Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Olympic ideal - to go for or to forgo?

Like the rest of the planet, I have hardly noticed (read: been ogling) the fine physical specimens strutting their stuff in my home city in the last week or so.

Um, I still maintain I am not at all visual. My hamster insists this is the case and I am going along with it :-)

But nonetheless I admire the hours of dedication and discipline that these athletes have put into their sport of choice. It cannot be easy to have to watch your diet, be in bed at a certain time, train for a certain number of hours everyday no matter what the circumstances or the weather and have a certain 'tunnel vision' that enables you to win an Olympic medal.

I applaud these people.
Whether or not they win a medal, their hard work alone deserves applause. ever, I have a question.
And it is related to the SMP, as usual.

I thought I knew the answer to this question, but now I have doubts. A recent trend has thrown me a curveball that I feel unable to negotiate in my head.

Physical prowess is a nice quality in a man, especially in a young man. I don't think anyone doubts that. Although it is not essential for his attractiveness to a woman especially the older he is, it is nonetheless a source of 'bonus points' especially for a younger woman and perhaps for the would-be 'cougar', the numbers of which are rising at an alarmingly exponential rate.

But I am not sure these pictures help or hinder the feminine experience. Ishall let you decide for yourself, and if you feel like sharing your personal view on this, ladies, I shall be interested to know what you think :)

Is this nice or nasty to you, ladies?

But cyclists' thighs aside, what about physical prowess in a woman?
I have no issue with physical fitness per se.
I think it is a good thing.
Most advisors of women would indeed advise that they keep fit and trim.
Helen Andelin as far back as the 1950s was advocating this, long before it was even fashionable.

A regularly-encountered grudge against 'Western Woman' is that she is too fat, and that she is unfit.
There may be several reasons for this, of course...
She eats too much, she lives a sedentary life, she doesn't exercise enough (and this includes ordinary activities such as walking), and she is just plain too lazy.
Fair or foul?
Especially as we are all getting fatter, men and women. But since men are more visual...

And then we have the other  end of the extreme...
The Eastern European female weightlifter from the 80s...
No-one pictures her when they think of a foreign woman worth leaving The West for.

But a funny thing has happened the last few years!

We don't see these women anymore!
Even the really butch types seem to have toned it down a notch (no pun intended).

Sure, there are still some scarily masculine types about, but there aren't the numbers that had everyone believing that 'sport is just plain bad for your image if you are a woman' these days.

It's a good thing, no?

How weird that in the general population of women, where femininity is being lost little by little everyday,  there appears to be a concerted effort to revive the seemingly 'dead and buried 'in the realm of competitive sports, of all things!

How bizarre!

What is the explanation for this?

Is this a necssary step for these women because they have been poked fun at for all these years and they are finally listening to reason?

Is it that they have simply stopped taking steroids? (Quite a few of those butch women were found to have rather high levels of testosterone in their bodies, at levels in fact that one wouldn't normally expect to find in a woman...).

Is it the water? (Um, I am starting to clutch at straws here, lol, scratching my head ;).

Is it that modern competitively-sporty women are simply more aware that they need their femininity more than ever to counterbalance their apparent masculinity?

Which is it?

Am I in fact right to be impressed by this new breed of female athlete?
Or do the men remain nonplussed and will pick the more feminine-looking woman anyday, even if she is 'slightly plump'?

 How far is too far?

Or...and this thought just occurred to me...
Is it nothing to do with how she looks?
Is it more to do with the fact that she is competitive in a physical manner?

If she trained everyday for 4 hours 'just for fun' without competing in the Olmpic Games, does that make her more 'attractive' to a man than a 3-time gold medal winner?

Is it competition that might kill it for a man?

Should a woman even care about these things?

In other words, if I have a daughter one day and she wats to be 800m champion one day, shall I encourage her in her endeavour or shall I pull her to one side and say, with a sharp intake of breath, 'Honey we have to talk...'

