Following on from last Friday's post, today it's time for the Bs as we continue with FMS' Lexicon of the Large, our Encyclopedia of Enormity, The A-Z of HUGE.
B turned out to have a bumper set of entries, so there were some editorial decisions to be made. For example, should the Biceps Femoris (aka the leg biceps) be included with the biceps we know and love on the arm (the Biceps Brachii)? Do Betty Pariso and Betty Viana both get into B, or do we wait for P and V respectively?
It was a similar story with some of your suggestions. Much appreciated, all of them, thank you all so much for taking the time to get involved and email in. However, among the largest of the large , I'm afraid the likes of Christa Bauch and Britt Miller - lovely though they are - just ain't big enough to warrant an entry.
Let's see who and what made the cut...
The A-Z of HUGE
B is for...
The female bodybuilder's back is arguably the greatest single sign of her strength. Without having shifted serious poundage her back wouldn't be so wondrously huge - it indicates her physical strength. But furthermore, understand that to lift that poundage she has, by sheer force of will, pushed herself beyond her physical limits again and again and again, and marvel at the mental strength that has taken.
The results can be absolutely breathtaking.
Whether it's the back double biceps pose (that seems to reveal every tiny muscle from the shoulders to the waist and beyond) or the lat spread (her back fanning out, like an angel stretching her wings), it doesn't get much better than the sight of a huge and shredded muscular back. [Back Is Beautiful, FMS, March 2014]
If female muscle worship is a religion, if we, the female muscle brethren, are the mad monks, then the backstage area, the 'pump room' at a female bodybuilding show, especially a big pro show, is the holiest of holies. The show itself is could be a place of pilgrimage, but backstage is the forbidden inner sanctum.
["Backstage of the Day", FMS, April 2013]
C. Moore Glootz is banned. I don't think I'd be able to handle it and therefore probably shouldn't be allowed to go. I know of at least one lucky reader who got to visit there at the Ms Olympia. He has never been quite the same since!
And yet, I'm guessing that most of us would give up a body part to be there just once, as photographer, or - even better - "helper". To smell the pro tan, to hear the clank of the weights, to gaze upon those shining bodies, anointed as if with holy oil...
A Canadian champion in 1999 and IFBB pro from the turn of the millennium, "The Mighty Bav" is still talked about as one of the most naturally beautiful really big girls of that or any other era. She was also a campaigner who tried (you don't need me to tell you) in vain to get female bodybuilders a better deal.
At the 2001 Jan Tana Pro she appeared with Christine Envall and Antonella Grilli, recalls one fan. All three had some of the most impressive shoulders and tiniest waists ever seen, as well as all-natural chests. As they stood side by side, there seemed to be hardly any room on stage, so wide were their lats! Heaven.
Now as far as I know, Betty is the only female bodybuilder who has a rock band named after her. No, they're not called "The Sweaty Bettys" (although I do believe there is a song called "Sweaty Betty" which is most definitely not about her), but "Pariso". At least, that's what her Wikipedia biography claims (there are "issues" with the page) and I would like to believe it's true, so I'm going to say it is!
When she won her pro card she was the oldest woman to have done so. She was the first, and so far only, woman over 50 to win a pro title. Amazing achievements, but for Betty fans, her age was never an issue when it came to their appreciation. Despite the fact that she is old enough to be my mom, confesses one, there is something so incredible about her that I become flush with raw emotion and desire.
Indeed. And if any FBB ever knew how to rock a dress, it was Betty. There! I got through the whole Betty bit without a single tongue-out most muscular. How often do you see that? [in case you want one, there's one here - ed.]
From one legend to another.
Ms. Olympia 1983, the contest immortalised in Pumping Iron II: Bev Francis is given 2nd place behind Rachel McLish as she is "too muscular". Ms Olympia 1990: Bev is given 2nd place behind Lenda Murray - she is "not muscular enough".
Ms. Olympia 1991: The gauntlet has been thrown in the face of the Aussie. If they wanted muscle she'd give them bloody muscle... At the prejudging Bev walked out with 160 dense and conditioned muscular pounds stacked on her 5'5" frame. The audience gasped – no one has ever seen that much muscle on a female form.
[Peter McGough, Bev's Last Stand, Muscular Development, August 2013]
Them guns, them pythons, "them biceps brachii" - as I'm sure they used to say in Ancient Rome when having lusty thoughts about that new and impressively "aedificavit" slave girl. Lefties, yes! Righties, yes! DOUBLES! Yes! Yes!! YES!!!
She runs her hands through her hair as she gazes at herself in the mirror. I stand behind her and gently place my trembling fingers onto her mighty biceps. Her skin is so soft, and my heart pounds as I make firm my grip in anticipation of what is to come. She winks at me in the mirror, inhales and then almost imperceptibly twists her wrists. The biceps were hard before, but that tiny movement has turned them into two solid balls of rock. There is no give for my aching fingers. I am light-headed, my breathing shallow, so in awe am I of her beauty, her strength and her power...
