It started as an idea expressed during an email exchange...
PumpItUp: You probably know I’ve always seen the 1980s, when likely both of us developed this "interest" we have as being a kind of "Golden Age", where the main media source we had, magazines, had an abundance of female muscle if you knew where to look.
The aerobics/fitness boom meant female muscle crept into film and TV too. Even hardcore but mainstream newsagent mags like Flex had FBBs on the cover, something not seen today.
When the internet arrived, there were sources like usenet groups but downloading pics was slow on dial up and hit and miss. Many of the paysites we know today hadn't really got going. The Diana the Valkyrie mega site was one of the few sources that I was a member of for a few years, still running.
Now with Instagram, blogs and tumblr, (as well as the paysites as intermediaries), we are seeing some of the hottest fittest women, women who would not have been found if they didn't compete or get picked up by WPW or one of the other print mags.
In the age of Twitter and the selfie, too often with its banality, but the benefit for us is these otherwise unknown beauties are posting pics of themselves directly to the world, inspiring and encouraging others to do the same. Suddenly we admirers are spoilt for choice.
I hereby declare this is (probably) the Second Golden Age of Female Muscle!
A little later, the idea developed into the series of posts you'll see here this week, which I'm delighted to say are co-authored by FMS and the legendary PumpItUp himself.
The format is the same every day. Each blogger chooses two images - one from the days when their female muscle addiction was born, and another more contemporary one, and they are the basis of our discussion about issues surrounding female muscle that was then and female muscle that is now as well as our continuing mutual love for these wonderful women.
FMS: So to kick off, [PumpItUp has chosen] Tina and Aleesha. Presumably it's a size thing! Tina has a less, let's say "enhanced" look though. Would you say that is a sign of the different times?
PIU: Yeah, spot on. Tina was a phenomenon at the time, primarily those legs of course, specially given her age, and we saw fleeting video and pics of her and limited competing while coming up to date, "enhanced" and popular (look at last year’s FMS Hot and Hard 100) Aleesha is on many of the paysites and has her own website.
We had so many remarkable ladies rise and then fade from the spotlight in the old days, who knows what Tina might have become had she started out in this day and age.
FMS: My first pair is Anja and Dani. An old school bodybuilder and a new school Physique star.
PIU: So would you think that much of old style BB is pretty much new school physique (or with much overlap?)
FMS: I think if you are really talking about the mid-late 80s, then - with the exception of Bev Francis - you can see the bodybuilder then look in the Physique look now.
PIU: I haven’t kept up with all the contest changes but do the divisions now allow women to move between them more easily?
FMS: Seems that Figure to Physique is a well-trodden path these days, and more recently women like Zoa Linsey, Klaudia Larson etc. have been moving down.
PIU: And freakazoid Anne Freitas - anything could happen! After I picked up my jaw at her previous extreme form, from what I've seen lately of her, I actually think I prefer her physique look.
FMS: Problem they (and the IFBB) have is that the WPD doesn't quite know what it is yet. There's a massive difference in muscularity between Latorya Watts (Ms Figure Olympia) and Margie Martin, and Physique covers it, so you have the more muscular women winning some shows, and the less muscular winning others.
2016 may be the year the IFBB 'define' the Physique division better though. Autumn Swansen - who won the Arnold Classic - has had a meteoric rise through the pro Physique ranks, and I think her look is what the IFBB are after.
Funnily enough, she looks even more Anja-like than Dani!
Any comments about this week's post would be especially welcome. What's your opinion about the issues come up in our conversation? Is your idea of the Golden Age of female muscle similar or different, and do you agree we are entering another one now?
Part II follows tomorrow.