It's been talked about for quite some time and now it's official. Women's bodybuilding has "bitten the dust", at least as far as the Arnold Classics is concerned. The Classics event kicks off February 27th through March 2nd in Columbus, Ohio. Women's bodybuilding will not be a part of the line up for this year's competitions. This year, the categories for the women's competitions are: Women's Fitness, Women's Physiques, Women's Body Fitness and Women's Bikini Fitness. (Click here to see entire competition line up)
So what happened to women's bodybuilding? It may be that a decision to switch gears has been caused by a decline in the interest of viewers toward women's bodybuilding. Where there is no interest or demand, there is no money. In sports and in business, the ruler of what stays and what goes is based on what sells and what grows.
Since women's bodybuilding has carried such a stigma, it's not shocking in the least that it would be shut out at some point. Women's bodybuilding has been a controversial subject since it began in the 70's, and as the bodies grew bigger and harder, so did the controversy.
Women's bodybuilding has not only showcased amazing physiques, it also showcased amazing strength and stamina. To have the ability to sculpt and recreate the body beyond what most would consider "normal" leaves a lot to be said.
While bodybuilding for "men" will still hold the same rankings as it has from the beginning, women's bodybuilding is viewed in a different light, mainly by men. Let's face it, women's bodybuilding has always been a hot topic as to whether it's considered feminine or masculine, or whether these women are slowly changing themselves into men. Bodybuilding is basically run by the male population in this arena. If you don't agree, then how do you explain the huge gap in pay when it comes to professional competitions, with the males being compensated two to three times as much as the women but both genders judged in the same sport? It has never been equal, nor fair; however, the women have always seemed to take it in stride and continued to train and compete for the love of the sport, not the money.
As for the professional male bodybuilders, it is also about the love of the sport but coupled with a lucrative incentive for winning. Outside of their hard massive chiseled bodies, there is lots of money on the table, as well as, endorsements. So it's not so shocking that the decision to do away with women's bodybuilding has come to fruition. However, women will be included in competitions but only in the way the "sport" wishes to portray them.
This year, the Arnold Classics will introduce to its line up, "pole fitness". So just where did pole fitness come from and what is its connection to the bodybuilding arena? First of all, pole fitness has been around for many years. It was first born in "gentlemen's clubs" or "strip joints", known to audiences as pole dancing. It is typically known as an outlet of erotic entertainment of a mostly male audience. To some, it's known as just a sexy striptease while working a floor to ceiling pole. Others consider it an activity of discipline and strength, as well as a way of tightening and reshaping the body. Pole fitness is a terminology used to reduce the "strip club" image, and to introduce a new way of working out. It's for the purpose of removing the sleaze to sport.This is the reason the term "pole dancing" is slowly being eliminated.
Viewers may find it a bit confusing how a woman performing backflips, sliding down metal cylinders, twirling, performing splits and handsprings, while supporting her body weight with just the use of her arms, thighs and buttocks, can actually be considered an "exercise" rather than just a strip club tease. To some, the only difference may be the non-removal of clothing. However, this form of "fitness" does not require much clothing at all because it's designed to show off the acrobatics and showcase the physique.
SEE PART 2 FOR CONCLUSION