the day wouldn’t be described as intimate. A tax accountant doesn’t risk anything personal when they work with a client. They don’t put themselves in nearly the vulnerable position an FBB does when they engage in a session with a complete stranger.

Ebony Goddess Coco Crush.

Ebony Goddess Coco Crush.

If, during a wrestling session, an FBB strains her back and cannot walk properly for a whole month, she loses out on a whole month’s worth of financial earnings. If a tax accountant strains his or her back while raking leaves in the backyard, it would still hurt like hell but he or she could still functionally do their job. Not so with an athlete whose physical body is their entire selling point.

Most female bodybuilders are damn proud of their bodies and have every right to be. And they want their fans to be able to appreciate their hard work with every opportunity they possibly can. But it’s one thing to watch an FBB pose on stage from a distance or watch a video of her on YouTube. It’s quite another thing to be in close proximity to her and feel with your own hands her handiwork. Being a session provider can be a dangerous thing. I’d like to think the vast majority of clients are honest, well-intentioned people, but sadly that isn’t the case for everybody.

You never know these days. There are psychopaths out there who love to do harm to innocent people just to satisfy their sick personal desires. It’s horrific to think about, but unfortunately that’s the reality of our world today. I wonder if FBBs think about this when they exchange e-mails with potential clients. Obviously, they can trust the people they’ve seen before. But what about new people from cities they aren’t familiar with? Can you really trust that the happy-go-lucky person you “talk” to over the Internet is as sweet and harmless as they appear? The truth is, nothing can be safely assumed.

That’s one of the unfortunate realities session providers have to deal with. As mentioned before, the risk factor of facing an accident is also ever present. Injuries happen for a myriad of reasons. You can even hurt yourself at the gym while working out (raise your hand if that’s ever happened to you!). Anything is possible. Session providers who offer wrestling put themselves in harm’s way. It’s not inconceivable for a 250-pound man to inadvertently injure a 180-pound female wrestler during the heat of the moment. Even if the large man got carried away and meant nothing malicious about it, accidents do happen. They’re unavoidable. That’s a fact of life.

An injury can sideline you for days, weeks, months, and perhaps (if it’s serious enough) years. If you are unable to work for several months, how will you make money? How can you continue to lift at the gym and maintain your muscular figure when you’re bedridden for months at a time? Muscle atrophy will eventually kick in. She’ll start to lose her size. After she recovers, she’ll need to build her body back up to where it was before the injury. And that takes time and effort. Think about the lost income that results from that. FBBs who hurt themselves for work-related reasons cannot rely on worker’s compensation insurance to support them during their recovery period. Ouch.

The Asian Muscle Goddess Michelle Jin.

The Asian Muscle Goddess Michelle Jin.

Injury is one valid concern. So is the prospect of a crazy kook wanting to do something harmful to you. Another one is this: The psychological toll of being a female bodybuilder and session provider.

I’ve talked at length about the sexism faced by FBBs. That’s a major issue. But another one is a problem that I’m guessing both male and female bodybuilders face: The pressure to be perfect. In essence, this is what being a bodybuilder – whether you compete professionally or not – is all about. It’s about the continuous journey toward attaining aesthetic perfection. It’s nonstop. There is no end in sight. A bodybuilder can never be satisfied with where they’re at physically. The moment you think you’ve arrived at your “goal,” what is there left to strive toward? Will complacency kick in?

Due to this line of thinking, many FBBs are stuck in a never-ending cycle of insecurity. Women as a whole are definitely stuck in this maddening hamster wheel of self-esteem issues, but FBBs in particular are right in the thick of it. Without a perfectly chiseled body, where would they be? In order for them to be able to do what they love doing, they have to look a certain way. Like professional models, their looks define their livelihood. It’s a brutal world to live in.

I’ve read interviews with Rene Campbell where she talks about being a “bigorexic.” She defines this as being constantly insecure about being small. Anyone who’s ever seen Rene Campbell would know she is the complete opposite of small. She’s huge! She has eye-popping muscles that are as large as you’ll ever see on a woman. She’s a very big lady. But deep down inside, she still thinks of herself as dainty, frail, and weak. Call if “Fat Kid Syndrome.” Kids who grew up overweight still think of themselves like that even when they reach adulthood and are no longer medically overweight. It’s a mental block in your brain that doesn’t ever completely vanish.

Rene’s insecurities about her size is just part of this spiteful equation. Session providers also face other pressures. In addition to maintaining their impressive level of muscle mass, they also have to do whatever they can to look “traditionally” beautiful. Many choose to get breast augmentation surgery in order to look more “feminine.” I’m sure Botox injections and faithful usage of anti-wrinkle cream are also par for the course. There are plenty of clients who do not want to see an FBB who looks “too old.” But age is an inevitability. No amount of medical procedures or cosmetic products will completely turn back the clock.

Rita Sargo werking so hard.

Rita Sargo werking so hard.

The vast majority of FBBs I’ve met for muscle worship sessions have been older women. Most were probably older than 40. The youngest was probably in her mid to late 30s. I know for a fact – though I never asked! – a few I’ve met were older than 50. But that doesn’t matter to me. They were all beautiful women. I mean, stunningly beautiful. Yes, they had wrinkles on their face. Yes, they had crow’s feet around their eyes. But they were still absolutely gorgeous.

I think many of these strong female bodybuilders are way more beautiful than “normally built” women half their age. But that’s just me. I’ll bet if you were to meet them up-close-and-personal too, you’d feel the same way.

