THE FEMALE PHYSIQUE WEBZINE/GALLERY
Steve Wennerstrom, IFBB Historian for Women's Bodybuilding, Editor-At-Large for Flex and Editor-In-Chief of Women's Physique World has just returned from attending the IFBB Women's "Universe" in the Czech Republic and Emailed the Female Physique Webzine/Gallery this brief report:
The fact that no American women medaled in bodybuilding indicates two things: (1) The United States did not send its best amateur female competitors to the event (they all want to turn pro as soon as possible) and (2) there are a lot of very good female bodybuilders in many countries around the world.
However, there appears to be the same distrust and lack of support for female bodybuilding elsewhere that we've seen in the United States. There was even a rumour at the World's (apparently a false one, thankfully) that the European federation was going to do away with weight classes for women's bodybuilding. But stranger ideas have been proposed, so almost anything is possible.
If there is opposition to aesthetic female muscle in the US, imagine how much negativity the women have to deal with in other cultures in which equality of opportunity for females is less respected, especially in countries like Italy and Spain which still maintain a very "macho" view of women. Given this "retro" view of gender equality, it is no wonder the idea of "Body Fitness" (the international version of NPC figure) is being welcomed enthusiastically. The fact that you have a bodybuilding federation preferring a beauty contest format to a competition featuring actual bodybuilders doesn't seem to strike the European IFBB as inappropriate - much less sexist and discriminatory against women athletes.
Too bad for the IFBB that many of their attitudes regarding female bodybuilding are in obvious violation of the International Olympic Committees' clearly stated policies against gender discrimination.
"The IOC strongly encourages, by appropriate means,
the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures,
particularly in the executive bodies of national and international
sports organisations with a view to the strict
application of the principle of equality of men and women."