By Mark Frauenfelder at 10:06 am Fri, Nov 14, 2008
Female body builders gallery
Who said that we were even considering that as an issue?
For whatever reason that these women are “modifying their bodies” – the general consensus is that they have gone to an extreme that is found to be excessive (to put it mildly).
\Spade, I calls it.
I think that’s the greasepaint, tak
I am quite sure there are many books already written.
To each her own, yes, but God, how I love the female form and how I sigh when I see it dismantled. I have the outdated misogynistic view of the woman’s body as a Grecian art form, and all those muscles just break up the continuity of the curve…
Excessive body-building, to me, is just as unhealthy as anorexia or gross obesity. All three things rest at different vertices of a body-health triangle. It’s better to be somewhat middling than any of the points.
I am not saying there is a double standard. There is a single standard, and that is the further a person’s appearance varies from the norm the more we have been wired bv evolution to find that person unattractive. This applies equally to men and women. Studies have shown that a person closer to the norm physically, with more symmetrical features, correlate to health. This has been shown in infants, who will look at faces judged attractive longer than others. Infants obviously haven’t been taught cultural norms as far as attractiveness. As I said earlier, supremely muscular women are farther from the norm than muscular men. Men who have wide hips, man-boobs, and a gynepoidal fat distribution are also judged unattractive. This is not a double standard, it just means that the women of this muscularity are farther from the norm. I also said that most people find men with today’s level of muscularity freakish also.
Studies have shown that a person closer to the norm physically, with more symmetrical features, correlate to health.
Except that the norm that you’re describing was invented in Hollywood in the 60s. Pick up a few copies of National Geographic to see what the real human norm is. Good luck finding it, because it doesn’t exist.
most women who are built up to this level, do it for competition. they are a very tight knit group, and very proud of their freakish bods. their favorite phrase: ” all the hard work paid off.”
Takuan: I don’t click any links. This is the interweb. From what I hear, its tubes are full of sin.
There is no underlying double standard at work except for the one imposed by Nature.
Yes, but, and it is so not a cop out – people DO come in more than 2 just flavors. I’ve known women with full beards and massive biceps who were not juicing anything – I’d betting Buddy66 has too. I’ve known a few people with undefined sex anatomy, even one who ‘juiced’ by prescription, but really looked quite feminine by my perception.
Freaky monkey should not be assumed to be so terribly different from happy mutant, if you’re going to judge people who are extreme then there is no reason to stop at an arbitrary divide between the genders.
Your basic issue at that point is with their preferred pursuit of happiness.
I really wanted to comment here when this story was fresh.
But by now, I’ll just say this: I love the phenomena of body modification / morphological freedom, and that so many comments here were negative / snide (often rooted in normative judgements or the naturalistic fallacy) made me sad. I’m glad these women exist, to push the limits of what’s possible in human expression.
(In the same vein, I very much appreciated Yamara’s comment.)
“Wow – tough crowd.
I’m not going to lie and say these women are sexy, but you have to admire the DEDICATION to take it to that level.”
Dedication- Is that what they call steroids these days?
my links are tasty, tasty and safe. Go on. You KNOW you want to. Trust me….
Christine’s looking *fine*.
Santa’s Knee, if they weren’t extreme, they wouldn’t be marketable: “Women Who Work Out A Bit” is never going to grace a coffee table.
I’m always amused by the intensity of hating that comes out when these women show up. What’s so scary, boys?
at what point are body modifications “bad” or “evil”? When they threaten others? When they threaten the individual? The species?
I was being facetious… again.
From the amazon* link in the post:
“In Schoellerâ€™s words: â€œwith Female Bodybuilders, I am trying to show the vulnerability that I see and feel in the subjects when I am with them, to get to the complex emotions behind a mask of extreme physical expression. These women mirror our modern cultural hunger for size, aggression, and attention at any cost. We are in the age of Bigness.â€ ”
I never understood this sport. Anyone with that degree of muscular overdevelopment, male or female, just looks very, very wrong to me.
I just chalk it up as being the same sort of thing as tattoos or piercings, and leave it at that.
It will be a good day when this kind of thread doesn’t contain transphobic statements like wratofthekitty’s.
In my initial comment I said “vanity to the side.” But that had a lot to do with it, I admit. In fine: it felt good to look good. Or what I then considered looking good â€” set against a Steve Reevish sort of ideal. I can only assume that today’s body-modders either think they look good or are trying to look good. I don’t know their aesthetic ideals, but it is finally a matter of taste, isn’t it? â€” excluding outright madness, of course.
My favorite eccentricity was a young man I knew who only worked on his arms. He was otherwise somewhat scawny, but what a pair of guns he had!
I don’t believe for a second that these women’s health is the top concern of all the people saying that these pictures are gross. Stop kidding yourselves. Anyone remember the post a while back about high heels? Remember how many people said something like, sure high heels are bad for women, but I like ‘em anyway because they look sexy?