I know of course that I shall have no such concerns if we were talking about my future son.

Am I sexist?
If so, why?
If not, why not?

In the meantime, I am still trying to work out how it is humanly possible for anyone to run 100m in 9.63 seconds...

1986 javelin thrower...
Brit Fatima Whitbread

 2008 javelin thrower...
 Paraguayan Leryn Franco

 And they mostly look like this nowadays...
US hurdler Lolo Jones

 What changed?

I am curious...


Ceer said...

Fair or foul?
Especially as we are all getting fatter, men and women. But since men are more visual...

A woman gaining weight is like a man talking about his feelings. It serves its purpose to round out the better parts of the person, but more than a little bit is a MAJOR turn off.

Is it competition that might kill it for a man?

Should a woman even care about these things?

In other words, if I have a daughter one day and she wats to be 800m champion one day, shall I encourage her in her endeavour or shall I pull her to one side and say, with a sharp intake of breath, 'Honey we have to talk...'

I know of course that I shall have no such concerns if we were talking about my future son.

Should a man care about being attractive to women? That's why we have game. Same concept goes for women.

For an athletic woman's attractiveness, there are several factors at play. Today's athletic women tend to be thin, toned, and healthy...all major physical DHV. The fact that she's competing in a physical challenge, even against other women, is a masculine activity. (Imagine a men's group practicing nursing, sharing gossip) This is what a man sees from a distance. Since men are primarily visual, my guess is even though some men may be turned off, it would typically be that most women would have a net advantage going into the personal interaction. After that, it would be hers to win or loose based on her personality.

Yes, all women need to have a talk about what personality traits and mannerisms attract men.

You wouldn't have to have said discussion with a son because the issue doesn't affect a woman's attraction in the same way.

If, say, your son walked around talking about his feelings to all the women he was attracted to, or training to become a house husband for when he gets married, I'd say THAT's when you have the comparable talk with your son.

Anonymous said...

Hi, ST, PVW here.

It seems to me that the older model of Eastern European female athletes on steroids has gone away because of the serious effects female steroid use has had on women.

I remember seeing a documentary about this. These young East German women were fed steroids as teenagers; it affected their physical development in horrible ways, as we know. One was so far gone on the steroids she had to have a sex change. Heidi Krieger became Andreas Krieger.

As for men being bothered by a female athlete's looks, perhaps as was already suggested, the fit toned body is an indication of high smv. Now as for men being turned off by a woman's competitiveness in sport, I leave that for the men to comment upon.

Anyone pushing to become an elite athlete, that is something rare.

I would discourge a daughter not because of fears that men might not find that attractive--I must say I see those arguments as akin to mothers telling their daughters not to do well in school because men don't like smart women (rolling my eyes here.

I would discourage because elite sports is an endeavor that is overly time consuming and expensive with a return I see as less certain; I'd rather pay for her to take elite math classes!

I would say the same thing to a young man who said he wanted to do something similar, go to school on a sports scholarship.

On the academic side, I have seen how that can work. The coaches' goal is primarily to maintain eligibility for the students to play, not think about their prospects after graduation.

So it is not uncommon for students to graduate with horrible grades in easy majors, but no prospects for playing professionally, yet their whole time was dedicated to playing. Upon graduation, they go back to where they came from, without much to show for it.

There are whole levels of institutional support to ensure they maintain their eligibility--tutors; athletic directors who hassle faculty about their athletes' grades, etc. (Rolling my eyes, once again.)

Unknown said...

Every man I know finds professional female athletes physically repulsive. Many of them can't even menstruate anymore because they've lost so much body fat.

As for women boxers -- my God!

I have a hard time taking any professional athlete seriously. Most of them use various drugs to achieve what they do.

just visiting said...

A muscular and toned body may be higher smv, but the types of bodies we used to see in decades past were beyond that. Steroids? Probably.

