The Unlovable Female Bodybuilder

Love is a many-splendored thing.

Female muscle fans have quite the collection of tea cups. Since, after all, female bodybuilders aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But they are our cup of tea. So for folks like us, we’re in grave danger of running out of cupboard space.

Time to go to Ikea.

However, as painful as it may be to admit this, even the most ardent FBB fan will admit – especially if this confession must be obtained through torture – that not every muscular woman is deserving of our affection. Or attraction. We may still respect them as human beings, but are we “into” them the same way we’re into Cindy Landolt or Shannon Courtney?

Eh, no.

So yes, even for (as Bane would say) the “initiated” like us there are a small handful of female bodybuilders who aren’t our cup of tea either. This isn’t a reflection of who we are as people, nor is it an indication that we’re “sell outs” or not totally “down with the cause.” It just simply means that even we have certain boundaries that we aren’t always willing to cross. Or, simpler than that, not every FBB appeals to us for whatever reason.

There are a variety of reasons why we may not like a certain female bodybuilder. This isn’t to say that these reasons are justifiable, but they’re reasons nevertheless:

  • She isn’t “feminine” enough
  • She’s too “manly”
  • She’s had way too much cosmetic surgery
  • She’s done the type of porn that’s too disgusting, distasteful, demeaning, or nauseating
  • She has a personality that doesn’t mesh with yours
  • She’s personally done something to you that you find objectionable – such as cancelling out on a muscle worship/wrestling appointment, not returning a deposit, or being abrasive when you met her in the real world
  • She’s done things that have hurt other FBBs or the bodybuilding industry as a whole
  • She isn’t beautiful enough
  • She isn’t muscular enough
  • She “sold out” in some way
  • She isn’t your cup of tea – for whatever reason

Yes, even yours truly has a few FBBs that he can’t entirely get behind. That doesn’t mean I don’t respect them as athletes and human beings. I do. But what can I say? Even I have some limits. Maybe not a lot, but enough to justify an article like this.

Out of respect for female bodybuilders, it will do us no good to list names of specific women who are on our “unlovable” list. That’s disrespectful and counterproductive. But every FBB fan can rattle off a few names of ladies who aren’t quite to their liking. We may not want to admit it out loud, but we can.

It’s hard not to love Cindy Landolt.

So what are we to do?

Well, that’s the rub. On one hand, FBB fans tend to feel defensive toward their beloved ladies and hate seeing hurtful comments made about them. On the other hand, there are a few FBBs that even the most ardent fanatic can’t defend in good faith. This dilemma usually results in us not talking them altogether. After all, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I think our parents taught us that.

The inclination to remain quiet makes logical sense. What’s the upside of pointing out FBBs who are a bit “too manly” or “was cute before she got all that plastic surgery?” Not much. It only adds to the already toxic atmosphere that surrounds female athletes. It can also reinforce people’s pre-existing negative beliefs about female bodybuilders. The downside certainly outweighs the upside.

Yet, one cannot ignore one’s personal tastes. Even if we’re not willing to say it out loud, we do have these thoughts.

It goes to show that FBB fandom isn’t an “all or nothing” proposition. You can love certain female bodybuilders and not love others. That’s not a sign of hypocrisy or that you’re not pure of faith. It’s a simple indication that we all have different tastes. Or in some cases, different thresholds for what we consider to be “beautiful.”

Or rather, “not ugly.”

Hm. A fascinating concept, that is. There is a difference between “beautiful” and “not ugly.” Here are two examples (alright, so I guess I’m going to break my own rule and name a few specific names). I am a big fan of both Kathy Connors and Yvette Bova. But I am fully aware that not everyone can say the same. In fact, many devoted FBB fans will place both ladies on their “unlovable” list, just like Santa Claus has a list of children who have been naughty or nice. I understand that Kathy and Yvette are not everyone’s cup of tea (back to that expression again!). I will also admit that neither of them are what one would define as “classically beautiful.” But I find them both unbelievably sexy. See the difference?

You may not like Marse Manios, Kathy Connors, and Sheila Seger Benditz, but someone out there does. And that’s all that matters.