However, not all guys are think that way. I’m not suggesting I have an “older woman fetish,” but age doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it does other people. You can cover up your age when doing photoshoots, video shoots, and other multimedia projects. Adobe Photoshop is a hell of a software program. Clever lighting can do wonders. There are tricks of the trade to make a 40-year-old woman look like she’s 30. But when you meet her for an intimate muscle worship session, you see her for who she is. Some guys are turned off by this. Others don’t mind it. But regardless, an FBB can’t please everybody. Nor can she stay young forever.

Once again, it’s a brutally unforgiving world we live in.

The idea that people in certain professions have a “shelf-life” is pretty dehumanizing. But it is what it is. I’m not here to lead any kind of social revolution. It’s unnerving that models, athletes, and entertainers (one could put a female bodybuilder in all three categories) have an “expiration date” set by the powers-that-be in their respective industries. But that’s how the system works. The moment you get too old, too fat, too slow, and not as lucrative as you used to be, you get tossed to the scrap heap. There will always be newer and younger people to replace you.

Can’t hit 40 home runs anymore? Don’t draw the sold-out crowds like you used to? Can’t sell perfume like you did 15 years ago? Here’s the door. See you on the other side. Have a good day. Oof. Brutal.

The revolving door will continue to cycle people in and out. That’s why you have to earn every single penny you possibly can while you can. Cut-throat? You better believe it.

Imagine this scenario: You’re a 50-year-old female bodybuilder who is also a mother of three high school children. All three of your kids are considering going to college. You may or may not be married to the father of your children. Money is tight. College tuition continues to rise year after year. You used to compete professionally, but don’t anymore because the winnings weren’t consistent or large enough. You’re still physically beautiful, but you’re also a 50-year-old woman and there’s no denying that. Your name recognition remains strong, but that is by no means secure forever. You regularly travel the world providing muscle worship sessions. You’re always away from your family. You live out of a suitcase for months at a time. Travelling can be stressful. Setting up appointments with clients is equally stressful. You risk injury and physical harm every single time you meet a client. From the perspective of your children, in today’s social media age word can get out quickly that your mom gives out hand jobs to complete strangers in hotel rooms across the globe. That thought is constantly going through your mind. We also live in the Yelp Age where crowdsourced opinions on the web can make or break your reputation. One bad review or two floating around an Internet message board can harm your ability to earn money (even if those poor reviews are written fairly and objectively and without malice). It’s a savage world we live in. If you put yourself in this particular hypothetical female bodybuilder’s shoes, how would you go about your everyday business? What choices would you make?

You’d probably be a bit stressed out. How would you feel if you knew your body, personality, and reputation was being discussed by strangers on the web? Talk about an invasion of privacy. Talk about breaking down the walls of confidentiality with the hammer of Thor.

While the theoretical woman I’ve outlined above isn’t based on anybody in particular, women like her do exist. That story isn’t unique or completely made up out of thin air. There are women (and men too) out there who could probably identify with some of that. Please, think about this the next time you anonymously berate a session provider on a chat forum just because your $400 session wasn’t quite worth every single nickel and dime you paid her.

Jean Jitomir wearing a sexy black cocktail dress.

Jean Jitomir wearing a sexy black cocktail dress.

So when I say that muscle worship may be a more intimate activity than sex, I may not be too far off. Like I said before, context matters a great deal. I could write for days and days on how intimate sexual intercourse can be. But sex is, for the most part, an intimate act that you share with a limited number of people. You do offer your body to another person, but it’s (usually) kept private, low-key, and doesn’t involve your ability to pay your bills. Muscle worship can be dramatically different. As outlined previously, it’s not just your body you put on the line. You put your reputation, health, wellbeing, livelihood, and family on the line as well. That definitely puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

I’m not trying to make any definitive statements or be dogmatic about anything. I’m just trying to offer some perspective about what it’s like to walk this earth in the shoes of the muscular women we love so much. It’s ain’t easy, that’s for sure.

Intimacy isn’t just defined by what the activity entails. Sex can be intimate. Or it can be casual. Rather, it’s defined by what you put on the line. What do you risk? What is the price of success? Of failure? When your life’s passions are defined by your body, putting your body in a vulnerable position is the riskiest thing you can possibly do. While I wouldn’t go as far as to call this bravery, it does require a level of fearlessness that very few people can match.

Female bodybuilders are strong women. Being able to deadlift 400 pounds or squat 500 pounds requires impressive strength. But being willing to put your body and soul on the line in the name of doing what you love requires a level of strength that is beyond comparison.

A Semiotic Study of a Muscular Woman’s Body

Asian Muscle Goddess Penpraghai Tiangngok.

Asian Muscle Goddess Penpraghai Tiangngok.

“Semiotics” is the study of signs and symbols as elements of communicative behavior. A more comprehensive definition is “a general philosophical theory of signs and symbols that deals especially with their function in both artificially constructed and natural languages and comprises syntactics, semantics, and pragmatics.”

Huh?

Let’s dispense with the complicated academic language. “Semiotics” is a fancy way of figuring out what signs and symbols mean and why they mean it. And by “signs,” we’re not just talking about STOP signs or “Do Not Walk on the Grass” signs. The most basic and obvious form of symbols is your basic alphabet. When put together, letters of the alphabet can form words. And words have meaning (or as Led Zeppelin would like to point out, sometimes words have two meanings).