I'm going to come at this from a different aspect. I'm not convinced that enhancements for male athletes have decreased. I think that they have become more covert and sophisticated. So why not for women?

Because the world is in agreement about esteem for male physicality and male competition. It is conflicted when it comes to female physicality and competition.

The East German women's teams of the past grossed us out. Yeah, steroids are bad and do bad things to the body, but let's face it. They weren't attractive enough for the world stage. They didn't shave, and they looked like guys. The Olympic viewers will forgive this in men to watch sheer physical prowess. But rarely with women's sports. For one, they aren't the ones setting the record standards for the sport. The men are. And ugly women don't sell product, whether that product is the Olympics or endorsements.

just visiting said...

To expand on the conflict of women and expectation in Olympic sport, let's take a look at hockey.

Hockey is a contact sport, and the U.S. and Canadian womens teams play at a highly competitve level. However, over the years, they have been told to tone it down. That they need to pull back. That this is to allow other teams to get better without blowing them out of the water. But I'm not so sure.

After winning the gold, the Canadian Womens team created a "scandal". After the spectators had left the building, they came out onto the ice to take pictures. Some of them had beers in their hands, and some had cigars, mugging for each others pictures.

The Olympic Committee freaked, the media was scandalized, and the team had to apologize. Over and over again. At which point, they were also under fire previously for excessive scoring against another team.

I'd be surprised if the Men's team would have such issues. Could you imagine telling any Olympic Men's team to be LESS competitive? And there were plenty of images of Olympic men celebrating after a win and not in the privacy of an empty arena either. Out and proud with their adoring public.

Spacetraveller said...

Ceer and Bob,

Gosh, you don't pull your punches do you, lol.

Are you sure you are not outliers? I have been watching the Olympics with men, and they are mostly impressed by the female athletes...Perhaps they say it in gest, but the prevailing comment whilst watching a sport like track and field has been, 'I would so like to do her' ;)
And these men are far from 'feminised' or gay. But maybe they are the outliers - one of them is an ardent fan of Serena Williams!


Oh my God, I just looked up Krieger. How horrible. I didn't realise that they were doped without their knowledge. Some unfortunately died from heart attacks. How utterly unscrupulous to abuse someone else's body in this way...
Your academic/employment angle is one I hadn't thought of. Yes, a lot of school/college athletes don't make it in the big league, I can well imagine. So yes, a good education or skill is necessary, alongside the sport.


"Because the world is in agreement about esteem for male physicality and male competition. It is conflicted when it comes to female physicality and competition."

No one bats an eyelid when women compete with each other in other ways, eg. for a man ;)
I'm confused...

just visiting said...

They will bat an eyelid if competing for a man becomes a "contact sport".

Anonymous said...


Yes, a lot of school/college athletes don't make it in the big league, I can well imagine. So yes, a good education or skill is necessary, alongside the sport.

PVW: But the prevailing emphasis on the sport in the Olympics and in colleges feeds the myth that the emphasis on the sport alone is the most important. For that reason alone, I would oppose any dedication to elite sports competition.

Regarding your other comment(s), no one bats an eyelid when women compete in typically feminine ways because that is expected. But to compete in a typically masculine way is to be rejected.

Think of the conversations on other threads about women's professional competence and when that is seen as unfeminine and too masculine, even when it might be considered appropriate in the workplace.

In addition, we have spoken about men's concerns and stereotyping, that if a woman is successful in those types of endeavors seen as traditionally masculine, the presumption is that she might not be able to tone it down once she leaves work.

Of course, this is an argument I don't buy, as I can think of plenty of examples of women who carefully negotiate both, but the stereotype is there.

The same stereotyping applies, I think, to women and elite athleticism, especially if it is in a field where men compete as well in their own parallel fields: swimmers, track and field stars, hockey, boxing, etc. (as others have mentioned), and a woman's competence seems almost manly.