So you have stereotyped gender preferences. That’s okay, you’re allowed. The offensive part is when you try to deny it by claiming that your negative reaction is due to something inherently wrong with the women. Take responsibility for your own feelings.
This has been shown in infants, who will look at faces judged attractive longer than others
Citation? I’ve never heard anything like that. It strikes me as actually absurd.
Human tastes and preferences change far faster than our genome, faster even than our taboo’s, and the rest of your argument rather hangs around the statement that people can actually be objectively more attractive (or less freaky looking) and that the most reliable barometer of that attractiveness is derived from non-verbal infants.
I can say 7 out of 10 babies at some point think that poo is fun, but what could that ever prove about civil engineering?
Takuan “Go on. You KNOW you want to. Trust me….”
You’re not the boss of me.
buddy66 “My favorite eccentricity was a young man I knew who only worked on his arms.”
You should see my forehead. Breathtaking!
There is a single standard, and that is the further a person’s appearance varies from the norm the more we have been wired by evolution to find that person unattractive.
That really sounded better in the original German.
“if they weren’t extreme, they wouldn’t be marketable: ‘Women Who Work Out A Bit’ is never going to grace a coffee table.”
You don’t go into the bookstore much, do you?
“I’m always amused by the intensity of hating that comes out when these women show up. What’s so scary, boys?”
I am always amused by the people who try to be witty by not really reading what is being said by others [no one is hating, just throwing up in our mouths a bit]. Do not confuse fear with disgust, old bean.
chicken, bwakk bwakkk buk buk buk…
I agree totally.
About as sane as self-amputation.
First they came for the apotemnophiliacs . . .
Allright, Google (children look attractive faces longer) and check the results. I think #4 and #7 are pretty concise.
These studies have included different races and cultures.
As I said before, across many cultures, people find features and body structure that are close to the norm and symettrical more attractive. This is because they are also healthier. This is not an issue of cultural norms, but factors that influence reproductive fitness, and evolution has wired us that way. They have done studies that show basic human expressions are the same, no matter what the culture, and people can recognize other races/cultures expressions. A smile is wired into us. I’m not some nazi who thinks everyone should be the same. I’m just commenting on what is wired into us.
I’ve got another comment.
Females who have a .7 waist to hip ratio are the most fertile. Coincedentally, across cultures that is judged attractive. This applies to slim, medium, or heavier body types. It’s not just some Hollywood conception of the ideal. This stuff is well documented
Takuan “chicken, bwakk bwakkk buk buk buk…”
Obviously. It’s the only way, I find, to taste like myself.
I wonder where they fall on the BMI index…
If I find those who decide that excessive weight is their goal, who eat five full fast-food meals a day, and who down a 2 liter of soda with every meal disgusting, why can’t I feel disgust at those who take another form of body sculpting to an extreme?
I think it is cool that society has such folks (everything in moderation – even moderation), they push our understanding of what is possible, but forgive me for the little shudder that goes through my body at the thought of being one of them.
Wow. The level of phobia and hate being shown in these posts is really kind of surprising. Other sites, sure, but BoingBoing? Wow. A whole lot of folks need to get over themselves.
Pseudonym, you’re correct, but people find the idea that beauty is “socially constructed” or something to be comforting. Of course, idiosyncrasy plays a big part in sexual attraction, but the evo-bio data is pretty solid.
People hate ev-psych because it feels to them like determinism, I think. Wow do people hate the Daly-Wison studies that demonstrate that stepparents are way more likely to murder their children than biological parents.
the evo-bio data is pretty solid
But what’s the point in the context of this thread? Euthanize everybody who isn’t pretty? Or just insult them?
As with literally any subculture, you can listen to them directly by reading their numerous forums.
hot and sexy with horse power fire power and muscle
For all the haters: How much of your reaction is due to being confronted with evidence of a woman who’s willing to put effort into transforming her body for her own purposes, rather than to please men?
How much of your reaction is due to being confronted with evidence of a woman who’s willing to put effort into transforming her body for her own purposes, rather than to please men?
Or because you know that she could snap you like a twig.
These are competition photos. They have whittled away the last bit of body fat and dehydrated themselves to emphasize muscle striations for a competition. They rub themselves with brown grease to highlight musculature. When they’re not competing, their fat and fluid levels are within normal limits and their skin returns to normal color.
Bodybuilders, male and female, are mostly quite healthy. Probably healthier than the norm in the western world. Do any of you ever go to a gym?
The civilized person might regard it as poor form to make disparaging remarks about the appearance of another either in person or from some remove. How, anyway, can anyone ascertain the beauty or lack thereof of another person merely by a photograph?
You and your feminist lingo.
You know what’s gross about these photos? No, not the muscles, but the skin damage from all the tanning these people do for competition. All of their faces show damage from over tanning.
Actually my favorite thing about this post was learning (from the linked photo gallery’s comment thread) that “ÐžÐœÐ“!!” is a genuine Russian idiom.
Why did I have to see this while I’m eating split pea soup?