Kathy and Yvette aren’t beautiful. But they aren’t ugly either. They’re compelling figures who demand our attention, tantalize our senses, and electrify our fantasies. I can’t stop thinking about them no matter how hard I try. They’re both way more memorable than a roster full of NFL cheerleaders or a stage full of bikini models. Society accepts the latter as being beautiful while shunning Miss Connors and Miss Bova as misfits. These ladies will never grace the covers of fashion magazines or be seen in advertisements at your local Target. But nobody who does will elicit the same giddiness that you get when you watch yet another video of Yvette joyfully giving a blow job to an ordinary looking guy.

FBBs who are “not ugly” are those we acknowledge aren’t attractive in the conventional sense of that word, but are still irresistible nevertheless. Their appeal comes from nontraditional means. They compensate for their lack of natural beauty by beefing up other parts of their selves that people will find attractive. Kathy has perfected the “bad girl” attitude. Yvette has maximized her smutty persona for all it’s worth and more. I – and plenty of others – find Kathy and Yvette attractive because they aren’t afraid to embrace who they are and refuse to conform to anyone’s narrow expectations.

“Unlovable” female bodybuilders are, therefore, less a reflection on who they are and more of an indication of who we are. It demonstrates that we love female bodybuilders for a plethora of reasons…their muscles being one of them. Of course, it’s a significant reason. But it’s not the only reason.

By that same token, if we don’t particular like an FBB, it’s probably for reasons you aren’t expecting. It’s not just because they “look gross” or “have too many veins.” It’s could be because their personality is dull or the kind of porn they choose to do is not to our liking.

But we should be clear on this point: Female bodybuilders are under no obligation to be liked by you or me. They don’t ever have to get breast implants or wear makeup if they don’t want to. They don’t need to conform to anybody’s standards. If looking traditionally feminine isn’t on their to-do list, then so be it. If being glamorous on Instagram – and posting regularly – isn’t a high priority, then that’s the way it is. If they’re fine having a muscular chest and small boobs, well, live with it.

A tea cup.

I’m a strong believer in people – and this includes both men and women – being allowed to live their lives the way they want to as long as they don’t hurt anyone. No one should feel compelled to fit society’s expectations – however one defines that. Therefore, “unlovable” female bodybuilders aren’t unlovable because they choose to be – rather, they’re “unlovable” because that’s how we think of them. Not every FBB will make our hearts flutter or our breathing stop or our jaws drop to the floor. And that’s fine. Someone out there will disagree with you. But even that’s not the point. This isn’t about popularity or the perceptions of others. It’s about something more personal than that.

Female bodybuilders don’t need to be beautiful. They don’t need to be super strong. They don’t need to be glamorous. They don’t need external validation. All they need to be is themselves. All they need is one goal in mind: to become the woman they want to be. Whatever that means. Regardless of what anybody thinks of it. No matter what.

That’s what the game is all about. Self-love. Self-empowerment. Self-confidence.

Anything beyond that is just collecting more useless tea cups.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Muscles as the Great Equalizer

Check out the sexy outfit being worn by Kathy Connors.
Check out the sexy outfit being worn by Kathy Connors.

If I could rewrite a classic cliché that exists with the intent of providing a much needed self-esteem boost to the insecure general public, it would be this:

Beauty is only muscle deep.

I’m not sure if this makes any sense, but that doesn’t matter. Indeed, “Beauty is only skin deep” is a tired and true mantra meant to comfort those of us who are – how shall I say this in a politically correct manner – not blessed with natural good looks. I’m sure every single one of you who is reading this article is as gorgeous as a supermodel, but that’s beside the point. We’re all beautiful in our own way, right?

Well, maybe, maybe not. This is not meant to be a profound discussion about body image, media standards, the saturation of Adobe PhotoShop in fashion magazines, culture, identity, or anything of the sort. Instead, let’s start with the general premise that some of us are genetically wired to be more physically attractive than others. I don’t mean to insult anyone who isn’t considered traditionally beautiful. This is intended to state the obvious, which seemingly needs to be done more often in today’s society.

Call it an unfair advantage. Is it fair that Adriana Lima has made millions of dollars working as a supermodel while the vast majority of us haven’t? Not really. If there are people out there who are willing to shell out that kind of cash for the right to plaster her gorgeous face all across perfume and underwear advertisements, so be it. I have no right to say this consensual transaction between an employer and an employee should not exist.

