Yes, the cesspool of bad opinions, personal attacks, venting, raging, score settling, election meddling, grievance airing, vengeance seeking, corporate influencing, product pushing, and narcissism. Yours truly has decided, after all these years of staying off social media (at least as far as my online alter ego is concerned), to join the fray.
May God have mercy on my soul.
For the longest time I decided not to self-promote and allow my writing to spread organically. And since May 23, 2012, that’s been the case. But no more. I’m not sure how to explain the change of heart. I guess I’d like to connect with you, my dear readers, in a way that goes beyond email. I’ll admit I can be slow to respond at times (when you have another personal email and a work account to keep track of, maintaining yet another one can be a hassle), so perhaps this’ll remedy that. You should have noticed by now that I’ve also changed the appearance of this blog. So I guess you can say “change” is in the air.
So, that being said, go ahead and follow me if you are so inclined to do so! I’m at @RyanTakahashi87. If you follow me, I may follow you back – assuming I’m pretty sure you’re not a Russian bot, a mean-spirited troll, or anything like that. I think that whole “Russian bot” is a bit overblown, but that’s neither here nor there.
As far as content goes, I’ll definitely promote new blog posts, remind you all of older posts, keep you in-the-loop about future posts, and curate opinions/takes/ideas for future posts. I may also sprinkle in stuff about pop culture, sports, bodybuilding news, sharing content produced by other female muscle enthusiasts, and conversing with you, my loyal readers. For the sake of everyone’s sanity, I’ll avoid (or try to avoid) discussing politics. There’s enough of that going around as it is. No need to add to the noise. And if we’re being honest here, talking about our favorite female bodybuilders is soooooooooooo much more interesting and worthwhile. I hope you agree with that sentiment.
So have at it! I’ll see you on the other side. Let’s keep things classy, fun, sincere, honest, and as positive as possible. We all need more of that in our lives.
Do you know what’s awesome? A female bodybuilder who “gets” it.
And by “gets” it, I mean a female bodybuilder who understands why people love her and is willing to provide her fans what they want.
You’d think the vast majority of female bodybuilders, athletes, and amateur muscular women would be taking advantage of this, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Many FBBs are either uncomfortable or against (for a wide variety of reasons) “giving the fans what they want,” which of course is their prerogative. Nobody is claiming that FBBs must please their fans at every opportunity they get or that appealing to the fanbase is somehow essential to staying relevant to the scene (at least, I’m not claiming these things). Obviously, female bodybuilders are under no obligation to do anything other than what they want to do – or not want to do.
But occasionally, you’ll encounter an FBB who truly understands what guys and gals love in a muscular woman and will enthusiastically utilize that knowledge for maximum gain. She benefits and we benefit. That’s a win-win scenario, right?
Right. Off the top of my head, eight women in particular who “get” it the best are Denise Masino, Angela Salvagno, Amber DeLuca, Lisa Cross, Victoria Dominguez, Lindsay Mulinazzi, Emery Miller, and Brandi Mae Akers. There are others, but these women in particular stand out to me.
These ladies are some of the most well-known female bodybuilders in the world not just because of their competitive accomplishments – although we should not downplay their achievements on the stage – but because of their willingness to put their personalities and bodies out there so publicly and prominently. If I’m in the mood to watch some erotic female muscle videos, odds are I’m going to do a Bing search (my search engine of choice for finding videos for whatever reason) of any of these eight women. Or all of them, if I have the time and the inclination.
In the world of branding, advertising, marketing, and public relations (terms that could be used interchangeably), one of the key rules is that people don’t purchase products just because they need the product for practical reasons. They purchase it because it makes them feel a certain way: cool, culturally relevant, in-the-know, a part of a larger community, socially-conscious, better than people who aren’t using the same product, et cetera. For example, there isn’t any practical reason why someone would spend $200 on a brand new pair of Beats By Dre headphones when a less expensive generic pair would work just as well. But, the point of paying more has nothing to do with practicality. You don’t purchase a more expensive product because the music you listen to will necessarily sound better. You purchase it because it makes you appear socially hip with the “young people these days” (get off my lawn!).
It’s not about what the product has to offer. It has to do with the elevation of your social status as a result of publicly using the product. It’s marketing genius to associate a mundane product with enhanced social status – no matter how superficial that status may be. That’s why some of us are billionaires and others of us aren’t.
Likewise, astute female bodybuilders understand that their muscular bodies – while a fine, fine product unto itself – aren’t the only reason why guys and gals like us love them. We love them because of how they make us feel: giddy, sexually aroused, titillated, curious, imaginative, fascinated, awe-inspired, weak-kneed, excited, nervous (in a good way), frightened (also in a good way), emasculated (definitely in a good way), and so on. It’s not just looking at their beautiful bodies that make us return back to them time and time again. Female bodybuilders – whether they realize it or not – conjure up inside ourselves a whole host of visceral emotions that are ready to burst at the seams.
Whenever you see a tantalizing photo of a nude female bodybuilder provocatively posing for the camera or a gorgeous muscular porn star showing off all her assets for leering eyes, it’s nearly impossible to not react in a primal sort of manner. Your imagination goes wild. Your heartbeat starts to race. Intense feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, or admiration bubble to the surface. Every female muscle fan knows what I’m referring to. You wouldn’t be reading this blog post if you didn’t!
Entrepreneurial female bodybuilders who both recognize this phenomena and know how to exploit it for maximum gain are in rare company. Actually, that might be a bit unfair. It’s not just understanding what the customer wants; it’s also about being willing to give them what they want. Lots of female bodybuilders, competitors, athletes, and fitness models have little interest in overtly sexualizing their identities. There’s without question a sexual aspect to any form of sport/modeling in which sculpting the human body toward fitting a certain desired aesthetic is involved, but there are lines that many women choose not to cross.
I personally know a fitness competitor (she’s a former co-worker) who is also a mother of two young daughters. I don’t think she’s the type of person who would, in the style of Brandi Mae Akers, get naked, masturbate with a big black dildo, drop f-bombs like a drunken sailor, and post the video onto the Internet for anyone to see. She has every right to do such a thing, but knowing her personality and religious convictions, I highly doubt she’d ever do something like that!
So it’s not just about “getting” it. It’s also about wanting to “go there.” Not everyone wants to do things that appeal to their fanbase’s fetishistic interests. And that’s perfectly okay. They are under no obligation to do so under any circumstances.