But let’s look at a few less obvious but common signs and symbols. When someone raises their middle finger at you, that usually means they’re expressing displeasure toward you at that particular moment. When someone is wearing the jersey of their favorite sports team, they’re saying – even without using any words – that they love their team and are not ashamed to show it. When someone wears a tattoo featuring the Nazi swastika, that’s a pretty good indication you probably don’t want to interact with this person at any level.

Signs and symbols are the basic ways people communicate. Speaking, writing and nonverbal indicating (such as pointing, nodding your head or clapping your hands) are only one form of communication. But there are numerous other ways people can express ideas. For example:

  • Hand gestures
  • Hair style
  • Clothing
  • Tattoos
  • Decorations inside and outside your home
  • Piercings
  • Paintings
  • Photographs
  • Poems
  • Artwork
  • Dance
  • Body language
  • Jewelry
  • Make-up
  • Bumper stickers
  • Facebook profile picture
  • Flags
  • Job title
  • Dietary choices
  • Choice of spouse or significant other
  • Pets
  • Music
  • Choice of what city/neighborhood/region you live
  • Choice of when to use certain languages (English, Spanish, French, Cantonese, Arabic, etc.)
  • Religious insignias (cross in Christianity, Star of David in Judaism, bindi in Hinduism, etc.)
  • Hashtags
  • Nicknames
  • Colors
  • Volume (of words, actions, and so on)
  • Word choices
  • Transportation choices
  • Body art
  • Facial expressions

The list goes on. Flags can be an expression of nationalistic pride. Religious-themed clothing or jewelry can signify adherence to a certain faith. Dietary choices communicates to the world messages like how you view your own health, opinions on environmental stewardship and social responsibility. In fact, here’s an old joke. How do you know if someone is a vegan? Don’t worry. They’ll tell you over and over again!

I’m not anti-vegan, but you get the idea. Being a vegan isn’t just a set of eating choices. It’s a statement on your views pertaining to health, animal rights, the environment, urbanization, human rights, sustainability, ethics, and so forth. Can it get annoying? Perhaps, but it gets annoying because from a semiotic perspective, they’re trying to tell you much more than the mere fact they prefer not to eat animal-based products.

All of this brings us to the focal point of this post: A muscular woman’s body. I’ve covered the topic of muscular women and semiotics in previous blog articles, but I’d love to explore this in further detail.

In bed with Ashley Starr.

In bed with Ashley Starr.

A muscular woman; whether she’s a professional or amateur bodybuilder, personal trainer, athlete, or noncompetitive gym rat; makes a lot of statements even without saying a single word. And not just statements, but definitive statements. I once had a college professor who told our class that “you can never not communicate.” Everything you do, whether you intend to or not, is a form of communication.

To help us understand what this means, imagine this scenario: You’re walking down a crowded street. You’re minding your own business. It’s a perfectly sunny Saturday afternoon. Clear skies, tourists and pedestrians out everywhere. All of a sudden, you see walking down the sidewalk a beautiful muscular woman. She’s making no attempts to hide her muscularity by wearing sleeveless shirt and yoga pants. She casually strolls by you. You stop and stare, but she keeps on moving at her own pace. She’s minding her own business. Most important, she doesn’t utter a single word to you. Nada. Nothing. Although she doesn’t verbally speak to you, she’s told you a whole encyclopedia’s worth of material…whether you realize it or not.

When I talk about a muscular woman’s body, I’m not referring to her hairstyle, choice of clothing, tattoos, piercings or anything like that. I’m only talking about her flesh and blood body. By themselves, her muscles are a symbol. They carry with it meaning beyond her physiological composition. So what we’re talking about isn’t a muscular woman’s entire appearance, just her muscles. Everything else is very interesting unto itself, but let’s keep it simple for the sake of this discussion.

Let’s look at some of the messages inherent in a muscular woman’s body:

1. Social defiance

Perhaps most jarring, social defiance is the loudest message being communicated by a woman’s muscles.

If we presume that society traditionally equates femininity with weakness, a muscular woman shatters those stereotypes with a sledgehammer. Female frailty is an ancient and overused theme that goes back centuries, crossing almost all cultures and continuing to persist even to the present day. Outside of a few fringe cultures that treat women as equals (or superiors) to men, for the most part human civilization has associated femininity with feebleness, softness and fragility.

Muscular women defy all that. They defy the notion that women are the weaker sex. They defy the assumption of female frailty as inevitable. They defy traditional standards of beauty. They challenge us to accept that muscles on a woman can be sexy. They refuse to be put into a box.

Unlike political beliefs, religious beliefs or any other kind of ideological system, a woman’s choice to develop muscle is obvious for all to see. There’s an old saying about how some people “wear their opinions on their sleeve,” which is to say they don’t just have opinions; they shove it in your face and persistently let the entire world know about it. However, that can get exhausting. No matter how passionate you are about something, even at the most superficial level it takes a small conversation with someone to know about it. But that’s not true with a muscular woman. Her decision to bulk up her body can’t be hidden. You can’t wear baggy clothes forever.

A woman’s decision to bulk up flies in the face of our conventional expectations of beautiful women having to be slender and curvy. Big muscles are supposed to be reserved for guys. Big muscles on a woman, on the other hand, aren’t what any of us expect to see. So when we do see it, we instantly realize what she’s doing. She’s creating her own standards of beauty. She’s redefining what it means to be attractive. She’s defying other people’s expectations and setting her own.