[Biceps! Elena Oana Hreapca, FMS, May 2013]
Not an easy thing choosing just a handful of pictures to represent probably the most beloved muscle of all, but if your favourite didn't make it this time, there'll be more to come when we get to P for Peaks... (and C for Curls, possibly, and maybe D for Double Biceps, L for Licking, K for Kissing, P for Posing, W for Worship...)
Fans tend to remember the Binetti effect. Laura was one of the first female bodybuilders I discovered, says one fan. When I saw her pics my jaw hit the floor. For another, Laura brings back memories of early websurfing days - 1996 or so. Once the dial-up connection finally downloaded the pic, I almost fell outta the chair.
Personally, I remember the floral swimsuit pics. I remember her size being quite overwhelming. I remember a pic of her (that I haven't been able to track down) where her arms are folded, and the striations across her her pure muscle pecs hypnotised me. And I remember she had a big thick vein that ran right along the centre of her bicep and across its peak. And I remember a lat spread and her trousers around her knees and her panties (that were tiny anyway) were half pulled down and her glutes were two breathtaking, impossibly tight balls of pure striated muscle...
I could go on. All these years later and revisiting Laura remains almost as much of a joy as coming across her was then. I doubt the Binetti effect would be any less intense for a young female muscle head seeing her for the first time now. So, if you've just fallen out of your chair, no need to thank me. You're most welcome.
BIRCUMSHAW AND THE BIRD
Ms International, 1992: The judges gave the title to the extremely marketable German beauty Anja Schreiner, but it was the shenanigans to prevent the crowd’s favourite Paula Bircumshaw retake the stage for the presentations that led to the audience riot and Paula’s unique message to the judges.
Both Anja and Paula had the same height, but Paula had much more muscle. Guessing (correctly as it turned out) that the crowd would be up in arms when the winner was announced, the judges changed the rules during the competition with the sole purpose of preventing Paula from retaking the stage. Instead of inviting the top 10 back for the presentations (as had been customary in previous contests), they only called the top 6 back. No one was fooled as to their motives, and amid the consequent outcry, Paula did in fact come back and let the judges know exactly what she thought with the help of her middle finger. Sometimes I'm so proud to be British!
[Ms International: Did You Know...?, FMS, June 2013]
FEMALE BODYBUILDER, FEMALE (aka WOMEN'S) BODYBUILDING
I confess the word itself turns me on. Bodybuilder. When I hear it said - referring to a woman - in just about any context, my heart jumps. Adrenaline and the rush of The Madness follow. Who is she? Is she here? It's been this way for as long as I remember, a reaction that places me outside societal norms. I am not normal. A deviant. To the majority, "She looks like a bodybuilder" is far from a compliment, but to me, it's the highest compliment you can pay a woman re her physical appearance!
Bodybuilder. The meaning of the word seems to have changed during my 30ish years of female muscle lovin'. Only today I was hoodwinked into checking out a story in the Mail Online about an Australian housewife turned "bodybuilder" when the word was used in the headline. She's a Bikini competitor. I'm not saying it's wrong that the term is used so loosely now, I'm just saying. When I first started buying muscle magazines all the women were bodybuilders because there was nothing else for them to be. When Fitness came along there was a clear distinction. Lenda and Kim were bodybuilders, Debbie and Marla were fitness "girls". Then came Figure, and lately Physique. A woman who competes in any of these divisions is a "bodybuilder" to the mainstream media, while in the terminology of the sport ie. the federations, the bodybuilders are just one class of women - the unwanted ones, largely.
Female Bodybuilding is, they keep telling us, (and in many cases we keep telling ourselves) dying. One after the other they make they switch to the ever-growing Physique division. And yet, there are still women, young women, who aspire to be as big and as beautiful as Alina or Anne or Lenda or simply the massively muscular woman they see themselves as in their mind's eye. Enough is enough... Screw this Physique transformation. I can't hide the BODYBUILDER inside, wrote Shannon in 2013. Did your heart, like mine, skip a beat when you read those words?
and BRIGITA BREZOVAC
You would have to have been very good in a former life for this to happen to you. Room service, Brigita in a very small dress, looking ripped, gorgeous and in the mood. Her lush blond hair cascades down over one of her mighty shoulders, the veins on her arm swell as she grips the bottle. This is going to be a night to remember...
[Around the World with Brigita, FMS, November 2012]
I love the way of life being a bodybuilder. I like the food and diet regime because I can always have my body under control, I like working out and I like that I'm different from the average person. But Brigita, what do you enjoy most about being a top female bodybuilder? If I tell you the truth, the thing I most enjoy is the attention.
[Brigita's Beautiful Back, FMS, April 2014]
The A-Z of HUGE will be back with the Cs in the near future.
Any suggestions/complaints? firstname.lastname@example.org