Strength in Muscle and Beauty in Integrity: Building a Body for Her
Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 35 (2008): 43-62
27 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2017
Date Written: October 28, 2007
Although female bodybuilding has great potential as a liberating archetype for female beauty, judging standards within the sport reflect a masculinist aesthetic of female human beauty that subverts this potential. The organizational rules and the aesthetic of competitive bodybuilding are in need of reform. This article briefly describes the structure and judging standards of competitive women’s bodybuilding, explores the possible objectives of women’s bodybuilding as competitors currently pursue it, addresses feminist concerns about the objectification of women’s bodies that occurs in bodybuilding, and considers whether bodybuilding is an irremediably androcentric pursuit. Practical reforms that feminists within the bodybuilding community might pursue to advance a new aesthetic of bodybuilding are suggested. This article concludes by sketching a feminist aesthetic of bodybuilding based on a Kantian account of beauty, reaching beneath surface appearances.
Keywords: Human Beauty, Female Beauty, Femininity, Bodybuilding, Female Bodybuilding, Women's Bodybuilding, Strength, Kantian Aesthetics, Feminist Aesthetics, Objectification
JEL Classification: Z2, Z20, Z28, Z29, Z1, Z10, Z11, Z18, Z19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation