Beauty and the Femuscular Bodybuilder

Beauty and the Femuscular Bodybuilder

In a culture where the Hollywood body rules, is there a place for female bodybuilders? ‘Femuscle’ has been used to describe any woman with muscular definition, but generally, we think of the more extreme end of the spectrum – women with large muscles and a strict diet regime.

A Changing View of Beauty

You only need to take a look at the artwork of previous centuries to understand their view of beauty. In fact, as early as the 20th century, curves dominated the beauty scene, with iconic actresses like Marilyn Monroe – famous for her hourglass figure – centre stage. 21st century beauty seems to have departed from natural curves to a more extreme aesthetic: skinny.

The femuscular body challenges this beauty ideal with an extreme solution of its own. A woman with a six pack or an exceptionally toned body can be seen as masculine and therefore ‘unattractive’ to many heterosexual men. However, unlike in bygone ages, absolute curves do not rule the world, and some toning is seen to be desirable.

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Bodybuilders Are Beautiful Too!

The United States of America is said to be at the forefront of the female bodybuilding trend, but increasingly, other countries are getting on board. As it is so difficult to naturally achieve a muscled look of that extremity, there has been controversy over steroid or substance abuse; similar to that suffered by male bodybuilders.

The majority of competing, female bodybuilders gain their size by naturally developing muscle over several years. Their adoring fans keep them going through difficult times. With this year’s Olympics, a femuscular body has stopped being a cause for contention and seems to have acquired admiration in the UK.

Now that people have opened up their eyes to the beauty of a healthy, athletic body that’s high in muscle content, surely there is an opening for female bodybuilders to challenge the mainstream view of beauty and the separation between ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ traits.

Less extreme female body-building is seeing a rise in popularity due to the increasing interest in health and fitness. Lifting weights is a fast way to lose fat and has a variety of health benefits. Slowly, women are becoming more aware that BMI is a load of rubbish, if you have high-muscle content. Muscle weighs a lot more than fat and muscles burn calories constantly.

Some less well-informed women rarely pick up a dumbbell in the fear that they will get a masculine muscular structure. You will find these women glued to the cardio equipment in the gym. Some well-muscled ladies include martial artists, who are admired for their slick physique and their strength.

Comparing this with the skinny models and actresses you see splashed across the media, these snappable and calorie-restrictive women seem almost ridiculous as edifices of beauty. Should we support the unhealthy obsession with bone-thin women or should we fall in love with strong and beautiful women who can pack a punch?

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