Self-Images of Women Bodybuilders

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 University of Portland
  • | 2 California State University, Los Angeles
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In analyzing the data from a questionnaire survey of 205 competitive women bodybuilders conducted by the International Federation of Body-Builders, the authors attempt to find out how these women define their roles. What emerges from the analysis is a new concept of femininity that combines aspects of the traditional definitions with added dimensions of muscularity and body symmetry. They see muscularity, fitness, strength, and health as increasing their femininity, adding to their attractiveness as women, and increasing their sex appeal to men. They do not see themselves as emulating men. Relatively few see themselves as feminists or androgynists.

The authors would like to thank Doris Barrilleaux, Chairwoman of the IFBB Women’s Committee, and Ben Weider, President of the International Federation of Body-Builders for allowing us access to their survey data.

Direct all correspondence to Robert W. Duff, Dept. of Psychology and Social Sciences, University of Portland, Portland, OR 97203.
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