Do you recall the American women's soccer team that one the world cup a number of years ago? This might have been around 1998 or so. It seems to me in retrospect that they were celebrated for being athletic, feminine and toned, but not in the way we are seeing these Olympic athletes with their bodies being overly toned to the point they don't seem as feminine.

just visiting. said...


Yes, with one exception. After seeing the women atheletes of the seventies and eighties, everyone following afterwards looks feminine, lol.

just visiting said...

Case in point. The picture ST has of Fatima Whitbread.

That said, I had a family member who was Olympic bound. And I was strongly encouraged to go that route too when I was growing up.

If I had a daughter, I would encourage athletics during her growing up years. Though PVW makes the argument of why I wouldn't encourage Olympic level dedication in adulthood.

Anonymous said...

PVW here, considering Just Visiting's comments at 2:54 and 3:16:

Wait a minute, I had to look up Fatima Whitbread. I thought she was a man!!!!

A perfect example of what ST is talking about here; I had never heard of her, but her haircut, flat chest and square jaw made me think you provided an example of a male javelin thrower from 1986!

Heidi Kruger was competing in the 1980s.

On the other hand, it is quite clear that Leryn Franco is female--long hair, muscles seeming less masculine, but merely toned. Her jaw, I can't tell whether it is masculine or not from the angle.

By the 1990s, the women soccer players were looking more like Leryn Franco--look for the picture of Brandi Chastain when she took of her shirt after making the winning goal for the US soccer team...

Ceer said...

@ Spacetraveller

I think maybe Bob was assuming that my DHV comment was meant to apply to heavily doping female athletes. It wasn't. Thin, healthy, and toned: DHV. Muscly, thick, and roided up: DLV. I was also discussing athletic women in general as a group, not necessarily the top performers of the olympics. The assumption that all of them take steroids and have shut down their menstrual cycles isn't strictly fair. Nutrition, training practices, and elements of each individual sport all weigh in.

dannyfrom504 said...

oh the things i wanna do to leryn franco.....

such naughty naughty things.

just visiting. said...

ST, would you or the male readers feel comfortable if your son wanted to be an Olympic ice dancer? Would this be the male equivalent? I've seen very masculine figure skaters before, but for the most part, the stereotype is a bit feminine. Back in the day, Elvis Stojko came off alpha as heck, but he was also into martial arts, and this came out in his skating.

Anonymous said...

The extreme masculinisation of Russian women inthe 80s was because of the cold war Soviet government feeding steriods to their women in order to beat the US and prove their superiority to the world. Russia doesn't do this anymore, hence the changes.
However, now China does. Hence the increasing prevalence of masculine Chinese women in sports all done to beat the US in the current cold war between China and the US

Spacetraveller said...

@ PVW,

"Regarding your other comment(s), no one bats an eyelid when women compete in typically feminine ways because that is expected. But to compete in a typically masculine way is to be rejected."

Yes, and I think this is what JV is also alluding to in the comment above yours. There are 'feminine' ways and 'masculine' ways of doing the same thing...
It helps to know the difference.

"Wait a minute, I had to look up Fatima Whitbread. I thought she was a man!!!!"

You are not alone. For a long time I was convinced she WAS a man. And then when I was finally persuaded she could be a woman, I assumed she would be a lesbian. But no, wrong again. She is married with a son. Go figure!

"...look for the picture of Brandi Chastain when she took of her shirt after making the winning goal for the US soccer team..."

Um, PVW, the words 'took off her shirt' may have got a few pulses racing lol.
Yes you are right, though. Brandi Chastain even though I see she was branded (no pun) 'pioneer of sports-bra exhibitionism', she at least looked very feminine even in the midst of a masculine sport and a masculine activity (taking off her shirt in public). If Fatima Whitbread had done that, it would be a famous moment for very different reasons...


