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.
It doesn’t happen often. But when it does, you notice. Big time. You don’t need to be an art connoisseur to know that Michelangelo’s painting on ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is a once-in-a-millennium masterpiece. You don’t need to be an expert in music theory to agree that Beethoven’s 9th symphony is one of the greatest compositional achievements of all time. You don’t need to be an erudite dramaturg to understand that William Shakespeare’s Hamlet deserves its uniquely special place in theatre history.
There are many other examples of masterpieces in the world of art, literature, music, architecture, film, and photography. But there is one human being in particular who has achieved something that sounds rather strange when you say it out loud. And many of you should agree with me on this.
This person has achieved Human Perfection.
She’s perfect in every way. Her body, her looks, her intelligence, her personality, her accomplishments, everything and anything. She’s the perfect “bridge” female bodybuilder who pleases both the hardcore Female Muscle Fans and the non-Female Muscle Fans. She may even be able to convert a few cynical Female Muscle Haters. She’s curvy, strong, feminine, classically beautiful, independent, compassionate, relatable, charismatic, unforgettable, and instantly alluring. Once you are introduced to her, you cannot go back. She’s forever burned into your memory.
You begin to wonder what your existence was like before you discovered her: How on Earth was I able to survive without knowing she was out there? Did I really grow up thinking Megan Fox was the pinnacle of female beauty? Did I truly understand what “beauty” really was before knowing this woman had existed? Why did I spend so much of my time jerking off to Katy Perry when someone infinitely more gorgeous was just a simple Google search away?
The answers to these questions are simple: You hadn’t discovered her yet. And once you did, your paradigm shifts so drastically it makes Pangaea’s supercontinental break-up seem trivial enough to belong in a Taylor Swift album.
Who is this Mystery Woman I am cryptically referring to?
Cindy Landolt, of course!
Cindy, Cindy, Cindy.
You truly are a Female Muscle Fan’s dream come true. You are the physical embodiment of human perfection. When we look up “beautiful” in the dictionary, we’ll see a picture of you. That’s who you are. Beautiful in every sense of the word…and then some.
Cindy Landolt was born on January 11, 1985 in Wetzikon, Switzerland. The Swiss Muscle Goddess has always lived an active life, enjoying skiing, hiking, and mountain biking as a little girl (aren’t these typical activities of any self-respecting Swiss citizen?). She currently lives in Zurich but travels a lot, essentially making the entire world her home. Unlike many of the women we love, Cindy has never been a competitive bodybuilder. She finds such rabid competition distasteful and would rather spend her creative energy lifting up others instead of trying to defeat people.
Good for her!
At age 16 she stopped training to be a gymnast because of her considerable height. Standing at 5’10”, she’s a striking woman who is far from being a dainty ingénue. She’s a Super Woman who appropriately personifies the “Goddess” label. As a young adult Cindy embraced resistance training. Then she enrolled in the Swiss Academy of Fitness and Sports to become a qualified personal trainer and fitness instructor, learning the ropes of becoming a certified nutrition, rehabilitation, strength training, weight loss, and sporting coach. In 2009 she founded her own personal training company in Zurich. Her clients are diverse in their goals, but her approach remains the same: she prioritizes growth and progress over an unhealthy hyper-focus on end results.
She’s also been on the cutting edge of virtual training. People all over the world – and that is not an exaggeration – can sign up for 1:1 online training and nutrition consultations. How she finds the time to manage all her business obligations is beyond me. I’m guessing she has to be selective about who her clients are. But nevertheless, she should be commended for being so tech-savvy, forward-thinking, and proactive in knowing where the fitness industry is going and how to exploit the voids in the market.
Cindy is a flawlessly beautiful woman. She is perfect. Ed Sheeran, eat your heart out. And best yet, as I mentioned earlier she has the potential for major cross appeal of which very few of her peers can boast.
She has plenty of muscle to appease the committed fans of female bodybuilders. She is also “safe” in that she’s conventionally beautiful, curvy, and unambiguously feminine. It’s a shame that traditional femininity is somehow a necessity for obtaining mainstream appeal, but it is what it is. But as it stands today, Cindy is not actually a mainstream celebrity. She’s well-known within female muscle fandom circles and the fitness industry, but don’t expect Miss Landolt to appear on the cover of Vogue anytime soon.
Her physique defines the word “statuesque.” She looks like she was chiseled out of marble, her flesh carved out of an artist’s erotically-charged imagination. She seems too good to be true. Too beautiful to be real. Too perfect to be comprehended. But alas, she is a real human being. She does exist. In our world. She didn’t fall from Heaven. She was born of fellow human beings. She is a woman, not a Goddess. A lady, not an angel. A mortal, not a deity.
But in our feverish imaginations, she is in fact a Goddess. She defies explanation. We are addicted to her and we cannot get enough. We need our daily Cindy fix, like a junkie furiously looking for their shady supplier. Unlike “normal” beautiful women, Cindy casts a spell on us that’s difficult to articulate into words. But I’ll try.
Let’s compare Cindy Landolt to Pamela Anderson. If you grew up in the 1990s, you knew who Pamela Anderson was. If you were a pubescent boy who spent his formulative years during the height of Miss Anderson’s fame, you definitely were aware of who she was. Is Pamela Anderson a flawless woman? Well, yes and no. She’s as physically attractive as any mainstream celebrity who has ever walked this Earth. No doubt about that. She was an international superstar for a damn good reason.
However, Pamela felt very two-dimensional. She was the perfect “Fantasy Woman,” a teenage boy’s ideal wet dream. She tapped into the naughty side of our psyches, providing us the perfect avenue for exploring our newfound sexualities. The scandals she faced, the high profile failed marriages, the “leaked” sex tape; all of it helped build her up as once-in-a-generation sex kitten who defined the decade and the childhoods of millennial men everywhere. The same could be said for Carmen Electra, Cindy Margolis (remember her?), or Jennifer Lopez.
Cindy, on the other hand, is more three-dimensional. She isn’t just the perfect “jack off” material. No, that’s not her at all. She’s classy. She’s mature. She’s mannered. She has standards. She values her reputation. She isn’t reckless. She’s a forward-thinker. She isn’t obsessed with being popular or going “viral.” Rather, she’s carved out a niche for herself in an industry where entrepreneurship is the name of the game. You don’t get to “break into” the fitness industry like you do Hollywood. You make your own name for yourself. It’s all on you.
“Classy” is the best way to describe Cindy. She’s never crude or rude. She’s sexy, but not dirty. There are layers to her personality. She’s beautiful on the outside, but equally beautiful on the inside. The genuinely wants to help people, an altruistic spirit that is in short supply in show business. She isn’t a “sex symbol.” She isn’t any kind of symbol. She is who she is. What we see is what we get. She isn’t trying to put on a façade for the masses. She’s a businesswoman. An athlete. A coach. An expert. A model. She’s someone we aspire to become, whether we’re male or female.
This level of classiness can sometimes annoy her fans. Cindy never does full nudity in her photoshoots. You’ll never – at least not yet – see her nipples or genitals on full display. Yes, Instagram and other social media channels prohibit that sort of thing. But she doesn’t go there even on platforms (such as her personal website) in which anything is fair game. She chooses to be sexy in an elegant manner. She intentionally doesn’t give you everything you want.
The reason she’s shied away from doing fully nudity is unknown. I’m going to guess that she doesn’t want her brand to be associated with pornography. She wants to embrace her visual beauty, but not in an X-rated kind of way. She’s more PG-13. Sensual, yes. Graphic, no.
Also, in 2013 she did something groundbreaking that split her fanbase in half. She got breast implants. Before, Cindy was all natural and allowed her breasts to shrink as a result of gaining muscle. But in the spring/summer of that year, she did the unthinkable and “enhanced” herself. Unlike Yvette Bova her new endowments aren’t comically large. They’re certainly big, but not distracting. Well, maybe a little distracting. I suppose I mean they aren’t so big they bother you. It’s all semantics.
Anyway, her boob job five years ago confirmed that she’s not shy about showing off her sexual attractiveness. Whether she did it for personal or business reasons, Cindy made the decision to increase her sex appeal. Now random haters can’t really claim that she isn’t completely feminine. She’s damn muscular…and curvy in all the right places.
In addition to not doing nudity, she doesn’t do any kind of hardcore porn whatsoever. Denise Masino, Angela Salvagno, Amber DeLuca, Brandi Mae Akers, and countless others are perfectly willing to show off every square inch of their bodies. Every. Square. Inch. They don’t leave anything to the imagination. Denise is so open about showcasing her genitalia that a gynecologist can probably give her a half-decent examination just by watching one of her videos. That is, assuming this doctor can concentrate properly while watching said video.
Unlike those ladies, Cindy keeps it fairly clean. Of course, not G-rated or PG-rated by any stretch of the imagination. She’ll show off her naked butt, back, and almost everything else. Just not her full breasts and genitals. She’ll pose in a sexy bikini or sultry lingerie if she feels inclined to. Just not in her birthday suit. If she is nude, she’ll artfully cover up certain areas in order to maintain her self-imposed limitations. Will her fans ever get to “see it all?” Eh, probably not. But I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.
Oh, and Cindy never has sex on camera. But that’s sort of a given. It deserves to be mentioned.
In many ways, Cindy’s appeal is based on how much we love to fantasize about her. We know we have 0% chance of getting to be with her. So all we can do is imagine what she’d be like as a lover. How is she in bed? How would she act in the bedroom? Would she be on top or bottom? Would she take control or let her partner carry the reins? What does her, uh, clit look like? Is it enormous like Denise’s? Or more “normal” in size? How large is her labia? How pink is her vagina?
These are, admittedly so, creepy questions. Very creepy. But can any of you say with any integrity at all that these thoughts haven’t crossed your mind?
Didn’t think so.
The fact we don’t associate Cindy with being a smutty female bodybuilder is an intentional choice. That’s not who she is. I’m certainly not judging any FBB who does choose to do porn – but Miss Landolt prefers to keep her sex appeal modest in nature. She sure as heck isn’t shy about showing off her body – and we are all infinitely grateful for that – but she does so tastefully.
She values personal empowerment. She loves to make people feel and live better. She serves people. She genuinely wants to make the world a better place, one personal training session at a time. And if she can find time to do some modelling, so be it. That’s her way of adding more beauty to the Universe. And she succeeds at that with flying colors.
For the uninitiated, Cindy Landolt may be a revelation. A paradigm shift. An awakening. She could be the one who converts someone over to “our side.” As I mentioned before, she’s a bridge. She can live in both worlds and accomplish the nearly impossible task of pleasing both sides. It’s remarkable.
