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For the women who train...

Apr 03, 2021 - permalink

I'd like to ask - why build muscle? Obviously, it's not considered normal, and I've seen many women who are pretty disgusted by the notion of gaining muscle. Were you the same and you converted? Or did you always find bodybuilding women awesome?

Apr 03, 2021 - permalink

can only speak for myself but being powerful and looking powerful is hot. i don't really care about what's normal - anyone who does is missing out

Apr 03, 2021 - permalink

It's often one of:

  1. Was athletic their whole life, had to retire from their sport due to injury, and picked up lifting to stay fit. Gymnasts and cheerleaders make up most of these - those sports are socially acceptable for women to take at a young age, result in muscular physiques that get them accustomed to the social stigma, and are injury prone forcing a switch.

  2. Same as #1, but got pregnant, fell out of their routine as a result, then started lifting to get back in shape

  3. Saw a photo/met a muscular woman, wanted to look like them.

I'd say it's 60% of #1, 30% #2, 5% #3, and the remaining 5% a reason not listed. It is exceedingly rare for women to lift from a young age like men, due to social stigma. It is also rare for women with no athletic background whatsoever to lift, for the same reasons. Stigma, and a resulting lack of a support network make it hard for someone with no background in fitness to succeed. It does happen, but it is very rare. Usually the success cases have a husband/boyfriend who can provide them an "in".

Apr 03, 2021 - permalink

It's often one of:

  1. Was athletic their whole life, had to retire from their sport due to injury, and picked up lifting to stay fit. Gymnasts and cheerleaders make up most of these - those sports are socially acceptable for women to take at a young age, result in muscular physiques that get them accustomed to the social stigma, and are injury prone forcing a switch.

  2. Same as #1, but got pregnant, fell out of their routine as a result, then started lifting to get back in shape

  3. Saw a photo/met a muscular woman, wanted to look like them.

I'd say it's 60% of #1, 30% #2, 5% #3, and the remaining 5% a reason not listed. It is exceedingly rare for women to lift from a young age like men, due to social stigma. It is also rare for women with no athletic background whatsoever to lift, for the same reasons. Stigma, and a resulting lack of a support network make it hard for someone with no background in fitness to succeed. It does happen, but it is very rare. Usually the success cases have a husband/boyfriend who can provide them an "in".

Do you think social media is slowly changing that stigma? It's almost a regular thing now to see ladies who at least have decent arms and abs on apps like Instagram.

Apr 03, 2021 - edited Apr 03, 2021 - permalink

It's often one of:

  1. Was athletic their whole life, had to retire from their sport due to injury, and picked up lifting to stay fit. Gymnasts and cheerleaders make up most of these - those sports are socially acceptable for women to take at a young age, result in muscular physiques that get them accustomed to the social stigma, and are injury prone forcing a switch.

  2. Same as #1, but got pregnant, fell out of their routine as a result, then started lifting to get back in shape

  3. Saw a photo/met a muscular woman, wanted to look like them.

I'd say it's 60% of #1, 30% #2, 5% #3, and the remaining 5% a reason not listed. It is exceedingly rare for women to lift from a young age like men, due to social stigma. It is also rare for women with no athletic background whatsoever to lift, for the same reasons. Stigma, and a resulting lack of a support network make it hard for someone with no background in fitness to succeed. It does happen, but it is very rare. Usually the success cases have a husband/boyfriend who can provide them an "in".

Do you think social media is slowly changing that stigma? It's almost a regular thing now to see ladies who at least have decent arms and abs on apps like Instagram.

I do think the stigma is changing for women to lift weights now. I think I have noticed many more young women and women in general working out. Now maybe they aren't going to compete, but I think that generally, people in general are looking for a healthier lifestyle. And women that are already going to the gym and lifting weights are showing other women that you won't get bulky like a bodybuilder when you lift, but that you can still look very feminine and become stronger, or look better while doing it.

I would guess too that some women would still hold onto the constant cardio in workouts, and would just prefer to minimize the amount of muscle they have. Different strokes for different folks! Just look at all the different workout plans out there...

Apr 03, 2021 - permalink

Do you think social media is slowly changing that stigma? It's almost a regular thing now to see ladies who at least have decent arms and abs on apps like Instagram.

In my opinion yes. It's far from gone however. Younger generations seem to be more accepting.

This is a silly anecdote, but it got me thinking about this recently. There's this silly thread on Reddit about Mirko, a fictional character from an anime who has a muscular design. Basically the poster asks why this character is so popular, and sure enough, many of the posters there mention her physique.

Muscular women in fiction used to be poorly received, or drawn that way specifically to highlight their freakishness. Nowadays that's less the case, a parallel to the real world.

For reference:

Apr 03, 2021 - permalink

In my opinion yes. It's far from gone however. Younger generations seem to be more accepting.

This is a silly anecdote, but it got me thinking about this recently. There's this silly thread on Reddit about Mirko, a fictional character from an anime who has a muscular design. Basically the poster asks why this character is so popular, and sure enough, many of the posters there mention her physique.

Muscular women in fiction used to be poorly received, or drawn that way specifically to highlight their freakishness. Nowadays that's less the case, a parallel to the real world.

For reference:

I've noticed the same. Characters like Mirko, Nana, and Noi have been quite popular mainly because of how strong they look. Although I've noticed characters like the newer She-Hulk aren't always met with the same praise.

Perhaps that's more to do with her character and less to do with her muscles. Either way, the tide seems to be shifting.

Chainer
Apr 04, 2021 - permalink

I'd say it's 60% of #1, 30% #2, 5% #3, and the remaining 5% a reason not listed.

My guess would be a decent amount is also a partner who gets them into lifting.

Apr 04, 2021 - permalink

If I look through the "origin story" of many muscular girls on IG, one theme that always seem to come up is dealing with serious mental issues earlier in their life (anorexia, depression, overweight). Then they started to lift and feel better wich motivated them to keep lifting.

Apr 04, 2021 - permalink

My guess would be a decent amount is also a partner who gets them into lifting.

That’s a big thing too. I imagine dating someone who lifts 24/7 will cause you to catch the bug at some point.

Apr 04, 2021 - permalink

I had a bodybuilder girlfriend who got me into lifting more seriously and I've also introduced several women to lifting who kept going with it. It does make your exes hard to resist if they do get a lot more muscular than when you were with them that's for sure...

Apr 04, 2021 - permalink

My guess would be a decent amount is also a partner who gets them into lifting.

If I look through the "origin story" of many muscular girls on IG, one theme that always seem to come up is dealing with serious mental issues earlier in their life (anorexia, depression, overweight). Then they started to lift and feel better wich motivated them to keep lifting.

There are definitely a lot of factors that influence the decision. These two are definitely reasons, but I've noticed that usually the women already have an athletic background and switch. A partner, or mental health reasons are some additional driving factors to do so.

Women who don't have an athletic background will rarely lift (or even exercise) just because their partner does so. After all, it's usually the norm for the male partner to be more athletic. Same thing with mental health - it's sadly rare that people can pick up a fitness regiment to address the problem, and usually struggle with it forever or find another solution.

But the moral is, women who start early have overwhelmingly better odds. Both to sustain the lifestyle, and combat the stigma. It's such a shame that there are societal barriers on top of the already massive hurdles to sustaining a fitness regiment. Thankfully the stigma does seem to be vanishing.

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