Am I the only one who’s reminded of Robert Mapplethorpe’s book of photos of female bodybuilders, with text by–of all people–Bruce Chatwin?
Ding ding ding! From body building to a “hard time believing” that “overly” (sez you!) tattooed people just have a “deep seeded need to be noticed” in only 20 comments! Way to go, HollywoodBob! Now, to the part I’ll take as your point: “…[seeing] bodybuilders along the lines of those overly tattooed/pierced folk.” I agree; we’re all at the fringes of the spectrum of the prevalent body ideal. I think the built body–by whatever means it is built and to whatever effect–is fascinating.
The majority of the early post went something along the lines of “ICK” or some negative comment. I posted an explanation why most people would find those ladies unattractive, and the preference is wired into us, not just social imprinting. I received borderline rude replies that imply I am sexist, a cultural imperialist, fascist, and making up studies to back myself up. I have replied to the objections by guiding individuals, including you, to peer reviewed, independent studies that show we have innate preferences that tied to an individual’s health and fertility. I also stated that everyone is free to look like they please. I am a life-long lifter and dated a woman two inches taller than me and nearly as large as me. I believe I made one personal comment about the attractiveness of female bodybuilders. I said early female bodybuilders were hot. I also made a comment that most of us who are long term lifters believe these ladies are using steroids, and I have trained with many ladies. So why the hostiliy with someone who is explaining a phenomenon and not endorsing it.
So why the hostiliy with someone who is explaining a phenomenon and not endorsing it.
The comments are aimed at people who are endorsing that philosophy. If you don’t, then they’re not aimed at you.
This looks like one of those photoshop competitions on worth1000.
If only someone had gotten Karen Carpenter into bodybuilding…
I posted this because it’s about an interesting subculture, not for people to say mean things. Please, stop it.
First, ICK. NSFW?
Second, Samsam, Sister Y is correct, there is significant research into the psychology behind excessive bodybuilding (I suspect most of these folks fall into this category?)
From “The Ethiology and Maintenance of Body Image Dissatisfaction in Men and Women”, a chapter in “Advances in Psychology Research” (find it in books.google.com):
“……results indicate that body dissatisfaction in certain groups of athletes (i.e. runners and martial artists) is not as marked as in bodybuilders. Additionally, bodybuilders are more likely to have low self-esteem and use [steroids] than other athletes.”
“…In spite of the fact that the bodybuilders were significantly heavier than the other athletes, they reported a greater desire than the other athletes to gain additional body weight while also maintaining thinness. Due to the apparently contradictory goals of desiring increased bodyweight and thinner bodies, it appears that bodybuilders may be most at risk for development of disordered eating practices…”
I have heard this research elsewhere, but I can’t find a cite right now (I write software for a living and do not lift weights, whaddya want?) There’s actually a syndrome with bodybuilders who see themselves as small, even when they’re huge like these women. Not to say that all bodybuilders suffer from this syndrome, but a significant percentage do.
jeez, ya knew dis joint was rough when ya walked in. So ya got cut up a little, join da club.
So there’s a lot of chastising people for being turned off by these women, and a lot of “to each their own”-type statements.
Would we be so PC if these were anorexic women?
I don’t think so. Anorexia is generally accepted as a sign of some kind of mental imbalance — depression or other factors — and as something to be pitied. We wouldn’t be so accepting of it and say “to each their own” because we’d see a real problem.
Is excessive body building different from anorexia? I don’t think so — in fact, for men, it’s usually considered the “male version” of anorexia and is called “muscle dysmorphia.” The men (and probably women) with this disorder are affected by their body image just as much as anorexic women, and when they look in the mirror they see themselves as skinny weaklings, just like anorexic women see themselves as fat.
Final question: Would Sister Y and Avram admonish the “haters” as much if people were making such remarks over images of excessively muscular men?
Is excessive body building different from anorexia?
Excessive? They have high muscle mass and low body fat. What you and most of the commenters mean is:
DO NOT WANT! Women who don’t appeal to me sexually have a mental illness!
not a person, just their body
Seen the Swedish dance band costumes?
I wouldn’t wear any of them, though they certainly showed a lot of courage in wearing them.
This woman liked injecting her face with silicone, and she certainly had determination
But I can’t say I would like to do it, just as I wouldn’t get silicone breast nor wear one of those costumes, because simply I don’t like the way they look.
If someone wishes to wear bizarre clothes, get silicone breast enhancements, tatts themed on rape manga and subcutaneous body mods it’s their choice to express themselves as an individual. I don’t feel I should applaud them for what they do, and that’s MY right.
I also think a good portion of the heat in this thread is generated by people jumping to the defence of these pictures because they are of women not because they are body builders.
Antinous – I really would like to see these women not in competition mode then. Because honestly their faces, not there bodies, worry me. I think the portraits are beautiful but concerning.
I was a competative swimmer – and I know that some really unfair pressure can be put on athletes about their bodies.
I’m not upset, because I don’t really care what the opinion of people who ignore science are. I just find that mindset ironic on this site, which worships at the altar of rationality and science.