In a weird way, Cindy Landolt is a very charitable woman. She’s beautiful and she loves sharing her beauty with the world. That’s a rather odd way of phrasing it, but it’s true: She’s charitable with her beauty. For her Instagram followers and millions of others who follow her elsewhere, we need our daily dose of Cindy. If we need something to brighten our day or help us unwind after a long day at the office, we can just scroll through Cindy’s IG feed and…that’ll do the trick. It’s like a medicine that can cure the blues.
We don’t typically view modeling as being an act of charity. We usually look at modeling as a means for corporations to sell more clothing, makeup, jewelry, perfume, and diet books. Within our free market capitalistic system, models add sex appeal to products in order to help them sell better. Yet, Cindy is a different matter. Obviously, she models because it helps promote her personal training business. And she probably finds it personally empowering. That’s all fine and dandy. But her modeling also serves as an act of almsgiving. A virtuous donation that helps make society a better place to live for all of us.
Her beauty isn’t just intoxicating. It isn’t just alluring. It isn’t just addicting. It’s a dose of fresh air. It’s medicinal. It’s therapeutic. It’s just what the doctor ordered!
Cindy Landolt’s beautiful face and body aren’t just art. They’re a fountain of joy. Her beautiful body truly adds color to the dark palette of our existence. She is light where there is darkness. She brings hope where there is despair. She creates joy where there is melancholy. She is a much-needed beacon of beauty in a world of ugliness.
Cindy is, simply put, perfection. In every imaginable way.
By now, you should be familiar with Nataliya Kuznetsova.
Nataliya is the kind of woman that even the most wildly imaginative female muscle fan will admit – if they’re pressed into being realistic for a hot minute – can’t ever really exist.
No woman, even with the help of all the synthetic steroids, supplements, food, weightlifting equipment, and expertise possibly available, can ever actually look like that. Whether you’ve been a bona fide female muscle fan for 40 years or 40 days, you’ve seen your fair share of muscular women. Perhaps even in-person. Yet, the rational part of your brain understands full well that no woman can ever look like her. No woman can ever have arms the size of a Mr. Olympia contestant. Or legs so thick that they resemble actual tree trunks. That’s not physically possible. It’s not scientifically possible. It’s even too absurd to draw a cartoon that looks like that.
Well, you would be wrong. There is in fact one particular woman who walks on planet Earth – or is it continuously squats and bicep curls on planet Earth? – who defies your expectations of what a female bodybuilder can and cannot look like. She challenges what you previously thought was the limits of human achievement. Sure, guys who take drugs and work out like a madman with his hair on fire can become that huge. But…a woman?
No way! No how! That ain’t right!!!
Yet, it is so right. And it is possible. Her name is Nataliya Kuznetsova.
Nataliya was born on July 1, 1991 in the city of Chita, Zabaykalsky Krai in Russia. She was born just a few months before the Soviet Union officially dissolved; and although the Iron Curtain had fallen, a child had been born who would take her iron pumping quite seriously (did you see what I did there?). She has won many accolades in her life, including being the bench press and deadlift world champion. She’s also a champion armlifter, which should come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever seen her arms.
She aspired to become a professional bodybuilder at age 14 and never looked back. In addition to breaking several records, she’s dabbled in the field of coaching and personal training – which is not uncommon for many bodybuilders, both male and female. She’s maintained a strict diet since the early days of her career, which has clearly paid dividends. After graduating from the Moscow State Academy of Physical Culture in 2013, Nataliya proceeded to pursue her dream of shattering several powerlifting records.
And put her name in the record books is exactly what she did. In 2014 and 2015 she won various contests in Russia and Europe. While it doesn’t appear that she continues to compete in powerlifting, she’s since gained international notoriety for her unusual eye-popping physique that she proudly promotes on her social media channels.
Oh boy. And she’s also not shy about her usage of anabolic steroids and estrogen blockers. I mean, it’s not humanly possible to get as huge as her without drugs. We all know that. But in her case, it isn’t really about whether or not she “fairly” achieved her musculature. What really matters is that she looks exactly how she looks – and that’s the way she wants it.
Her brand is dependent upon the final result, not the process it took to get to that final result.
Nataliya is the Ultimate Real Human Photoshop Illusion. You’d swear that she’s not actually real. She must be the product of a female muscle growth fiction artist’s imagination. Someone must’ve artificially enhanced her arms and legs. Or, someone superimposed a male bodybuilder’s arms onto her torso, like a G.I. Joe action figure’s arms being popped inside a limbless Barbie doll.
Yet, that is not the case. She is not a character in an FMG story. Nor are photos of her not genuine (to be fair, very few Instagram and magazine photos are 100% genuine) in the proper sense of the word. Her biceps are really the size of most guys’ quads. Her quads are really as thick as your girlfriend’s torso. It’s all true. It’s definitely not all natural, but if we’re only interested in aesthetics, who cares?
And that’s the crux of the argument. Whether she could ever achieve so much muscle mass naturally – the short answer is “no way, José” – is not the point. Insecure guys who constantly insist that she’s “juicing” or “roiding up” are just projecting their own inadequacies onto a complete stranger. They’re envious that they are unable to get that “swole,” so they need to add as many caveats as possible onto Nataliya’s achievements because it, uh, makes them feel better. Or something like that. I don’t know exactly.
But that’s not really where I’m getting at. Nataliya is noteworthy because she is who she is. Whether she “cheated” or did it through unnatural means isn’t what’s truly important. What’s important is that she’s a human cartoon in the flesh. She’s a female muscle fan’s dream come true, if extreme FMG artwork happens to be your thing. It’s not for me personally, but it doesn’t have to be. I can acknowledge her importance without being totally smitten with her looks.
Personally, Nataliya is a bit too much. Everything about her is superhuman, including her lips. Dang. She makes Angelina Jolie look like the before-and-after photo at a lip enhancement surgeon’s office. I tend to prefer ladies who are both large and traditionally curvy. Alina Popa is my jam. So is Isabelle Turell. And Shannon Courtney. And Theresa Ivancik. And Lindsay Mulinazzi. And many others. I have nothing against Miss Kuznetsova as a human being. I’m sure she’s cool and pretty interesting to be around. Apparently, she’s bisexual – which will make any FMG artist go hog wild when crafting erotically-charged dime novel-style fan fiction.
Perhaps this is a reflection of my limited imagination. Is Nataliya’s physique now the new Mount Everest? Are former Ms. Olympia contestants like Iris Kyle, Tina Chandler, Debi Laszewski, Anne Freitas, and Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia merely the tip of the iceberg? Previously, we may have thought of these ladies as being at the peak of the female muscle pecking order. But maybe our standards were set too low. Maybe women like Nataliya Kuznetsova (are there any others like her? Asking for a friend) are where the proverbial bar is now set. Or should be set. It’s not enough to train for a few hours, give yourself a couple of rest days, and intersperse within your daily routine plenty of Tupperware containers full of brown rice, grilled chicken, and boiled broccoli. Perhaps the new normal should be to train for several hours a day – as if it’s practically a part-time job – and eat as much protein as you possibly can without throwing up. This doesn’t sound particularly appealing, but one must suffer for one’s art.
Hm. Maybe that’s exactly the point. One must suffer for your art. In Nataliya’s case, her body is her art. Her muscles are her canvas. Dumbbells, vitamin supplements, anabolic steroids, and protein are her paintbrushes. And her Instagram feed is her museum. And we are patrons of her art. Instead of sipping champagne, we down a carton of Muscle Milk. Same thing.
All bodybuilders are artists as well as athletes. They might consider themselves athletes first and foremost, and that would be their prerogative. But whether they consciously consider it or not, they’re also artists. Michelangelo used marble. Nataliya uses her own flesh and blood. That sounds odd, but it’s true. Bodybuilders don’t try to hit a baseball into the centerfield bleachers or dunk a basketball over a 7-foot tall defender. They try to look awesome, prioritizing muscle mass, symmetry, and aesthetic perfection over all else.
Yet, I’m perfectly fine with Nataliya being the exception and not the rule. She can be an Internet sensation who makes our eyes pop out of our skulls. She can be someone who essentially provides fodder for clickbait articles on second-rate news aggregate sites. I highly doubt female muscle fans worldwide are clamoring for more women to look like her. If more do choose to look as extreme as possible, so be it. But we’re perfectly content with more “conventional-looking” female bodybuilders (as contradictory as that may sound) such as Miss Popa and Miss Ivancik. At least, they’re conventional within the context of the world of female bodybuilding.
Here’s a question: Is Nataliya Kuznetsova good or bad for female bodybuilding and fans of female bodybuilders? It’s the question sports commentators always make regarding dynasties like the Golden State Warriors, New England Patriots, the UConn women’s basketball team, Alabama football, Manchester United, or the Marvel Cinematic Universe (ha ha). Is dominance a good thing? Can the lack of parity hurt the overall product? Or does it enhance it? Is temporary dominance – because dominance rarely lasts forever – actually a good thing because it provides an incentive for others to work harder in order to catch up?
Chances are she’s not going to have much of an effect on anything. Nataliya exists in her own little universe. She’s carved out her own unique niche. She doesn’t really exist in the realm of bodybuilding because she isn’t a competitive bodybuilder (to my knowledge). She’s a mini-celebrity whose body is her selling point. Her extreme physique is why she’s famous, not because she climbed up the industry ladder or won so many accolades that we cannot help but notice her. In a way, she’s the perfect example of how the entrepreneurial female bodybuilder is most likely the archetype that will survive the longest.
The bodybuilding industry’s marginalization of female competitors doesn’t need to be rehashed here. The death of the Ms. Olympia is really all you need to know. Wings of Strength is doing their best to resuscitate the spirit of the Ms. O, and we wish them all the best in this endeavor. Long story short, female bodybuilders need to find alternative avenues of earning an income in order to continue doing what they love to do.
Nataliya has done exactly that.
She’s found a void and filled it perfectly. Impeccably. She busted her tail to look as hypermuscular as possible. She knew not everyone would dig her look, but that didn’t matter one iota. There are plenty of people who will. And do. She’s made sacrifices – including long-term risks to her body – to achieve her Human Photoshop figure. She was able to go “viral” because she stood out from the rest of the herd. There are plenty of muscular women out there. But few are as surreal in their musculature as her.