Yes I agree that to lump all female athletes together is unfair...
That said, which sports give the most 'desirable' feminine look?
I always thought swimmers (even the female ones) had a very nice body shape. Rhythmic gymnastics is another sport I think is very graceful, as is ice-skating...
Can anyone think of a sport that 'suits' a woman rather than 'hinder' her?

"ST, would you or the male readers feel comfortable if your son wanted to be an Olympic ice dancer?"

Oh JV, you had to ask a difficult question, didn't you lol.

I would hope I would leave my kids to make their own decisions, but if it were strictly up to me, then I am afraid I would have to say no. I see what you mean about that sport being a rather feminine sport... That said, I do like watching men dance with women - it looks romatic and is aesthetically pleasing. But my son? I hope he would prefer football or something :-)
(I can see how hypocritical this seems, but I can't find a way to spin it more positively! Alas my hamster fails me).

"If I had a daughter, I would encourage athletics during her growing up years. Though PVW makes the argument of why I wouldn't encourage Olympic level dedication in adulthood."

Yes I agree JV! She makes quite a strong case for why an adult woman should definitely stay away from competitive professional sport as a career option!

Spacetraveller said...


"oh the things i wanna do to leryn franco....."

Hahahaha! Danny, you rascal, you :-D
Leryn Franco is also a model. I think she got the balance right. Hence men everywhere are not bothered by her being a professional athlete.
I remember in Britain, Fatima Whitbread got a slot of stick for the way she looked despite coming home with armfuls of medals. And yet there were less accomplished female athletes at the time who were lauded because they simply looked more attractive than Whitbread.
It just goes to show, eh? The world does not really need a woman to take the place of a man. What the world needs is for women to remain women. This reminds me of the words of a top female CEO of a Forbes 100 company in one of the Scandinavian countries when she resigned her very high-paying job in order to be home more for her young children. She said: 'The world does not need another top go-getting woman boss. But my kids needs their mother.'
That said it all for me...

@ Anonymous @ 8:54PM,

Aha, you have hit the nail on the head for me...
This smacks of that link between communism and feminism that Amy and others brought up in a previous thread. In the cold war between The West and The East, women are being used as 'pawns'. I see what you mean about China. When that young swimmer won her event so emphatically, beating the times of some MEN, there was a lot of talk about the 'work ethic' of China. I am beginning to suspect it is worse than simply a 'work ethic'. Something's going on there...and it's not pretty. There are 'factories' churning out Olympic champions out there, and most of the 'workers' in these factories are...women.
It's a new kind of 'feminism' dressed up as 'sporting work ethic'. The only problem is, these young women are reluctant participants, I think.
It's a crying shame.

dannyfrom504 said...

"She said: 'The world does not need another top go-getting woman boss. But my kids needs their mother.'
That said it all for me..."


dannyfrom504 said...

i thought you might want to read this Love.

the fact is, as a man...i view a woman more attractive when she looks feminine. and i won't apoligize for it. watching girls play softball makes me ill. the fist bumping, the slapping asses, the chest bumping....blech.

interestingly enough, i LOVE how many of those girls wear helmets with a metal face protector. if i wore one of those, i'd get eviscerated on the field. "But guys, i don't want to break my pwetty nose."

Spacetraveller said...


Thank you. This is the article I should have had in the OP!
Very appropriate article in that it illustrates what I am trying to get at here.

Hm, interesting that it is only a Turkish man who would dare say what he did. Not many Western men nowadays would dare say what he did out loud, even if like you, they are all thinking it.
See why I appreciate it when you guys talk?
Because if you don't, we (women) just don't know what's what. And then it's of course up to us whether we follow your advice or not...that's another matter. But at least it's nice to KNOW what you guys think.

Award 'extra pints' just for looking feminine? lol. That would really hack off the butch types who look like men.

Now someone else made this point on the article and I am going to reiterate it here because I think it IS true:
Serena Williams looks both masculine AND feminine!
I don't know just how she manages to have such large breasts despite her masculine-looking physique, but there we are... One of my male colleagues says he fantasises about her everyday. Something tells me he's not kidding. This woman is unique in that she looks incredibly strong, and yet fully clothed on the street, she would still appear like a normal woman...