2. Self-respect

Anyone, whether male or female, who can boast having a fit, muscular body might as well carry around a sign that says in big bold letters “I Take Care of Myself.” Generally speaking, you don’t look that way unless you make a conscious decision to do so. You don’t become muscular by accident. It’s a choice you make to sculpt your body to fit a certain aesthetic.

Becoming “buff” isn’t just about lifting weights. It requires watching your diet. So no excessive sugary sweets, rich coffee drinks or deep fried foods. You have to make sacrifices most of us in the general public (me included!) wouldn’t want to make. While it’s true that excessive exercise and extreme dieting can be unhealthy if taken too far, generally speaking men and women who “look good” take specific measures to look that way.

Self-respect means believing in your own potential. It means setting goals and having an actionable plan to achieve those goals. Goal-oriented people tend to achieve more in life than people who wander around aimlessly. A female bodybuilder, for example, wants to be a winner. Professional (and dedicated amateur) athletes all want to be winners. You don’t get to that level unless you sincerely believe you can do it.

But even if a muscular woman doesn’t compete at any level, she still has self-respect. Perhaps her goals are different. She wants to look fantastic. She wants to inspire others. She wants to prove to herself that she can do whatever she wants. Regardless, the common denominator is that she has her goals set high and will never back down from reaching her full potential. This determination is obvious just from looking at her hard-earned physique. You don’t have to ask her about it. You can see it right in front of you.

3. A desire to shatter social stereotypes

Directly related to point #1, a muscular woman’s body can be an indication that she wants to shatter the stereotypes we have about strength and gender identity. The most obvious example is the idea of female weakness/male superiority. But, if you add elements of race, height, sex appeal and fashion choices into the mix, things can get very complicated.

For example, if a muscular woman chooses to wear baggy jeans and a fur coat everywhere – even if it’s not particularly cold – that’s probably an indication she doesn’t want the public to notice her muscularity. If, on the other hand, she chooses to wear yoga pants and a skimpy top that generously shows off her arms and torso, she definitely wants people to notice her. Not bother or harass her, but see her. Whether she’s motivated by narcissism or personal comfort is impossible to tell. What is obvious is that she’s okay with people seeing her hard work on full display.

In addition to social defiance, a muscular woman who chooses to show off her body is also maybe trying to change the way people view women as a whole. Not just muscular women, but every woman on planet Earth. She wants people to no longer believe women are destined for weakness. She wants people to be convinced that men don’t have a monopoly on strength. Maybe she wants society to redefine what it means to be “beautiful,” “feminine,” and “desirable.” Instead of telling people that “strong is beautiful,” she decides instead to put her money where her mouth is and let the entire world know that she’s a muscular woman who believes she’s just as beautiful as the women you see on the cover of magazines.

Julie Bonnett looking as lovely as ever.

Julie Bonnett looking as lovely as ever.

Stereotypes are commonly accepted boxes we use to put people into. Not all stereotypes are malicious. Some are quite flattering (all Asians are good at math, anyone?). But some are hurtful. For example:

Muscular women are gross. Women shouldn’t look like that! Big muscles makes her look like a man! Men will never find that attractive. She needs to stop bulking up or else she might actually become a man!

All these stereotypes are complete B.S. We female muscle fans know it. But not everyone shares our perspective. Muscular women know this as well, probably better than us. This is why her biceps aren’t just an indication that she works out. They’re a metaphorical hammer of Thor intended to smash into a million pieces every one of these sophomoric beliefs.

4. A redefinition of sexuality

For many of us, the first thing that catches our attention when it comes to sex appeal is a person’s physical appearance. Their face, body, the way they walk, etc. What really catches our attention is anything out of the norm. A stunningly gorgeous face or a killer pair of legs, for example, stand out because of their uniqueness in addition to their obvious aesthetic appeal.

A muscular woman’s sexuality also stands out. Because so much of sex appeal is based on looks, a muscular woman’s intentional transformation of her physical appearance makes this discussion almost inevitable. How can she not be making a statement about her sexuality?

As mentioned before, not everyone who appears “sexy” is intentionally trying to look sexy. But if you have natural good looks, no matter what you do (outside of covering your entire body with a sheet) you’re going to communicate desirability. Or, perhaps, how we as a society defines “desirable.”

Consider this: How many people in our world consider muscles on a woman to be sexy? A number of us, obviously. But certainly not everyone. A woman who chooses to sculpt large muscles on her body cannot help but make a statement about what limits we should or should not put on female attractiveness. She’s saying (implicitly or explicitly, it doesn’t really matter) muscles on a woman can be sexy. She’s saying guys who find her attractive are right to do so. She isn’t necessarily saying that people who find her unattractive solely because of her muscles are wrong, but they shouldn’t discount the opinions of others who do.

Muscles challenge our preconceived thoughts about female sexuality. It shows they can be both strong and beautiful, muscular and feminine, unconventional and desirable, empowered and nonthreatening. They’re not trying to shatter how we view female sexuality. They’re trying to expand how we think about female sexuality (and male sexuality, for that matter). They’re not trying to destroy the box. They’re trying to make the box bigger.

Why must we limit how we define “beautiful?” It makes no sense.