But for those who are eager to “go there,” hats off to you! We fans deeply and sincerely appreciate your enthusiasm toward branding yourself in a way that can be awkward, uncomfortable, and troubling to others. I cannot imagine what friends, family members, and spouses of porn stars – both muscular and non-muscular – must think about them. Do they approve of their chosen profession? Do the mothers and fathers of porn performers actually sit down and watch their sons/daughters suck the genitals of a random stranger as a form of entertainment? How awkward is that Thanksgiving dinner conversation?
Probably pretty darn awkward. While it is perfectly possible to excite, titillate, and thrill without being too explicit, what keeps customers coming back for more and more is when they encounter someone who stands out from the rest and consistently delivers on their promises.
But, it’s not just about being overtly sexual. The vast majority of sexually explicit porn out there is complete and utter garbage. It’s boring, crude, disgusting, and worse of all, unexciting. I don’t get excited watching two fake plastic surgery-enhanced nobodies having awful staged sex topped off with obnoxious screaming, moaning, and “orgasms” that are so phony even a pious Catholic nun could tell it’s not real. Even if it involves female bodybuilders. So what I’m talking about here isn’t necessarily explicit FBB porn, but the manner in which FBBs present themselves to their fans.
A female bodybuilder who “gets” it – as I’ve mentioned before – makes us feel things that we rarely feel. We’ve all seen attractive people before. I encounter physically beautiful women every single day of my life: at work, at the grocery store, on the street, at the gym, at a restaurant, at a bar, on the commuter train, etc. But none of them elicit the same response as whenever I am privileged to meet a female bodybuilder for a muscle worship session. In that moment, I’m not just meeting a beautiful woman. I’m meeting the most beautiful woman on the planet. Her strength makes me weak. Her confidence puts me in my place. I’m both scared and at ease. I’m turned on but still in awe. I’m completely focused on her but cannot make a rational thought. Time seems to stand still. That hour I spend with her seems like 20 minutes. She does things to my heart and mind that cannot be justifiably explained. But it doesn’t have to be. I know it and that’s all that matters.
Fans of FBBs gravitate toward women who make us feel these things. And this has very little to do with how sexy she acts, how “hardcore” she performs for the camera, or even what she physically looks like. For example, this is why I get completely aroused watching an FBB squat 400 pounds in sweat pants and a hoodie while I get totally bored watching two skinny topless college girls making out at a Mardi Gras party. Some people genuinely enjoy watching the latter. I prefer the former. I’d wager a guess that readers of this blog would agree with me.
Thankfully for us, there are lots of FBBs in this world who understand why we react this way. They understand why their muscles turn us on and why they personally turn us on. There are FBBs who understand the fetish of being an “older” woman and how turning 40 isn’t a curse, but instead an open door to captivating a whole new audience. She can add bonus points if she’s a mother. More bonus points if she’s a mother of multiple children. Hell, she can probably start rolling in the dough if she’s a grandmother as well!
In fact, many of us prefer our female bodybuilders to be on the “older” or “mature” side. We are enraptured by her experience, wisdom, and maternal acumen. An astute FBB won’t shy away from being older, but instead will milk it for all it’s worth. A business-savvy FBB won’t be embarrassed by her larger-than-normal penis-like clit; rather she points a camera directly in front of it and zooms in closely for everyone to see. A shrewd muscular woman doesn’t remain silent so that her unnaturally deep voice can’t be heard; she instead narrates for us exactly what she plans to do for us so that her rumbling voice is allowed to make the walls shake.
In many ways, an entrepreneurial female bodybuilder has to “think” like a customer. What do they like? What turns them on? Why do they love muscular women in the first place? Why do they keep coming back? Why do they like certain FBBs more than others? What can I learn from my competitors? What can I learn from my customers? How can I maximize my appeal while staying true to who I am? Where can I go from here? What is my potential?
FBBs who “get it” already know the answers to these questions. Denise Masino understands perfectly well there are millions of guys out there who drool over her large clitoris. Brandi Mae Akers doesn’t need to be told her pretty school-girl looks combined with impressively sexy muscularity make her irresistible. Angela Salvagno is very aware her dark olive complexion and meaty labia are her moneymakers. Amber DeLuca’s business card (assuming she even has business cards) only needs to say “Bad Muscle Girl” and nothing else. Need it say more?
For these ladies and countless others, they’ve reached their levels of success because of two things: drive and smarts. The personal drive and determination to become a world-class bodybuilder need no explanation. You don’t become as big and buff as Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia by being a couch potato. Slackers need not apply. Large muscularity doesn’t happen by accident. It happens because you put in the blood, sweat, and tears necessary to build the body you want.
But the other aspect to this is smarts. And not just being strategic about lifting, eating, resting, and supplementation. That’s important too, but what I’m talking about is being smart in the business side of being a female bodybuilder in the 21st century. FBBs who are able to earn a living doing what they do must adapt to the economic realities they face. This means being willing to offer up your product (which, as unusual as it sounds, is your very own body) to your customers (people like us who blog and read blogs about female muscle) in an intelligent and strategic manner. Thankfully for everyone involved, there are plenty of FBBs who do this every single day.
So how do they do this? Do they procure customer surveys to learn what people like? A muscle worship session is very different than getting your oil changed or your roof reshingled, but the basic concept of offering a client value for a service remains the same. Do they ask a focus group of teenagers, millennials, the elderly, and stay-at-home mothers what kind of female muscle-themed porn they prefer to masturbate to? I wouldn’t want to sit in on that meeting or sift through those surveys.
Well, they just know. They have a keen awareness of human sexuality and what makes people tick. They are able to see their own bodies through the eyes of an adoring fan. They can empathize with others. They don’t judge harshly or unfairly the fetishes of others. They may not always understand what people like, but they respect their preferences nevertheless as long as no one is harmed.
There’s a reason why you’re attracted to certain female bodybuilders and have only a passing interest in others. You may not comprehend why or how that happens, but rest assured there are many bright and intelligent FBBs out there who do.
There are some people in this world who need to please others. And not just please them every so often; they have this burning desire to please everybody every time with everything they do.
This, of course, is an impossible task. But that doesn’t stop certain people from trying to do so with all their might.
