Monday, 21 November 2016

On Fandom: Chapter 1


A person, usually male, who...

We all know the word. But do we know what it means?

You can look up definitions in reference books, research the origin of the word in both etymological terms, and in its use within the female bodybuilding world. And you still wouldn't find very much agreement on exactly what "a schmoe" is beyond that it's a negative term for a certain type of female bodybuilding fan.

Many female muscle fans define the word so as not to include themselves. "A schmoe is one of those guys who does those things I don't do" kind of thing. I know of one fellow fan who always used to add "Don't worry, I'm not a schmoe" to his communications with female bodybuilders, for example. Others, however, are happy, proud even, to be identified as schmoes - we featured a thoughtful new blogger from Ireland recently who is so OK with the term that the very title of his blog identifies him as one.

Here's what Marcie Simmons added to the schmoe debate back in August.

The Importance Of Schmoes In The World Of Bodybuilding!!!

8th August 2016

A "schmoe", Marcie confidently tells us, is an individual, typically a man, who is a hardcore female bodybuilding fan.

The difference between a schmoe and "a guy who just likes muscular women" is, according to Marcie, the amount they know. A schmoe will know "she did that contest, she came in that place, she's doing that contest next..." whereas non-schmoes will just say "she looks good, I like her biceps".

Schmoe has a very negative connotation, Marcie continues. You think of a guy who is very socially awkward, he's a weirdo, he's a pervert, he obviously has some mental issue because he's attracted to extremely muscular women.

But, she says, I'm here to let you guys know that is simply not the case. As a matter of fact I would say these guys are a very positive asset to the sport...

And what they provide is financial backing.

A lot of these girls that people admire, that they see on Instagram, on Facebook, all these nice pictures... Had they not had a schmoe behind them to support them financially, they wouldn't be in the position that they're in now.

This financial support, according to Marcie, does sometimes come in exchange for sessions. This side of the industry does exist, she says, and again, many times it's viewed as something that's a negative.

However, Marcie goes on to explain that as far as she can tell, schmoes are just guys with "a fetish".

Is there a difference really between liking the butt, thighs, breasts in comparison to liking biceps or a big back or, you know, nice cut triceps. Is there a difference really? Because schmoes are a little bit obsessed with these female athletes, they're viewed negatively, but when you think about it, many men obsess over women and their bodyparts, their butt, titties, all that stuff, but nobody ever really says anything about that, like there's something wrong with them.

I feel it's not a bad thing at all to the industry. It's something that does exist, and many of the athletes wouldn't be in the position that they are now had they not had a schmoe backing them financially. I think schmoes are good, I think schmoes are actually keeping the industry alive and I don't think it's something that should be viewed as a negative.

So far so good for the schmoes. Schmoes are the unsung heroes of the female bodybuilding world. Damn, we - I'm totally calling myself a schmoe at this point because I'm very very comfortable with Marcie's brave new definition - may be the only reason female bodybuilding still exists as going concern!

Say it loud! I'm schmoe and I'm proud!!!

Oh, hang on.

We'd better look at Marcie's latest take on "The Schmoe"...

Schmoes Vs. Fans!!! What The Difference Truly Is!

25th October 2016

They are very much different from people who are female bodybuilding supporters and fans, because they do stuff that turns people off, that's dangerous, and it's very unsavoury.

This includes "right clicking and saving" Facebook pictures, attempting to gain fitness consultations or to discuss issues related to female bodybuilding without paying Marcie for her time, "wanting to know all this extra stuff about you" such as full name or date of birth, making fake social media profiles in order to make contact and so on.

Where's Schwally? I

It gets very toxic, Marcie says, and goes on to explain how she and her husband have actually been harassed by email and phone, and that she knows other women who have had to change phone numbers and delete social media pages. Later, she also mentions having tyres slashed and being followed to and into the gym. They will strategically place themselves on some workout equipment so that they can stare and take pictures of you so they can go home and masturbate to them. It's pretty crazy.

Where's Schwally? II

These guys, she says, they congregate in an area I call "Schmoeville". She's talking about the forum whose first rule is... though not only there. According to Marcie, in "Schmoeville", anything goes, and a lot of it is invasive and/or hurtful or even downright illegal.

Yes, she says, of course if women are putting up pictures of themselves on social media, comments are to be expected, but it's the two-faced nature of the schmoe - claiming to be a fan on the one hand, acting like "a creepy-assed stalker" on the other - that earns them the title.

The guys who are real life bodybuilding fans and supporters, they don't do those types of things. They actually respect your privacy. They do what they can to actually support you and grow you as a brand.

So, I guess I'm back to not being a schmoe again.

And we're not really any clearer about what a schmoe is, are we?

I think I know why.

The problem is the label itself. "Fan" is just as problematic as "schmoe". Everybody will have an idea of what "a fan" is, but it's such a broad term that what it means really depends on who's using it. Marcie says the fans are people who help her and other women "grow as a brand" in October, but says something similar about schmoes in August. Fans know where their favourite female bodybuilders are competing next.

Or is that schmoes who know that?

If you only have two labels, it's going to be hard to fit everyone in one of the boxes.

So, throw away the labels. Throw away the boxes.

The women, Marcie included, are all individuals, and wish to be seen as such - unusually focused and dedicated individuals, sure, and they certainly have muscles in common, but if you had to fit all the muscular women in the world into one of two boxes, it might be a bit of a struggle, whatever labels you put on them.

By trying to fit those of us who love muscular women into one of two boxes, Marcie, and anyone else who tries to do the same, leaves no room for grey area, and this creates a problem because we, like them, are individuals.

[from off stage a Monty Python voice is heard: I'm not!]

Some of us are not even men.

Our individual expression of our love or appreciation or whatever for women with muscle can take many forms. Mine is mainly, though not exclusively, in the form of this blog. Now, is it a fan blog or just another suburb of Schmoeville?

Or something in between?

Whatever Marcie's shortcomings in terms of intellectual consistency, I applaud her for actually talking about this (and other issues). She may not have made it any clearer to me whether I am a schmoe or not, but she has certainly made me think.

to be continued...

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