I’m a woman who works out a few times a week… and while I do have some definition in some places, there’s no way I could get there — even with a dedicated program. I don’t think women can attain such a level of muscular development without some chemicals! Heck, I’m all :squeeee!: when I see I’ve got defined calves LOL
I confess a certain amount of recoil at these pictures. But it reminds me of something too: this is like looking at pictures of man-to-woman transsexuals / transvestites — only this time it’s in the other direction!
I think maybe we are more used to seeing men turning into women than women turning into men? That might explain the recoil?
actually, no one has ever found the Boing Boing altar – AND LIVED TO TELL! But semi-seriously now, how about do-overs all around?
mdh “I can say 7 out of 10 babies at some point think that poo is fun…”
Um, yes. Babies.
Perhaps later, I am off to the gym (Leg day). Hopefully my critics will take the time to look up these studies online, so they can make reasoned responses, rather tham ad-hominem attacks (implied). I will log back after the party meeting. Auf wiedersein.
I’d like to know what exactly the steroid routine is to reach that level. How many injections a day? How many different chemicals? What would they look like without them? I’m guessing they wouldn’t even be cut, much less hulking.
I’m not saying these women don’t work hard to reach this level, but make no mistake, the part that many find disgusting is *entirely* enabled by steroids. And like most things that are unnatural, many find it disgusting.
I hope we’re not so PC that we can’t admit that….
Well, I’m a little disappointed in BoingBoing readers because nobody once mentioned that they looked like superheroes. You know from comics, or possibly b-movie action sequences. They’re fabulous.
sorry guys… couldnt read all the bad publicity… you know it took her many years of hard work and devotion to do this… its something she worked for …to please herself not you guys.. she doesnt have to look fantastic in your eyes but hey i bet you wouldnt even notice her if she was just normal muscle built… it `s not always what we would like but no need to disgrace the people who do… its discimination…i look up to people who have strength and determination to do what they want..she looks great for what she wants….
Skep its not tanning, its the lightning, notice the background was black in the movie, but its while on the pictures = the flash was REALLY strong and what you see are deeper layers of the skin
pseudonym; the problem with scientific investigation is that, on occasion, it has the audacity to point out that we aren’t as in control as we’d like to be; that “you” are some combination of nature (genetics, epigenetics, chemistry) and nurture (accidentally seeing your parents having sex when you were four and having it really scar you quite terribly and you try to get over it, but you just can’t, even after seeing a specialist and another one and another one and jamming that pencil up your nose to poke out the terrible, horrifying memories. Oh, daddy! Why were you doing that to mommy!?).
FWIW you’ve got me trying to puzzle out an infant’s role in the sexual selection process. You didn’t come in with both guns blazing (that’s good) and you bought a round for the house, so grab a stool or a chair and we’ll wrist wrestle for the next one.
If infants respond positively to a facial prototype that is in fact a morphed composite of variables â€” and that composite is deemed by adults to be ”attractive” â€” then this is evidence that the later response in the adult sexual selection process is evident at infancy, right? So we respond to “pretty” before our cultures define it for us? But hasn’t the adult consensus already decided that? “Look: Baby Paulie picked the pretty one again!”
The Baby That Built Hollywood.
If nothing else, you have set me off on a search for further peer responses to this and similar studies, because … frankly I don’t believe it. “I say it’s spinach â€” and I say to hell with it.”
I’ll buy this round.
We are wired by evolution to find fit individuals attractive, and factors of someone’s appearance that appear unhealthy to be unattractive. That’s why these women are unattractive to most people.
If that were true, wouldn’t male athletes be judged on that basis just as quickly? And yet, I haven’t seen a lot of that happening.
Anonymous @93: True. To the rest of the world, a great many Americans just look fat.
A User @109:
You’ll fare better in this forum if you’ll refrain from asserting that you know the unstated motives of your fellow commenters.
I’m not quite clear on the notion that saying “I find this unattractive” is the equivalent of saying “Wow, what a dysfunctional individual.”
Maybe that’s what other folks mean, but it’s not coming across that way to me. Rather it seems some people are interpreting what others say to mean that. Since some of the people being criticized have said that’s not what they mean basically they are being called liars.
I’ll stick by my “blech” assessment thanks. I’m entitled to find attractive what and who I find attractive and find repulsive what and who I find repulsive, it’s my sexuality damn it. And yes, for those who want a strawman, I also find men who are this developed disgusting as well.
That said it’s not necessarily unhealthy, I think. And I’m not convinced it makes them unhappy. So I think I’ll decline to condemn anyone who does this, even while retaining the right to not find them sexually attractive.
-abs is is telling the truth here, so please don’t accuse him of “hating” when he’s merely un-attracted to some individuals
Just a note. When they do these infant studies the children are isolated from outside influence. They are shown pictures of individuals deemed attractive or not, and the children spend signifigantly more time looking at the attractive individuals.
Here is a song for you.
you mean this one?