Call it insecurity. Call it a psychological complex. Call it irrational. Or you can chalk it up to good business sense. Being a bodybuilder isn’t just a lifestyle. It’s a business venture. Like all business ventures, success isn’t guaranteed, nor is the formula for success set in stone permanently. In our ever-changing market of goods and services (which is becoming more internationally-driven as the years go on), what works today won’t work ten years from now; just as what worked ten years ago isn’t the same as what works today.
The same is true for how a female bodybuilder has to promote herself to the public. In decades past, there were more “traditional” routes to how she could achieve financial success. Competitions were still fairly lucrative and endorsement deals were there for the taking. The money in it wasn’t always reliable or plentiful, but you knew where it was if you wanted it.
Today, things are much different. Big, brawny female bodybuilders aren’t given the opportunities they once were. They aren’t becoming extinct by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s hard to imagine the glory years of the 1970s and 80s returning any time soon.
So here’s the fundamental dilemma: The general public – and whether this assertion if fair or not can be up for debate – tends to gravitate toward people who fit “one size fits all” molds. If we’re talking about strong women, they want these women to fit all these criteria:
Tough, yet approachable
Strong, yet vulnerable
Muscular, yet traditionally feminine
Accomplished, yet still physically beautiful
Intelligent, yet not condescending
Individualistic, yet still marketable
Talented, yet unintimidating
A woman, yet not defined by her gender
Speaks her mind, yet doesn’t ruffle any feathers
Dedicated to her craft, yet still has time to do “woman” things like get married and raise children
These hideous double standards are obviously not felt by the majority of male athletes. Whether the typical sports fan would ever admit this or not, this is how we treat our female athletes. In many cases, they feel this way without even explicitly knowing it! Talk about having certain attitudes ingrained into our psyche from birth.
If a female bodybuilder were to be one of those types who needs to please everybody every single time, she’ll go crazy and would tear all her hair out. Thankfully, the vast majority of FBBs are mentally strong and ignore useless nonsense like that. But this illustrates the predicament that comes with the territory of working in the industry. Female bodybuilders cannot possibly please everyone. The so-called “perfect balance” of being someone who can appeal to all audiences is a myth. Not even the most popular celebrities in our society are universally popular with all people. Singers, actors, TV personalities, writers, sports heroes, etc. Everyone has their fair share of critics. This isn’t a reflection of them, however. This is more of a reflection of the diverse tastes, opinions, and aesthetic standards we have available to us.
So how does one survive in a business where appeal is the name of the game? After all, if enough people don’t like your brand, your earning power will quickly diminish. Blockbuster Video no longer exists because Netflix (and, ahem, online pirating) replaced it as the consumer’s top choice for purchasing cinematic entertainment. Therefore, FBBs cannot completely ignore the importance of mass appeal.
What is she to do? There are two routes:
Appeal to as many different audiences as possible
Appeal to a very specific audience and take full advantage of this niche market
One could argue an FBB would best be served if she pursued route #2. Non-bodybuilders like soccer players, tennis players, basketball players, MMA fighters, and prominent fitness celebrities are more likely to find financial success if she dips her toes in route #1. But this could very well be wrong.
To an extent, appealing to a niche audience is what FBBs do currently. In many respects this is their only viable option to staying financially secure in today’s world. This isn’t a criticism of the “Female Bodybuilding Business Model.” This is just an observation of what actually works.
Ever heard of the “80/20 Rule?” Also known as the “Pareto principle,” in the business world it states that in general, 80 percent of your business revenue will come from 20 percent of your customers. If you open up a coffee shop in the middle of a busy downtown business district, your most valuable clients will be the people who buy an iced latte or white chocolate mocha from you five days a week. The spunky happy-go-lucky traveler who’s in town temporarily to visit his in-laws and decides to stop by your establishment only one time isn’t. That guy may be a totally nice person, but his value to your business is limited. Your repeat customers who loyally visit your shop on a consistent basis are way more important in the long-term.
For an entrepreneurial female bodybuilder, she must take heed of the 80/20 Rule. She may not have the largest number of clients available to her, but she can have a smaller group of fans who will follower her to the ends of the Earth. They may be small in size, but their return on investment (ROI) may be significant. One person who will buy tickets to a bodybuilding competition, pay you $500 for a muscle worship session, and purchase customized swag through your website is more valuable than 20 people who know your name but don’t want to have anything to do with you.
This small group of fans will adore you for who you are. They aren’t disgusted by your large size, shrunken breasts, deepened voice, and blunt personality. In fact, they love you because of all those things! Sadly, some FBBs feel like they need to get “smaller” in order to survive in the industry. That’s sad and hopefully they choose to look the way they want to look regardless of what other people think. But the pressure of being an elite athlete who remains unambiguously “feminine” persists whether we like it or not.
However, that doesn’t mean an FBB should be compelled to sell out who she is as a human being in order to earn a steady income. If she wants to squat so much her legs grow to the size of tree trunks, then she has every right to do that. If there are people out there who want her to stop squatting so damn much because she’ll end up “looking like a man,” here’s a pithy comeback for them:
Go fuck yourself.
That’s right! An FBB doesn’t have to be that crude, but she can be if the situation calls for it. The truth is, not everyone in the general population appreciates thick strong legs on a woman. But for those of us who know who Shannon Courtney is, a small but significant portion of us do in fact appreciate the finer things in life. Miss Courtney’s legs are definitely in the category of the “Finer Things in Life,” right up there with 50-year-old scotch whiskey, the cinema of François Truffaut, Lamborghinis, and Thai cuisine.
Shannon Courtney’s legs might be the best illustration of the 80/20 Rule. A vast number of us would appreciate her hard work and provide her a “you go girl!” compliment. A smaller number of us would willingly pay her $300 for the right to touch her legs. I have no idea if Shannon offers these kinds of services, but that’s not the point. If she wanted to, she could make a healthy buck on the side. For many female bodybuilders, they actually make a living wage offering customers the ability to touch their hard-earned bodies.
In order to survive in today’s interconnected world, a female bodybuilder doesn’t have to appeal to large audiences. She only has to find a specific niche and saturate that market to the best of her ability. And there is no doubt that such a niche market exists. It may not be obvious or widely talked about, but there are plenty of guys and gals in this world who share a keen interest in muscular women.