5. Unconventionality

This is probably the broadest point of all, but a muscular woman’s body communicates that she’s an unconventional person. Unconventionality comes in many forms. We’ve already discussed a few of these aspects above. But generally speaking, muscles on a woman’s body tell us many things such as:

“I’m the most competitive person you’ll ever meet.”

“I may not look traditionally beautiful, but I am.”

“I’m stronger than most women around here.”

“I will fight back if provoked, unlike others.”

“You can doubt me all you want, but I’ll prove you wrong every single time.”

“My life is different than the rest. But it’s the life I choose to live.”

“I don’t eat the same foods you do, nor eat at the same times you do.”

“I’m a professional athlete. I don’t spend 8 hours behind a desk every day.”

“I truly don’t care what other people think.”

“I love being different.”

“I will prove that muscles on a woman can be sexy. See? Look at me!”

How can a muscular woman not be unconventional? Anyone who consciously defies social norms is intentionally going against tradition. She may not abhor tradition or wish to knock it down with a wrecking ball, but she’s definitely a daisy growing in a field of red roses.

It’s hard not to return back to the point of female frailty. Everything revolves around this paradigm. A muscular woman is so fascinating precisely because she forces us to rethink our preconceived notions about the fundamental differences between men and women. Everything we thought we knew about the world may be wrong. They may be right, but every once in a while we encounter situations that challenge us to open our minds to new hypotheses.

Check out the colorful bikini being rocked by Maria Rita Penteado. Very cute!

Check out the colorful bikini being rocked by Maria Rita Penteado. Very cute!

The unconventional challenge us not to alter our conventions, but question why we have conventions in the first place.

Strong women raise these questions. It is now up to us to try to answer them.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that muscular women are a fascinating topic to talk about. Whether you love them, hate them, or aren’t quite sure what to feel, you cannot help but have an opinion about them – even if you’ve never actually met one in the flesh. These snap judgements are at the heart of this semiotic analysis of a muscular woman’s body.

Fairly or unfairly, every one of us communicates something every single moment of our lives. Intention has nothing to do with it. We see signs and messages everywhere we go. Messages telling us what to think, what to believe, how to feel, how to behave, how to interact with others, and so on. Our world is full of these symbols. Most of us are not aware of them, myself included. But the more alert we are to them, the better we can understand our world.

What interests me on a personal level is talking about how mesmerizing muscular women are. They’re captivating for reasons that go beyond their beauty. When we look at the symbols inherent in her physique, we start to better understand things like sexism, misogyny, human sexuality, relationships, biology, social prejudice, social defiance, the business of advertising, marketing strategies, double standards, beauty, aesthetics, power dynamics, expectations, gender roles, stereotypes, femininity, masculinity, world history, politics, money, human communication, cognitive development, and much more. The list can go on forever. When we really think about female bodybuilding, female athletes and the presence of muscles on a female body, almost every problem we face in the 21st century starts to become clearer. Think about how fundamentally different our society would be if women were just as biologically strong as men. Think hard about that. It’s enough to blow your mind, isn’t it?

The badass that is Suzy Kellner.

The badass that is Suzy Kellner.

Semiotics is all about being aware of what we’re being taught, how we’re being taught, and how we can teach others. Communication is the building block of human civilization. Cities, nations, communities and families would not exist without communication. So the better we understand how we communicate; both verbally and nonverbally, both intentionally and unintentionally, both implicitly and explicitly; the better people we’ll be.

Sound like a big task? It should because it is. Muscular women are creatures who blow my mind. I can’t stop thinking about them on both a primal and intellectual level. They demand closer inspection. They demand our attention. They demand our respect. They demand us to understand them better. Let’s hope that comprehending them on a semiotic level is a productive first step.

A Word on the Social and Political Implications of Being a Female Muscle Fan

We need more of Paige Hathaway on the covers of magazines.

We need more of Paige Hathaway on the covers of magazines.

Equality between the sexes.

It’s a topic of discussion our world has been having for some time now. Schools, churches, workplaces, universities, homes, gyms, bars, everywhere. What kind of a society do we want to achieve? What should the proper relationship be between men and women? In what ways are men and women different? Are these differences inherent or are they completely a product of cultural subjectivity?

While women have made tremendous strides in making high achievements in traditionally male-dominated sectors such as business, politics, media, sports and entrepreneurship, there is still a lot to be desired in terms of giving every single person on planet Earth a fair shot at reaching their dreams. This isn’t any one particular person’s fault, however. It’s a group effort to make our world a better place.

At first glance, one would think that men who love muscular women would be at the forefront of gender equality and other like-minded causes. But the truth is, this is not necessarily true.

In observing from a distance the world of female muscle fandom, there doesn’t appear to be any overt political or social motivations underlying people’s love for female muscle. No doubt the men (and women) who love female bodybuilders and athletes also hold a diverse range of political, social, religious and philosophical beliefs. There doesn’t appear to be any obvious trend in any particular direction.

A rising star in the world of female bodybuilding, Sheronica Sade Henton.

A rising star in the world of female bodybuilding, Sheronica Sade Henton.

That being said, generally speaking men who love muscular women do so without any explicit social agendas. Lust, as it were, is as simple as it can get. Human attraction is as basic a force as anything our species can experience. Without it, how would we reproduce and continue the cycle of life?

So, along those same lines, men who love strong women may not necessarily do so for any feminist or quasi-feminist reasons. Being wildly attracted to Catherine Holland isn’t an act of social justice. None of us lust after Debi Laszewski because we’re trying to right some historical wrong. We aren’t channeling our inner 1920’s era First Wave Feminist by drooling over photos of Sheronica Sade Henton. Some of us may also carry these personal beliefs, but they are not necessarily an explanation to why we choose to lust over these women.