But that doesn’t stop the feelings of jealousy that boil within us. Studies have shown (to be fair, you can find a so-called “study” that can support almost any position you want it to) that attractive men and women tend to make more money, advance faster in their careers, and enjoy certain “privileges” not easily available to their less-than-attractive peers. I have no logical reasons to doubt these findings. It makes perfect sense. We want to be around people who look good because…well, because. You can fill in the blanks.

But what about my argument that “Beauty is only muscle deep?” Here’s what I mean by this.

Women who are naturally beautiful often are the target of scorn and envy because of the fact they didn’t “earn” their beauty and all of the social and tangible benefits that come from it. It doesn’t seem like handsome men are treated with the same level of vitriol. Trust me, I’d know!

So too often, unattractive women feel like they’ve been dealt a bad (and unfair) hand in life. They’re playing with less chips in the poker game. They have to start 15 meters behind the starting line right before the race begins. It’s a sad world we live in where multi-billion dollar industries exist with the sole intent of convincing women around the world they can effortlessly bridge this gap.

Other than pursing expensive (and often ineffective) plastic surgeries and procedures, there aren’t a whole lot of practical ways a woman can enhance her beauty. Cleverly applied make-up can only go so far. Beauty standards set by society – however you define “society” – can change over time, but your gut instinct is your gut instinct. You know a beautiful person when you see one. No amount of social engineering, peer pressure, or “awareness campaigns” are going to change that.

Who wants to go to bed with Rhonda Lee Quaresma?
Who wants to go to bed with Rhonda Lee Quaresma?

However, there is one avenue a less-than beautiful woman can pursue that can, in the eyes of some people, transform her from a Plain Jane into an Irresistible Sex Goddess.

What avenue is that? You guessed it!

Bodybuilding.

While the sport (and lifestyle) of bodybuilding certainly isn’t for everyone, this is without a doubt one tactic a woman – and man – can utilize to improve her physical beauty, boost her self-esteem, and reinvigorate her sense of purpose. For people who love muscular women, we absolutely adore their big strong muscles. We cannot stop thinking about it. Once we’re hooked, we’re hooked for life. There’s no turning back. There is no “on” and “off” switch that can tamper our love for them. We’re completely in their grasp and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Muscles are the Great Equalizer. A curvy muscular frame can transform Cinderella into the Belle of the Ball with free weights, protein powder, and carbohydrates standing in for the Fairy Godmother. A powerful muscular body can more than make up for a less-than beautiful face.

Don’t believe me? In my opinion, there are plenty of real world examples to back me up. Now don’t get me wrong. I have no intention to insult, demean or shame any of these incredible women. I’m just being completely honest here. Women like Kathy Connors, Jennifer Kennedy, Yvette Bova, and Rhonda Lee Quaresma would not be considered traditionally beautiful if you took a straw poll of 1,000 random people on the street. Please don’t get me wrong! I am not trying to be malicious or nasty toward Miss Connors, Miss Kennedy, Miss Bova or Miss Quaresma! Regardless of how you think of them, I find all four of these ladies to be sexy, sassy, and supremely alluring.

I perfectly understand they are not everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s fine. You don’t have to like every single female bodybuilder in existence. Nor do you necessarily have to defend every one of them from Internet trolls. But there are plenty of guys who really dig muscular women who aren’t considered traditionally beautiful, feminine, or desirable by the majority of society. Even hardcore female muscle fans are split as to how they feel about Kathy Connors, Jennifer Kennedy, Yvette Bova, and Rhonda Lee Quaresma. Some are disgusted by them. Others are completely turned on by them. It’s all a matter of opinion.

Hopefully, we can agree that muscles can be the Great Equalizer. Maybe not for everybody, but for many people they can be. We can be so aroused by an FBB’s muscles that we can overlook her unremarkable face, unfeminine characteristics or disagreeable demeanor. Personality matters, of course, but for now we’re just talking about physical beauty.