These are the people who matter to an FBB. Not the rest who are openly disgusted by her life’s choices. An FBB shouldn’t waste her time trying to please people who don’t already appreciate her beautiful muscles. Trying to convert them will be an exercise in futility. Instead, she should focus her attention on cultivating meaningful relationships with clients who already love her muscles. That will reap much more ROI.
Thankfully, most female bodybuilders are already doing this! This essay isn’t telling them anything they don’t know already. But it can serve as a reminder to the rest of us that living life as an FBB can be arduous, frustrating, and unpredictable. There are outside forces working against you. The deck is not stacked in your favor. But all is not lost. There are avenues to success that are proven to work on a practical level. The challenge is tapping into those avenues and feeling confident, supported, and empowered to do so.
Indeed, you cannot please everybody. This requires either maintaining the (impossible) “perfect balance” that appeals to all audiences … or diluting your product. The first option is impractical and the second option forces you to compromise your integrity. Either one stinks. So your third option is probably your best option: Screw what the masses think and embrace what your dedicated fans think.
And let’s be honest. Not even your most dedicated fans will appreciate everything you do 100 percent of the time. That’s totally fine. But you know they’re in your corner, cheering for you every step of the way. They may not make up large numbers, but their proud loyalty amplifies their voices ten-fold.
It’s not too often that I’ll make firm declarative statements on this blog, but here’s one for the record:
Denise Masino might be the greatest female bodybuilder of all time.
Uh, what? Really? Out of all the thousands of women in this world who’ve pursued the sport of bodybuilding at some point in their lives, is Denise Masino really the GOAT (Greatest of All Time)? Surely there must be someone else, like Iris Kyle or Cory Everson, who should really take this prize. What on earth are you thinking, Ryan?
Well, hear me out on this. My opinion here is based less on competitive merits and more on entrepreneurial success. So maybe the “Greatest Female Bodybuilder of All Time” is a bit inaccurate. Perhaps “Greatest Female Bodybuilding Businesswoman of All Time” is closer to the truth.
First, some background information on Ms. Masino.
Denise Masino was born Denise Sanchez on May 1, 1968 in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents are from Puerto Rican descent. A diminutive 5’2”, Denise was married to Robert Masino for 14 years before her current marriage to Gregg R. Simpson, a filmmaker. She credits her parents for instilling in her a hard work ethic and belief in her ability to carve her own pathway to success. Clearly, her parents taught their daughter well.
Her competitive history is respectable but not overly impressive. She won her first contest in 1994 by being the first overall winner at the 94’ NPC Florida Championships. Between the mid-1990s to 2007, Denise placed consistently in the top 10 in competitions such as the NPC Nationals, Jan Tana Classic, Ms. International and the most prestigious of them all, the Ms. Olympia. Her best placement at the Olympia was 2nd in 2004 in the lightweight category.
Nevertheless, Denise has made her mark on the world of female bodybuilding by being a shrewd businesswoman. She has many assets and isn’t afraid to show every single one of them off. Denise has graced such publications as Muscle & Fitness, Flex Magazine, Muscular Development, Muscle Mag, Women’s Physique World, Playboy Europe and others. She’s also appeared in a few independent films and has made a handful of television appearances. She remains on good terms with her ex-husband Robert and frequently collaborates with him on projects. Denise currently lives in Fort Myers, Florida but regularly visits Los Angeles for business purposes.
Alright, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into why I believe Denise deserves such high praise.
In a previous blog article, I listed my top 10 favorite female bodybuilders and foolishly ranked Denise at #4. Big mistake! She should be my #1 favorite, which is where she stands as of right now. No disrespect to anyone else, but Denise is clearly a head above the rest. I hope I don’t offend any of my faithful readers who are actual FBBs themselves! I love you all dearly, too!
However, Denise has an incredible arsenal of talents and assets that are unmatched compared to her competition. She has an almost flawless combination of natural beauty, muscularity, intelligence, business savvy and personality that makes her a winner in all categories. She’s a gorgeous muscle woman who’s unquestionably feminine and celebrates her femininity. She’s highly intelligent but doesn’t condescend down to anyone. She’s sexy but playful at the same time. She’s not afraid to become erotic for the camera but never resorts to crudity or crass behavior. She’s also not afraid to showcase her most unforgettable physical asset (we’ll get into this later) and does so with class, dignity and pride. She reveals a lot about herself but keeps just enough under wraps so that we keep begging her for more. I could be wrong about some of this, but I should never let facts get in the way of a good argument!
Luckily for us, Denise is quite active in the adult film industry. Though not a “star” in the traditional sense, for anyone who loves female muscle, she’s a superstar. But it’s not just her large volume of erotic videos that endear her to us; it’s her personality that makes her so irresistible.
I get the feeling Denise is the one who crafts her own image. She obviously has a team of marketing professionals (web designer, videographer, photographer, copywriter, etc.) who work closely with her to build her brand, but without Denise’s own shrewdness, none of that would make a difference. Denise knows what people want and is not afraid to deliver with a bang. She’s also smart enough to deny her fans just enough so that they remain hopelessly intrigued with her forever. These are rare talents.
Denise’s brand is simple yet brilliant. She’s a beautiful, strong woman who loves sex, embraces her sexuality, loves to have fun in her life and isn’t afraid to be herself…all while maintaining an approachable, friendly persona. Denise Masino isn’t intimidating. She isn’t scary. She isn’t a powerful female muscle Goddess who will dominate you or humiliate you. She’s essentially that cool lady at the bar who will shoot pool with the guys and can probably bench press more than all of them. Her sexiness doesn’t feel forced. Her personality doesn’t appear to be manufactured. It’s all real. It’s genuine. You can trust Denise to be just Denise.
In reality, every media star has to craft a somewhat fake persona to a certain degree. We all know our favorite Hollywood movie stars aren’t necessarily in reality how they act on the red carpet or while sitting next to Jimmy Fallon’s desk. Hollywood can be very fake. We all know this. So to a degree, how Denise comes across in interviews and in her videos may or may not be how she is in real life. But I’d wager that’s pretty darn close to being the real Denise Masino.
Her personality is what really stands out. I genuinely would want to sit down with her and chat with her over a few beers. She could be wearing sweat pants, a fuzzy parka and no make-up and I’d still want to hang out with her. She’s an undeniably beautiful woman, but she also appears to be sweet, genuine and has a lot to say about certain things.
