i've just read this: http://blogs.bodyandsoul.com.au/what...scular-bodies/, which, in combination with recent and not so recent discussions on various corners of the internet, has prompted me to make a thread on these topics:
-how people of what could be considered "extreme" body-types (very thin people, overweight people and muscular women, essentially) are perceived in general.
-how each poster in particular feels about such people (in whichever context they wish to mention).
-the attitudes arising from these perceptions.
- the reasons for the above.
note that by 'muscular women', i do not mean solely "bulky" women such as bodybuilders and heavyweight powerlifters, but rather any woman with an appreciable degree of muscular development, including bodybuilders and powerlifters, but also including smaller but visibly fit women who arguably don't really qualify as "big" in the grand scheme of things. in a similar vein, by overweight i mean any degree of overweight, from slightly chubby to obese, and by thin, well, how do you even define where 'thin' in the first place?
i'll try and start with my own observations on the matter:
first of all, from a general perspective, i've seen plenty of people who do not like noticeable muscle on women, ranging from simply not being in favour of women with significant amounts of muscle mass, to directly being against women having any visible muscle at all. i've seen people whose preferences simply lie in other directions, which is by itself completely fine; tastes vary, after all, whatever the method by which they developed. on the other hand, i've also seen people who are actively opposed to the concept, for example considering intrinsically "wrong", or comparing muscular women to men, which i will address later on in the post*. similar opinions exist regarding people of slimmer and/or thinner builds, as well as more robust and/or fatter builds, more or less with the same different viewpoints. i could hypothesize all day as to why these negative viewpoints exist, but i'll cut to the point and try to give a concise opinion on the matter.
one of the most appalling things i've seen regarding these things is when they manifest in the shape of discrimination. this tends to stem from those people who consider a certain body-type to be wrong or improper, and who decide to lash out at those of said body-types, and additionally tends to be perpetuated by people who push specific body-types as "correct". we see an abundance of examples of both of these today, in the vilification of people with high body fat percentages and the glorification of the opposite extreme, leading to the modern mainstream craze over thinness, although there is also a significant amount of people who express the opposite, glorifying above average sized people while outright hating people who are thin or slim.
another problem, in turn, derives from this: many people are extremely ignorant in certain ways, and not only do they latch on to the aforementioned points of view with a metaphorical death-grip, but they also lack a basic understanding of what they criticize, and end up extending their criticism to other people who don't even really fit into the categorizations they make. naturally slim people (and slim does not mean thin), as well as people of more stocky builds (who aren't even remotely fat) are liable to get lumped in with people who actually are over- or underweight, and receive a share of the undeserved discrimination aimed at them. on the angle of muscular women, another kind of negative judgement occurs: they are named as "masculine" or "unfeminine", and literally compared to men or described as being less female than other women.
i'm not going to pull punches: these points of view are ignorant and, in my opinion, unfit of a civilized person. whatever the reasoning for it, no human being deserves to be called "wrong", or dehumanized, or discriminated against, least of all for what is a natural variation of the human body, whether it was intentionally caused or not (and if it was, whether you personally respect that choice or not is another subject entirely, but at least have the basic decency to respect the person who made it). hell, let's consider one of the biggest reasons why people tend to dislike body-types: they are not attracted to them. this can be sexual attraction, or it can simply be aesthetic appeal. yet even if one does not like something, why vilify it? because it doesn't make you horny? that is the reasoning of a pre-teen, not that of a mature adult, yet it seems all too often you see otherwise civilized people degrading others or discouraging them from their goals for something as idiotic as them not being appealing to their eyes, either without regard for, or sometimes even despite, their other qualities, such as personality, aptitudes or intellect, or simply for the fact that what they do with their bodies is their concern, and theirs only. humanity, i am disappoint.
what is wrong with being fat? what is wrong with being thin? why is a woman with visible muscle suddenly not womanly, even if she's biologically every bit a woman as before? and even if one were to list every possible negative effect in every possible context, such as health risks or the lack of attractiveness to people who do not happen to be attracted to a specific body-type, why is it any of our business? why do we criticize? why do we meddle in other people's lives, try to make their lives hell, or try to get them to change in accordance to our whims? it simple baffles me, to be honest.
*final notes on comparing muscular women to men and why it is moronic to do so:
-muscle growth and bone density are majorly affected by testosterone levels.
-men produce significantly more testosterone than women, who additionally use up some testosterone to create other hormones.
-men therefore grow bigger muscles and denser bones than women, almost without exception
this leads to strong physiques being considered a uniquely masculine trait, and the opposite, a body without visible musculature or externally visible strength being labelled feminine. this in itself makes sense, contextually, given that in older "traditional" societies, women were unlikely to engage in heavier physical work, and even in modern times many activities only became available to women relatively recently (strength training, and female divisions in several sports, for example), leading to very few women with visibly athletic bodies, however, outside of that specific context, this use of the terminology, and the all too common assertions that athletic women "look like men", are fallacious. women have muscle, just like men do, and just like the vast majority of the animal kingdom does. muscle grows when stimulated and nourished. thus, a woman with big muscles looks like... a woman. specifically one with big muscles. she is no less female for it, and most definitely not male. if it's one who's juiced up, and gone through virilization as a result, so be it, but that still does not make her a man. to assert such is little more than an attempt to insult the woman, in the same way that an extremely muscular man might be derogatorily referred to as a gorilla, or a fat or thin person compared to a whale or a skeleton, respectively.