There might be an element, however, of equal-mindedness present in all aspects of female muscle fandom. After all, those of us who willingly pay handsome amounts of money for muscle worship, wrestling or BDSM sessions with female bodybuilders/athletes/fitness enthusiasts wouldn’t do so unless we carried a certain degree of admiration for these women. We wouldn’t be participating in these activities unless we thought highly of these ladies and the hard work they put into sculpting their much-earned physiques.

On the flip side, there definitely could still be traces of sexism present in one’s female muscle fandom. Some guys, unfortunately, still treat these beautiful women as mere pieces of meat whose only purpose is to satisfy their selfish sexual fetishes. When you treat someone as a means to an end instead of an end unto themselves, you dehumanize them. Yes, there’s nothing wrong with the profession of being an “erotic provider,” and fetishism will inevitably enter into the equation, but that’s still no excuse to ignore the woman’s humanity. She’s a flesh and blood human being just like you. She’s trying to make her way through this harsh and confusing world just like you or anybody else.

Another aspect to this conversation is the concept of fetishism itself. As defined by the dictionary, a “fetish” is “any object or nongenital part of the body that causes ahabitual erotic response or fixation.”

Feet, leather, feces, handcuffs, and other things fall into this category. So do muscles. So when we consider the concept of fetishism, we’re going to get into some murky territory. We lust after female bodybuilders because we get turned on by their muscles. Does that mean we treat female bodybuilders as just muscles and not human beings? No, not really. But we can’t pretend like her muscles aren’t absolutely crucial to our fascination with her.

To fetishize a female bodybuilder’s muscles isn’t to dehumanize her. If you lust after her muscles and disregard everything else about her, that would be dehumanizing her. If you act like she’s a worthless whore whose muscles are there purely for your own enjoyment, that’s a terrible way to treat a person. But by and large, that attitude isn’t too pervasive in the female muscle fandom community.

Who wants to work out with Renee West?

Who wants to work out with Renee West?

So, while fetishizing a type of person doesn’t necessarily mean you’re dehumanizing them, it could lead you down a dark path if you aren’t careful of how you express that fetish. Being attracted to a woman’s muscles is perfectly okay. Treating her like garbage isn’t.

Returning back to the subject of politics and society, do female muscle fans have an obligation to become a vocal champion for women’s rights, gender equality, and the like? In short, not really.

Social and political activism is a brutal monster unto itself. Systems that are intended to fight other systems tend to become systems unto themselves. Without getting on too high of a soapbox, let’s just say that social activism and female muscle fandom can live in separate spheres. One doesn’t have to be an admirer of female bodybuilding one day and march in an anti-sexism parade the next.

Part of the problem with modern day social activism is that many of its prominent adherents use tactics that we may find objectionable. Name-calling isn’t the best way to tell people not to name-call. Stifling debate by unmercifully mocking your opponents’ ideas doesn’t lead to anything productive. How many times have we seen activist movements operate more like a cult than a group of passionate people working toward solving a tangible problem? This is why female muscle fans don’t need to also be activists. Activism is, as previously stated, a beast in its own right.

Does this mean female muscle fandom is totally apolitical? Well, not quite.

If we argue from the assumption that “everything is political,” then one cannot escape political ramifications in every facet of life. Even for the most anti-political or politically apathetic female muscle lover out there, one cannot avoid making the strong social statement that’s embedded in our shared interest.

What is that social statement, exactly? Simple. Strong women are important. We swoon over them because they matter to us.  We can’t get enough of them because they stir up feelings inside us that are untamable. Our thirst for them is unquenchable. Whether we’re hardcore fans of the sport or admirers from a distance, strong women are intrinsically important to us. They pervade our thoughts and change the way to think about mainstream beauty standards. When you first “discover” the awe-inspiring world of female bodybuilding, you can’t remember why you never admired these women before.

Them biceps on Asha Hadley, though.

Them biceps on Asha Hadley, though.

Female muscle fandom isn’t just about lust. Sexuality, while important, isn’t the only prism through which our fascination can be understood. These women aren’t mere pieces of meat that we enjoy purely for primal, carnal reasons. They’re gorgeous and highly accomplished human beings who deserve endless praise.

There’s a reason why many of us engage in “muscle worship.” We worship them not in a literal way, but in a playful way that borders on the spiritual. There’s something very spiritual about being in the presence of a muscular woman. She doesn’t seem real. She is real. We know she’s real. But there’s something otherworldly about her. Her muscles aren’t just muscles. They’re an extension of her humanity. They don’t define her, but they complement her core identity.

Men who love strong women inevitably go through a mini-paradigm shift. They start to see potential in women that they never considered before. They become open to new standards of beauty. They also become open to new experiences. Men who love strong women might not transform into overnight social activists, but whatever negative stereotypes they once had about women and femininity can’t helped but be at the very least slightly altered.

A gorgeous lady from across the Atlantic Ocean, the lovely Laura Madge.

A gorgeous lady from across the Atlantic Ocean, the lovely Laura Madge.

Female weakness? Male superiority? Stigmatization of erotic service providers? These feelings may diminish over time. Or maybe your female muscle fandom has forced you to completely reconsider how you look at the world. That’s also possible.