Outside of who Denise is as a person, everyone who knows about her will remember her for one particularly striking physical asset:
Her enormous clitoris.
And, to an extent, her meaty labia.
Yes, it’s unusual for anyone to hone in on someone’s genitalia like that (or is it?), but her large feminine endowment is without a doubt her most memorable physical trait. But it’s not this endowment that unto itself adds to her legend (although it most certainly takes on a life of its own), it’s how open she is to showing it off. I’ve written before why men – and women – are fascinated with a female bodybuilder’s genitalia, so there’s no need to get too detailed into this. However, it is crucial to understand that what lies between her legs is one of the most enticing and sexually titillating features I’ve ever seen on any human being, male or female.
I would argue that Angela Salvagno also possesses between her legs beautiful feminine flesh that matches Ms. Masino’s, but that’s not entirely the point here. Denise does an expert job at exploiting her best physical attribute for the camera in a way that challenges us to look away. We cannot look away. Whether we’re disgusted by her clitoris or we’re uncontrollably aroused by it, either way once we’ve seen what she has, there’s no turning back. She has us in the palm of her hand and we’re powerless to resist.
Let’s be very clear here. Many female bodybuilders possess enlarged clits. They are not penises. Not by a long shot. A feminine endowment is in no way comparable (though biologically symmetrical) to a male endowment. Female bodybuilders are women – period, end of story. There’s no debating this. But we’re especially intrigued by FBBs because their physical strength and atypical anatomical features come just close enough to traversing into the territory of masculinity…but remain clearly set in the realm of femininity.
When Denise masturbates for the camera, we watch her not as a woman masturbating like a woman, but rather as a woman masturbating like a man. She “jerks off” her clit very much like how guys jerk off their penises. When she climaxes, we half-way expect her to ejaculate semen like the rest of us. She doesn’t of course, but the thought is still in the back of our minds. In this respect, Denise almost seems like “one of the guys” while still unambiguously remaining a woman. When Denise experiments with a clit pump, her sensitive nub of flesh nearly grows to the size of a small penis, which further titillates our imagination. We know she doesn’t have a penis, but it looks so much like one that we seem to (at least momentarily) identify with her.
Perhaps that’s it. Maybe thanks to our society’s increasing sexual multilateralism, the stark differences between “men” and “women” are starting to crumble. It isn’t enough for “men to be men” and “women to be women.” We sort of like it when a woman temporarily takes on masculine characteristics while staying true to her established feminine identity. Not only does she sort of “become one of us,” we can still find her sexually attractive as a woman at the same time.
In our modern age of social media, media saturation, sexual pluralism and postmodern sexual mores, it’s not enough to just look at photos of a beautiful woman or watch her engage in sexual activities for the camera. We also want to know who she is as a person. If she seems like a “pretty cool chick,” we feel more at ease in watching her do her thing. Perhaps this is a victory of sorts for 20th century Feminism. We don’t see women as being mere sexual objects. We see them as peers who can also carry immense sexual appeal. I don’t know if that counts as a “victory” per se, so I’ll leave that conclusion up to you.
I have one final observation to point out. Pay attention to what kinds of videos and photos Denise participates in. She’s either by herself (going solo) or in the company of other women. She’s never, to my knowledge, done any videos or photoshoots with other men. Perhaps content like that exists somewhere, but I’ve yet to locate it. If it does, feel free to send it to me! I will, ahem, gladly study it for academic enlightenment.
So she’s seen either performing solo or engaging in sex with other women. She masturbates, poses for the camera, uses a clit pump, has cunnilingus performed on her by another FBB, allows an FBB to penetrate her with a dildo or strap-on, penetrates herself with a dildo, and engages in other activities that don’t involve a man. I’m guessing she chooses to do this because she’s married and doesn’t want to put her husband in an awkward situation, so I get that completely. But this also works to her advantage whether she intends it to or not.
It allows guys like me to fantasize. I know she’s married. I know I have a snowball’s chance in Hades to ever have sex with her. However, I can watch her have sex with other women and not feel jealous. I can watch dildos penetrate her but not feel slighted or excluded in any way. But I’ve never seen an actual man’s penis penetrate her. I know she probably gets plenty of sex in her everyday life, but that makes not a lick of difference. In my own personal fantasy world, I can continue to imagine what it would be like for me and Denise to enjoy a romantic evening consisting of a candle-lit dinner, an expensive bottle of wine, a glowing fireplace, and a long warm evening of lovemaking.
Obviously I’ll never be able to experience that with her. But that’s the beauty of fantasy. It’s your own reality, independent from actual reality. And her choice to never do any scenes or photos with other men makes it easier for me to have these fantasies. My fantasies aren’t “spoiled” by images of real guys having sex with her. There’s no “other man” for me to compete with. Yes, I know she’s married. And I’m sure Denise and her husband have an active sex life that rivals that of the characters in a romance novel. But that’s not important. In my own mind, that “only man” could be me. Heck, in my dreams, it is me.
So that’s it. That’s why Denise Masino might be the “Greatest Female Bodybuilding Businesswoman of All Time.” She understands branding better than few others in the industry. Denise knows what makes her marketable and isn’t afraid to use it to her advantage. More power to her. She’s stunningly beautiful yet approachable. She’s sweet yet possesses a kinkier side. She’s a strong independent woman, but she appeals to men of all types. She’s the type of woman you want to be your friend and your girlfriend at the same time. She has physical assets that she isn’t shy about showing off. She’s proud of what makes her unique. There’s a lot to be said about confidence. Confidence is sexy, no doubt about it. She allows us to indulge in our fantasies while smartly not going too far and mistakenly ruining the fantasy. She is who she is and is damn proud of it.
This is a difficult balance. Only a shrewd businesswoman can maintain this persona year after year with impeccable precision. That’s Denise for you. I get the feeling she doesn’t struggle to build her brand. She does it seamlessly. It’s second nature to her. It’s tough being a self-made entrepreneur in today’s stagnant globalized economy when you work in an industry that’s shunning women more and more. But if there’s anybody who can do it successfully and with grace, it’s her.
Clichés become clichés because they’re based on, for the most part, a certain degree of observable truth. They may not be true in the purest sense, but conventional wisdom has a funny way of speaking to reality more often than not.
