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.
P. Roussel and J. Griffet are with the Faculty of Sport Science at the University of the Méditerranée, Marseille, France.