The Hyperfeminine Muscular Woman

Minna Pajulahti is too hot for words.

Female bodybuilders are no strangers to the hurtful accusation that they’re not actually women. That they aren’t feminine enough. That they’re turning into men or want to become men. That men aren’t going to like them because of their muscles. That “real women” don’t look like that. That they actually look like men. That they’re confused about their gender.

And so on and so forth.

These slurs are so common I’m guessing most FBBs have achieved the ability to mentally block them out. They have a filter installed in their brain that allows them to ignore stupid opinions that have no merit. At least, I hope so. I cannot imagine how dreadfully annoying it is to have your appearance mocked just because you choose to lift weights, supplement, and bulk up like any other gym bro. Or that your personal definition of “empowerment” requires you to look different than the other girls – and that not everybody is on board with that.

Because of this toxic reality, it is not surprising that many female bodybuilders have decided – whether this is intentional or not is difficult to assess – to counter these slanders by presenting themselves in explicitly feminine terms. Think of it as compensating for their lack of “traditional femininity” by acting more outwardly feminine than they normally would.

Some examples of this include:

  • Getting breast implants
  • Wearing a lot of makeup (even more than usual)
  • Wearing sexy dresses
  • Wearing stylish clothing
  • Smiling, laughing, giggling, and doing whatever she can to appear less “threatening”
  • Posting pictures on Instagram of her doing traditionally “feminine” activities like trying on new clothes, shoe shopping, kissing her boyfriend/husband, playing with dogs, playing with kids, being a “mom,” cooking, cleaning, etc.
  • Promoting brands/products/stores that are traditionally aimed at women
  • Doing porn in which she has sex with men, with the man (or group of men) being in the “dominant” role and the muscular woman in the “submissive” role
  • Or doing porn where the man and muscular woman are equals
  • Choosing not to talk if her voice is too low
  • Doing photoshoots in which her face is edited to look more feminine and less hard edged
  • Avoiding talking about steroids, hormonal supplements, and anything that can be perceived as compromising her “womanhood”

It saddens me to think that female bodybuilders do these things not because they want to but because they feel like they have to. Yet, I am torn on this topic. On one hand, I am a strong believer that everybody has the right to craft their own identity to be whatever they want it to be. They shouldn’t give in to pressure to conform, fit in, or go with the flow. On the other hand, if being “traditionally feminine” is what they genuinely want to do, then nothing should stop them from being that. It’s a tough line to draw in the sand because I do not know what every FBB is thinking and feeling.

Don’t mess with Jayne Trcka. She has handcuffs!

Maybe some FBBs actually enjoy doing activities that are considered “feminine.” Or maybe they do it because they don’t want to alienate anybody. Or, like I said before, they want to appear less “threatening,” as if the sight of a woman with big muscles is somehow considered inherently threatening. Threatening to whom, exactly?

The Hyperfeminine Muscular Woman is a fascinating case study. What do we think of her? Is she compromising her identity by pretending to be something she isn’t, or is that who she really is?

At the end of the day, we don’t really know. But I do know this phenomenon does exist. For example, I can’t recall where I saw this but I remember reading an Instagram post in which Minna Pajulahti says she sometimes acts overtly feminine because she doesn’t want people to think of female bodybuilders as not being real women. That’s paraphrasing her rationale, unfortunately. So she does things like deadlift a crazy amount of weight, drop the bar to the floor, and strike a Beyoncé-like pose at the end as the “kicker.” Why dance around and strike diva poses? Because it reinforces her femininity, which apparently gets compromised when she’s deadlifting, squatting, bench pressing, and lift a ton of weight.

I am not criticizing Minna, of course. I love her and would never do that! But I will acknowledge that I think it’s a bit sad that she feels the need to do this. Not tragic, but mildly sad. Being strong doesn’t mean she isn’t feminine. Doing masculine-labeled activities does not mean she isn’t feminine. Having a nontraditional physique does not mean she isn’t feminine. All of that is complete and utter bullshit.

Minna Pajulahti is a feminine woman. So is Victoria Dominguez. And Kathy Connors. And Jennifer Kennedy. And Gillian Kovack. And Rene Campbell. And Wanda Moore. And Lauren Powers. And Rhonda Lee Quaresma. And Dena Westerfield. And many, many others.

What do all these beautiful women have in common? They’ve all had their feminine identities questioned. Or challenged. Or denied. I’ve seen them labeled “trannies” or “dykes” and other idiotic slurs. The stupidity of people who feel compelled to insult and troll innocent people is boundless. But that is the world we live in today.

Rene Campbell isn’t here for your rude comments.

What makes the existence of the Hyperfeminine Muscular Woman so frustrating is that we don’t know if it’s genuine or not. Are they acting overtly feminine because that’s who they truly are or because that’s how they think society wants them to be? To segment that last part even further, do they act aggressively feminine because they want to be accepted by society (whatever that means) or because they feel the need to overcompensate? The negative stereotypes that surround female bodybuilders are real, hurtful, and pervasive. Perhaps some FBBs feel compelled to dispel these perceptions by acting way more feminine than they’d normally want to. Either way, it’s sad.

It’s sad because I don’t want any muscular woman to act differently just because they want to please others. That’s heartbreaking. I want female bodybuilders to be who they are and not apologize for it. If being traditionally feminine is who they are, so be it. If they feel more comfortable being “butch” or androgynous, so be it. If acting and appearing more masculine is what floats their boat, so be it. Regardless, I just want every FBB to feel at home in their own skin. Whatever that entails.

But I don’t want to dismiss the fact that outside perceptions do matter, even if we don’t want them to. As individuals, we do have to conform to certain social standards if we want to fit in. At least, whenever we’re in public. Especially in the professional world. Being viewed as a scary butch devil lady may be fun as an online persona, but it’s not going to help you land any customer service jobs. Many FBBs are also personal trainers. They can’t appear too intimidating if they want to gain new clients.

There’s also the moral obligation to consider on top of this. When female bodybuilders choose to act and look “hyperfeminine,” are they actually doing harm to femininity without realizing it? For example, we tend to hold narrow views of what masculinity and femininity look like. It shouldn’t take a Gillette ad campaign to tell us that. Shouldn’t FBBs act however they want to act as a statement that “feminine” can be a much larger tent than it currently is? This could also challenge whether or not “masculinity” and “femininity” are real things. Or to what extent we’re allowed to box in people in these categories.

Roxanne Edwards slaying the bodybuilding stage.

It’s unfair to demand that every popular female bodybuilder is obliged to be an ambassador for female bodybuilders everywhere. They are not symbols. They are individuals. Yet, this obligation is unavoidable. Every time an FBB makes an appearance on TV or in a mainstream Hollywood movie, they represent FBBs as a whole – whether they want to or not. Jayne Trcka appeared in Scary Movie (2000) as the comically androgynous gym teacher Miss Mann. She was great in it, even though I cringe watching her scene. It plays for laughs every single negative stereotype you can imagine regarding muscular women. It reinforces the perceptions that women like Cindy Landolt and Aspen Rae shatter with every new Instagram post. Yet, they aren’t invited to appear in movies or TV shows.

But I am not criticizing Jayne. She’s awesome. She’s beautiful, smart, funny, and kind. She isn’t traditionally feminine, but there’s no doubt she’s a woman. She’s a 100% woman. She doesn’t have a secret penis tucked between her legs. And I totally understand why she took that role. You don’t say “no” to a mainstream Hollywood gig. Unless you’re Leonardo DiCaprio or Margot Robbie and you have studios begging you to be in their movie, most working actors have to accept whatever job is available to them. So I don’t begrudge Jayne one bit. I don’t blame her. And I hope none of you do either.

Therefore, Hyperfeminine Muscular Women are caught between a rock and a hard place. They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Female bodybuilders who make absolutely no attempt to act more feminine are also making a difficult choice. They’re also stuck in a Catch-22. But at the end of the day, all this boils down to us. Whether we choose to accept a muscular woman for who she is depends entirely on us. Not her. We choose to embrace her butchness if that’s the road she’s chosen to traverse. We also choose to deny her femininity if she doesn’t uphold our personal standards of what femininity means. It’s a choice. A personal choice. We can either love her for who she is…or not.

Personally, I’ve never questioned the gender identity of any female bodybuilder. Even the ones who are the most masculine presenting. The ones with the deep voice, shrunken breasts, abrasive personality, large muscles, masculine facial features, and large bulge in their panties. They are women, even if 99% of us don’t acknowledge it. They aren’t tearing down femininity; they’re redefining it. Or expanding it. Or challenging us to rethink how we define gender as it is.

The truth is that the “Hyperfeminine Muscular Woman” persona is a performance. The Traditionally Feminine Muscular Woman isn’t. Most likely, an FBB who acts really, really, really, really feminine is putting on a show. She’s intentionally playing a part. She’s an actor and all the world’s a stage. And we are the audience, even if some of us are throwing popcorn at the performers like low-life jerks.

Or do you prefer someone as unquestionably feminine as Courtney Tillia?

This makes me sad. As it should all of you who sympathize with these ladies. When push comes to shove, I want every FBB in the world to feel comfortable in their own skin. I want them to embrace themselves. After all, how can anyone love you if you can’t even love yourself? I want every FBB to wake up each morning, look themselves in the mirror, and say to their reflection “Damn, I look good!” I want these ladies to take joy in looking the way they look, regardless of what anyone else says.

If they feel beautiful with a butch haircut, tattoos, and piercings everywhere, I support that.

If they feel beautiful with long flowy hair, glowing skin, and pouty red lips, I support that.

If they feel beautiful wearing makeup, I support that.

If they feel beautiful wearing no makeup, I support that.

If they feel beautiful slaying in a sexy red cocktail dress, I support that.

If they feel beautiful wearing sweatpants and a hoodie, I support that.

If they feel beautiful acting flamboyantly sexy, I support that.

If they feel beautiful acting quiet, humble, and lowkey, I support that.

If they feel beautiful with big bulging muscles, I support that.

If they feel beautiful with smaller curvier muscles, I support that.

If they feel beautiful playing the “tough girl” role, I support that.

If they feel beautiful playing the “nice girl” role, I support that.

Hopefully, you get my point. I want every muscular woman to feel empowered to be who they are. I wish every FBB can one day figure out who they truly are. Not everyone reaches that point of self-realization. This conversation shouldn’t have anything to do with haters, critics, or trolls. They can go to Hell. Instead, this should be more focused on what muscular women want out of their lives. Do they want to change the world, or do they just want to change themselves? It doesn’t matter as long as they eventually find the path they want to walk down.

And once they reach the end of that path, nothing should stand in their way. Not the haters, not anyone. Because it doesn’t matter what anyone says. When a female bodybuilder is at the peak of her powers, she isn’t listening to what the outside world thinks of her. She’s only celebrating her accomplishments, her goals, her dreams, her life. She’s at her most beautiful when she’s doing this one simple thing:

Being herself.

Like A Tiger Stalking Her Prey: Comparing a Muscular Woman to a Wild Beast

Desiree Ellis is a beast, no question about it.
Desiree Ellis is a beast, no question about it.

Imagine a hungry tiger, crouching low in the sagebrush, stalking an unsuspecting prey. An ill-fated rabbit is drinking water out of a river, unaware of his inevitable fate. He prepares to return back to his home until…

The tiger strikes. The prey is caught. The prey bleeds to death. The tiger eats its defeated victim and walks away from the brief encounter satiated and happy.

The rabbit leaves this cruel and unforgiving world so quickly he has no idea what just happened. One moment he’s enjoying a refreshing beverage from the river, the next he’s being savagely devoured by a bloodthirsty beast searching for sustenance.

So it goes.

Mother Nature can be cruel to the weak and unprepared. Those of us fortunate to live in modern times have conveniences, societal structures, and laws that ensure we don’t need to resort to such barbarity. Human beings do from time to time have to engage in such vicious behavior for the sake of survival, but thankfully that’s the exception and not the rule. Despite its flaw, isn’t the 21st Century great?

Yet, even for us city dwellers (or, Heaven forbid, those of us who live in the suburbs!) the “jungle mindset” has not gone completely away. We may shop at grocery stores, eat at fancy restaurants, drive sporty cars, use smartphones to communicate, read books to learn new information, and enjoy indoor plumbing, but deep down inside, buried in our psyches, we still secretly yearn to live in the wild.

Mankind may have become domesticated, but nature doesn’t go away that easily. We aren’t as far off from our caveman and cavewoman days as we might think (and no, I am not referring to the pop culture fad that is the Paleo Diet). We still enjoy hunting, hiking, athletic competitions, competing with others for a mate, and “earning” our right to live. We may not build our homes out of sticks and stones like the good old days, but we work at 40-hour-a-week jobs in order to pay for the roof over our heads.

Perhaps there’s still a part of us that yearns for our Paleolithic days. Even as a casual daydream. Or as the backdrop of a fetishistic fantasy. For those of us who love female bodybuilders, this fantasy manifests itself through our constant comparison (and association) of muscular women with wild beasts.

How many of you imagined the tiger described in the opening anecdote as a muscular cavewoman instead? How many of you thought about the helpless prey as a small, emaciated caveman who heralds from a rival clan? Or a badass chick slaying a (wo)man-eating tiger? Don’t worry if you didn’t initially. You’re sure to think about that now!

When fans of female bodybuilders describe the women they love, two different analogical themes usually emerge: Deific and animalistic.

Werk it, Aleesha Young!
Werk it, Aleesha Young!

The deific nature of female bodybuilders comes out when we talk about muscular women as being “goddesses” or “angels.” Describing a beautiful woman as an angel is quite mainstream. You don’t need to be George McFly to know what I’m talking about (if you don’t get this reference, ask your kids because they’re going to love it). Even the term “goddess” is more or less common among non-muscular women. But I cannot count how many times I’ve come across – or have personally used myself – terms like Muscle Goddess or Muscle Angel as nicknames for women like Alina Popa and Lindsay Mulinazzi.