No matter how sick and tired we get of hearing tired adages like “the early bird gets the worm” or “birds of a feather flock together,” we keep seeing them used over and over again because…well, they’re true. Maybe not true 100 percent of the time, but enough times that we don’t retire them to Cliché Heaven.
Here’s another one. “Sex sells.” Does it? Does sex actually sell? You bet your horny ass it does.
Why? Simple explanation: No matter how old we get, how mature we think we become, or how pious we try to act, the erotic will always catch our attention. Always. Especially if it hits right in your wheelhouse. Sex does indeed sell. And in a world that’s dictated by the health and vitality of the free markets, you can bet with both hands that sex will continue to sell as long as it remains a reliable source of profit.
Every Victoria’s Secret magazine spread, shampoo commercial or Abercrombie & Fitch mall banner preys upon this very philosophy. Sex sells anything from TV subscriptions to hair brushes. In fact, it’s so pervasive in our society that we don’t always notice it. I’d go even further and say that it’s so saturated in our culture that sometimes sex doesn’t sell because we’ve become so accustomed to it. If it ceases to titillate us, we might ignore it. So this is why every advertising agency has to keep on pushing the boundaries of good taste as the years go on. When a beautiful girl in a cute dress can be overshadowed by a sexy woman in a g-string bikini, you know it’s only a matter of time when all-out nudity will be considered acceptable in the public sphere.
Female bodybuilders know this reality all too well. As I’ve discussed before, the lifestyle of being a bodybuilder can be quite costly. The monetary rewards that come with competing can be few and far between. Only the elite level athletes are able to make a substantial income from the sport alone. Few others are selected to endorse products that can help generate additional revenue. So many FBBs are stuck having to ride the gravy train of our favorite cliché. Sex sells.
Hop on while you can. All aboard! Next stop, Hornyville, USA!
So how do FBBs sell their sexuality? There are many ways. Sexy workout videos are one way. Sexy photoshoots are another. Also, sexy websites and social media posts can keep fans enthralled. Live webcam shows, specialty content for “members only” and sexy merchandise are par for the course. Then you can go deeper and add sensual sessions to the mix. Whether an FBB offers BDSM services or muscle worship sessions, a slew of appointments from eager fans can add up pretty quickly to a lot of dough. If that doesn’t seem like enough, there’s the good old fashioned “adult entertainment” industry. Don’t tell me you’ve never been curious to explore what that’s all about!
There are probably other ways that FBBs take advantage of the free market, but what I mentioned above pretty much covers most of it.
However, there are a lot of people who are uncomfortable by all this. They might not necessarily say it out loud, but for many folks the idea of a female bodybuilder using her sexuality for financial gain is disconcerting. There are many reasons for this, so let’s dive right into it.
First, the most prominent argument is that taking advantage of one’s sexuality demeans the sport and one’s peers within the sport, male or female. Female athletes across all sports already are gratuitously sexualized, so this only adds additional fuel to the fire. This makes a lot of sense. In many ways, a female bodybuilder doesn’t just act on her own behalf. She also acts – although not intentionally – on behalf of every single female bodybuilder in existence. It’s not fair, but that’s the way it is.
Understandably, male and female bodybuilders alike struggle to fit into the mainstream of global competitive sports. Today, bodybuilding seems more like a fringe subculture than a universally recognized sporting industry. How many people can identify Peyton Manning if he were to walk down a crowded street? Since he’s just won his second Super Bowl, I’d imagine quite a lot. On the other hand, how many people could identify by name Phil Heath? He’d definitely stand out for being such a large human being, but we can all agree he doesn’t have nearly the face or name recognition as Mr. Manning, LeBron James, Steph Curry or Serena Williams.
This isn’t meant to insult Mr. Heath or anybody else in the bodybuilding world. This is meant to point out a simple fact that the sport isn’t mainstream. Not by a long shot. So how do you make it more mainstream? Quite simply, it has to resemble other mainstream sports. Unfortunately, when a female bodybuilder is seen using her sexuality to make a living, in the minds of the general public this starts to make the sport look more like a muscle beauty contest than the U.S. Open. It’s understandable why so many male and female bodybuilders are uncomfortable by the marriage of their sport with overt sexual expression.
It’s easy to see why a pro bodybuilder would be offended by women who choose to also work in the session business and adult entertainment industry. No one wants their profession viewed by the public with subtle associations of prostitution and pornography. Please keep in mind that I’m not calling FBBs who do sessions “prostitutes.” I am not making that distinction. What I am saying is that this association is not outside the realm of comprehension. The human brain is a funny thing. If a dog quacks like a duck, we may subconsciously think it’s a duck, even though our eyes tell us a different story. FBBs who choose to do sessions and pornographic films are still athletes, even though our brains may tell us they’re sex workers instead. And whatever negative stereotypes we hold against sex workers will unfairly be thrust upon these women whether we acknowledge it or not.
Second, using sexuality to make a viable income is seen not just as demeaning to the sport, but also demeaning to the individual. The “sex sells” mantra is so well-known that it’s become an easy way to make a quick buck. What can a Hollywood producer do to make sure his upcoming summer blockbuster makes even more money? Easy! Give the female lead a topless scene. How can a TV producer ensure her pilot sitcom will garner substantial ratings? Simple! Create a promo where one of the female characters comes out wearing a bikini. How can a CEO sell more sticks of deodorant? Ah ha! Shoot a commercial where a slovenly slacker dude buys the product, uses it and within seconds finds himself surrounded by hordes of young beautiful sorority co-eds. That’ll have the deodorant flying off the shelves!
“Sex sells,” therefore, feels like you’re selling out. It appears like you cannot sell your product on its own merits, thus you have to “sex” it up in order to grab people’s attention. I can see why this rubs people the wrong way whenever they see a female bodybuilder using her sexuality for financial gain. Why can’t a female athlete just be an athlete, not a “sexy female athlete?”
This is a valid concern. All too often female athletes of every sport are forced (either directly or indirectly) to sexualize their image in order to substantiate their bank accounts. We all know the vast majority of women athletes aren’t super rich like many of their male counterparts, so any extra income they can legitimately earn must be pursued.
