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noho
10-05-2004, 02:03 PM
I just had a question that would pop into my mind frequently whenever anyone on this board mentioned femininity and all (as a sociology major, things like this are always on my mind). Many of you have mentioned that you are bodybuilders while maintaining femininity. I was just curious to know how you thought of it. I think previously, the construction was that bodybuilding, heavy lifting, etc cannot exist within the “feminine” realm. But now, it seems, you seek to prove that the two are certainly not mutually exclusive (I would definitely agree with this; one does not negate the other). However, rather than maintaining “femininity” wouldn’t you say that you are actually redefining it? I mean, I think it’s actually taking the traditional notions of what is, or can be, feminine and reconstructing it. Any thoughts?

karen
10-05-2004, 04:35 PM
If a woman works out she will stay feminine because her hormones will not allow her to grow huge pecs and delts. Women can do pretty much whatever they want in the gym and stay feminine because they "are" feminine to start with. Getting stronger, more muscular and functional doesn`t make a woman less feminine but things like chewing tobacco, unshaved armpits...a beard...things like that I guess aren`t feminine.

imperfectly_lou
10-05-2004, 04:50 PM
Unfortunately, a lot of professional female bodybuilders, and even some figure competitors who use various steroids have, in my opinion, lost certain aspects of their femininity - I am referring to the hardened face, the square jaw, that sort of thing.... To me, those sort of thing are NOT feminine, nor are they natural, and I don't think it would be appropriate for feminity to be redefined in this way...

Hibiscus09
10-05-2004, 07:16 PM
However, rather than maintaining “femininity” wouldn’t you say that you are actually redefining it? I mean, I think it’s actually taking the traditional notions of what is, or can be, feminine and reconstructing it.

I think it has already been redefined as far as the terms you're suggesting are concerned. Women have evolved from that traditional sense of femininity. Women are intelligent, powerful (in so many more ways than the additional physical strength we obtain in the gym), and independent.

I agree with the others that the emasculation of the feminine form that takes place via the abuse of drugs, is hardly redefining femininity. My femininity is something of which I feel priviliged to have and it entails my entirety -- not simply my appearance or state of physical conditioning.

Aurora
10-05-2004, 10:33 PM
Muscles are masculine, fat is feminine. Period. A fat guy is feminine, a "toned" girl is masculine. Thats pretty much the end of it IMO. Anyone who tries to re-define this is living in a world of illusion, dellusion, and hypocrisy. Lets call a duck a duck and get back to the gym! Who cares if a girl is masculine or feminine or whatever-"ine". Since when has sport been defined by sexuality anyway!? Only in bodybuilding! You dont hear female hockey players whining about masculine-izing remarks. Nor do you hear football players crying about their man-breasts. Its all about magazine covers which is a true shame.

MsFit
10-06-2004, 08:17 AM
I don't see why you can't weight train and remain feminine. It dose't change hormones. What about the feminine gay man that weight trains? If he does cardio, cleans house, or overly grooms himself does that mean he's redefining masculinity. What about the woman who loses her husband and she's forced to change her own car oil, fix flats, paint the house, etc. Is her femininity suddenly lost because she must do physical work in order to live?

Standards of femininity vary from culture to culture and from time to time. Femiminity has been defined as inferior, or even prissiness. Femininity can be expressed in many ways, from clothes, hair how one walks and sits, etc.

In the past women who were agressive were said to lack femininity. People feared that women going to college and holding a high power job caused a lack fo femininity. Now weight training is the culprit. Don't think we'll ever escape and just live to be ourselves and what makes us happy.

It's just another label in my opinion brought on through cultural conditioning and sterotyping.

It's time for my femininity duties now...cook and clean.

jopreacher
10-06-2004, 01:07 PM
Gender stereotyping is trite. Can't we just get to know people for who they are?

What is so scary about being strong to some women? Some guy may not like you? If he doesn't like you because you are strong (or smart) then you don't want to be with that guy anyway. Ending sexism lies in women's hands by not putting up with people who embrace it.

I am a woman because I have women parts, therefore I am feminine. If you are talking about "feminine" being soft, demure, weak, long hair, makeup - you are not taking about femininity, you are talking about social gender roles that are defined by culture (which vary widely all over the world).

kaylers
10-06-2004, 08:24 PM
Femininity is an entrenched stereotype that is a social construction. It has been put in place in order to attach gender roles to each sex. Unfortunately, the assumption about what is 'feminine' and what is 'masculine' has been entrenched within our patriarchial society. Women and men now suffer from assumptions about biological sex that is not just genital assignment, but that having a vagina now attached with specific connotation.
These stereotypes have been reinforced by the way the labour market, society, family structures and institutions are formed. It is something that we need to closely look at and deconstruct our own assumptions of normalicy. That is why it is called the 'Feminine Mystique'

Please check out the article by Lisa Bavington @ http://www.mesomorphosis.com/articles/bavington/female-bodybuilders-and-the-feminine-mystique.htm
"Female Bodybuilders and the Feminine Mystique - Where Bev Francis meets Betty Friedan"
By Lisa Bavington
(IFBB Pro bodybuilder)

Tyciol
10-06-2004, 08:48 PM
Well girls... here's my theory. Fat is fat, it is neither masculine nor feminine. A fat man can be attractive if he has power, a strong woman can be attractive if she has grace. Women are generally more able to be slightly overweight and remain attractive, as men subconciously see it as a childbearing mother's trait.