Here is another article I found on the link, Danny. And this one cheers me up, and gives me confidence that we shouldn't indeed lump ALL female athletes in one boat:
Jessica Ennis, after winning gold in the Heptathlon, what's the first thing she does?
Treat herself to a makeover!
How fabulous!

I think she looks absolutely lovely in the pink dress. Do you agree? THIS is what the Turkish guy wants to see more of, I would imagine. And frankly, so would I. And all the commenters who said she was lovely and a great role model for young girls.
All is not lost quite yet...
Thanks again, Danny. You provide great evidence as to why women ought to keep their femininity.
This is also confirming my long-held suspicion that femininity is indeed so much more fragile than masculinity. I think we have enough proof of that by now, no?

dannyfrom504 said...

glad to be of assistance.

that Jessica Ennis is like the oppoiste of a butter face. she's cute. but i'm REALLY turned off by girls with 6 packs though. one of the girls i work with is VERY pretty, and very athletic. all the guys i work with (read the more alpha-type war vets) say the say thing about her- she's pretty, but she's not my type. i agree 100%.

she acts quite boyish at times. and it puts us off.

Anonymous said...

Hi, ST, PVW here.

I've been reading the articles posted and nothing I can see makes me think Zoe Smith looks mannish or like a dyke?

Just being able to power lift? Here is another picture of her:

It seems to me that she has a more feminine figure compared the the others; she looks athletic and toned. As an aside, it is interesting to me that both of them (she and Innis) might be mixed race (black/white) British women. As for Serena, I think a similar thing is going on, athletic and toned. Perhaps she is not doing the intensive routine that the Olympians are doing?

Also, a fair number of the masculine-looking athletes already seemed to have started off with a broad shoulders, narrow hips kind of look, ie., that is their genetic makeup.

There are plenty of women who have that shape; they just look more feminine because they don't do the intensive upper body workout being done by those who are in gymnastics and swimming.

Spacetraveller said...

@ PVW,

Yes I agree that Zoe is very feminine-looking in this picture.
And even so, she gets a lot of hate-press on Twitter and such for being 'like a man'.
There's no pleasing some people lol.

You are right - she is mixed race. As are Ennis and Lolo Jones.

Do you think it could be a self-selection thing? Perhaps it is indeed women with wide shoulders and narrow hips who are attracted to the more 'masculine-type' sports?
If you don't already have that shape, I find it hard to believe that you can 'train' your body into it. Sure you get more muscular if you train hard enough, but you can't really alter your body shape, can you?

Carnivore said...

Ennis? Blech. She's as flat as her mother's ironing board - nothing to play with. Who want's to hug a bag o' bones?

Here's a few more extreme examples - the 15 power bodies series.
I have to give #10 (Adreienva) credit for remarkable weight loss, but she went slightly too far.

Get a load of #15 (mobeast87) at this link:
Can we spell 'anorexia'?

Anonymous said...

Hi, ST, I agree, that it would be hard to change one's natural physique so much to become what one's body was not meant to be.

I imagine it is feasible that certain children are pushed towards or gravitate towards certain sports in light of their build/aptitudes.

I have heard, for example, that during the Soviet Union era, coaches would study children to get a sense of what their aptitudes might be for playing certain sports. I imagine that happens in the US as well when children are interested in sports.

An inverted triangle won't suddenly become hourglass without some serious intervention. But without the serious intervention of training, here is what those young women might have looked like:


like the early barbie doll:

compare with the other primary types:


Anonymous said...

Serious intervention to change one's body type, ie., an inverted triangle to a pear or an hourglass, I'm thinking plastic surgery!


Carnivore said...

@Anonymous 4:43 - Take a look at how China screens for and trains children:

Bellita said...