So because of that, she was able to break through in front of more “mainstream” eyes because of her freakish physique. Cindy Landolt or Minna Pajulahti are famous within the small community of female muscle fans, but Nataliya has been able to rise above that and attract attention from non-female muscle fans. And chances are pretty good that for many people, Nataliya is the only muscular woman whom they care to follow on social media. She’s “famous” – in a 21st century viral Internet meme sense – for being a living and breathing statistical outlier, not because she happens to be a female bodybuilder who’s broken the mold of her predecessors and peers.
And that’s the meat and potatoes of our discussion. Miss Kuznetsova is nothing more than a freakish statistical outlier to the vast majority of Internet-savvy people out there. She won’t help the visibility of the female bodybuilding industry. She won’t hurt it either, but that’s beside the point. She’s a Human Island. A once-in-a-lifetime Black Swan Event. She’s like the people who love to follow Tiger Woods but couldn’t care less about other golfers.
There are golf fans. And there are Tiger Woods fans. And they are often not one and the same. Likewise, there are Nataliya Kuznetsova fans. And there are female muscle fans. And they are not necessarily the same thing.
Some people love Eminem but don’t particularly like hip hop. Some people loved “The Dark Knight” but never read a single Batman comic book. And some people are enamored with Nataliya Kuznetsova but couldn’t identify Alina Popa in a police lineup.
Life is funny like that.
Whether you love her, hate her, or have neutral feelings about her, one thing is certain: You’re totally justified to initially think that this woman couldn’t possibly exist. This has got to be like “Simone,” that 2002 Al Pacino movie about a movie star who’s digitally animated and isn’t really real. Certainly Nataliya has got to be a digital avatar, right? A fake persona meant to punk all of us into thinking a woman could genuinely build muscle mass that male bodybuilders could only dream of? Well, the truth is that she’s real. Very real.
I have no idea how long she can maintain her physique. I’m not a nutritional scientist or biology expert, but it seems reasonable to worry about her long-term health. All that animal protein, steroids, and hormone-blocking drugs can’t be good for you. Years and years of living like that should eventually take its toll, right?
Eh. Maybe, maybe not.
For now, let’s just appreciate who she is and what she’s been able to accomplish thus far. Only time will tell as to how much of an impact she’s making on the visibility of female bodybuilders, if any at all.
Deep within the shadowy depths of the Internet, there exists a dark and mysterious space where few dare to tread. You may have heard of it, or perhaps you’re hearing about it for the first time. No matter what, you’re scared to acknowledge it. You’re frightened to visit it. You cannot wrap your mind around why it exists in the first place. Its very existence is a conundrum to you, a macabre riddle that cannot easily be solved.
To attempt to understand this enigmatic space is to dip your toes into a New World that you never knew existed. Even if you’ve already heard of it, there is nothing that can prepare your mind for what is to come. No one is ever “ready,” even those who claim to be. No one.
And once you discover this New World, your mind is changed forever. Your attitude is permanently adjusted. Your worldview flips upside down. Your paradigm doesn’t just shift; it shatters into a billion pieces and is unable to reform itself. You aren’t sure if you would ever want to go back, but that debate is now over. You’re past that threshold, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Resistance is futile. That’s for damn sure.
What type of Internet space am I referring to? Shouldn’t the answer be obvious by now?
Of course, I’m talk about…
Grown men who adore “My Little Pony,” a Hasbro-developed entertainment franchise aimed at little girls. Apparently, there are adult men – at least, they claim to be adult men – who are into this sort of thing. Very into it.
Wait. That might not be right. Maybe I’m talking about furries? “Twilight” fan fiction? Uh, people who actually liked the Star Wars prequels?
Nah. That’s been done before. Nothing to see here. Move along now. Outside of activities that are clearly criminal, there aren’t a whole lot of fetishes, strange fandoms, and social perspectives that we, as a whole, won’t tolerate. Chalk that up to our “live and let live” attitude that, for the most part, still permeates throughout our society. You don’t need to “approve” or “understand” these subcultures to acknowledge that it’s fine that they exist as long as no one gets hurt.
Arguably, the very concept of “common culture” is starting to go by the wayside. Sure, there will always be things that unite us as a culture – at least temporarily. The Super Bowl, the release of a new Marvel movie, and catchy pop songs are a few examples (this, despite the fact that sports is becoming increasingly more politicized in the wake of high profile protests during the singing of the American national anthem). However, what’s becoming a more significant facet of modern life is the growing acceptance of subcultures as acceptable off-shoots of our main culture.
For example, once upon a time ago drag culture was an underground subculture that existed out of sight and out of mind for the majority of us. Today, it’s still not quite a “mainstream” culture (properly understood), but it lives just outside that bubble. Or, it lives tangentially within mainstream culture. Or on the fringes of our main culture. Or, drag performers like RuPaul have one foot inside main culture and the other food inside the drag subculture. RuPaul’s popular TV show certainly contributed to the evolution of drag going from “out of sight, out of mind” to “not quite out of sight, not quite out of mind.”
Female bodybuilding fandom, on the other hand, is still considered an underground subculture. While going to a strip bar or smoking weed are still fairly taboo activities, they’re not as taboo as they once were. You don’t need to “approve” of what goes on inside a strip club, but you can accept it existing right next to your favorite nail salon. You don’t need to like the smell of marijuana at a public park, but that won’t stop you from walking your dog along his or her favorite dirt path. Just try to avoid the odor if you must.
Yet, engaging in a muscle worship session with a female bodybuilder is not like going to a nudie bar or getting high while watching reruns of All in the Family. It’s not a very well-known activity. In our mainstream culture, female bodybuilders are nowhere close to being within an ear shot. Thus, for those of us who love FBBs, the Internet is the only place where we can enjoy our mutual love for them.
Is there such a thing as the “Female Muscle Dark Web?” Eh, sort of. But not really.
So are there popular female muscle-themed websites where fans gather to congregate? Sure. Does that qualify as a “Dark Web?” Meh, probably not.
Hold on. Before we proceed any further, let’s try to define what the “Dark Web” actually means.
The terms “Dark Web” and “Deep Web” sometimes get used interchangeably. This shouldn’t be the case. Technically speaking, the “Deep Web” is a portion of the Internet that exists below the Surface Web. The Surface Web are things like Amazon.com, Facebook.com, Twitter.com, NFL.com, ESPN.com, StarWars.com, Reddit.com, and any other “normal” website you come across every day. These websites – and countless others that aren’t as popular – are indexed by Google and other search engines for easy access. The idea of the “Surface Web” doesn’t need too much explaining.
However, beneath the Surface Web exists a whole host of websites that aren’t indexed by these search tools. The concept of the Deep Web includes all the websites that are intentionally (or unintentionally) hidden from traditional search applications. Most of them are beta sites or old websites that have gone out of commission. Most of it is useless junk. Most of it is boring.
Some of it can be exciting. Or useful. Journalists and human rights activists who live in repressive regimes use channels like Tor that are outside of the Surface Web to network with peers in other countries. How do you think we’re aware of the diabolical starvation methods employed by the Kim regime in North Korea or the anti-theocratic movement in Iran?
That being said, there’s a portion of the Deep Web that is a bit more, uh, scandalous. This includes websites where you can sell and purchase illegal guns, stolen credit cards, drugs (both narcotics and prescription medication), child pornography (and other kinds of illegal pornography), leads to hired assassins, and anything else you can think of that you can’t exactly find at your local Target.
This is what is meant by the Dark Web. Dark, scary, frightening, unethical, illegal, and potentially deadly. Terrorist organizations like ISIS and al-Qaeda communicate with each other through Dark Web channels. So do Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other extremist groups that are under FBI surveillance.
Not exactly the type of stuff that you want your Grandma to know you’re into.
To be clear, female muscle fandom exists solely on the Surface Web. I highly doubt much of it exists below that. And if any of it does, it’s probably there for a reason. By and large, female muscle fandom can be found through a simple Google search. No need to go further than that. Thanks to Instagram, our access to our favorite FBBs, fitness models, and weightlifting enthusiasts is more open than ever before. Thanks to video curating sites, I can watch endless footage of Denise Masino playing with her clit without having to put on my detective hat. Of course, such videos shouldn’t be viewed during work hours or on your office computer.
Yet, FBB fandom remains an Internet subculture. An Internet subculture that can be found on the Surface Web. So while the so-called “Female Muscle Dark Web” isn’t really a thing, we can use it euphemistically to describe the forums where this subculture is alive and well.
In many ways, the Internet is the only substantial place where female muscle fandom can happen. Not too many of us get to attend bodybuilding shows. Only a small number of us have the expenses, inclination, and opportunity to meet an FBB for a muscle worship or fantasy wrestling session. So when it comes to experiencing these beautiful women, our computer screen and smartphone are really the only avenues in which we can do that. I can easily go to my local shopping mall and purchase a brand new Star Trek shirt. I cannot easily go to that same mall and find any paraphernalia affiliated with female bodybuilders.
This is why many FBBs utilize social media as much as they can. It’s their best way to connect with their fans. Or to put it another way, it’s the only way they can regularly connect with their fans. Many FBBs offer webcam appointments, AMA chats (“ask me anything”), and members-only content through their personal websites. This is a classic example of meeting your clients where they’re at. Why break your back working a traditional 9-5 job when you can easily make $100 per hour just chatting with a bunch of strangers from the comfort of your living room?
The Female Muscle Industrial Complex – a term that apparently I just coined – is a niche market with a fairly undefined consumer base. In any given city, town, or municipality, you could have 200 female muscle fans, 2,000 female muscle fans, or 20,000 female muscle fans. You don’t know exactly. But it doesn’t matter where they are geographically. It doesn’t even matter what language they speak. The only thing that does matter is whether or not they have Internet access and enough privacy to feel “safe” to experience their love of muscular women. That’s it, practically speaking.
The Female Muscle Dark Web isn’t dark, nor is it just confined to the web. But it is a real space full of real people who share a mutual interest in women with lots of muscle. And this space hasn’t been driven underground by some prudish cabal of anti-FBB misogynists. In fact, it’s always been underground. Or rather, not within the mainstream. Just because something isn’t considered “mainstream” doesn’t mean there’s some massive conspiracy to ensure it remains outside of the mainstream. Some things just don’t pick up steam. Some things are just destined to stay put where they are.
This isn’t a tragedy by any stretch of the imagination. Muscular women will always be here, regardless if mainstream bodybuilding organizations want them included or not. As long as there are women who desire to become a better version of their current selves, female bodybuilders will always be with us. As long as there are women who believe being “strong” and “independent” means being something beyond a simple corporatized rallying cry, FBBs will never die out. The demise of female bodybuilding has been greatly exaggerated. I don’t see any evidence of that happening anytime soon.