Working out won't give you a square jaw. I'm pretty sure it won't shrink your breasts (though losing body fat will, to a degree, but that's no different than a skinny girl without muscles). Chest exercises may change the spacing, you'll have to tell me as I've no clue how it works.

The reason you see a lot of homely women in bodybuilding and sports (no insult intended, it's just to be observed), is that generally, a woman who is less attractive won't be as distracted by girly hopes by romance, and may work off some of their anger in bodybuilding. The same would apply to naturally tall, or naturally muscular women. They are denied some of their femininity in society, and thus work into the male spectrum of it.

Ignoring genetics, those women who do get into sports may initially still be very beautiful and attractive. Sports however, cause injuries. On men, scars and bruises might seem attractive, a sign of toughness. On women, that square jaw may have just come from having it dislocated in a boxing match.

With the rise of women's activism, all types of women are getting into sports and bodybuilding, and with increased safety (and more women instead of brutal muscleheaded men to spar with), there are less injuries, and less beaten up looking women body builders.

At least these are my theories...

Hibiscus09
10-07-2004, 05:46 AM
The reason you see a lot of homely women in bodybuilding and sports (no insult intended, it's just to be observed), is that generally, a woman who is less attractive won't be as distracted by girly hopes by romance, and may work off some of their anger in bodybuilding. The same would apply to naturally tall, or naturally muscular women. They are denied some of their femininity in society, and thus work into the male spectrum of it.


Good Lord! LOL

moody_weasel
10-07-2004, 06:37 AM
Hey Hibiscus, this is my favorite part:


With the rise of women's activism, all types of women are getting into sports and bodybuilding, and with increased safety (and more women instead of brutal muscleheaded men to spar with), there are less injuries, and less beaten up looking women body builders.


LAO
Kid, you have some weird theories which are all over the place. Lay off the weed for a while. ;)

MsFit
10-07-2004, 07:31 AM
LOL Give him a break...he's just 18. :D

LMAO

Don't you love it when teeny-boppers tell us what we're subconsciously lacking as grown women?

I've admired bodybuilding, and most of all, female bodybuilders since my late teens. I loved the control they had over their bodies since I anorexic at the time.

Hibiscus09
10-07-2004, 07:54 AM
LOL, moody! I need some weed after reading that post! :D

MsFit
10-07-2004, 08:02 AM
LOL

jopreacher
10-07-2004, 11:15 AM
"The reason you see a lot of homely women in bodybuilding and sports (no insult intended, it's just to be observed), is that generally, a woman who is less attractive won't be as distracted by girly hopes by romance, and may work off some of their anger in bodybuilding."

Oh. THATS why I work out - because I am ugly and angry. Gotcha.

ROFLMAO

Seosaid
10-07-2004, 01:32 PM
I think you would first need to define what feminity is…

Unfortunately, in our society a woman who’s intelligent, powerful and independent has too often been seen as not being feminine.

I’m all of the above yet I’m 200% feminine.

In the dictionary (eurg!) they describe it as: Having the qualities of a woman … good sense, modest, graceful, affectionate, confiding …weak, nerveless, timid, pleasure-loving.

If I followed this line I wouldn't be one bit feminine!

For me being feminine is not about being weak and looking like Barbie (and God knows I’m being called Barbie all the time so imagine!!) It’s about having fun and being positive.

Lauri Braun wrote this once: What relevance does the question of femininity have to an activity that judges the degree of muscular development on a body? I think the answer lies in another question: what kinds of cultural anxieties are being expressed in deliberations of female bodybuilders' femininity?
Cheers!

strictlyDNA
10-07-2004, 04:25 PM
I think masculinity/feminity is more a result of what the person projects in the context of their own physical limitations. If a woman has large facial features (not facially attractive in a common or exotic way), has a severely husky voice, and huge muscles, she'll be considered masculine. If that same woman has a "pretty" face, a normal range voice, and huge muscles, I think she'd be considered feminine... at least by me. I think muscularity of varying degrees can look good on either gender, and accentuates beauty in my opinion.

Blaney4
10-07-2004, 08:35 PM
LOL, moody! I need some weed after reading that post! :D

Bump to Hibiscus09

Aurora
10-07-2004, 09:46 PM
I think masculinity/feminity is more a result of what the person projects in the context of their own physical limitations. If a woman has large facial features (not facially attractive in a common or exotic way), has a severely husky voice, and huge muscles, she'll be considered masculine. If that same woman has a "pretty" face, a normal range voice, and huge muscles, I think she'd be considered feminine... at least by me. I think muscularity of varying degrees can look good on either gender, and accentuates beauty in my opinion.