It makes perfect sense. Female bodybuilders seem almost superhuman. Or in this instance, above human. And what types of creatures are above humanity? The gods, of course. Like Zeus and Athena looking down upon humanity from their ethereal clouds in the sky, female bodybuilders are like Hercules, a human/god hybrid who is technically a deity but has flesh-and-blood and chooses to live among us mortals.

The other theme is animalistic. One of my favorite football (for my non-American readers, I’m not talking about soccer) players of all time is Marshawn Lynch, a former running back for the Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills. His apt nickname is “Beast Mode” because he runs like an unleashed wild beast when he’s plowing through defenders and picking up yardage. Even though Mr. Lynch (who’s being mentioned in this blog post so he doesn’t get fined) is now retired, he still sells merchandise that blatantly uses the Beast Mode brand.

Other athletes who are hardcore and play with reckless abandon are also often compared to beasts. Ronda Rousey, Rob Gronkowski, LeBron James, Manny Pacquiao, and others come to mind. There’s something to be said about an athlete who puts it all on the line, plays with a savage attitude, and doesn’t seem human when he or she is going about their business.

Bodybuilders, both male and female, are a different kind of animal (pun intended). Unlike athletes who compete in football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, boxing, or MMA, bodybuilding is a sport that’s based on subjective judgement, not head-to-head competition. Most of the hard work is done behind the scenes, or more specifically, in the gym and kitchen. Top bodybuilders aren’t dunking over each other, tackling each other, throwing punches at each other, or trying to strike each other out with a 95 mph fastball.

That’s not to say that bodybuilding isn’t a true competitive sport. It’s definitely competitive in every single facet imaginable. But it’s different than other sports. Not better or worse, but different.

However, the beastly comparisons come into play when we think about the physiques of bodybuilding athletes. They look animalistic. It’s hard not to look at a bodybuilder’s hypermuscular body and not compare them to an ox (“strong as an ox”), bull, horse, or lion. So bodybuilders don’t necessarily act like beasts when they’re on the stage, but they indisputably look like beasts.

Male bodybuilders are often compared to beasts. So are female bodybuilders. So what’s the big deal? Here are a few takeaways:

  1. Beasts and traditional roles of women

For as long as human civilization has existed, certain gender stereotypes and roles have also existed. Chief among them is the role of men being the hunters and gatherers and women as caretakers of the family and home. The clear-cut domesticated role for women still persists today in most parts of the world. Who usually takes care of the children? Either their mother or nanny (who is usually a woman). In other words, a maternal authority figure.

Men, on the other hand, are the so-called breadwinners. Men today may not actually hunt for their food, but they are encouraged to work at jobs that pay money intended to help put food on the table. Yes, women do make up a significant portion of the modern workforce, but old habits are often hard to break. Going back several centuries, men hunted for food. Women did not.

This social structure then makes the “woman as beast” motif a rather new phenomenon. Only in cartoons, graphic novels, fetish porn, and pulp literature do you see women portrayed as hunters and gatherers in the jungle (both literally and figuratively). Traditional gender roles make this paradigm not only unusual, but contrary to most of human history.

So associating a female bodybuilder with a wild beast is a definitive break from how we’ve traditionally viewed the role of women in our society. The “man as beast” motif makes sense from an anthropological perspective, but not the “woman as beast” theme. The fact we’ve come to view women in this light is fascinating.

  1. Humans vs. non-humans

An animal is not a human, which is stating the obvious. We don’t expect a human being (not even Usain Bolt) to be able to outrun a cheetah or lift more than a grizzly bear. Humans have certain physical limitations. We can’t fly like an eagle, crawl up a tree like a squirrel or swim underwater for long periods of time like a shark. That’s not in our DNA.

When a human being can (sort of) do things that an animal can, the beast comparisons start to roll in. Mr. Bolt is fast like a cheetah. Andy Bolton is as strong as an ox. Ronda Rousey is as lethal as an anaconda. LeBron James can jump like a kangaroo. We know they can’t literally accomplish feats that a beast can, but sports media (and fans) are often prone to employing hyperbole.

Sporting the shades, Roxanne Edwards is not a woman you want to mess with.
Sporting the shades, Roxanne Edwards is not a woman you want to mess with.

For female bodybuilders, this is even more significant. Because women are biologically not as strong as men, when a woman can achieve a level of muscularity and pure raw strength that surpasses many men, the beast comparisons matter even more. Female bodybuilders are human, but seem almost non-human. They totally destroy whatever notions we hold about the limitations of female physiology.

Male bodybuilders are sort of viewed this way, but it’s exponentially amplified when applied to female bodybuilders. Our perceived stereotypes (and scientifically-backed) beliefs about what women can and cannot physically do shatter when we encounter a muscular woman. She tears down walls that we put around the female species. Like Samson pushing apart the pillars at the Temple of Dagon, female bodybuilders defiantly demolish the box put around them with the ferocious strength of a beast.