Long story short, FBBs and fans of FBBs cannot wait for legacy media outlets to give them their due. It just won’t happen. Sports Illustrated or ESPN aren’t going to cover female bodybuilders (or male bodybuilders, for that matter) like they do basketball or football stars. Those athletes enjoy a powerful perch that doesn’t appear to be eroding. To expect FBBs to ever be mentioned in the same breath as Kevin Durant, Serena Williams, or Julio Jones is folly.
So the obscure and not-so-sinister parts of the web are where FBBs are allowed to shine. And fans don’t seem to mind all that much. Some of us may hope and pray for a day when FBBs can enjoy mainstream status as any normal celebrity would, but most of us aren’t holding our breaths. And the good new is that we don’t need to.
Our access to our favorite athletes is as open and easy as it’s ever been. Just because you don’t feel comfortable talking about Alina Popa’s glutes or Theresa Ivancik’s pecs openly at Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t mean you have a reason to feel ashamed or embarrassed that you are secretly into that sort of thing. On the contrary, you have nothing to worry about. You can be into muscular women without having to tell a single soul about it. That should feel liberating. But if you do want to tell somebody about it, you know where to look. And that can also feel liberating.
Your female muscle community is just a few clicks away. Like it or love it, you can choose to engage in this community, or you can choose to ignore them and keep your interests to yourself.
Either way, it’s your choice. And that’s truly liberating.
Every man who was once a teenage boy with raging hormones should be able to identify with this scenario:
You borrow a copy of a dirty magazine from a buddy at school. Or you steal it from a grocery store with the stealth skills of a Special Ops commander. Or you’re lucky enough to stumble upon an old issue of Playboy or Hustler sitting in a garbage can or recycling bin. No matter how you acquire said dirty magazine, it’s a prized possession that you will guard with your life.
Your brothers and sisters cannot know about it. Your parents especially cannot know about it. So it must be kept a secret from prying eyes, forever fated to be stuffed in your sock drawer or underneath your mattress. The only time you can look at it is at night under the cover of darkness. Bring it to school and you risk one of your teachers discovering it, confiscating it, and telling Mom or Dad about it. Talk about bad news. Can’t possibly risk that. No bloody way.
But what’s in that dirty magazine that’s so damn intriguing? It’s simple: Beautiful girls wearing very little (or no) clothing. Just a few short years ago, girls were disgusting creatures who were annoying, bad at sports, and had different hobbies than you. Today, it’s a whole different story. Girls are enigmatic creatures who make you feel wiggly inside. You cannot help but stare at the ones who were the prettiest or had the shapeliest bodies. And you definitely struggle to stop staring at the ones with big boobs. Oh boy…
But your magazine offers a special glimpse that you cannot possibly have while sitting in math class. Your treasured magazine shows you a whole new side of the female species that you’ve only just begun to discover. You finally get to see what a pair of breasts look like. You finally learn why Dad married Mom in the first place. And, you finally find out what girls have between their legs that you don’t.
This scenario should be especially familiar with those of you who are older than 30. However, as the Internet Age rolled around, teenage boys don’t have to sneak dirty magazines into their bedrooms in order to get their “fix.” Pictures of gorgeous naked women are only a simple Google search away (not to mention a furious effort to delete one’s browsing history before Grandma next uses the family computer). So as time goes on, one presumes this familiar scenario will become less familiar.
Nevertheless, for those of us who love female bodybuilders, there’s an added dimension to our story of how we discovered what turns us on. In addition to conventionally beautiful lingerie and fashion models, we were also introduced to pretty women who sported a bit more muscle mass than usual. So not only were we smuggling copies of Playboy into our coat closets, we were also sneaking in contraband fitness and weightlifting magazines.
Sure, the majority of those publications featured big burly men. But on occasion, we got to feast our eyes on ladies with big burly muscles.
In today’s modern world in which everything you can possibly think of can now be accessed through the Internet, it’s becoming easier and easier to indulge in your vices in complete privacy. Private web browsing has been a helpful tool in hiding your fetishes from anyone who also happens to use your computer. Granted, you still need to be cautious when you’re at work, but when you’re sitting at home you can be as freaky as you want to be without a single soul knowing about it.
Yet, with all this erotic material readily available at your fingertips, doesn’t it seem like the “old days” were a bit more, how shall we say it, “naughty?”
What is meant by that is the general feeling that back in the days when images of beautiful muscular women were rare, the few opportunities we got to feast our eyes on them seemed much more exciting than they do now. Today, we can easily scroll through hundreds of female bodybuilders, fitness models, and athletes on Instagram, Tumblr blogs, and fan websites without breaking a sweat. No need to sneak in magazines underneath your Mom’s watchful eye. No fear of Dad finding out. Also, no need to research where you can find these photos, which in our youth we treated as precious commodities like gold, diamonds, and crude oil.
With search engines and social media making our beloved ladies more easily available than ever before, why do simple Google searches fail to send that same tingling sensation down our spines that peering through old photos of Rachel McLish late at night in our bedrooms once did? Is it because we’re older and more accustomed to seeing photos of gorgeous muscular women, or is it something deeper?
Let’s explore the latter. It is not beyond comprehension that part of the reason why our adolescent brains were kicking into overdrive was because, well, the clichéd phrase “raging hormones” exists for a reason. So is it fair to say that as we get older our hormones get more under control, thus we become less fanatical in our desire to ogle beautiful women? Maybe, but that doesn’t appear to be the only answer. For the female muscle enthusiasts out there, another explanation must cover the territory of the “forbidden fruit.”
As if peering at photos of beautiful women weren’t scandalous (relatively speaking) enough, being turned on by photos of muscular beautiful women is a whole other story. Now we’re crossing into “weird” ground, not just “scandalous.” It’s not embarrassing to admit you’d like to tap Pamela Anderson (especially if you grew up in the 90s), but it would definitely raise a few eyebrows if you declare proudly that you’d also like to screw Kim Chizevsky. Especially if the people you were with knew who Kim is and what she looks like.
Talk about awkward.
But awkwardness is exactly the point. We’re embarrassed because we don’t want others to find out about our attraction to female bodybuilders, but we’re also somewhat embarrassed for our own sake. We start to wonder if something is wrong with us. We ask questions such as: Am I normal?Am I secretly gay?Why don’t more people feel the same way as I do?
But even those questions are starting to diminish. The Internet has played an integral role in breaking down almost every social taboo you can think of. You can easily locate like-minded individuals who are into the same “unusual” stuff as you. Do you enjoy drawing Game of Thrones fan art? Or writing Harry Potter fan fiction? Or immersing yourself into “Furry” culture (don’t look it up if you aren’t prepared to truly find out what it is)? Well, finding other people who are into the same things as you has never been easier. This is quite a blessing, especially if you are prone to wondering whether if you’re alone in the Universe. Odds are you are not.
The same goes for female muscle fetishism. For all its flaws, Saradas.com is a popular forum for discussing and sharing content related to female bodybuilding, sessions, fantasy wrestling, and the like. You can easily connect and communicate with people all across the globe who enjoy the same female muscle-related activities as you. This level of connectivity with souls spread around the planet is unprecedented. Yet here we are. What a time to be alive.
However, despite the ease of which we can access photos/videos of muscular women and meet people who share our common interests, why does it seem like (to repeat the question articulated earlier) the old days were much naughtier? Maybe this isn’t true for everyone, but it’s not beyond the stretch of the imagination to say that once something becomes mainstream, it starts to lose a little bit of its juice. Granted, female bodybuilding is still (and probably never will be) not considered mainstream, but within the world of Internet subcultures, anything can be mainstream if you look in the right places. What’s the deal here?
The best explanation has to be the fact that before the Internet existed, most of us truly didn’t know if other people felt the same way about female bodybuilders as we did. Before Google allowed us to discover information faster and easier than before, we had no idea how many other people (if any at all) shared our fascination with them. It’s not just loneliness. It’s the fear that nobody else is crazy enough to get turned on by a woman with big muscles. And if that’s the case, isn’t the next logical conclusion that there must be something “off” about us?
Hence, our uncontrollable and unexplainable attraction to female muscle felt supremely naughty. And not just naughty in a moral sense, but also in a psychological sense. We didn’t know if our brains were working properly. That’s taking naughtiness to a whole new level.
The other explanation is the supply of female muscle-related media. Back in the pre-Internet age, our exposure to FBBs was limited to magazines, bodybuilding contests on television, and your old dusty VHS copy of “Pumping Iron II: The Women.” That’s about it. So the few instances in which we could find new photos of female bodybuilders were few and far between.
That made the experience all the more exciting. The rare occurrence when we could get our sweaty hands on a brand new issue of the latest fitness magazine seemed like a quasi-religious experience. It was as if we had found a Golden Ticket in our recently purchased Wonka Bar. We felt as giddy as if it were Christmas morning. But instead of a new bicycle or autographed football, it was a magazine chock full of images of powerful women with bulging biceps and massive quads. Hell, this beats the experience of tearing up presents underneath the decorated tree by a mile!
Back when the product is scarce, we appreciated it more. Now that the product is available in abundance, you’d think we would appreciate it more, but we don’t. Ironically, an overabundance of the product actually ends up making us appreciate it less. Thirty years ago, we had to risk life and limb to sneak a copy of a bodybuilding magazine into our rooms without our parents detecting it. Today, we can skim through endless Instagram feeds of scantily clad female bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness models with our only concern being whether we’ll run out of battery power.
This is a good thing, right? Of course it is. But human nature being what it is, we can’t help but sense a diminished sense of giddiness living in today’s media-saturated environment. Our love for female bodybuilders seems cheap. Easy. Casual. Maybe not mainstream, but certainly less-out-of-the-ordinary-than-before. Female muscle fetishism has lost some of its naughtiness. What should we make of this?
Well, not much. But this does provide a valuable lesson about the relationship between cultural acceptance and modern communications technology.
People tend to react viscerally to things that are unusual, even if they aren’t necessarily “weird.” Unusual is simply anything that is not usual. But the more common it becomes, the less unusual it is, and the more “normal” it seems. This is not rocket science. This simple observation is also true for female muscle and our reaction to it. We think it’s strange to see women with big muscles precisely because women with big muscles are rare. But as our definition of “mainstream” starts to veer away from legacy corporate advertising and toward more grassroots-based media, the doors to almost anything will swing wide open.