People who love muscular women have an expanded definition of “beauty.” We appreciate beauty that’s untraditional. We embrace an aesthetic that’s unconventional. It’s not esoteric, but it certainly takes a particular personality to be willing to value a type of beauty that many people are openly hostile toward.

I really want to go to the beach with Jennifer Kennedy.
I really want to go to the beach with Jennifer Kennedy.

For us, muscles not only enhance a woman’s beauty, they completely transform it. Lisa Cross went from being a dainty little English girl to becoming a Powerfully Tantalizing Muscle Goddess of Epic Proportions after she started going to the gym. Angela Salvagno went from being the cute dark haired girl next door to a Sexy Muscle Temptress thanks to her pursuit of bodybuilding. Mavi Gioia went from being an astonishingly beautiful Italian lady to someone who could make my heart stop mid-beat if I ever were to look directly upon her. Mavi is a modern day Medusa. Except she has curvy muscles instead of snakes for hair. Either way, I’d turn to stone immediately if I gazed at her beauty for even a split second.

Divine, indeed.

If you were to ask me if I’d rather make sweet passionate love to Megan Fox or Kathy Connors, I’d pick Kathy every single day of the week and twice on Sundays. No kidding. Imagine a magician approaching me – wearing a purple cape and golden Gypsy fortune teller hat, no less – with the offer of making this scenario a reality:

One evening only. A secluded beach house by the ocean. A bottle of wine. A delicious meal of steak and lobster. Candlelight. A picturesque sunset. Not a single soul in sight. The offer of one night of total sensual passion with no strings attached or consequences. No specific sexual activity is off the table. Whatever your dirty heart secretly desires your dirty heart will get, guaranteed, no questions asked. Nobody will ever know. Who would you rather choose to experience this with: Megan Fox or Kathy Connors?

Honestly? I’m still going with Miss Connors. Laugh at me all you want.

Raise your eyebrows in puzzlement if you want to (assuming you are able to, obviously). But this is my honest answer. And it’s not even close. If I had to settle for Miss Fox instead of Miss Connors, I wouldn’t complain. If that’s my consolation prize, then at this point we’re just comparing one brand of champagne to another. This hypothetical situation will never ever present itself of course, but this is in fact what I would do. Sorry, Megan. I drooled over you while watching Transformers (because let’s face it, the rest of that movie was pretty stupid), but you lose this particular battle. A middle-aged female bodybuilder with a deep masculine voice, an unattractive face, and pumped up muscles wins my heart over you. It’s not personal. It’s just my preference.

I realize 99.99999999999% of the world’s population would wholeheartedly disagree with me. That’s okay. I won’t lose sleep over that. But that’s none of my concern. I don’t care too much what other people think. I only care about what I think. And I stand by my assertion that an average to below average looking female bodybuilder is more desirable than a Victoria’s Secret bra and panties model. Or pop star. Or movie star. Or viral Instagram celebrity.

Muscles are the Great Equalizer. Like a Fairy Godmother transforming a slovenly housemaid into the object of affection of a handsome prince, muscles can do wonders. They perform miracles. But here’s another point that needs to be said. Muscles are earned, not handed out.

Yvette Bova rocking a sexy cocktail dress.
Yvette Bova rocking a sexy cocktail dress.

This point cannot be stressed enough. A surgical procedure to eliminate wrinkles, reshape your nose or enlarge your breasts are legitimate ways to make yourself appear more beautiful. But there’s something cheap about that. Not cheap in the financial sense, but cheap in the philosophical sense. It seems like a simple and artificial way to conform yourself to other people’s standards. Please don’t misinterpret me, I am not suggesting that people who choose to get surgery done are somehow debasing themselves or “selling themselves out.” That’s not my argument at all. A person has the right to choose what they want to do with their bodies as long as they’re aware of the consequences and all sides are being honest and transparent about what’s happening.

That being said, there’s something glorious about building up muscle mass that isn’t comparable with getting cosmetic surgery. Bodybuilding requires endless hours of sweat, dedication, frustration, pain, determination, grit, and strategizing. You have to earn your muscles. Even synthetic steroids, hormones, and supplements will not magically transform you into a pro bodybuilder overnight. It still takes an immense amount of strenuous work to look that way. Nothing is given to you. You have to take it.