You describe the current Ms Olympia. Is Lenda Feminine?

MsFit
10-07-2004, 10:02 PM
Just more sterotyping.

Anima
10-07-2004, 11:51 PM
LOL, moody! I need some weed after reading that post! :D

Ha ha what a coincidence...... ;)

When I was in Uni we always had one or two of these guys that were certain they were experts in Women's Intricate Minds and it was always a hoot hearing them pontificate. It's even more endearing now.....

awwww! aint that cute! :D

strictlyDNA
10-08-2004, 10:29 AM
Aurora - I do think Lenda is feminine.

strictlyDNA
10-08-2004, 10:34 AM
I don't think muscle is the deciding factor in a woman seeming masculine, or even a man seeming feminine. I think other factors play a greater role, which I hinted at... voice, facial looks, hairstyle would be some things that would define it more for me.

strictlyDNA
10-08-2004, 10:36 AM
I think it would be a boring world if women had to be near-soft body-wise to be considered feminine and attractive.

BeLeafer
10-08-2004, 11:19 AM
This thread is pretty entertaining! That said here's my opinion (Please ladies, I don't want to presume to know how the female mind operates, I gave up long ago. I still don't understand the complexities of my wife's lol)

I believe that as people have become involved in this sport the natural tendency of our species is to compete, period! Whether man or women, there is always a desire to be bigger, faster, stronger, more handsome or pretty than our peers. With this sport the lines of femininity are becoming blurred as the boys and girls are getting larger. The girls want to compete with the boys, the boys don't want to be working out next to a girl who is obviously more built and so the cycle goes. Now I am sure that this is a rather simplified observation, but I see it daily in my local gym. I appreciate women for who they are and yes I prefer curvy girlie, girls, but I also appreciate the dedication that must be followed in having a superior physique and that is also an attractive quality.

In short and to answer NOHO's question. I believe that women ARE redifining the lines of feminity with confidence in themselves and their accomplishments in this sport.

Okey dokey. All that serious stuff aside. Gym joke: Two guys walk into a bar............................................... .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ......................................wait for it................................................ .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ........................................almost there............................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .....You think the second guy woulda noticed. (think about it a sec.) Cheers, J

taffer
10-13-2004, 05:53 PM
i feel i have to comment in this thread cos its sorta funny! but its funny how people think women get "muscley" if they lift anything over 2kg, for some reason their female hormones enable them to become more muscley in 2 months of weight training, than most men do in 2 years!

i see women at my gym that weight train, and i see women that dont, and trust me there is a huge difference! but in a good way, none of the women that weight train are "bulky" or any of that crap, they are all very feminine, but have a much better shape to them, and get alot more looks :D

you can even look at a few famous actors, like that girl from tomb raider (forgotten her name!) you cant sit there and tell me she isnt feminine!

Thunder_Bunny
10-14-2004, 02:51 PM
I believe the terms masculine and feminine are defined more by mannerisms and how one carries themself rather than what they do.

Someone mentioned the stereotypical gay man who is ultra-feminine. What makes him feminine? Probably the way he talks or carries himself. It's not what he does for a living or for a hobby.

What about female police officers? You take a frumpy woman with a short haircut out of a police uniform and into a miniskirt, does it make her more feminine? Does her mannerisms and personality change? What if you take a playboy bunny and put her into a police uniform? Does that make her masculine?

You can't really say that feminine = fat and masculine = manly. Words are malleable. Gay, ***got, dyke; these are all words that meant something VERY different than what they mean now.

Our standards of feminity have changed with beauty. Having nice, milky white skin and being fat were qualities people once found attractive. It meant you could afford to stay inside all day and not lift a finger.

Now we appreciate a good tan and an atheletic build. It means you're fit and can afford to get out of the office or house more.

strictlyDNA
10-15-2004, 12:57 PM
Thunder_Bunny makes excellent points. I think tone and (for my particular tastes) added muscle really accentuate a woman's body in terms of sexual attractiveness. While a woman like Halle Berry is fairly soft, I think a more athletic-looking type like Angela Bassett is more feminine and sexually attractive (at least to me). I think in this day and age, women can do so much more and not be called "butch" or whatever for engaging in athletics... and so, as Thunder_Bunny alluded to, the whole concept of beauty is changing as people evolve and learn more and more about the human body and what it can be crafted into with due diligence.

Beklet
10-16-2004, 11:15 AM
Well, since I started training with heavier weights, my shoulders have got wider, which makes now balances out my hips and makes my waist look smaller (even if it isn't, lol). I've always been told an hourglass figure is feminine.
Bench presses have increased my bra size. Big boobs are thought of as feminine (I'm not saying small ones aren't, but if people want to stereotype...)
Squats have made my bum more firm and rounded. That's supposed to be feminine too.

So, yeah, I'd say women can lift and still be feminine. THe fact I can rarely be arsed to shave my legs is neither here nor there...