“If that were true, wouldn’t male athletes be judged on that basis just as quickly? And yet, I haven’t seen a lot of that happening.”
read back through the thread you’ll find posters saying saying men and women body builders are not their cup of tea.
“You’ll fare better in this forum if you’ll refrain from asserting that you know the unstated motives of your fellow commenters.”
What you mean I’m going to get taken out the back and roughed over? And unless you’re a lady body builder, you just proved my point.
Ah, but Pseudonym, do the babies start picking ugly people once they’ve got a few drinks in them? Can babies even get beer goggles? These are the important questions.
“For all the people calling it “unattractive,” you realize this is a sport, right? “
…Yeah. About as sane as self-amputation.
You think that it’s worse than marathon runners? Watch the race some time. They are messed up.
I meant this one.
Previously, I asked; why?
Take a look at just the faces of these women and try to see, why. What do you see?
extreme commitment and follow through.
Weight training can be addicting. I think it’s the breathing, when done properly, and the repetition; it’s the high that comes from an endorphin surge. Runners as well as other endurance athletes know it well. Some of the rushes are incredible. So it can really string you out, vanity to the side.
In pre-steroid days I worked out 3 times a week (that was the accepted schedule back in the dark ages) for almost a year, combined with wrestling workouts twice a week, tennis or handball on Saturday, and drinking beer all day Sunday. I changed the way I looked and the beer changed the way I felt about the way I looked.
I really miss the beer. The rest of it not so much.
This thread really sort of bites. May I say I think male bodybuilders are actually quite sexy (gay male that I am), except perhaps for those three days before competition where they turn the colour of carrots. Fake tan turns no-one on, but it’s there for a specific reason, to highlight the work they’ve done.
I’m not into female builders the same way – being gay and all – but i’ve always had the same sort of admiration for them as I have for extreme pericers, heavily tat’d people and those who hammer nails into their nostrils for fun.
I don’t think it’s particularly cool to call individuals’ motives into account when making a judgement on whether we find their appearance attractive or not. If they’re hurting nobody, then does it really matter why?
I thought alot more people would be a lot less judgemental round here, particularl when it comes to people exploring their passions, and doing so in a very dedicated way.
Occam’s Dildo. If I don’t want to fuck it, it has no valid existence.
Sheesh. It’s like reading comments on YouTube in here.
It’s supposed to be ‘better living through chemistry’, for the amount they’ve spent on steroids, they could have had 100 puppies (and enough left over to pay pooper scoopers), which would make you happier?
Yeah – see my comments here on a male body building/steroids thread.
I’m definitely against pathologizing things because they seem weird or seem to harm the person doing them – even a person our society defines as having a mental illness. People need to do different things in order to be happy. Not everyone can become happy in the same way.
Also note that, even by relatively unscientific DSM-IV standards, it’s not a “delusion” if it’s shared by the person’s subculture.
Some of the replies are truly repellent.
You know, the only way to overcome a phobia is desensitization through repeated exposure. I suggest and body modification festival on Boingboing where everything that can possibly be done to, by or with the human body is explored in minute detail. Maybe then folks can get over it.
No, I was just responding to Wrong On The Internet. I think it’s mean and uncivilized to make disparaging remarks about people’s appearance – fat or fit, face to face or in a comment thread, whether there’s a biological reason to find them unattractive or not. You don’t need to disparage evolutionary psychology in order to point out that it’s mean to say “ick” about somebody.
MO asks the hard questions in #159.
Antinous What you and most of the commenters mean is:DO NOT WANT! Women who don’t appeal to me sexually have a mental illness!
Sorry, that’s a bit of a straw man. You don’t get that sort of chest acne from a bottle tan, and you don’t get receding hairlines and lantern jaws from getting ripped for competitions. I’ll agree with Mark that it is “an interesting subculture”… bt n mch th sm wy s th bdy mddrs tht splt thr pnss n hlf.
What you mean I’m going to get taken out the back and roughed over?
Whining. 5 yards. Replay 2nd down.
You don’t need to disparage evolutionary psychology in order to point out that it’s mean to say “ick” about somebody.
That’s the trouble with science. It’s a great thing, but doesn’t always belong in polite conversation. Wow, you’re hideous. Here’s a study that proves it.
I agree that the lighting is doing these athletes absolutely no favors. Why is it that every single one of these women has significantly lighter skin tone on their faces than they do on their bodies? It contributes quite a bit to the photoshopped look.
Why is it that every single one of these women has significantly lighter skin tone on their faces than they do on their bodies?
Did you read the previous comments? They rub themselves with brown grease to highlight musculature.
Antinous, okay, but the way to respond to that is “stop being mean, this is your sister’s Bat Mitzvah for crying out loud!” not “that study could not possibly be accurate.”
How about “that study could possibly be not accurate?” I’m primordially suspicious of studies involving beauty standards set by rich, white people. The potential for prejudice, contamination and misinterpretation is not negligible. There’s way too much ‘science’ supporting eugenics.
Some of the replies are truly repellent.