This is why a female bodybuilder “earns” her beauty. She isn’t born with big muscles, unlike Heidi Klum who was born with a beautiful face. I realize many FBBs choose to get surgical work done in addition to sculpting their muscles the old fashioned way, but that’s beside the point. This isn’t about dogma. This is about the basic idea that muscles can make a woman look more beautiful in ways that a single afternoon at the doctor’s office cannot easily replicate.

I think the moral of the story of Cinderella is that beauty is based more on perception than what you actually look like. To my knowledge, the Fairy Godmother doesn’t physically change how Cinderella looks, instead she gives her a sparkly new dress, a high-class horse and carriage, a respected entourage (consisting of mice and other critters, according to Disney), and fancy glass slippers. The Prince notices her not because she looks particularly different than the other women at the ball, but because there’s something unexplainable about her that captures his eye.

What would this antique mirror say about the beauty of female bodybuilders?
What would this antique mirror say about the beauty of female bodybuilders?

He can’t explain it. He just knows. His brain tells him she’s just like any other of the young eligible bachelorettes visiting the palace. But his intuition tells him something else entirely.

It’s the same way with a woman with muscles. She becomes more beautiful. But not just conventionally beautiful. She reconstructs her entire aura that elicit reactions from people that range from utter repulsion to uncontrollable lust. Either way, you cannot look away nor expel it from your mind.

Snow White, a tale from which the mystical chant “Mirror, mirror on the wall” originates, is a character who happens to be more conventionally beautiful than the Evil Queen. This bedtime story compares an apple with a better looking apple. Comparing a magazine model to a female bodybuilder is more like comparing apples to oranges. Or more specifically, comparing an apple with a large, ripe, sweet, and delectable orange.

Muscles aren’t a magic spell. They’re not something an outside power can just grant you with the twirl of a wand. What Snow White was born with and what Cinderella was given by a supernatural enchantress cannot compare to what a determined woman with a plan, a relentless work ethic, and a gym membership can achieve.

Beauty is indeed only muscle deep. But I don’t need a talking mirror to tell me that.

Female Bodybuilders are the Original Hipsters

The beautiful Alina Popa, one of my personal favorites. On a side note, you'd be surprised how difficult it is to find photos of FBBs wearing glasses!
The beautiful Alina Popa, one of my personal favorites. On a side note, you’d be surprised how difficult it is to find photos of FBBs wearing glasses!

Question: How do you drown a hipster?

Answer: In the mainstream.

Another question: Why did the hipster burn his tongue while eating pizza?

Answer: Because he began eating it before it became cool.

Last question: Why did the hipster stop swimming in the ocean?

Answer: Because it was too current.

No doubt you’ve heard these jokes before. If you haven’t, you obviously don’t spent enough time on the Internet. But for those of you who love to waste your valuable free time, I’d venture a guess that you should be familiar with the social phenomenon of labeling people who are (supposedly) anti-establishment, anti-pop culture and anti-cool as being “hipsters.”

According to Wikipedia, a “hipster” is defined as “a postmodern subculture of young, urban middle-class adults and older teenagers that first appeared in the 1990s and became particularly prominent in the 2010s, being derived from earlier movements in the 1940s. The subculture is associated with indie music and alternative music, a varied non-mainstream fashion sensibility (including vintage and thrift store clothes), progressive or independent political views, and alternative lifestyles.”

Alternate lifestyles. Independent ways of thinking. Doing things most other people don’t. Being involved in a subculture that is as far away from the “mainstream” as you can get.

In other words, marching to the beat of your own drum. Going against the grain. You get it.

After much thought and deep contemplation, I’ve come to a radical conclusion – one that sounds strange on the surface but actually makes a ton of sense once you get down to analyzing it from every possible angle. Are you ready for this?

Female bodybuilders are the original hipsters.

No, seriously. They are. Think about it for a moment.

Female bodybuilders exist outside the, ahem, “mainstream.” When we think about the typical form of a human female, certainly one with the physique of an NFL linebacker shouldn’t initially come to mind. A woman with shoulders the size of bowling balls isn’t exactly typical of what you see every day. Seeing a lady strut around with arms strong enough to bend steel is a rare sight.