The list goes on regarding things you once never saw but now can see whenever you feel like it: Plus-sized models, South Korean soap operas, documentaries about dwarfs (not the Lord of the Rings kind), Bollywood movies, Japanese pop music, Australian rugby matches, Brazilian cooking shows, cosplay conventions, Facebook groups for people who identify as “Gender Non-Conforming,” and so on. And yes, this includes photos, videos, blogs, and communities dedicated to female muscle. Almost anything you can think of is out there for public consumption.
You just have to know where to look for it. Because not all of it will appear right under your nose when you least expect it.
Maybe this is why our love for female bodybuilders seems less naughty in today’s world than it did in yesteryear’s world. It’s not mainstream in the traditional sense of the word, but the very concept of “mainstream” is being challenged like never before. The Internet has allowed for the proliferation of subcultures and subcultures within subcultures to meet and convene in ways that were unimaginable even twenty years ago. And that’s not a long time ago, in relative terms.
Hence, we may be reaching – or have already reached – the point where the familiar scenario outlined in the beginning of this article will no longer be familiar to the younger generation. Those of us in our late 20s and early 30s might be the last cohort who remembers sneaking dirty magazines into our bedrooms. Today, this is a thing of the past. Those days are over. Everything we love is now digitalized. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Only time will tell.
But what we can conclude is that for lovers of female muscle, this is a fantastic cultural development. Our access to beautiful muscular women has reached unprecedented levels. Well, actually, our access to anything you can possibly think of has reached unprecedented levels. As much as this can be a cause for celebration and popping the champagne corks, there is something tangible that’s been lost. That rush of adrenaline we all felt when we were scared out of our wits about being caught with muscle magazines has now been replaced with remembering to delete your browsing history. Ho hum. Boring!
Or is it? Is feeling naughty – and by extension, guilty – really a positive thing? Or does it only serve to suppress our natural desires and keep us shackled to society’s stringent standards? The answer to this is impossible to fully know, and perhaps we’re just being prisoners of nostalgia. We want the next generation to experience the same things we did when we were younger…for no other reason than we enjoyed it.
But will they? Maybe all this sneaking around wasn’t healthy at all and that society will actually benefit from being more open about sexual attraction, desire, and impulses. In this case, we should applaud the trends we’re currently witnessing.
But one suspects that being naughty, no matter what form that takes, will always be with us. And if that’s the case, does it matter how crotchety old fogies like us think about it?
They say a photograph is a moment in time captured on film; one that can never be reproduced because such a moment will never happen exactly as it did ever again.
Well, today most photos are taken digitally from point-and-click cameras or cell phones. But the idea remains the same: The purpose of still images is to provide a snapshot of a particular moment in time and to allow the viewer – whether they see it a hundred days later or a hundred years later – to experience from a distance what the moment might have been like.
Maybe we’re talking about a photo from your kid’s 6th birthday party. Or your father’s grand retirement celebration. Or when your mom won a prestigious community service award. Or when you and your buddies experienced your team winning the World Series. Or when your lovely partner finally said “I do.” The possibilities are endless.
That’s the inherent advantage between a still photo and a video clip. A still photo captures a precise moment in time. A video captures a stretch of time, which could last seven seconds or seven hours. Technically speaking, a video clip is more accurate in documenting reality while a photograph can be deceptive. How many times have we seen a nice photograph of a couple enjoying a night out on the town only to learn this couple tragically died in a fatal car accident only hours later? Or an image of a star high school athlete relishing in triumphant victory…but later his or her life is unexpectedly cut short after he or she is victim to a heartless shooting?
Thus, the beauty of photographs is that they encapsulate a specific moment without delving too deep into the context of said moment. Even if the subjects of the picture are moving around (as opposed to posing for the photographer), moments very rarely happen in stillness. Yet, a photograph is still. They don’t move or communicate motion. Think about those creepy turn-of-the-century black and white family photos where one of the “posing” members is a dead body. Don’t believe me? Look it up.
The subjects of photos appear to be not just still, but frozen in time. We see who they are instead of what they’re doing. It illustrates the poetic truth that time is not a continuous arc of events, but rather a series of individually poignant moments.
Except when it comes to female bodybuilders.
You knew I’d eventually get around to this subject, right?
For us fans of female bodybuilders, muscular women, athletes, fitness models, and amateur gym rats, the most prominent way we’re able to “experience” these women is through still images. Thanks to YouTube, social media, Vimeo, and other video sharing platforms we’re also able to watch them in action. But the most significant avenue through which we satisfy our female muscle fix is through good old fashioned still photos that we can view on our computer, phone, or tablet device.
Back in the day all we had were fitness/bodybuilding magazines that we tried to purchase inconspicuously at the grocery store and hide under the bed away from prying eyes. Thank God for the Internet.
Recently, I had a bit of an epiphany while scrolling through a Tumblr blog dedicated to muscular and fit women. This blogger also posts photos of “normal” women – meaning they’re gorgeous but gorgeous within mainstream parameters. I began to notice something strange when seeing images of muscular women juxtaposed with images of non-muscular women.
The muscular women seemed to be more alive.
That’s an odd observation considering all the women featured on this blog are, uh living and breathing. No dead bodies posed to look like they’re still alive. But when you take the time and actually look at images of female bodybuilders next to images of non-muscular women, the contrast is both jarring and difficult to explain.
Their body language is nearly identical. Most modeling shots consist of the subjects (or “talent,” using industry parlance) sitting on couches, standing around, laying down provocatively, leaning against a wall or large object, engaging in a suggestive activity, or contorting their bodies in weird ways. Sometimes the subject looks directly at the camera, other times they pretend like there’s nobody in the environment with them. While FBBs will frequently pose for photos of them at the gym doing what they do best, for the most part what their non-muscular counterparts do they will do also.
So, what exactly do I mean when I say that female bodybuilders seem to exist in “still motion” when photographed?
In short, there’s something inherently and inexplicably “active” about a muscular woman. Her muscles give her a sense of liveliness that isn’t present in women who aren’t muscular. A photograph of an FBB conveys energy, vivacity, and dynamism like nothing else. This isn’t true of all photos of female bodybuilders, of course. Ones taken in poor light, terrible conditions, or on a grainy cell phone camera obviously aren’t nearly as good as ones taken by a professional photographer (which goes to show you that the world still needs professional photographers, online photo “filters” be damned). I’m only referring to images that are produced with a certain degree of artistic integrity.
A lot of this has to do with how a woman earns her muscles to begin with. She didn’t get big and buff sitting on her couch eating potato chips and watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory. She earned her impressive physique through sweat, labor, supplementation, dieting, and making wholesale lifestyle changes. So because of this, when we see a still photo of a female bodybuilder, even if she’s not doing anything explicitly active, we know she leads a highly active lifestyle when she’s away from shutterbugs.
She’s constantly lifting, running, stretching, eating, cooking, drinking protein shakes, working, lifting, jogging, eating, lifting some more, eating a bit more, cooking more food that she’ll eat later, and lifting.
Did I mention that female bodybuilders lift weights on occasion?
The point is that female bodybuilders seem to be more active because they are more physically active than the average adult. So it makes sense that their proactive and demanding lives would transfer over to photographs taken of them, even if they’re just sitting down on a chaise or lying down in a frilly white bed. When you see her posing for the camera, you know in the back of your mind that she wouldn’t be in that position in the first place if it weren’t for her impressive muscularity.
That is, you wouldn’t be completely enraptured by her beauty unless she were as muscular as she is. She could very well be quite beautiful even if she didn’t have muscles, but it’s not the same thing. Not even close. A female bodybuilder’s muscles is what takes center stage when we look at her.
Yes, we know that muscular women are active in their everyday lives. That’s obvious. But that still doesn’t fully explain why they look like they’re ready to jump off the celluloid and into your lap.
Another reason is how surreal it is to actually look at a woman with big muscles. For as many years as I’ve been appreciating female bodybuilders, I still sometimes do a “double take” when I see a picture of a muscular woman unexpectedly. For example, not too long ago a friend of mine shared on Facebook an article talking about HIIT – or high intensity interval training. I don’t know whether this method is best for burning fat and staying in shape, but that’s not the point. The point is that the article featured a picture of a beautiful young lady with gorgeous curvy muscles. I was taken aback. My heart fluttered a bit. I felt a surge of energy run through my core.
Why did I suddenly react this way? I’ve spent countless hours watching and looking at hundreds of muscular women. Why did this “out of the blue” experience cause me to react as if I had just seen my first ever female bodybuilder?
It’s because it was unexpected and out of context. When I’m searching my usual lineup of blogs for pictures of beautiful muscular women, I know what I’m going to get. But if I stumble upon an image of one accidentally, it’s as though someone just socked me in the face. I think this is because at the end of the day, no matter how many hours I spend looking at images of muscle-bound women, my brain is preconditioned to produce a strong reaction whenever I witness them. I’m socialized to think of muscular women as being “abnormal” no matter how normalized they seem to be to me.
This is why muscular women appear to be suspended in still motion when photographed. My brain subconsciously tells me that this is unusual and therefore I should react accordingly. No amount of zombie movies will actually prepare you for a real-life zombie invasion. You can read all the post-apocalyptic themed fiction you want; if World War III is ever right around the corner (don’t be too surprised!) you’ll have no idea what to do next.
Likewise, you can watch thousands of hours of female muscle videos and meet dozens of FBBs for muscle worship sessions. Still, your mind will intuitively tell you that the sight of a woman with muscles is strange. Strange, bizarre, peculiar, irregular, atypical, odd. That’s not a product of how you personally view muscular women; rather it’s a product of the lack of muscular women in our society.
Anything that’s rare will stand out when it happens. Throwing a perfect game is so unusual that many baseball aficionados could probably name at least a dozen pitchers who’ve done it throughout the game’s history. And when it happens, it’s huge news. The same goes for muscular women. No matter how familiar you are with seeing FBBs, it’s still a memorable experience when it happens outside of normal parameters.
Unlike most amateur photographs, modeling shots are intended to capture the essence of the subject, not the moment. What a model is actually doing is not nearly as important as what they look like doing it. The same goes for FBBs who pose for model shots, but our reactions to seeing them are remarkably different. We don’t just see who they are. We also see their accomplishments, hopes, dreams, successes, aspirations, and passions. A muscular woman doesn’t just stand around and look pretty. She invades her space. She communicates a clear message to the viewer. She owns the frame. She doesn’t want you to just look at her, she wants you to react viscerally toward her.
See the difference?