The photographer wanted to elicit a response and, oh boy, he did managed it nicely.
I have met many ladies that reach such levels of muscular definition (no “chemicals” needed) and I can assure you that they are some of the sexiest women you will ever meet, once they return to normal levels of fluid, are not “greased” to enhance their musculature and, most importantly, are not seen through the lens with of somebody with an agenda, you will hardly find better looking creatures.
The same goes for men, just check old pictures of Governor Arny as a point in case.
anyone wants a spanking, they’re paying for it.
Just as disgusting as the males…
These studies really look at broader, more general claims of what is “attractive”.
The fact is that there is a niche, somewhere, for anybody and everybody to be considered sexually attractive shouldn’t be a big surprise to readers here. Live and let live, no?
Happy mutants should rejoice that there are people out there doing this stuff – even if it’s not specifically what you want to do, it should serve as inspiration to do whatever it is you do want. And to be able to do so without society treating you like a total outcast. (That last point is a bit of wishful thinking, I know, but change has to start somewhere.)
Screw the mainstream, celebrate people’s differences. The more different, the better.
Funnily enough, I knew a woman who was built like this. Not cut, but definitely as muscular. And she wasn’t a bodybuilder. She was a cattle farmer from Australia and her bulk was entirely from heaving stuff on the farm. I greatly appreciated her muscle when we were white-water rafting in Nepal and I hadn’t considered the fact that I don’t know how to swim. She could swim rapids with one arm while using the other one to hold me by the nape of the neck.
here are more
someone should remake “The 300″ with all the sexes reversed starring all of em.
One feature that even blueray still lacks is the button that instantly switches all the sexes of the characters in the movie.
For all the people calling it “unattractive,” you realize this is a sport, right? Do you comment on how attractive female powerlifters are? For the record, I’m not attracted to this but that is clearly not the purpose of their training.
lately, based on the comments, i am very disappointed by BB readership.
The ignorant meanness of the many of the comments here feels like fark.
(not denyin that competition body builders of ALL chromosomal characteristics are by definition extreme examples of what ever it is that they are examples of…btw
Sister y: Trying to quantify something so utterly subjective seems destined to fail.
Cultural factors alone would make any studies of too bigger scope to accurately report back on what is attractive, or not. And really – do we need to know such things? Isn’t that the sort of science that ends up supporting people who want to sell us unneccessary shit? What greater good could come of them? Really?
And when she had to move you while you were napping, she’d bite on to the scruff of your neck and carry you?
Kumar, my boat boy, took care of all my napping needs.
Really? I use NapCo.
Taking care of all your napping needs since 1922
Don’t bodybuilders just fall into the “happy mutants” set along with the rest of the glorious freaks out there?
Yelling “do not want!” is all well and good — fine, more for me (giggedy giggedy) — but don’t forget there are *people* under all that pro-tan.
Every bodybuilding forum with a women’s section has at least a thread, if not a whole section, on “dealing with the haters”. It’s sad to watch, because although most girls laugh it off (you have to have a thick skin to challenge any social norm), it really gets some women down. It’s just mean.
Ht tht nd y’ll gt brss.
-bs s nt nt tht lk, nt t ll, mks hm wnt t t thm dwn n chr fr fw wks nd frc-fd thm TV nd twnks ntl thy lk nrml gn, nt tht -bs wld, tht wld b crlr thn h crs t b
I’m a little confused at the sports references when these “competition photos” are clearly only about the girls’ looks. Body sculpting doesn’t seem to have the emphasis on performance that regular sports do. Assuming these competitions have no tests of strength or endurance, then I’d have to categorize this subculture as the same as the beauty pageant subculture – body sculpting just requires more exertion.
Justin France – I agree with everything in your comment at #167.
As to why we should bother doing science that just bums everybody out . . . I don’t know, same reason as for doing astronomy?
I’m a 30-year-old female. Evolutionary biology is way more depressing for me than for most people.
Evolutionary biology is way more depressing for me than for most people.
I feel that way about Virginia Woolf.
“The middle age of buggers is not be contemplated without horror.”
OK, granted they are well muscled, probably above average in health, but really…FOUR limbs?
Sister Y “I’m a 30-year-old female.”
Are you single? If not, do you have a sister?
“Evolutionary biology is way more depressing for me than for most people.”
Nothing cures depression like strawberries & cream, and a box of wine (/me puts Bolero on the hifi). Why don’t you make yourself more comfortable…
I had no idea that that’s what Katie Couric looked like with her shirt off.
That’s a lot of judgment.
To each her own, I figure.
Wow, these truly dedicated sportspeople look great!
(Seriously, not with yours mate.)
Just my opinion. If you want to look like that- more power to ya.
You’d think more happy mutants would be appreciative of bodymods and bodyhacks, even if they would never be able to stomach doing it to themselves.
