The History of Female Bodybuilding

Female bodybuilding is a serious competitive sport. Not all bodybuilders compete, but it is an option for those who are extremely dedicated to their craft. In the earliest years, female bodybuilding was little more than a bikini contest. The women were not truly muscular and toned. It wasn't until the late 1970's that these competitions actually began.

In the early 1980's, female bodybuilding competition became serious. Women were now being judged on their muscularity and form just like male bodybuilders. Several women emerged immediately as forces to be reckoned with. The promoters of female bodybuilding were handpicking women based on how well they could be promoted to the world. Women had to send in resumes and photographs in order to be considered for the competition.

Within a few years, there were several major female bodybuilding competitions available, including NPC (National Physique Committee) Nationals, Ms. Olympia, and Ms. International. As these competitions increased in number and popularity, women focused more and more on muscularity. This decade saw the inception of the American Federation of Women Bodybuilders. This was a gigantic step in the right direction for female bodybuilders.

Changes in Female Bodybuilding

When the 1990's rolled around, female bodybuilding began to face a lot of controversy. Many people felt that women were being chosen still based on their marketability rather than based on the set standards. It was even stated in some of the rules that femininity was going to be judged and that women should not be too large. This was met with extreme disapproval from spectators.

The popularity of female bodybuilding was growing stronger and stronger. While previous competitions had been televised, it would be months after the competition had actually taken place. In the 1990's, these competitions were sometimes televised live. These competitions were no longer considered "filler" programming, but garnered enough viewers and sponsors to be televised live.

Female bodybuilding is still not as widely watched as male bodybuilding and therefore, women receive far less money in prizes. It is more difficult to find sponsors and turn bodybuilding into a career. The new millennium saw many rule changes that have made female bodybuilding much more appealing, but the lack of money involved is still discouraging.

Female bodybuilding is only going to continue to gain in popularity. Even though it has been almost three decades since these competitions began, it seems that the rules are still being ironed out. Eventually, there will be more stability and female bodybuilding will be recognized as what it is: a true competitive sport.