Back in the glory days of the 90s, I’d surf the Internet and ogle photos of Pamela Anderson, Cindy Crawford, and Anna Nicole Smith. As an inexperienced teenager with raging hormones, I was introducing myself to a whole new world that I’d never known before: female beauty. It was an epic time of discovery. But even back then, I never experienced any sort of spiritual connection with the gorgeous ladies popping up on my computer screen. As odd as it sounds, I sort of feel that way with photos of muscular women. Sort of.
It’s as though photos of FBBs exist for purposes that go beyond that of normal photos of beautiful women. Cindy Crawford wants you to appreciate her natural beauty. Debi Laszewski wants to challenge your notions of femininity, gender roles, social stereotypes, and human biology. I don’t think these thoughts literally go through Debi’s mind as she’s posing for the camera, but that’s the sense I get when I look at her flawless visage. Pamela Anderson inspired hundreds of thousands of teenage boys – myself included – to masturbate in the privacy of their bedrooms. Cory Everson may have inspired similar reactions (though on a much smaller scale), but what she’s done that Pamela couldn’t is transform the way you view humanity: Women can be as buff as men – and look fabulous at the same time!
Muscular women can do that, even though many of them don’t intend to. They allude a degree of power and influence that most of them – including fans like us – don’t entirely comprehend. Hell, I’ve been writing about muscular women for nearly five years and even I continue to struggle to articulate this phenomena into words. Our love for female bodybuilders isn’t just rooted in good old fashioned lust. It’s also explained by our intrinsic desire to make sense out of a hectic and chaotic world. Muscular women, simply put, create chaos. How we adjust to that chaos is up to us on an individual level.
So that must be it. There’s the kicker. Muscular women create chaos in our brains. They cause our imaginations to spin out of control. They challenge our beliefs. They unleash our hidden impulses. They awaken our basest desires. They grapple our minds and refuse to let go, even for a moment. And this is something we don’t try to stop because we love every single minute of it. Isn’t that something?
Female bodybuilders appear to be in still motion because they’re perpetually active, even when they’re captured in a lifeless photograph. They activate our hearts, minds, and souls like nothing else can. In this respect, a photograph doesn’t just capture a single moment in time. It captures many moments, both those that have come and those that are yet to be.
As the old cliché goes, a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. But not just words that immediately come to mind, but also words that are yet to be written or conceived. When we stare at a still image of a beautiful muscular woman, we’re not just staring at her. We’re staring at ourselves. And others. And everything around us. All at the same time.
Alright, ladies and gentlemen. Stop whatever you’re doing. Right now. I don’t care if you’re sitting in a waiting room about to undergo open-heart surgery and the nurse just called your name to get prepped. I don’t care if you’re about to have tea with the Queen of England (happy 90th birthday!) or if you’re in the middle of writing your doctorate dissertation that’s due in an hour. Just stop whatever you’re doing and do what I’m about to tell you to do.
Find a device with Internet connection and do a Google search on Minna Pajulahti.
Ready to proceed? Great.
I’ve already shared photos of Miss Pajulahti on this blog, but I think now is the time to dedicate a whole blog post to her. She isn’t new to the scene, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t newsworthy at this particular moment. Have you seen what this gorgeous woman looks like? She’s newsworthy 27/7/365. Hopefully we can all agree on that!
There isn’t a whole lot of biographical information about her available, so I’ll summarize what I can.
Minna is a Finnish IFBB bodybuilder who was born on May 4, 1980. At the ripe age of 36 (although she looks 26!), Minna competes in the women’s physique division. She works as a flight attendant and fitness coach when she isn’t busting her butt at the gym.
She placed 14th at the 2010 IFBB Fort Lauderdale Pro, 7th at the 2011 IFBB Toronto Pro, 5th at the 2011 IFBB FIBO Power Pro Germany, 16th at the 2014 IFBB Europa Dallas, and 6th at the 2016 IFBB Karina Nascimento Pro. She also participated at the 2010 IFBB Arnold Amateur International Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure & Bikini Championships. She might have competed in other contests, but the history on that is scant.
In addition to competing in bodybuilding, Minna is also a powerlifter. She says she also enjoys cheerleading and everything related to fitness. Standing at 5’4”, Minna may not be super tall, but her gorgeous good looks, beach blonde hair, and powerfully built physique makes her stand out above the rest. She currently lives in Nokia, Finland.
Every so often I’ll come across a female bodybuilder whose striking beauty and impressive muscular development gives her enough “crossover” appeal to please both female muscle fans and “female muscle skeptics” alike. We all know (or know of) people who are skeptical and irrationally disgusted by strong women. The stereotype they have ingrained in their brains of a female bodybuilder is someone with a man-like face, grossly unfeminine muscles protruding everywhere, excessive body hair, a voice deep enough to make a 17th century pirate blush, and overly aggressive behavior. Minna Pajulahti takes all those harmful images and smashes them with the hammer of Thor.
Minna is different. Despite her huge muscles, her curvy figure is undeniably feminine. Her face is as gorgeous as you’ll ever see. She seems approachable, pleasant, and “normal.” But more important, her incredible good looks makes you stop dead in your tracks. You see her once and you’re hooked. How can you not want to check in on her Instagram every single morning?
First impressions matter. I can guarantee you your first impression of seeing pictures of Miss Pajulahti is to be hypnotized by her flawless combination of beauty, muscularity, and etherealness. She’s so physically beautiful she seems almost not real. She’s like a female muscle fan crafted a flesh-and-blood female bodybuilder from scratch and created the Perfect Dream Woman. Minna is that damn gorgeous.
This is how we react. Will others follow and be captivated by her like we are? Maybe, maybe not.
Whether Minna is likely to become a “mainstream” celebrity isn’t the point. Bodybuilders as a whole, even today’s most popular male competitors, are only known to a limited number of people. Guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno had what it took to become household names, but this isn’t the 1970s anymore. The sport still exists, but it can’t compete with soccer, basketball, baseball, football, and MMA in terms of widespread popularity. Bodybuilding’s market share isn’t what it used to be.
In a previous blog post, I talked about the difficulties of maintaining the so-called “perfect balance” of being a female bodybuilder who can appeal to a wide audience. Miss Pajulahti is someone who comes very close. I personally think she hits the nail on the head, but not everyone will agree with me. That’s perfectly okay. They have every right to be wrong!
But seriously, Minna is striking for being two things at once: She looks like a Baywatch lifeguard while at the same time having the muscle mass of an NFL linebacker. For my non-American readers, I apologize if I can’t come up with a better analogy. Heavyweight boxer, perhaps?
If you follow Minna closely on Instagram – and I highly recommend you do if you don’t already – she does everything you’d expect a beautiful woman on IG to do. She posts selfies, photos of what she eats, her friends, her work life, her accomplishments, inspirational quotes, and shots of herself modeling. The fact she isn’t a world-famous supermodel by now astounds me. But I get it. Women with biceps that large can’t possibly draw interest from the general public.
Or can they?
If given a chance, I have no doubt Minna could shake up the advertising industry. If she were 10-12 years younger (though like I said earlier, she looks a lot younger than she is) and were born and raised in Southern California instead of Finland, perhaps things could be different. If she chose to pursue a sport like MMA or if she became famous for posting viral fitness videos on YouTube, Minna could be a bigger international star than she is right now. Today, Minna is only “famous” to people who pay close attention to the fitness/bodybuilding world. But it didn’t have to be that way.
This “missed opportunity” isn’t necessarily tragic, but it is a bit disappointing. Minna is unquestionably beautiful, feminine, and accomplished. She also has bigger muscles that most people aren’t accustomed to seeing on a woman’s body. I can’t fathom how anyone would be shocked or repulsed by her. She would force you to do a double-take, but that’s not the same thing as wanting to turn away from her because you find her appearance unbearably unpleasant.
How can you not help but stare at videos of her deadlifting, squatting, and bench pressing massive amounts of weight? It’s impressive for anyone to be able to powerlift all that, never mind someone who also looks like she could be arm candy for Hugh Hefner (try not to vomit when you think about that). I am not in the least bit surprised that she used to be a cheerleader. She definitely looks the part.
Is Minna a “flawless” female bodybuilder? Well, that depends on how we define flawless. I find no fault in her physique, attitude, professional goals, and accomplishments. Will a diverse array of people, both those who are already sympathetic to muscular women and those who are not, like her in the same way? That remains to be seen. Sadly, we may never have the chance to find out. This is the missed opportunity I am quietly lamenting.
I will not attempt to project where her career goes from here. Will she score a small role in a big studio Hollywood feature film and become a major celebrity hereafter? Probably not. The odds of that kind of good fortune are nearly nonexistent. However, that isn’t totally outside the realm of possibility given the pop culture trends we’re seeing play out today.
Superhero movies are more popular than ever. The sci-fi and fantasy genres are about to take off to new heights. The rebooted Star Trek franchise and reinvigorated Star Wars universe are prime avenues for non-traditional looking performers to hog the spotlight. New episodes of Game of Thrones is starting to become a national holiday. Lots of popular sci-fi/fantasy books and graphic novels are ready for an HBO or Netflix executive to greenlight. Nobody knows what the future will hold.
So it’s not outside the realm of possibility for a sexy, gorgeous muscular woman to score a role in a major TV or film project that will attract millions of eyeballs. I won’t hold my breath for such an occurrence to happen, but it’s not inconceivable. It may not be Miss Pajulahti who lands this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity per se, but it doesn’t have to be.
I cannot bring up Minna Pajulahti as being the flawless female bodybuilder we’ve all been waiting for without giving proper respect to Shannon Courtney, Dani Reardon (despite an unfortunate domestic violence arrest), Sheronica Sade Henton, Beata Antoninas, Lauranda Nall, and other young rising stars. I wouldn’t say Minna is my favorite current FBB, but she’s definitely one who’s effortlessly captured my heart.
This lineup of young female bodybuilders who aren’t afraid to build abnormal levels of muscularity is impressive and encouraging for the future of the sport. It is unreasonable to expect the sport to become as popular as tennis or golf, but it doesn’t have to be. The goal shouldn’t be to find ways to expand the brand of female bodybuilding just for the sake of expansion. The ultimate goal should be to maximize the amount of support these incredible athletes receive so that they can feel emboldened to pursue their dreams.