I admire female bodybuilders as artists and pioneers of possibilities: They are just a little bit more transhuman, in one little way, than the rest of us. They challenge perceptions like any other body-modder, but there is a deeper gut reaction when a group of women take up the conscious effort to remake themselves into physical symbols of power. Criticisms of these challenges are all too easily tempted to jump to explanations of sexual dysfunction or mental derangement, because they assault presumptions of the strata of society and what it is to be human.
One day these negative prejudices will be shattered. I look forward to the day when a female bodybuilder is elected President of the United States.
Watch the video link — hearing the photographer talking with his subject is very interesting. It changed the impression I’d formed after being freaked out by the still photos, making me feel less judgmental toward them.
Ww. Bfr sw th vd thght ths phts wr dtd. t’s n ntrly dffrntly hmn sthtc tht dn’t thnk wll vr b ccstmd t.
Why d thy stll wr bthng st tps? t’s nt lk thy hv brsts nymr.
I find a lot of these comments very interesting, especially the “non-PC” ones because they have a ring of honesty to them, even if the honesty is not all that nice.
I guess where my mind goes first is, what are their private lives like? Do they have husbands/partners, are the husbands/partners also into fitness, do they have children, what are some other interests besides bodybuilding. Like, to get to know the person behind the image.
@Snowpea 39 – I wouldn’t compare these women to transexuals or transvestites. They might have become a little more masculine in appearance, but a female bodybuilder isn’t the same as a transexual.
Moderator Hayden @111
Females will judged more because, with the exception of a small percentange of women, women cannot achieve these levels of muscularity naturally. Males can generally build a high level of muscle mass (bodybuilders before steroids), therefore these women are farther from the norm. Women also have naturally higher bodyfat levels, so the miniscule bodyfat levels they reach in competition is also farther from the norm. I am a life long lifter and can tell you that, while we appreciate the effort involved, most of us think men and women bodybuilders now look like freaky juice monkeys
on the subject of highheels
“Yet, there are those who find my choice of footwear a dereliction of feminist duty. “
an article by a declared feminist about why she wears high heels despite knowing they are bad for her health
hmm … the light-flooded, highly saturated, over-exposed and grainy treatment isn’t doing these ladies any favors.
Noen, sorry, no matter how many times I see photos / read articles on body modification, I still don’t like it. Not that I have a phobia, I just don’t understand why folks can’t be happy with the their bodies the way they are and I don’t find it attractive no matter how much of it I see. Not to say that I think it should be controlled.
I do have to wonder how many teenage boys/girls get piercings and tats thinking it makes them cool that they regret later in life. Nowadays, it’s almost more normal to be modified…
Do I have this right? Very muscular women must be juicing, but very muscular men can be assumed to be less likely to be, so women ‘will be judged more’?
They may both seem like freaky monkeys, but you do appear to think one sex is less freaky-monkey than the other under identical circumstance, which reads very much like a double standard to me.
the light-flooded, highly saturated, over-exposed and grainy treatment isn’t doing these ladies any favors.
You forgot to mention the shoe polish.
unicorn chaser please….
chacun a son gout
ww, ths pctrs r dsgstng… gr bt “t ch hr wn,” bt wndr hw mny f ths wmn sffr frm bdy dysmrphc dsrdr.
wld bt mny tht ny n f ths wmn hs cltrs tht s bggr thn th vrg pns. X(
ntc thr r nt ny mgs blw th wst…thnkflly.
Okay, I find this funny. I know it’s not every reader, but I’m struck by how many readers initially assume that the default measure of images of women is that they should appeal to their tastes; and how betrayed they sound.
Absimiliard, MDH is right. It isn’t about your sexuality. It’s about their sport.
Rugby players aren’t to my taste, but I can tell that’s not the point.
available at amazon.com you say?
a better default then: adopt a physical form suited for survival in your environment. Said environment to include experiential worst case scenario – “desert island/jungle/forest/tundra”, ie: no tribe, tools, civilization. What then is the “beautiful form”?
could be worse
it’s my sexuality damn it.
No. It’s a bodybuilder.
Get it now?
To me, they’re exotic, therefore they’re hot.
Creepy photoshopping. Reminds me of Jill Greenberg. Yuck!
Eh, whatever makes you happy I suppose. To me though, these just look like people who have undergone a lot of pain and suffering to mutilate their bodies into something far less than appealing. This goes for both men and women. I think they are nuts.
Of course, I consider attractive to be a girl with glasses drinking a coffee while reading a book at a hippie leftist cafe. I figure that is probably the opposite of a woman flexing absurd muscles that I would find terrifying and malformed even on a large man, greased, and under bright spot lights before a crowd.
Different folks different strokes I suppose.
I was in shape once. I hated it. Hated it. This “workout high” thing skipped me entirely. All I did was workout, eat a lot, and poop with consistent regularity (every 16 hours. Seriously, you could set your watch by it). Oh, I also got yelled at and got no sleep, which may have coloured my mood somewhat. Boot camp.