Third, the “sex sells” mantra perhaps also demeans the rest of us. Are we such sex-crazed horny animals that we won’t buy a tube of toothpaste unless a beautiful woman is shown brushing her pearly whites with them? Are we so dimwitted that a girl in a bikini must be the determining factor in helping us decide which car we want to purchase? I mean, cars are pretty expensive. Some have better gas mileage than others. Others last longer. But if I see an ad with a blonde bimbo plastered all over it, by golly I’m going to spend a quarter of my yearly income on that!
Well, as silly as all this sounds, there might be an element of truth to it. I don’t think we’re incapable of controlling our sexual urges, but maybe I have a more optimistic viewpoint of human behavior than I should. But hopefully you get where I’m coming from. I tend to also get peeved when I see marketing ploys that shamelessly exploit sexuality in a completely unnecessary manner. Did they really have to go there? I guess they must think we’re all idiots. Perhaps we are…
To be fair, I don’t think advertising moguls actually think we’re all horned up bunny rabbits. I think the overuse of the “sex sells” philosophy reflects a lack of creativity and laziness rather than a low opinion of society. But I could be wrong.
So I can see why a lot of us instinctively react negatively when we see female bodybuilders utilizing their sex appeal for personal gain. We can be protective creatures. We want to maintain a righteous sense of dignity toward the institutions we respect, whether we’re talking about the bodybuilding industry, the world of female sports or the human race. I’m not here to criticize anyone’s personal moral or ethical sensibilities. Everyone comes from a different path in life. However, I do believe it is imperative that we look at the world through somebody else’s eyes for once. If you’re a dedicated and passionate female bodybuilder who exists in a male-dominated sport that’s increasingly marginalizing competitors like you, well, I don’t blame you for doing whatever you can to make a living. I’m not a female bodybuilder, so I don’t know what “the struggle” is like.
But I do possess a basic understanding of economics. Sometimes, “sex sells” makes perfect business sense. I don’t have fancy pie charts or Excel spreadsheets to back me up, but if your current business model isn’t producing adequate streams of revenue, keeping on hammering away at the status quo would be financial suicide. A willingness to adapt to new market conditions is vital for survival. We may not like it (at first, or ever), but you can’t argue with bankruptcy.
In many respects, female bodybuilders have to think of themselves less as athletes and more as entrepreneurs. I will explore this topic in future blog posts, so I won’t get too deep into this right now. For now, let’s just say it appears to be the wave of the future. It’s perfectly understandable why the marriage between bodybuilding and sexuality makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Your personal values notwithstanding, it could come across like a desperate last attempt to revive a dying industry.
The “sex sells” business model, however, doesn’t have to appear like a Hail Mary pass to the end zone to save the season. Could we see it instead as an alternative form of the sport? Or not part of the sport at all? There are a lot of female bodybuilders who refuse to market themselves as sex objects. I respect that. They have every right to portray themselves in any light they choose. However, so do the women who willingly (and proudly) showcase their sex appeal for adoring fans. Why all the judgment? Why do we have to fight each other?
If we can’t agree to disagree, then perhaps in the interim we can do our best to make a clear distinction between the sport of female bodybuilding and the independent business ventures of individual female bodybuilders – whether these women officially compete or not. Many FBBs compete sparingly. Some not at all. Regardless, they’re allowed to develop their personal brands in any way they choose. I’m a full supporter of self-empowerment.
The entertainment/media industry can be a harsh one. There’s no questioning that. Sports fall under this category, and we know for sure it can be an unforgiving world. Rarely do professional athletes live perfect storybook lives. The industry can chew up the best of us and spit us out at a moment’s notice without pomp or circumstance. Whatever you got to do to survive is sometimes the only path you can choose. If you have to choose between abandoning the profession you love or violating your principles every now and then, do you really wish ill on anyone who chooses the latter?
“Sex sells” is an undeniable truth. However, is it truthful because that’s the way it is, or because we allow it to be true? I cannot answer that fully, but I can see what’s right in front of my eyes. There are plenty of beautiful and intelligent female bodybuilders who happily make a living doing what they do thanks to their irresistible sex appeal. If they receive professional fulfillment and joy showing off their gorgeous bodies to adoring fans, I have absolutely no quarrel with that.
Let’s discuss a topic that’s relevant to both social psychology and economics.
The Scarcity Principle.
The Scarcity Principle refers to the belief that human beings tend to place a higher value on an object that is scarce and a lower value on objects that are abundant.
In other words, people are attracted to things that are in limited supply. We love anything that we consider to be “special” or “unique” or “available for a limited time only.”
We couldn’t care less for things that are readily available, accessible to the general public or are a dime a dozen. No sir! I want what nobody else can get.
If my cousin Bob and sister Jane can have it too…well, then count me out. I don’t want it anymore!
We can think of numerous examples in everyday life that confirm The Scarcity Principle. How about the Black Friday sales you see the day after Thanksgiving? If you think about it, any item that’s on sale on Black Friday is also available during the other 364 days of the calendar year. Yet, how can you say “no” to those low prices? How am I ever going to find discounts on washing machines this good anywhere else?
Or think of it in terms of the dating pool. Logically, we’d think that loneliness would never happen in a large metropolitan city. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Studies have shown (and I have no clue whatsoever who actually conducts these studies) that people have a harder time finding friends and romantic partners in a big city versus a smaller suburb or town. Why is this? Simple: When there are too many people around, you place a lower value on them.
Why date this particular guy or a girl when I have plenty of other options at my disposal?
Yet, people remain lonely despite these alleged “plenty of other options.” When you hear people say there are plenty of fish in the sea, it leaves a heartbroken person little comfort. Because, ironically, that’s the problem unto itself! There are way too many options out there for you to choose from. So, you get antsy and decide not to choose anyone at all.
It’s better to be safe (alone) than sorry (in a relationship that you ultimately find boring and unfulfilling), one rationalizes to one’s self.
According to census data, in 1950 the world’s population was approximately 2.5 billion people. Today, it’s well over 7 billion. That means in 64 years (which isn’t that much time when you consider how long humans have lived on this planet) the number of people on Earth has nearly tripled. Tripled! Think about that. At the end of World War II, for every person on the planet there would be two more today. If you killed (or magically transported to Venus) two-thirds of our population, you could return back to the days when Communism was considered the next big thing and poodle skirts were all the rage.
Oh, what a simpler time that was!