Who knows? Maybe sometime in the near future someone else will emerge as the much-awaited “savior” of female bodybuilding. Perhaps this hypothetical person will be blessed with supermodel-level beauty, a charismatic personality, top-notch performance talent, intelligence, wisdom, grace, humility, passion, drive, the desire to be great, and an unapologetically hyper muscular frame. She’ll love who she is and will refuse to apologize for her muscles. She’ll be an inspiration, a one-of-a-kind pioneer, and someone who we can truly say revolutionized the way society views strong women.
That day may never come. Or maybe it’s right around the corner. Either way, all we can do is wait and see. This Ultimate Female Bodybuilder may or may never arrive on the scene. This could just be a pipe dream. Regardless, until that day comes, we’ll just have to embrace Minna Pajulahti – and hundreds of women just like her around the globe – with a full heart and an open mind.
There’s a strange misconception out there that people who like female bodybuilders are “into” every single female bodybuilder in existence.
I’d venture a guess and say that a lot of us appreciate most muscular women, but not all. Thanks to the Internet and social media, FBBs can promote themselves in ways that were unimaginable twenty years ago. Today, a muscular woman with a prominent number of followers can post a picture of herself on Instagram (at no cost) and immediately have tens of thousands of people see it within minutes. Wow. Not even ten years ago was this possible. What a time we live in.
Because of this, we are exposed to thousands of women of all shapes and sizes who gladly post photos of themselves at little to no cost to the consumer. Celebrities, singers, models (and wannabe models), politicians, athletes, and the like are out there for our prying eyes to witness. Without social media, do any of us think Kim Kardashian would be nearly as popular as she is today? Maybe so, but her Q Score would not be nearly as high.
What exactly is a Q Score? It’s a metric that measures the familiarity and appeal of a brand, celebrity or company based on a panel of judges pulled from the general population. Obviously, people like Leonardo DiCaprio and Katy Perry have extremely high Q Scores. For the general population, Lisa Cross and Debi Laszewski do not have high Q Scores. However, among female muscle fanatics, these ladies are off the charts. But sadly, not everyone appreciates strong muscular women like some of us do.
Due to this fairly low profile, many people in society tend to group all muscular women into one singular cluster. They’re the big, brawny she-males you see with gross looking faces, man-like muscles, and excessive body hair in places where hair shouldn’t exist. We all know this stereotype exists. To be fair, there are some female bodybuilders who do (to an extent) fit this profile. But there are plenty out there who do not. There are lots of female bodybuilders who are just as “feminine” as any “normal” woman.
Perhaps that’s the key. People who do not like FBBs look at one or two and think that’s how they all are. So when they find out that someone they know really digs women with muscles, they automatically conjure up in their minds all the negative stereotypes they’ve previously held about female bodybuilders. No matter how much you insist your attraction to them is completely normal, preconceived notions can be hard to break.
One can like muscular women without liking all muscular women. Yes, this is possible. Just like it’s possible to love Japanese food but at the same time despise wasabi, female muscle fandom isn’t an “all or nothing” proposition. We all have discriminatory tastes, even when it comes to strong women.
So the lesson to be learned is simple. You don’t have to like every female bodybuilder. You should respect every single female bodybuilder on planet Earth (unless they’ve done something in their lives that you find morally objectionable), but that’s a given. But it’s perfectly fine to be attracted to some but not to others. It’s socially acceptable to find certain personality traits desirable and others repulsive. Beauty is, as the age-old cliché goes, in the eye of the beholder.
But of course, it’s not that simple. I understand why some of us get defensive about our beloved FBBs, even if we ourselves don’t particular like some of them. I once tried to set up a muscle worship session with an FBB who, for reasons I still cannot figure out, was supremely rude to me. I think there was some miscommunication going on between us, but regardless I felt like she could have handled matters better. Nevertheless, I don’t judge every single FBB as being difficult to deal with just because I had one negative experience. If anything, I might give them the benefit of the doubt because of how much I love and respect them. So there’s that.
For many FBB fans, to admit that you don’t find all FBBs attractive is to open the door toward legitimizing hateful criticisms of these women. That’s why a lot of (or maybe most) social movements tend to view the world in black and white terms. There are absolutely evil people out there and absolutely pure and virtuous people as well. If you’re sympathetic to folks in the latter category, you might be more inclined to overlook their flaws because you don’t want to provide unwanted ammunition to those so-called “evil people” who don’t happen to like “your people” as much as you do. I won’t get into specifics (in order to avoid a shouting match in the comments section), but hopefully you understand where I’m going with this.
This is why I won’t say anything negative about any particular FBB. I won’t even mention the name of the person I just referred to earlier. Heck, I don’t even reveal the identity of the women I write about in positive terms! Maybe I’m being a little too overprotective. Whatever. It’s better to be safe than sorry, I say.
All of this is to say that we’re allowed to have different preferences. Personal choice is an inalienable human right. If you prefer slimmer, “toned” women as opposed to bigger bodybuilders, that’s okay. If you are genuinely disgusted by the large female bodybuilders who compete in the heavyweight category but you get uncontrollably turned on by the “athletic look” instead, I’m not one to judge. There’s plenty of room in the Beautiful Strong Women Lovefest Train. All aboard! Choo, choo!
So in your own minds, you can like or dislike whatever you choose to like or dislike. I will never tell you that you’re wrong. I can tell you that you’re misguided or blinded by prejudice, but that’s not the same thing as “calling out” someone for being in the wrong. However, in the public sphere, I totally get why you tend to get defensive whenever some random Internet troll decides to defame the good names of Shannon Courtney or Danielle Reardon. I’d probably react in the same way, to be perfectly honest.
But I don’t, generally speaking. I don’t have the time nor the inclination to respond to trolls or skeptics. Or people who aren’t trying to start an argument but say something derogatory about a muscular woman anyway. Nah, life is too short to deal with that kind of commotion. I accept the fact (tacitly, perhaps) that not everyone will accept the unique beauty of a muscular woman into the “mainstream” of society. That’s probably not going to happen anytime soon, for that matter. But that’s not a huge tragedy either. There are enough fans like us who adore these women that an aspiring female bodybuilder will never feel unappreciated. Mainstream culture may not completely embrace them, but there are lots of subcultures who will. I realize the word “subculture” tends to carry deviant connotations, but that’s not actually the case. There are countless subcultures in our world. Almost in a literal sense, countless. Many of them are more prevalent than we think. It’s not just talked about. I sincerely believe female muscle fandom is one of them.
Take this message to heart, female muscle supporters out there in the wide, wide world. You don’t have to like every muscular woman you happen to come across on the Internet. Some of you like big beefy bodybuilders. Others of you like smaller, figure competitors. There are folks whose cup of tea is beautiful, feminine athletic women with curves in all the right places. And believe it or not, there are people in this world who really love “normal” looking women who can display feats of strength (either real or pretend) when called upon to do so.
Our fandom stretches across a wide spectrum. I am in no position to say what a “real” female muscle enthusiast is supposed to like or dislike. There are no “real” FBB fans just as there are no “fake” FBB fans. What tears apart fandom culture – whether we’re talking about comic books or punk rock – is infighting from within. This is why I don’t really spend a whole lot of time browsing and posting on female muscle-related forums. I am not against anyone who does, but that sort of thing isn’t for me.
Life is too short to deal with unnecessary negativity.
This isn’t to say that this sort of infighting is common. I have no clue if it is or not. This is also to dispel the myth that people like us who appreciate strong women are unequivocally head-over-heels attracted to all strong women. Everyone has different tastes, which is perfectly fine. Personally, my appreciation range is quite wide. I still get distracted by the cute girl at the gym just as I am by photos of Lindsay Mulinazzi that randomly pop into my Facebook feed. I’m fairly open-minded in that respect. You certainly don’t have to be, but it never hurts!
Here’s a message for female muscle skeptics out there: You don’t need to find the most grotesque photo of a female bodybuilder who has abused steroids for far too long and shove it in our faces and ask us incessantly, “So, do you like THIS?” That’s unfair. That’s mean spirited. It’s okay for us to say “no” and not be a “sell out” toward the Female Muscle Cause. I’ll be honest here. There ARE a handful of FBBs in this world that I don’t particularly think are attractive. Yes, a few actually disgust me. But that doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. I’m still a committed female muscle fan through and through. My Female Muscle Fan membership card won’t be revoked.
Personal choice. It’s what makes us autonomous human beings. It’s what makes us flawed, but it’s what makes us who we are as people. We have the right to choose what we like and don’t like, what we think is beautiful and what we find to be ugly, what our favorites are and what we’d rather not have to deal with if we can. It all boils down to personal choice.
Thanks to the Internet, we’re exposed to beautiful women of all shapes and sizes. In an age that celebrates diversity and opens the doors to anyone to publicly express themselves, we have more freedom to choose what we want to be into and what we don’t want to be into. There are lots of beautiful women out there. Don’t put any of them into a box. Nor us.
The Internet can be a funny place. Just four years ago I was a random guy who started a blog so that I could publish my female muscle-related fantasy fiction. Predictably, I didn’t get a whole lot of traffic to my site. I didn’t expect to get a whole lot of traffic either.
Then, I made a shift and started publishing essays explaining in greater depth the issues and fascinating topics associated with female bodybuilding and the men who love them. A few viral posts later, and I’m suddenly receiving anywhere between 400 to 500 views per day. Yikes!
People from all corners of the world (and this is no exaggeration) stop by my blog to see what I have to say. Thank you for being such loyal readers! Without you, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing nearly as much as I am. I may not be as prolific as Female Muscle Slave, but I do my best to produce quality content on a fairly regular basis. Expect more articles and stories from me in the coming years.
One of my consistent readers happens to be an active female bodybuilder herself. Amber DeLuca, who should be quite familiar with anyone who reads this blog, is apparently a fan of my work. Fantastic! I’m also a fan of her work, so I guess that’s the way things should be. Amber, in addition to being a gorgeous and strong woman, is also an ambitious entrepreneur (like many female bodybuilders in the 21st century) who is seeking every opportunity to promote her brand to the wider world. I guess you can say I’m just doing my part to spread the love.
Her official blog can be found at steeluniverse.blogspot.com. She updates it fairly regularly, as recently she’s been posting new content every week or so. She tells me she doesn’t get nearly as much traffic as she’d like, so I’m encouraging you all out there to subscribe to her blog or bookmark the URL for future reference. Amber says she started her blog to help her promote her actual website, goddessoffetish.com, which is where you can purchase her videos, become a member and learn more about one of the true Goddesses of Female Bodybuilding.