Or maybe not. Perhaps your female muscle fandom only provided the attitude shift that women can lift at the gym like guys. Muscular women aren’t gross, but can be strikingly beautiful. We not be total equals, but we should try to treat everybody with respect as much as we can.

Maybe this is how we can achieve equality between the sexes. Not by shaming, isolating or attacking one another, but by teaching universal values of respect.

Now there’s a bold idea.

Halloween is Every Day for Female Bodybuilders

Dena Westerfield wants to suck your blood!

Dena Westerfield wants to suck your blood!

Every October 31 we celebrate a very odd holiday. People of all ages dress up in costumes, artistically carve up pumpkins, attend spooky themed parties and/or wander around their neighborhoods begging strangers to hand out candy.

No candy? No problem! Unless, of course, you don’t mind your house getting egged, toilet papered or surrounded by flaming piles of dog feces.

The concept of Halloween, according to experts in folklore, dates back to Celtic “pagan” traditions of welcoming in the harvest season. Halloween also might be rooted in Festival of the Dead-type traditions where people honor their dead relatives and usher them into the Afterlife. In the United States, a Catholic-inspired Cajun tradition began in the early days of North America to spend a nocturnal Mass at graveyards to bless the souls of the deceased.

Getting a creepy vibe already?

But today, let’s face it. Halloween is all about having a socially acceptable reason to dress up in silly costumes, watch scary movies and eat too much sugary candy. Plus, Halloween sort of officially kicks off the “holiday season” which includes Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

Some costumes range from the innocent to more “adult.” Some people will go as doctors, firefighters, kittens or Spider-Man; while other will choose the more family-friendly route and become a stripper, dominatrix or slutty nurse.

Whatever. Your choice of costume is your choice alone, as long as the company you work for doesn’t have any strict policies against publicly embarrassing yourself.

Now this is one Halloween party I'd like to attend! Here we have Annie Rivieccio, Aleesha Young and Alina Popa.

Now this is one Halloween party I’d like to attend! Here we have Annie Rivieccio, Aleesha Young and Alina Popa.

We dress up because it’s fun to pretend to be something we’re not, even if only temporarily. As kids, we wanted to be Superman and Wonder Woman. So if we dress up like them, isn’t that close enough to living out our dreams?

Perhaps, but there’s another reason why we dress up: to celebrate Halloween’s macabre roots. Zombies, vampires, serial killers, ghosts, goblins, ghouls, monsters and politicians are all par for the course. Who doesn’t like to channel their inner Jason Voorhees or reenact a scene from Night of the Living Dead? Whatever is most frightening is often the most fun.

These two reasons might explain why, as absurd as this may sound, for a female bodybuilder every day is Halloween. Every day is their chance to “dress up” and become something different. To become something superhuman, unworldly and strange. Many fans of female bodybuilders may not consider the presence of a muscular woman to be “ghoulish,” but unfortunately some people out there do. So let’s celebrate Halloween this year by paying tribute to the ladies we love 365 days a year.

Her body is her costume

Every single time an FBB goes to the gym to train, isn’t she essentially creating the “costume” that she’ll wear every single day of her life? Except in this case, her costume is her own body. It doesn’t consist of hats, tights or capes; but instead muscles, veins and sharp angular curves.

It takes a lot of work to achieve the physique of a Katka Kpytova or Alina Popa. Strict dieting, strenuous weightlifting, supplements, drugs, mental toughness, hardcore dedication and sacrifices are necessary to reach that level of muscularity. Not too many people in this world are that dedicated to their craft. But those who are should be very proud of their work.

When a woman builds bulk on her body, she’s making a decision to sculpt a better version of herself. She’s changing her identity. She’s breaking the mold of convention and embracing the nontraditional. Whether she intends to compete or not is irrelevant. The desire to gain maximum muscularity is a statement unto itself. It says “I’m reinventing myself, whether you like it or not.”

The concept of reinventing one’s self through the lifestyle of bodybuilding is fascinating. If our “traditional” idea of femininity includes slender arms, lush curves and a small frame, a female bodybuilder tosses all of that out the window. Her rebooted identity defies these norms while at the same time creating new ones. “Feminine” doesn’t have to be a euphemism for “weak.” It can mean so much more.

Her muscles are what define this new identity. Because muscles are not typically associated with femininity, women like Debi Laszewski are not seen as traditional women even though their womanhood hasn’t changed one iota. Deep down inside, Debi has always been Debi. Even before she took up bodybuilding, Debi was Debi. Now that she’s a world class athlete, she’s still Debi.

You don't want to get on Maribel Barnes's bad side!

You don’t want to get on Maribel Barnes’s bad side!

Think of it this way: the mere presence of muscles on a woman’s body doesn’t change anything about her. Whether someone changes their appearance for the better or for the worst, who they are intrinsically doesn’t change. Yes, an FBB may gain more confidence during her training, but her inherent identity hasn’t been altered by a single degree. Everyone has an identity. Your body’s appearance is just one facet of that.

In this respect, a female bodybuilder’s muscles act as her “costume” or “uniform.” To put it another way, a football player becomes a football player once they put on their pads, helmet, shoes and protective gear. When it’s not game time and they’re dressed in “street clothes” out in everyday life, they’re no longer a football player. They’re just like you and I. Sometimes, the uniform makes all the difference.