Yet, despite these statistical facts, we see worldwide an explosion of online dating websites, high divorce rates and loneliness in urban cities. With more people around, shouldn’t we have an easier time finding the love of our life? How can we not have enough friends when there are 7 billion potential buddies occupying this floating rock in space together?
Seem counterintuitive? It should, because none of this makes any logical sense. But, if you really think about it, all of this makes perfect sense.
Think of it this way. Imagine you’re about to have dinner at a restaurant. You’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary or just having a special night out on the town. You sit down (let’s imagine it’s an elegant Italian place), open the menu, scan your options and are dumbfounded. What do you order? I mean, there are so many dishes I could pick! I could get a pasta dish, a pizza, a calzone, a dinner salad, something from the seafood section…or I could sell out and get a hamburger.
I like hamburgers. Sure, I’ll go with the cheeseburger and fries, Mrs. Salvatore!
Having too many options makes people nervous. What if I choose the “wrong” option even though there probably isn’t a “wrong option” in the first place? Odds are every dish at this fine restaurant will provide you a great tasting dinner. But there’s that sliver of doubt in your mind that tells you one dish has to be superior to the rest. And you’d be a fool to pick the wrong one.
So do you ask your waiter or waitress to make a recommendation for you? Or do you close your eyes and randomly select a choice with your index finger? Either option would probably work equally well. Or you could simply order what someone else is having (“I’ll have what she’s having”), thus putting the decision-making pressure off of you.
The same goes for economics.
I don’t want the tablet device or smartphone that all my neighbors have. I want the newest model that none of these suckers have…even though they’ll eventually get it a year or two from now.
Because, let’s be completely honest here, who doesn’t want to be the envy of your pals for having the nicest and shiniest new toys?
Corporations and marketing teams exploit The Scarcity Principle to the point where it’s become a science. Figuring out how to maximize profit in a short amount of time given a limited supply of a particular product isn’t difficult to do. Create limited-time offers. Hype up a sales day. Intentionally release your new products slowly. Create an advertising strategy that implies that not everyone should use this product, but you can.
Everything boils down to making an object feel special even if it’s not. Conversely, when an object is in abundance, you don’t want it as much. Fifteen years ago it was cool to have a cell phone because no one else had one. Today, everyone and their grandmother has a smartphone that can call, text, surf the Internet and wash your car. Now it’s become mainstream. And nothing sucks more than something that’s lost its coolness and has become so damn ordinary.
So, let’s do a quick recap. We value things that are scarce. We don’t value things that are common. We get overwhelmed by too many options. We get underwhelmed when a previously rare commodity becomes commonplace. In a nutshell, supply (either the abundance or shortage of it) warps our perceptions of the actual value of said supply.
What can we learn from this? Simple. It is important to place a value on everything – using our own objective criteria – so we know what something is worth despite what external influences may tell us.
Don’t let clever marketing strategies or base emotions dictate how you view the value of something or someone. Your cute but shy co-worker who’s always around could very well be more valuable than that elusive hot blonde you see at the bus stop every day. You don’t need “new” gadgets when the “old” models work just fine. Too many options can be a bad thing despite what consumer culture tells you.
The Scarcity Principle tells us that the dynamics of supply and demand, while it has nothing to do with altering the intrinsic worth of an object, can manipulatively make us place artificial values on objects for no good reason. A slice of pizza from a shopping mall food court isn’t necessarily less delicious than a slice of pizza at a 5-star hotel. It could be, but don’t automatically assume so.
That guy who’s playing “hard to get” isn’t necessarily better “boyfriend material” than the shy fellow who lives next door to you who’s kind, sweet but a tad socially awkward.
So, what does this have to do with female bodybuilders?
Female bodybuilders, like fine French wine or a blood red moon, are rare. Period. They aren’t available in everyday life. Millions upon millions of women in our society don’t look like Lora Ottenad or Kasie Cavanaugh. Oh, it would be sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet if that were the case, but sadly it isn’t.
The Scarcity Principle might explain why many men (and women) idolize female bodybuilders to the point of developing an obsession with them. We obsess over them because their rarity grants them God-like divine status in our eyes. We love them for all the traditional reasons (sex appeal, gorgeous bodies, stunning physiques), but we also love them because there’s this thing about them you can’t teach:
Female bodybuilders are mystifying. They pique our curiosity. Their mysteriousness titillates us. Muscular women are like a Rubik’s Cube. No matter how much you try to figure them out, they keep throwing more twists and turns at you to keep you guessing for all eternity. How do they look like that? Why do they want to look like that? What drives them to look like? When a female bodybuilder walks into a room, everyone’s attention instantly focuses on her. Some are aroused. Others are disgusted. A few are confused and conflicted. But the reaction that speaks loudest is this: Reverence.
We revere those whom we are attracted to but feel separated from. Female bodybuilders aren’t normal women. Technically, they’re no different from anybody else, but hot damn! How can you not become obsessed with Cathy LeFrancois or Catherine Holland?
Their ambiance is so captivating. And once you get your first taste of muscular women, you can never go back.
The deification of female bodybuilders is caused by The Scarcity Principle. There’s no other explanation for it. These women are beautiful rare specimens. Like a brilliant diamond sparkling on top of a museum pedestal, we fixate over them because they seem so far away from us. For most of us, a genuinely large female bodybuilder is probably nowhere to be found. I don’t know about you, but FBBs who look like Katka Kyptova aren’t exactly regulars at the Starbucks across from my apartment.
No wonder why many FBBs do “sessions” with their adoring fans. Where else are regular folk going to be able to touch the rock hard muscles of an exquisite muscular woman? Popular session providers can probably make a healthy amount of income (all tax free, no doubt) when all is said and done. One road trip across America, Europe and anywhere else a female bodybuilder decides to embark upon could put a lot of dough in her pocket – even after she takes travel expenses into account.
So there you have it. Now you have a better understanding from a psychological and economic perspective why we love female muscle so much. Their scarcity gives them power. Their uncommonness (yes, that’s actually a word) gives them the ultimate bargaining chip.
Female bodybuilders aren’t like ice cream flavors at Baskin-Robbins or used bicycles on Craigslist. Female bodybuilders are like The Holy Grail from the Arthurian legend.
A divine object that can make men go mad with obsession. Men will kill each other just to have it. She holds all the power. We commoners are powerless to resist.