Monica Mollica working her triceps.
Monica Mollica working her triceps.

How often do you run into a female homo sapien with bulky legs, a broad back, six-pack abs, a wide chest, burly arms and veins popping out of her skin? If this happens often to you, please let me know where you live!

But outside of what you see on her exterior, consider what a female bodybuilder has to do in her personal life. She has to dedicate her life (not a portion of her life, but her entire life) toward her sport (or art) in ways that go well beyond what any casual hobby would ask you to do. Bodybuilding isn’t a leisurely activity like knitting or scrapbooking. It’s a lifestyle in every sense of the word.

She has to radically change the way she eats, works, exercises, sleeps, drinks and schedules her life. She has to make a commitment to live her life in a way that’s contrary to how most of us conduct ours. She even does this for reasons that most of us wouldn’t understand.

Why torture yourself? Why endure so many long hours at the gym? Why give up eating sweets, fatty foods and other delicious goods? For what end?

And why the hell would you want to LOOK like that?

These are questions that “mainstream” folks ask all the time. These are thoughts that people who aren’t “into that sort of thing” contemplate whenever they encounter a woman with biceps like Alina Popa or legs like Julie Bourassa. Expectedly, you have to be more knowledgeable about the world of bodybuilding and athletics in order to genuinely appreciate what she has to go through to look the way she does.

The beautiful Autumn Raby. You'd be surprised how difficult it was to find photos of FBBs wearing glasses!
Autumn Raby on a bed. Need I say more?

Additionally, bodybuilding is truly a subculture. They have their own slang. Their own events. Their own hierarchies. Their own social rules (both spoken and unspoken). They have their own clubs. Their own circles of friendships. Outsiders. Insiders. Those who are actual bodybuilders. Those who are pretenders. Those who are wannabes. Those who wish to be a bodybuilder but don’t want to lift that heavy-ass weight (Ronnie Coleman reference, anybody?). These are common traits of any subculture.

I will admit I am not informed enough about the world of competitive bodybuilding to write extensively about it. I am not an insider. I’ve only met a small handful of truly professional (and hardworking amateur) bodybuilders, both male and female. But I know enough to know what I don’t know. I know that unless you’re actually a legitimate bodybuilder, you’ll have no idea what it’s like to be one.

This is what a subculture looks like. I am merely an outsider looking in. Many of you are, too.

But what’s even more thought-provoking is when we discuss specifically the world of female bodybuilding, which is a subculture within a subculture. I could go on for days writing about female muscle fetishism, women who wrestle men, men who love to be dominated by muscular women, women who travel the world to book “sessions” with male (and female) fans, muscle worship, BDSM, D/s roleplaying, sthenolagnia, the psychology of admiring female muscle and plenty of other topics related to this sub-subculture.

What this really means, in a nutshell, is that female bodybuilders are so radically different, they belong in a category of their own.

Carla Maria is one very fine female.
Carla Maria is one very fine female.

This should be justification for why female bodybuilders are the original hipsters. Alternate lifestyles? Check. Existing outside the mainstream? Check. Being part of a sub-subculture that’s so hidden most people in the general population probably couldn’t even tell you the name of a single FBB? Triple check!

But let’s look at this from a slightly different viewpoint. Consider how a female bodybuilder is treated by others. Consider how people around her behave when she’s in their presence. Consider what it’s like to exist in a society where you can genuinely be considered “unique.”

People stare at you. Some are disgusted by you. Some are uncontrollably mesmerized by you. Men are jealous of you. Women are flabbergasted by you and can’t stop wondering why you would willingly choose to be that “big.” Children are confused by you. There are those who think you’re weird. Others are turned on by you after one mere look and can’t stop obsessing over you. And all of the above cannot look away no matter how hard they try.

Am I generalizing a bit? Of course. But let me generalize to my heart’s delight.

Considering the world an FBB lives in, it’s not hard to see why more women don’t pursue this lifestyle. Personally, as an admirer of female muscle, I would love nothing more than for more women to look like Deidre Pagnanelli, Lauren Powers, Denise Masino, BrandiMae, Monica Mollica and Yvette Bova. But sadly, these fantastic and gorgeous lasses are the exception and not the rule.