As for trying to attempt to be vaguely on-topic, I can’t profess to understand this, but they’re handy to have as neighbours, if you need a jar unlid’d. More importantly, as long as they aren’t harming someone else, it’s their body, not yours. If it was yours it would be pale and lumpy with patchy clumps of hair in odd places. Consider this an intervention. The combination of your out-of-shape form and your nudity is hurting our eyes. Buy some curtains.
the endorphin rush pretty well has to come from self directed activity.
of course the plot line is begged; how would the world have to change for this to become “conventionally attractive”?
I got that “second wind” thing, sometimes. It wasn’t really a rush of feeling good. It was more like temporarily not feeling quite so bad, similar to the joy you feel when you stop hitting yourself with a hammer.
…Talk about muscles in your shit. How can *ANYONE* find that attractive? It’s like putting Ginger Lynn’s head on Ah-Nuld’s body!
We are wired by evolution to find fit individuals attractive, and factors of someone’s appearance that appear unhealthy to be unattractive. That’s why these women are unattractive to most people. In the real world the low levels of bodyfat on a woman would be a sign of some health problem, and the extreme muscularity would be due to some hormonal imbalance. Early women bodybuilders or today’s fitness competitors are smoking hot because they look athletic.
nope, proper endorphins feel GOOD. I remember many a time after practice in the dojo of sitting in the adjacent student rest area with steam still rising from our bodies and the delicious languor of not having to force further demands from our bodies. Just looking at each other we knew were all riding the same high.
Wow – tough crowd.
I’m not going to lie and say these women are sexy, but you have to admire the dedication to take it to that level.
what’s fit? Not too much longer and the male ideal will be the gangly, pimply, bespectacled geek with the hands renown for teledildonic coding.
power? the male ideal then:
Why would you assume they’re modifying their bodies in order to be attractive to other people?
Takuan “nope, proper endorphins feel GOOD. I remember many a time after practice in the dojo of sitting in the adjacent student rest area with steam still rising from our bodies and the delicious languor of not having to force further demands from our bodies.”
That’s what I said. “Good” is “less bad”, relatively speaking.
“Not too much longer and the male ideal will be the gangly, pimply, bespectacled geek with the hands renown for teledildonic coding.”
/me turns off webcam
good is less bad? And I thought I was a pessimist.
I’m not a pessimist. I’m a no-longer-hitting-myself-with-a-hammer-so-that-I-can-stop-ist. If anything, that’s pragmatism.
ah, a self-hating-masochist-in-denial with delusions of reality. I see. Sicko.
Everybody knows that the best delusions are ones of reality. They’re the Krispy Kreme of mental, um, mentalness.
This is on the subject of body modification, as many readers have posted in opposition to this.
My question poses this: What do you call a breakfast at McDonald’s? What do you call a primarily fast-food diet and 64 oz Big Gulps as the cultural norm.
My point being that EVERYTHING you do and EVERYTHING YOU DON’T DO modifies your body in some way. It shapes (literally) who you are.
I don’t find this any more repulsive than the 200+ lb. man snacking on a pack of french fries. Which is, to say, both unattractive.
Both of both people were to approach me for a job offer? It wouldn’t bother me. Both people to approach me to buy my house? Nope, still not phased.
Get over it.
Fifty years ago I was an amateur wrestler with eyes to make the U.S. Olympic team (hah!), so I started throwing iron around to increase strength and flexibility. Vanity being what it is, I soon started “sculpting” and thus came in contact with serious bodybuilders, very much a fringe group in those days; the myth of the “musclebound weight lifter” was then at its peak.
My weight-training experience predates steroids, of course, and although I knew a few women bodybuilders who were as dedicated as the men, none achieved anything like the results of their male counterparts. They firmed up really well and looked awfully good, but they could not achieve the “cuts” or “definition” that marked the male bodybuilders’ physiques. It was high-protein diets, or so we believed, that resulted in muscle building; lots of protein milkshakes and power drinks (resulting in some incredibly sulfurous farts) were essential to the prescribed regimen. I believe it is accepted that the hormonal imperative for muscle building is testosterone. Until anabolic steroids were introduced, women came up short on that count. Now either sex can be “juice monkeys”. There is no underlying double standard at work except for the one imposed by Nature.
Blame the manufacturer.
I reject your reality and substitute my own!
time to comb all the strands straight then.
Who are they? Why do they do it? Who is it for? Are they happy? Do they hurt or help others? Is it good and healthy for the individual? Is it good and healthy for their society? Is it good and healthy for the species? Start there then.
Didn’t you read the menu? “No substitutions”.
I’m a no-longer-hitting-myself-with-a-hammer-so-that-I-can-stop-ist. If anything, that’s pragmatism.
What do you have against hammers? All those hammers…. not being used for the purpose for which they were created. It’s a tragedy.
Maybe it’s just me, but I see bodybuilders along the lines of those overly tattooed/pierced folk. While they claim it’s just an expression of their individuality, I have a hard time believing it’s anything but a deep seeded need to be noticed, even though they hate it when people do.
don’t like bodybuilders, they taste chemically.
Takuan, someone should really write a book about these ladies, then maybe Mark could blog about it.
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