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Peggy Roussel and Jean Griffet

This paper suggests that the process of marginalization of women bodybuilders can be analyzed according to two theoretical frameworks. The first is essentially a pessimistic interpretation based on critical sociology and the concept of alienation, which discusses the limits of applying this concept to an empirical reality (in this case, female bodybuilders). The second considers the future of female bodybuilders as being constructed through the muscle cult. Our interpretation is comprehensive. The study stresses self-realization and self-fulfillment in female bodybuilders and discusses their attachment to the bodybuilding subculture.

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Peggy Roussel, Jean Griffet, and Pascal Duret

The present article examines the transformations that have taken place in female bodybuilding in France from a sociological point of view. Adopting a comprehensive approach, we describe the contextual influences thought to be responsible for the decline of female bodybuilding. Starting from the premise that the extremely muscular female bodies seen in women’s bodybuilding are the reason for the downfall of the discipline, the analysis focuses on three subcultural influences: the appearance of Beverly Francis on the competition scene, the aesthetic criteria favored by the federations, and the use of nutritional supplements and doping substances.