  1. The fetishization of beasts

You don’t need to be an expert at Furry culture to know what I’m talking about. If you aren’t familiar with the Furry subculture, Google it and be prepared to feel supremely uncomfortable afterward (don’t say I didn’t warn you!). Yikes.

There exists in our culture the element of fetishizing wild beasts. Additionally, there is something fairly normal to this that has nothing to do with bestiality. Sexuality is a raw element to humanity, something that speaks to our base desires and ability to create future generations.

We like to think of humankind as being intelligent, civilized, cooperative, and advanced. Perhaps the smartest and most resourceful creatures who walk this Earth. It may not seem like it at times (just read the news for five minutes) but for the most part, we humans think of ourselves as superior creatures to wildlife in the jungle, fish in the ocean, and birds in the sky.

However, deep down inside there lurks a desire to reconnect to our animal brothers and sisters. It can get boring and tedious being a human, so why not switch it up for a change and live life (even in a pseudo-sexual manner) as an animal? This is less about anthropomorphism and more about believing that people are really no different than animals.

I’m no expert at zoophilia – and yes, such a term actually exists – but that sort of thing indeed does occur among some folks. Not a huge number of us, but there’s definitely something primal when it comes to thinking about human beings as being wild beasts in need of taming and domesticating.

  1. Beasts are a natural adversary for man

Returning to the hunters-and-gatherers motif, another angle to this discussion is the fact that beasts are also a natural adversary to mankind. Wild animals can be a safety hazard. We treat wild animals as food; just like they treat us in similar fashion. Beasts are not just a common opponent to humans, they often can be an existential threat to humans!

The popularity of the Planet of the Apes and Jurassic Park movies speak to this. People are, for whatever reason, naturally worried that someday their global dominance will come to an end. Endless warfare, environmental disasters, economic collapse, destruction of the civil social order, and other unknown threats ominously loom in the distance. We experience all these things now, but it can get worse, right?

Right. Or not. But fiction rarely gives us a rosy picture of the future. History has taught us that those in power are always paranoid about losing it. That goes for kings, queens, presidents, dictators, mob bosses, war lords, and other people in positions of power. Human beings of all shapes and sizes are the same way. Will super intelligent apes or genetically reconstructed dinosaurs eventually replace us as the dominant species on Earth? It’s doubtful, but one never knows how future events will unfold.

Kim Birtch has gorgeous eyes.
Kim Birtch has gorgeous eyes.

This deep-rooted fear might explain why people have a natural inclination to demonstrate who’s boss. People hunt wild game, eat meat, keep pets, and trap animals in zoos for a variety of reasons, but one hidden reason might be our subconscious desire to remind these beasts who’s in charge. Every time we eat a steak we think to ourselves, “This is what you get for being lower on the food chain!”

Therefore, when men who love female bodybuilders start to compare muscular women to beasts, the same phenomena might be happening. Men, on a subconscious level, view a muscular woman as a threat to his social dominance. She’s bigger and stronger than him, which goes contrary to what thousands of years of biological evolution has brought to us. So in order to retrieve his lost masculinity, he imagines muscular women as being a wild beast in need of domesticating. She’s like a hungry tiger who is threatening to unmercifully consume him and his family. How will he manage to survive?

Perhaps this explains why many guys (not me, but I’m not judging anyone) love to wrestle female bodybuilders. I prefer sensual muscle worship, but I do not speak for everybody. They want to “defeat” her in a battle of physical prowess. While this “victory” is more symbolic than anything else (fantasy wrestling is just that: a fantasy come to life), nevertheless it provides him emotional comfort that he’s still a man and she’s still a woman – regardless of how much muscle she’s packed on her body.

Beasts are either defeated or tamed. A defeated beast is forced to either become food or retreat back into their domains and lick their wounds. A tamed beast can become a subordinate or a partner.

Wow. Who knew female muscle fetishism could be so deeply psychological?

  1. Beasts lack inhibitions and manners

The last point speaks to why many of us love female bodybuilders in the first place: Female bodybuilders are rebels. They defy our expectations for what women are supposed to look like. They defy their biological limitations. They defy their socially-constructed subordinate role to men. They defy our standards of beauty, femininity, and masculinity. They do this whether they intend to or not.

What theoretically separates humans from beasts is that we’re civil and rational while beasts are uncivil and primitive. We live in air conditioned homes. They live in caves and makeshift nests. We can do algebra, calculus, perform symphonies, and write poetry. They can’t conceive of such activities. We can cooperate for mutual benefit. Beasts are forced to kill each other for the sake of survival.

But whenever you read about terrorism, war, political corruption, and crime in the news, it’s hard to say with a straight face that humans are civilized. Who are we to talk? We can be just as violent as a pack of wolves attacking a lone deer.

