So I'm chatting to this female muscle head, last week I think it was, and he says he is new to the chat thing (which is fine, we've all been there and if you haven't you are going to be) and then he tells me, most emphatically and it wasn't as if I'd asked or anything - that he's "really only into the big girls, the beasts, the bodybuilders".
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the big girls too. What made me sigh was that he had felt the need to exclude every woman from Physique on down - and in case you hadn't noticed, these days, that's the vast majority of muscular women - from the discussion. Intentionally or not, he's just dismissed most of the female muscle world.
The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.
I'm no great fan of G.K. Chesterton's, but what an inspired observation. My new chat buddy, and a whole lot of other so-called female muscle fans, would do well to ponder it. I fear that we, the collective "we", are in real danger of losing our sense of wonder.
If I may... Once upon a time my only source of female muscle images was the mainstream bodybuilding magazines. If you were lucky there was a feature on a female bodybuilder, probably training in inappropriate gym wear, tanned, oiled and glamorous. There might be a handful of other pictures of FBBs in the rest of the issue. If there was a contest report from the Olympia or whatever with a picture or two of the top 10 on stage, it was a bonanza. When I discovered Women's Physique World I was in heaven, but even so, how often was that published? Once a quarter? Hardly a glut.
Now, you could find as many new pictures in an hour as you could in the average issue of Muscle and Fitness or Musclemag back then. You could easily find as many new images as there were in your average quarterly WPW in a morning. Easily.
Don't get me wrong, I am not saying the old days were better. They weren't, trust me. Fewer women, fewer images, and it was damn stressful going up to the cashier and laying down an issue of Muscle Training Illustrated, let alone an issue of WPW (or Muscle Elegance for that matter!). Now I don't even have to move more than a finger. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of images are delivered to me every week - and all I had to do was click a follow button. It's female muscle lovin' heaven. And it's here. Now.
I wish more of us would appreciate that fact, and appreciate the women in a more inclusive way. Yes, we all have our favourites, of course we do. I have a thing for Mediterranean women full stop, and so muscular Mediterranean women are about as good as it gets for me. I also have a thing for black female bodybuilders, for Tina Nguyen, for Dani Reardon, for topless back shots and perfect abs and no I don't care if they have tattoos or implants or they are "only Figure" (how insulting!).
I have a thing for Bikini girls with visible abs and veins on their arms, and a thing for the gymnastic fantastic Fitness competitors, and for clips where FBBs are walking in heels, and if they are walking in a public place so much the better. I love ripped women posing in little more than string, I love amateurs who I've never heard of and will probably never hear of again flexing their little muscles with such pride, and almost every picture I've ever seen of Dena Westerfield and Colette Nelson.
I LOVE defintion and freaky pecs and glutes and muscle control. I love legs that are cut to feathered ribbons, and big, vascular calves. And I also love big, tree trunk off season legs that bulge out of gym shorts or stretch lycra to its limit. Give me selfies, candids, contest shots, pumped and sweaty at the gym, or all glammed up. Give me those who are just muscular enough to count as muscular, give me the big girls, the beasts, the bodybuilders, and every gorgeous wondrous muscle woman in between.
I am aware that not everyone is in the fortunate position I am of being able to dedicate so much time and effort to making sure I have as much female muscle input as I can handle - maybe then it's not just my pleasure but my responsibility to make sure that FMS brings you as broad a range of the female muscle spectrum as possible.
Tough job, but someone's got to do it.
Turned out that when my new chat buddy said he was "really only into the big girls, the beasts, the bodybuilders", well, that included Dani Reardon, Erica Blockman, and Anastasia Papoutsaki (all Physique), Natalia Coelho and Ashley Losee (Figure), and a handful of other women who neither compete in "Female Bodybuilding" nor would, for the vast majority of female muscle heads, be classed "big beast". So, it transpired, his spectrum of female muscle appreciation was actually a lot wider than he had originally claimed. His sense of wonder not as stunted as I had first feared.
And, if Hot and Hard 100 voting received so far - THANK YOU! - is anything to go by, the whole spectrum will once again be in evidence when we add up the votes and compile our 2017 Hot and Hard 100. Just 11 more voting days to go. Want to make sure your favourite ladies are represented? Get busy making your list then send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or via the comment box below this or any FMS post.