If women with big biceps were the norm, I think a lot of problems with misogyny in our world would disappear (not completely, but significantly). If society at large openly encouraged women to lift at the gym instead of killing themselves doing endless cardio, we would be a lot healthier overall. Eating disorders would slowly regress. Sexism would dissipate. The dynamics of gender-based violence would change (I’m not an expert to say in what regards).

Random fitness girl on Instagram. Does anyone know her name?
Random fitness girl on Instagram. Does anyone know her name?

Therefore, as we all know, this is indeed a rarity. Which explains why female bodybuilders are as counterculture as you can get. A physically strong woman goes against every gender stereotype our culture has engrained inside it. A woman who’s stronger than a man only serves, as many of us unfortunately believe, to emasculate him. A woman with big muscles is a traitor to her gender. She will inevitably scare away men who are intimidated by her statuesque physique.

We’ve all heard this before in some form or fashion, haven’t we?

But I don’t feel that way. And most of you probably don’t either. But enough do to discourage most women from ever picking up a dumbbell at the gym. What a shame that is.

The reason why I’m asserting that female bodybuilders are the original hipsters is because, I’d argue, an FBB is truly countercultural. Unlike those who claim to be “countercultural,” a muscular woman proves it every day of her life.

There’s the conventional wisdom that someone who’s countercultural can’t actually admit to being countercultural. To self-label makes you vulnerable to being attacked.

You’re not really anti-establishment. You just want others to think you are so you can fit into certain social circles. Postmodernism, if my understanding is correct, is a worldview that aims to defy traditional labels and establish a more subjective manner of describing things. So anyone who claims to be a hipster really isn’t one.

This is why an FBB is really the only group of people who can legitimately claim to be outside the mainstream. Whether they openly admit to it or not, they are regardless. For all the reasons I just outlined, being a muscular woman is as far from “normal” as you can get. It’s an authentic alternative lifestyle that is immune to “wannabes” and “posers.”

Being an FBB isn’t something you can casually “be.” Either you are or you aren’t.

Think of it this way. How many of us went through a “hippie” phase during college? Even if you never attended college, maybe you had a similar experience at a different point in your life. The point being, remember that time in your life when you had a so-called intellectual and pseudo-philosophical “awakening” where you became the biggest anti-Establishmentarian in the known universe?

If so, how many of you eventually scrapped most of that crap once you entered the “real world” and saw things to be somewhere in between? I’m guessing a lot of you…myself included.

Another cute Instagram fitness girl. Yowza!
Another cute Instagram fitness girl. Yowza!

Most of us love the idea of being a hipster (or hippie, if you’re from a different era) more than actually being a hipster. We fell in love with the snarky glamour of being “different” instead of embracing the unique facets inherent in whatever makes you truly different. Do you listen to indie rock because you actually like the music…or because people around you are listening to it and you want to fit in?

College Hippie: Hey, Bob! Do you consider yourself an anti-Bourgeois, Proletarian-supporting Marxist liberal free-thinking “citizen of the Earth” socialist flower child?

Bob: Uh, sure. Why not?

This isn’t so with female bodybuilders. You can’t pretend to be one. You can’t put up a façade of being one, unlike people who like to think of themselves as a “don’t-tread-on-me” beatnik. You can’t fake being muscular. Your muscles are either big…or not big. Period.

But the problem with being anti-mainstream is that you never make any attempts to become, you know, mainstream. I really wish female bodybuilding and athletics would become more mainstream. That would be spectacular! Imagine turning on your TV, opening a magazine or glancing at a fashion ad in the mall and seeing ladies like Autumn Raby instead of Giselle Bundchen. I have nothing against Mrs. Tom Brady, but come on! Let’s give women like Ms. Raby some love!

All of us female muscle fans would cheer that on. Trust me.

So I guess this is one aspect to this discussion that I hope isn’t true. I don’t want female bodybuilders, athletes and fitness professionals to hide underground. I also don’t want society to reject them for being who they are. I want mainstream acceptance of female muscle, admiring female muscle and the idea of women lifting at the gym. This is what I want.

If it suddenly became “cool” for a woman to have toned muscles on her body instead of just skin and bones, then count me in!

I’d be as cool as a cucumber.