In the late 1970's women's bodybuilding pioneer and '79 Women's World Bodybuilding champion Lisa Lyon said that if the women's side of the sport evolved into a contest of muscle mass, as the men's had, it would curl up
and die a premature death. Well, fans, it looks like Ms. Lyon's revelation is slowly becoming a reality. Call the paramedics! Something has to be done before the sport' s pulse weakens further.
Take last year's European pro tour, for example. It was canceled due to lack of interest seems there's very little attendance in Europe unless the women's show is tacked onto a men's competition.
In the United States the sport is struggling as well. The number of women's pro shows in 1990 is down to a mere four contests-and one of those is tentative.
As for amateur women's body-building, everything's definitely not wine and roses. The number of competitors continues to dwindle. For instance, at the '90 Los Angeles Championships, only four women competed in the entire contest. And this was a national qualifier!
And the pros? Many of these athletes are also getting fed up. Cory has hinted at retirement if the judges continue to lean toward rewarding excessive mass, and Marjo Selin refuses to compromise her elegance (thank God!) as her out-of-the-top-five placings begin to wear thin.
Because of the male-oriented judging standards, many women competitors are forced to take drugs to get the ripped, massive physique that's be-coming the winning look. But aren't men and women biologically different? Why are they being judged by the same criteria? Are we eventually going to merge the men's and women's contests into various drugged-up, hermaphrodite championships-the men with their enlarged breasts and shrunken genitals and the women with their shrunken breasts and enlarged genitals?
The powers that be must regroup while there's still time. The judging standards should be changed to accommodate female biological characteristics, not those of men. Cory has suggested body "shaping" contests, where sheer muscle plays only a minor role in the outcome very similar to the fitness shows that now dot our contest calendars. No doubt about it, fitness shows are coming into their own, as television coverage is on the upswing and attendance grows with each event. Looks like the public is letting its actions speak loud and clear; the question is, Is anyone listening?
Body shaping instead of body-building? A radical concept, but perhaps it's the CPR this sport so desperately needs.