Beasts, however, lack inhibitions and manners. They are not expected to follow such protocols of rational behavior. A hungry tiger can slaughter a group of defenseless rabbits and none of us will blink an eye. A deranged psychopath can shoot up a public place like a school or a shopping mall and we (justifiably) look down upon that person with shame, disgust, and repulsion. People must behave in a certain way. Animals are, for whatever reason, not expected to do the same.

Beautiful legs on Autumn Raby.
Beautiful legs on Autumn Raby.

In vicarious fashion, maybe we envy the beast for not having to follow these rules. We are jealous that female bodybuilders have the self-confidence to pursue their dreams despite what society says – all the while we don’t possess even a fraction of those convictions. We love muscular women because not only are they physically beautiful, but because they’ve given themselves permission to do whatever they want to with their lives regardless of the consequences. That’s pretty cool. How many of us are willing and able to do the same thing?

We love female bodybuilders because they aren’t dainty flowers who feel constricted by social mores. They defiantly break those molds and create their own rules. They feel free to grunt, bust their tail, and sweat buckets at the gym without a second thought to what anybody else thinks. Their lack of “manners” is liberating. We get a sense of vicarious pleasure from watching this unfold.

I apologize if this post took an unexpected dark turn, but discussions about human sexuality isn’t always a bed of roses. Sometimes it is necessary to travel into the Dark Unknown in order to shine a light on Greater Understanding.

To summarize, there’s something undeniably animalistic about female bodybuilders. From the perspective of straight men who love female muscle, we fantasize about muscular women being wild beasts because it speaks to how we view our place in the global order. Are we at the top? Or at the bottom? Do we have power? Or are we powerless? Is our masculinity celebrated or squashed? Are men the stronger sex or are we secretly afraid that not all of us are able to carry this mantle?

Like the tiger hiding in the sagebrush, these questions are lurking in our minds. And like the tiger’s helpless prey, answering these questions may eventually lead us to an unpleasant confrontation.

Strong is Sexy, Brawn is Beautiful, Muscles are Magnificent: The Inevitable Paradigm Shift of a Female Muscle Lover

Don't like strong women? I dare you to look at Juliana Malacarne and feel the same way afterward.
Don’t like strong women? I dare you to look at Juliana Malacarne and feel the same way afterward.

There’s something about loving female muscle that brings out the, er, peculiar in us.

“Peculiar” in the sense that our thoughts, behaviors, fantasies and desires are controlled by this one quirk – a quirk most of us discovered at a very specific place and time. The love of female muscle didn’t happen at birth. Nor did it necessarily take a long time to “get used to.” No, it hit us like a lightning bolt…or a semi-truck…or a freight train ramming us at full speed.

Our attraction to female bodybuilders, fitness models, athletes and ordinary women who take their weightlifting seriously can be traced back to a very particular incident that one will never forget.

Perhaps it was a bodybuilding show you saw on TV. Maybe it was a single magazine photo of a gorgeous FBB you saw sitting on a bookstore shelf. It could have been a video of a brawny lady pumping her muscles in a grainy cell-phone quality YouTube video. Or maybe it was an up close and personal encounter with a strong woman you saw at your gym.

Whatever it was, whoever you are and whatever the circumstances were, you know what I’m talking about. Once you “discovered” the world of female muscle, there was no going back. You were hooked. Forever.

And there’s no way you’d ever wish to “unsee” what was previously seen. No way. Nope. My eyes are wide open. No need to go back!

But returning to my original point, many of you should know what I’m talking about when I say this newfound attraction brings out the “peculiar” in us. In addition to opening our eyes to new forms of female beauty, we also change the way we look at many previously held beliefs. We experience a term we often heard in high school philosophy class:

A paradigm shift.

What do I mean by this? Of course, I only speak for myself. But I can tell you that once I discovered female muscle, I noticed significant changes in my life that I never realized until I spent one sleepless night thinking about it. My attitudes changed. The way I looked at women changed. The way I conducted my own life somewhat changed. There were changes that I hadn’t noticed before.

A meme I think we can all agree with. Lisa Cross would approve, I'm sure.
A meme I think we can all agree with. Lisa Cross would approve, I’m sure.

You know what? These were good changes. Positive changes. Becoming a female muscle lover didn’t just open my eyes to a whole new world of feminine beauty. It opened my heart to wanting to become a better person. I wanted to improve myself and relate more harmoniously with people.

Think what I’m talking about is strange? Here are a few thoughts to consider:

1. Our view of traditional gender roles and stereotypes get completely shattered

Women are the weaker sex? Women shouldn’t lift at the gym like a man? Women are unwilling to put in the effort to develop really strong muscles? A woman with muscles can’t possibly look sexy?

Wrong! All wrong!

Without going off on some sort of gender equality-fueled rant, suffice to say our perspective on traditional gender roles get smashed into a million pieces after discovering the world of female muscle. Before I developed my keen interest in strong women, it never occurred to me that a woman should try to have large muscles like a man. I never doubted the possibility that a woman could look like that, but it never crossed my mind that someone should ever attain to look that way.

But since my “awakening,” things are different. Now I seek out women who look like “that.” Now I’m very much aware that women are not genetically handicapped when it comes to developing impressive biceps or six-pack abs. Now whenever I think about the ideal beautiful woman, a skinny twig doesn’t automatically come to mind.

Megan Abshire might want to change her name to Megan Bicepshire.
Megan Abshire might want to change her name to Megan Bicepshire.

In short, what we once thought were unlady-like has now become very sexy and feminine. Honestly, I could watch an hour of porn featuring two skinny people having obviously staged sex and get bored fast. But, I could watch a quick two minute video of Victoria Dominguez pumping her muscles at the gym wearing sweat pants and large headphones on her head and I have the sudden urge to, um, you know.

Gym footage is my porn. It’s better than porn. It’s more than porn. It’s art.

That’s probably an exaggeration, but bear with me. I’m on a roll here.

One other aspect of appreciating a woman with muscles is the diminishment of sexist attitudes. The more you see another person as a peer instead of the “other,” the more you will respect them. I’m sure many of you who discovered your attraction to strong women no longer felt like they were the “weaker sex” or they had to conform to specific gender roles. Instead, you probably started to wish more ladies lifted instead of killing themselves at the cardio machines.

Misogyny is rooted in the belief that women are inferior to men (or at the very least they belong in separate categories, which inevitably leads to “separate but equal” attitudes that tend to become anything but equal). Generations of marginalization has created this mindset in lots of people, men and women alike. But someone who appreciates a muscular woman for who she is will scrap that outdated way of thinking and embrace something even more radical: true equality.

This could also partially explain why a lot of men are repulsed by female muscle. It’s not because they’re actually disgusted by what they see, rather they can’t wrap their minds around the fact that they don’t have a monopoly on muscularity. Your mother, sisters and female co-workers could be just as buff as you. And that scares a lot of guys. They don’t want to become the weaker sex. They don’t want to lose their power society has granted them for centuries. Therefore, they react negatively any time a woman chooses to break down these barriers and take charge of her life.

2. Your standards of beauty change

Think ultra-skinny is beautiful? Nope!

Waking up to the realities of female muscle will also completely alter your standards of beauty. No longer will bony supermodels cut it. You will want meat on her bones. And not “meat” in the sense of a healthy amount of body fat to give off a curvy look. Nope. While there’s nothing wrong with that particular aesthetic, you’ll start to desire women who have actual meat on their bodies.

Meat. Muscles. Brawn. Bulk. Mass. Strength. Power. Authority.

You know. That sort of thing.

Ever since I discovered my personal Incomprehensible Admiration for female muscle, images of supermodels strutting down the runway didn’t excite me as much as it did back when I was in junior high school. Once upon a time ago someone like Elle Macpherson would make me drool uncontrollably. Today, I might turn my head if she walked right past me. Maybe.

But what if Lora Ottenad, a middle-aged muscle woman, were to walk past me? I’d stop dead in my tracks, drop my jaw to the ground and probably pass out cold for a week.

And if she were to give me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation? Yeah, I’d probably die. Happy.

The Goddess from Trinidad, Kashma Maharaj.
The Goddess from Trinidad, Kashma Maharaj.

What once seemed ugly now is beautiful. What you chose to avert your eyes from becomes something from which you can’t look away. What you wanted to avoid became something you couldn’t get enough of. What you originally thought was “beautiful” now becomes “meh.” In other words, I still find women like Cindy Crawford (another 90s supermodel reference) and Katy Perry (she’s more contemporary) beautiful, but someone like Cindy Landolt is…well, more beautiful.

That might be a more accurate way of putting it. “Traditional” standards of beauty don’t necessarily go away. You just start to add more tools to your toolbox. Yes, Adriana Lima is one of the most gorgeous women on the planet, but Catherine Holland is a nice runner up. There’s no shame in being second place, wouldn’t you say?

3. You feel more inspired to improve yourself

A lot of athletes use their role models to inspire them. How many of today’s basketball stars have Michael Jordan posters hanging in their lockers even though they’re grown men and no longer 12-year-old boys? How many aspiring bodybuilders watch old YouTube clips of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronnie Coleman or Jay Cutler (the bodybuilder, not the Chicago Bears quarterback) before heading to the gym?

Inspiration can go a long way. It helps you emotionally jump any mental hurdles that come your way. Mind over matter, you say? This is a prime example.

On a more personal level, I’ve discovered since my fascination with female muscle began, I’ve become more interested in improving my own health and wellness.

My thinking goes, If Deidre Pagnanelli, a 40-something mother, could look like that, why can’t I? Of course I’m a dude, but still! If she can develop sexy curves like that, as a man I need to step up my game if I want to look good to the opposite sex.