Likewise, an FBB’s muscles acts as her professional uniform. It informs us about who she is and what she does. But that’s not all that there is to her. She’s so much more than her appearance. Her thoughts, feelings, beliefs, actions, relationships, opinions, interests and everything else encompasses her entire identity. Her body is just the uniform she wears as a result of her chosen profession.

Like other self-revealing occupational uniforms (a construction worker’s hat, a doctor’s smock, a radio DJ’s headset, etc.), a female bodybuilder’s muscular body is an instantly identifiable clue as to what she does for a living. It’s her way of announcing to the world what she’s passionate about. It’s an outward expression of self-identification. Her muscles are her costume. Her muscles are her uniform. Her muscles are not her entire identity, but it’s a very important part of it.

Her body as a grotesque costume

It’s maddening. It’s ridiculous. It’s blatantly sexist and stupid. But this train of thought still exists: Muscular women are gross. They’re disgusting. They’re not real women. They’re women who are trying to become men. They’re revolting to look at. They shouldn’t look like that. Blah, blah, blah.

While the previous point talks about a female bodybuilder’s muscles being her living costume, this point discusses her muscles as other people perceive them. Unfortunately, not everyone perceives them in a positive light.

For many people, an FBB’s muscles make her a monster. It makes her a freak. It changes her identity, but not in a good way. It’s scary, frightening, disturbing, repulsive and lots of other synonyms that would tear a thesaurus in half. Her Halloween costume resembles that of a horror movie villain rather than an elite athlete. These perceptions explain why more women don’t lift weights at the gym and are afraid to pick up a dumbbell heavier than 8 pounds.

I've never seen the film "Blood + Kisses" starring Denise Masino, but I'm sure she's very sexy in it!

I’ve never seen the film “Blood + Kisses” starring Denise Masino, but I’m sure she’s very sexy in it!

Thus, another reason why every day is Halloween for female bodybuilders is because for many folks out there, an FBB is a walking and breathing humanistic monstrosity of distorted femininity. Her Halloween costume is her “man-like” muscles that obviously make her so unattractive. Whether her motivation for gaining muscle mass has anything to do with a deliberate attempt at reorganizing her gender identity has nothing to do with this perception. For far too many people, a muscular woman is nothing more than a woman pretending to be a man (or to put it another way, she’s “unnatural” for looking like that).

Or, wanting to become a man. Short of undergoing gender reconstruction surgery, adding muscle bulk to her body is the next best option. This opinion is far from being the most popular reason why women decide to pursue bodybuilding. Most do it for the sport. Others do it for self-empowerment. For many, it might be a “hobby,” but one that they take a bit more seriously than knitting or collecting postage stamps.

For the men and women out there who are genuinely sickened by muscular women…well, that’s life. There’s very little that will change overnight. They might view her like a sci-fi creature from a mad scientist’s laboratory, but the rest of us know better. It’s only a matter of time when women like Lisa Cross are celebrated as much as mainstream female celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence.

If Tina Chandler wanted to arrest me...yeah, I'd let her.

If Tina Chandler wanted to arrest me…yeah, I’d let her.

Trick or treat?

Just so we don’t end this discussion on a sour note, imagine this scenario playing out in your actual life:

You’re going out trick-or-treating. Let’s say you’re an adult, but you live in a neighborhood where it’s socially acceptable for grownups to knock on doors and ask for candy. It’s getting late, so you know it’s about time to start wrapping up this confection excursion. You have one house left to visit. It’s nearing 9 p.m. (your self-imposed bedtime is 9:30 for whatever boring reason) and your bag of candy is still not completely full.

You knock on the door of a strange brick house standing on the top of a steep hill. It’s covered with moss, ivy, chipped paint and cobwebs. You’re alone. Your heart races but you’re still insisting on gathering as much sweet loot as possible. You approach the house cautiously. You knock once. No answer. You knock twice. Still no answer. You knock thrice. Once again, there is no answer. You wait a beat. Then two beats. Then three. Several more beats pass by, then you finally give up and start to walk back to the main street. Then, out of nowhere, you hear the door open. It creeks loudly. You turn around. And you see who answers the door.

Monica Martin. MEOW!

Monica Martin. MEOW!

It’s not one, nor two, nor three, but seven gorgeous female bodybuilders having some sort of a spooky soiree. They’re all in costume, ranging from Elvira to a cannibalistic Nazi zombie stripper to a trial lawyer. Seven tall, thick, highly muscular women with the most beautiful faces you’ve ever seen. They seem intrigued by you. They look you up and down at your wimpy frame and even wimpier costume. A glow-in-the-dark cartoon skeleton? Seriously? That’s the best you could do?

The host FBB speaks first.

“Are you here to trick-or-treat?” she asks. Her low, gravelly voice seems to shake the foundations of the Earth.

“Uh, yes. That’s why I’m here ma’am,” you answer timidly.

The seven start to laugh. You might have heard laughter from several other female bodybuilders inside the house that you can’t see. The leader raises a hand to hush everyone up. Everyone becomes silent. But their gaze is still exclusively on you.

“Good,” she begins. “Then you should come on in. We’ve got a very big treat for you.”

The seven FBBs move to the side of the door, inviting you indoors. You can clearly see that the house is infested with beautiful muscular women, all of them more muscular and more beautiful than the rest. There must be several dozens of them in there. Their costumes are very sexy. Everyone is scorching hot beyond description. You’re speechless.

But you go inside nevertheless. The door closes behind you. The party commences.

Happy Halloween!