Amber also has a documentary film coming out soon, which apparently is two years in the making. I don’t know a whole lot of details about it, but I’m sure it’ll be worth watching once it gets released to the general public. I get the feeling the film will aim to combat negative stereotypes associated with female bodybuilders and let the world know what the lifestyle is really about. I try to address many of these prejudices on this blog, but Amber and her creative team appear to be taking this to a whole new level. More power to them!
From what I can gather the documentary has a tentative summer release date scheduled. If you want to learn more about Amber and her journey to becoming a celebrity – at least within the realm of female muscle fandom – you should definitely check it out. I’ll be sure to provide further details as soon as I know them.
So check out everything she has to offer! She promised to post more content on her blog as time permits her. Also, don’t forget to “like” her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
I cannot imagine how busy of a life she must live. It must be overwhelming at times. But if there’s anyone strong enough to weather the storm and achieve her wildest dreams, no matter how insurmountable they may seem, it would be Amber DeLuca. No doubt about it.
Let’s face it. Being a female bodybuilder isn’t easy.
And I’m not talking about the lifestyle, dieting, excruciating workout regiments, supplementations, lack of financial security, intense preparation, competitive nature of the business, paying for food/personal trainers/gym memberships, or any of that.
I’m referring to the negativity that can be directed against them on a daily basis.
I’m not a female bodybuilder, of course. But from what I’ve read in online comment sections, chat forums and Facebook conversation threads, nastiness targeted against our beloved ladies is all too common. The advent of the Internet has made this type of negativity easier to propagate.
To a lesser extent, fans of female bodybuilders (especially straight men) are also susceptible to mean spirited attacks, jabs, jokes and insults.
Now please don’t misinterpret me. I am in no way shape or form comparing the trials and tribulations of a female bodybuilder to that of their fans. The negativity we face does not even come close to comparing to the social taboo of a human female putting lots and lots of strong muscles on her body. There is no comparison.
But, both sides face unfortunate backlash nevertheless. This explains why so many of us choose to explore our female muscle fandom in secret. Anonymity is a gift from God. In today’s world, we are freer than ever before to pursue our interests without fearing our friends, family or neighbors will ever find out.
Female bodybuilders do not have such a luxury. Not only is the evidence of their life’s calling bare for all to see, it’s very difficult to hide other activities (such as offering muscle worship services, participating in pornographic photo/video shoots, maintaining a sexually explicit website, etc.) from the public’s eye. Not in our 21st century world of high speed communications and the proliferation of user-generated media.
So, it seems appropriate to discuss how female muscle fans should respond to such negativity. Insults, dehumanizing attitudes, negative stereotypes, gender-based discrimination – all of that exists out there for everyone to witness. And this goes way beyond the world of female bodybuilding. Politics, religion, pop culture, sports…the list goes on and on.
Why can explain this? Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems like our ability as a society to conduct calm, rational and productive dialogue has gone totally out the window. But, to be completely honest, this is a whole other discussion for another time.
For the time being, here are some practical strategies, tips and general guidelines both female bodybuilders (and I do know for a fact that a small handful of real-life FBBs regularly read my blog!) and avid fans of female bodybuilders can follow when dealing with negativity directed against our collective interests.
1. Negativity is inevitable and will probably never go away
This is a difficult reality to deal with, but unfortunately it’s true. I’m sure many of you have heard this popular catchphrase before:
Haters gonna hate.
Sound familiar? It should. Basically, the colloquial expression “haters gonna hate” means your critics are going to criticize you regardless of who you are, what you’ve done, or what you plan on doing. Celebrities, politicians, athletes, powerful business leaders and nearly everyone who puts themselves out there in the public domain will experience “hate” from someone.
I should hurry up and say that “hate” is a strong word, as our mothers have all pointed out to us before. While there are disturbed people out there who truly hate certain others (and have very dangerous ill intentions toward them), most of the “hate” I’m referring to is more of a “dislike.” Most of the negativity thrown toward a female bodybuilder on a Facebook conversation thread is not “hate speech.” I wouldn’t categorize it that way.
But feelings of disgust, distrust, suspicion, jealousy, envy and betrayal are par for the course for any celebrity, regardless of who they are or what they’ve actually done to garner this negativity. It’s going to happen. It sucks, but it happens and there’s no use in denying it or crossing your fingers and hoping it will miraculously go away.
It won’t. Sorry.
Haters gonna hate. It sucks. But you have no choice but to grit your teeth and live with it.
Now that we’ve established this fact, let’s move on to my next point…
2. You don’t have to personally respond to every bit of negativity
It’s tempting to respond to a bigoted comment with an equally bigoted one of your own. My recommendation is that you don’t do that. Try to avoid becoming the attacker yourself even after you’ve been the victim of an attack.
Even though the popular adage “fight fire with fire” is perfectly appropriate to certain areas of life, it simply isn’t always the most prudent strategy. If negativity is inevitable and will probably never go away (as we previously discussed above), then why fight against it? Why fight against every little attack that comes your way? Why pull yourself into battles that will make you lose your temper and could potentially ruin your day?
My basic point is that life is all about picking and choosing your battles. Some battles are more important than others.
If a complete stranger on the web thinks all female bodybuilders are gross and look like men, do you really want to feed into this troll’s desire to instigate a fight? If they truly feel that way and aren’t trolling, will viciously attacking them radically make them change their minds?
If you do feel obligated to respond to a severe ad hominem attack, consider why you’re responding and whether it’s worth the effort. Not every attacker deserves to be counter-attacked. Pick and choose your battles because if you exhaust yourself fighting a series of “little battles,” will you not be drained of all your energy once a truly “big battle” comes your way?
3. Consider the appropriate way to respond before actually responding
The problem with our instant gratification society is that we can speak our minds in a public forum at an instantaneous rate which leaves us vulnerable to letting our emotions get the better of us.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be like that. If you do choose to respond to vitriol, make sure your response is well thought-out, appropriate and productive.
Countering an inflammatory remark with one of your own only adds fuel to an already out-of-control fire. Don’t give in to that garbage. Instead, be the “better person” and take the “high road” if possible. Remember that the person you’re responding to is an actual human being who deserves dignity (and yes, respect!) even though you may not think he/she does.
I want to highlight the importance of “productive.” In my estimation, “productive” is achieved when you create an open dialogue that tries to reach a level of mutual understanding. You don’t necessarily need to “convince” this person to come over to your side, but you do need to communicate your point while at the same time understanding where they’re coming from.
I’m not telling you what to do. All I’m recommending is that whatever you do you should have some sort of tangible objective in mind. Instead of just satisfying a raw emotional need to lash out against your “haters,” consider what good can come out of this.
4. Never stoop down to their level
This is really important when trying to conduct a dialogue with someone. No matter how tempting it is to get in the trenches and engage in a war of words with them, never stoop down to their level. Even if it means bailing out on a conversation, you should always maintain your own dignity at all times.
We’re female muscle fans. We love strong women. Why should we get defensive whenever someone verbally attacks the women we love so much? We’re better than that. We need to be strong, too. We need to prove that our love for female bodybuilders doesn’t need to be defended. There’s nothing to defend. It is what it is. It’s our interest. We don’t have to justify ourselves to anyone, especially someone who finds our admiration for them disgusting.
Never reduce yourself to the point where you’re trading insults with more insults. Don’t argue that we love strong women because fat women are disgusting or a “real woman” has meat on her bones, not all skin and bones.
That’s not the right approach. Bringing down others in order to make yourself feel better is never justified. Becoming malevolent rarely ends well. Be cautious about your tone. Respond with ideas, not raw emotions.
5. Point out the positives of loving female bodybuilders whenever you can
I think there is great value in appreciating strong women. Not only are we encouraging women to pursue their dreams of strengthening and bettering themselves, we’re helping shatter the stereotype of women being “weak” or “dainty.” You only stay weak if you start to accept your weakness. By admiring female bodybuilders and athletes, we’re expressing our beliefs that women can be strong too (and that women should be strong). How can you not go along with that?
A great way to respond to negativity is to point out the positives. A positive mixed with a negative becomes neutral, right? I’m no chemist, but let’s pretend I’m right.
Point out that strong women are beautiful. Mention that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Never refrain from saying that female bodybuilders are some of the most driven, rebellious and hardworking human beings on this planet. Discuss the idea that men who love female muscle aren’t weird, but open-minded and open-hearted.
Counter hate with love. Don’t tear down a person’s argument by attacking them. Instead, try building up your own argument. People hate what they don’t understand. Make them understand.
6. When all else fails, tune out the noise
Sometimes, it’s best to just ignore the vitriol. If haters gonna hate, why even bother listening in the first place? You’re only going to just make yourself more and more angry.
Life is too short to be upset all the time. I understand there’s a lot of terrible stuff happening in the world every single day. I get that. But do you really have to let every little bit of negativity that comes your way affect you on a personal level?
Some people will never understand. Others will try to understand but still choose to be repulsed by it. Oh well. That happens. Shit happens. Accept it. Tune out the noise. Don’t let it drag on your psyche. Don’t let venom cramp your style.
Don’t hesitate to put on your imaginary headphones and play your own music if the tunes you’re stuck with in the real world suck big time. Just make sure you don’t bottle yourself up in a silo of self-righteousness. That is also unhealthy.
7. Enjoy your female muscle fandom in all its glory
Have fun. Go to bodybuilding shows. Watch videos of your favorite ladies working on their craft. Read their blogs. Visit their websites. Set up muscle worship sessions with them if they’re travelling to your area. Live out your female muscle fandom to the fullest.
I’m going to assume that female bodybuilders love their fans. Who wouldn’t? Be the best fan you can be. Don’t let those “haters” prevent you from pursuing your interests. Our interests are unusual. But they don’t have to be suppressed.
Explore your interests in a healthy way, of course. Don’t become a stalker or spend all your money on sessions when you don’t have the resources to do so. But never let society dictate what you like. You decide what you like. So like it!
To summarize, the lesson to be learned is simple: Always take the high road.
I understand why vitriol exists. People feel entitled to their opinions, and consequently, entitled to sharing those opinions! I’m a big fan of freedom of expression and freedom of speech. But with that comes the challenge of dealing with the inevitable hurt feelings, wounded pride and fear of public humiliation.
For all of us female muscle fans (and those of you who are actual FBBs), I suggest taking the high road whenever possible. Don’t feel scared about being attracted to a woman with muscles on her body. Embrace it! Don’t feel obligated to respond to every venomous comment. Life is too short to spend all your free time wallowing in bitter resentment.
Instead, be strong. Be strong in your convictions, your thoughts, your feelings, your interests. Be strong in who you are and what you like.