Some people are inspired by their peers. I find that I’m inspired by the very people I want to impress. I’ll be honest. I don’t work out to impress other guys. I don’t care what other dudes think. I work out to get a physique that hopefully impresses the ladies! This is why I try to get to the gym at least 3-4 times per week and hit as many different muscle groups as possible. I want that lovely lady I have my eye on to have her eye on me!

The bold and the beautiful: Julie Bourassa is both.
The bold and the beautiful: Julie Bourassa is both.

If Joe Musclehead thinks my definition is improving, that means nothing to me. But if Sally Fitness Queen thinks I look good…well shucks. That’s fine with me!

This is what happens when you get sucked into the world of female muscle. It inspires you to hop on the bandwagon and get going yourself. What’s the harm in that?

4. What once was disgusting now becomes attractive

Related to a previous point, another major perspective shift inevitable in becoming a fan of female muscle is the phenomena of what was once disgusting becoming attractive.

Did you think big muscles were gross on a woman? Did you gag seeing a lady with veins protruding from her arms? Not a fan of broad shoulders on a traditionally feminine form?

But we’ve discussed this in detail previously. Let’s talk about something entirely different. Let’s talk about fetish and kink culture.

Fetish activities you once found disgusting, weird, bizarre or repulsive start to actually turn you on. If the thought of a strong, authoritative woman tying you up to a bed and “torturing” you didn’t arouse you before, the thought might have just become more appealing now that you know FBBs like Kathy Connors and Victoria Dominguez offer these services.

BDSM activities sounded like a trashy idea hyped up in “50 Shades of Gray,” but if Lisa Cross offered to spank me for being bad, I might give it a shot. Why the hell not?

This also is relevant in regards to personal fantasy. You might not go as far as pay a professional dominatrix to put a chain around your penis and pour hot candle wax on your chest, but at the very least certain daydreams will sound appealing to you that didn’t before.

What would it be like to have a strong woman wrap her legs around my throat? What would it be like to arm wrestle a female bodybuilder? How cool would it be for Yvette Bova to wear a strap-on and stick it in my, uh, you-know-where?

Sound disgusting? If you had asked me this 15 years ago, I would’ve said “yes.” Ask me that today…and I’ll think about it. I might not go along with it, but I’ll think about it. There’s no such thing as the Thought Police, right?

Roxanne Edwards could kick your ass.
Roxanne Edwards could kick your ass.

5. You feel the urge to change the world

My attraction to female muscle didn’t make me passive. It made me pro-active. I started this blog. I became very bold and booked not one, not two, but three muscle worship sessions with three real (and very gorgeous) female bodybuilders. I’ve had conversations with complete strangers from different countries about topics we would never discuss with our friends and family.

But that’s just the beginning. Anyone who shares this obsession knows what I’m talking about. Our love for female muscle isn’t just a casual attraction. It consumes us. It motivates us. It lights a fire inside us.

It inspires us not just to change ourselves (as I discuss in point #3), but to change the entire world. Our shattered gender stereotypes, standards of beauty and tolerance for “different” kinds of people inspire us to want to make a positive impact in the universe. We want to inspire people to get healthier. We want unhealthy standards of beauty to melt like the snows of yesteryear. We want girls to grow up with self-confidence instead of doubt and insecurities.

The eyes of Lindsay Mulinazzi could stop time.
The eyes of Lindsay Mulinazzi could stop time.

Our love for female muscle isn’t selfish. It’s altruistic. It’s philanthropic. We want every woman on planet Earth to feel good about her body. We want all men in the world to not be intimidated by a strong woman, but instead embrace her as an equal instead of a threat.

Realistically, female bodybuilders will never be in a position in popular culture to make a significant impact. Fans of female bodybuilders will also never be able to influence our collective psyche. But we want to. We want to see more of Ronda Rousey on TV and less of Miley. We want “strong” to be the new “skinny.” Will this happen overnight? No, but little by little we can make this a reality.

If any of these thoughts seem “peculiar” to you, I completely understand. They are peculiar. There truly is something about loving female muscle that does strange things to us. If love makes you crazy, then consider us all batshit crazy to the max. Our minds have been awoken. Our eyes are no longer shut. Our hearts are wide open, ready to embrace a love many of you still think is “gross.”

Strong women aren’t gross. Strong women are beautiful gifts from God. Strong women will make this world a better place for all of us. No matter your gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, race, color, creed, political beliefs or physical ability, we can all learn from welcoming a new aesthetic into our lives. An aesthetic that isn’t repulsive, but one that’s beautiful beyond description.

Your heart has so much capacity to love. Love to your fullest. And when you think you can’t possibly love any more, love some more. And more, and more, and more.

Let the paradigm shift begin!

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