A guy starts a blog...
The first four pics on FMS, 1st May 2011
He has a vague notion that he should be putting these thoughts online, thoughts that he's rarely, if ever, articulated, thoughts about the women he has adored for so much of his life. He wants to champion these women, sure, but most of all he wants to find others who have lived the same experiences, to know that he is not alone...
At the time of writing, my latest "discovery", Alicia Bell
Times have changed, and continue to change. Female Muscle Fandom was a very different situation when I first saw a female bodybuilder, and it even feels as though it was a very different place when I started FMS in 2011. There are now, without question, more women in the world building muscle than ever, and thanks to social media, they have more admirers, both male and female, than ever before.
Transforming bodies, transforming lives
More and more women compete as well. Many of them are not what you or I might call "Female Bodybuilders" capital F capital B, but that's what the mainstream calls them, and in case you haven't been reading FMS, the mainstream are more and more interested in these Bikini and Figure girls and their pro-lifting, pro-muscle message. If you go to a gym the chances are there are women lifting there, and though it's not always easy to see beyond the gym and internet when you are as obsessed as I am with female muscle, it's not just there that female muscle is going mainstream.
Jody Poulter transforms on prime time TV
Turn on Modern Family and check out Julie Bowen's arms and shoulders. If you're in the UK, check out the first episode of This Time Next Year on catch-up. Presented by Davina McCall, who, as you may know, has her own fitness range, she and the audience celebrate the achievement of a woman who vows to become a competitive bodybuilder small b in a year, and comes out oiled, ripped and flexing in her posing suit. Laura Madge on Ninja Warrior - two seasons in a row... I could go on.
The highest level
And even Female Bodybuilding capital F capital B, which seemed to be in danger of disappearing altogether at the highest level, has enjoyed a mini-resurgence under the guidance of Wings of Strength and with fan-generated funding, and this looks set to continue for the foreseeable future at least. This most extreme - and for many fans most exciting - form of the "sport" may never be mainstream, but it has survived.
And there's Moore: Chareece Johnson (aka Chareece Moore), new IFBB pro
Is there a point to all this blabbing on this week? Well, I did say at the outset I wouldn't have too many answers! But I guess, if I have to make a point, it would be that as the perception of women with muscle shifts, the perception of the men who, as Tanya Bunsell puts it, "celebrate these women in all their complex beauty", will change as well. Perhaps in the not too distant future the idea that "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" will become as outdated as the idea that women who lift heavy weights will end up looking like men.
"Complex beauty": Kelsey Nicole
Your thoughts on this, or any of the other issues raised this week, are most welcome, as are any comments or suggestions you have for the blog in general. As the world of female muscle grows, more than ever I need your help in keeping up with it, so please, do get in touch if you feel I'm missing someone or something relevant.
Thanks for reading.