Do you know what this reminds me of? The movie Junior, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a man who gets "pregnant"! :P

There is one scene in which he has to check into a special hotel for pregnant women. He has to convince the woman who runs it that he is a woman. Understandably, she is taken aback at his appearance, and that's when he really gets into character, telling her that he used to be an Eastern European athlete who was forced to take steroids . . . "But inside, I'm all woman!"

(Hahahahaha! But of course, the woman is filled with compassion at the sight of a fellow mother whose looks were altered against her will, and is quick to reassure "her": "You are beautiful!")

It's not the most edifying movie, but remembering it now makes me wonder whether the most extreme women athletes, for all their other qualities, are ultimately as appealing to men as Schwarzenegger in drag.

But as Anacaona likes to say . . . Your Mileage May Vary. :)

Bellita said...

And now I've just remembered another of our Olympians in London . . . Isn't there a British woman cyclist who is engaged to her coach? :)

Spacetraveller said...

@ Carnivore,

"Ennis? Blech. She's as flat as her mother's ironing board - nothing to play with. Who want's to hug a bag o' bones?"

But she isn't a bag of bones!
I am pretty sure when she stops competing, she will become 'softer' but still more toned than the average woman, which would be ideal. Surely this is better than the 'flabby' option which is the norm nowadays?

I had seen that article about China's 'factories'. The picture where the instructor is standing on the little girl's leg made me quite sick. The child's legs looked distorted...


Hahahaha. I heard about that film, but I haven't seen it...
I am sure it's very funny...

The cyclist you were referring to is Victoria Pendleton.
Her relationship with the coach caused a few problems with the rest of the team I hear... But I think everything's OK now that she is retired.

just visiting. said...

@ Carnivore and ST

Their poor legs!

Ceer said...

Oh, so in other words, she's typical of an American girl... I can see the turnoff.

just visiting said...

I wonder how hypergamy would work for most of these women. I'm not sure that they'd have a lot of time to date as it is. And if your team is full of girls, you'd be even more isolated. I'm curious if romances are struck up with men from different teams. (Y'know, striking up converstions while you wait for your event).

Bellita said...

I had been wondering why Fatima Whitbread's name sounded familiar when I could have sworn I had never seen her before . . . so I googled some recent photos and recognized her instantly . . . as a contestant on the Reality competition I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! Hahahaha!

The show was the first time I had seen her, and I'm afraid I also thought she was a man for a while. :( After I saw she was a woman, my first thought was that she had worked out and tanned too much--but I thought she had done it to be "hotter." I hadn't known she was an Olympian and that the working out had had a real purpose.

You might be interested in how she fared on the show, ST . . . In one challenge, she went head-to-head against (Ahem!) a member of McFly. I remember it vividly because it involved crawling through a maze full of reptiles, amphibians and big bugs! I was completely impressed that both she and her male competitor were completely unfazed by creatures that would have sent me screaming for mercy! :O Oh, in case you were wondering . . . Fatima won that challenge. ;)

I actually respect her a lot, BUT I can see why more than her very muscular body and short hair might put men off. There was another challenge in which she had to wear a special helmet that was filled up with cockroaches . . . and a cockroach crawled up her nose!!! She actually stood still for the entire thirty seconds, never letting on that it had happened until she had won the challenge, and then told everyone her problem. There were three other men around her (her competitor and the two hosts) and they just stood around looking a little sick as one of the emergency medical personnel flushed water up her nose so that she could spit the cockroach out of her mouth. I just laughed back then (not at Fatima, but at the men!) . . . but now I wonder . . . if she had suddenly screamed and acted a bit more scared and helpless, would it have jolted them into "knightly" action for a "damsel in distress"?

Bellita said...

I wonder how hypergamy would work for most of these women.

It would be interesting to do a full study . . .

So far, we know that Victoria Pendleton is engaged to her coach . . . and after the Olympics, Fatima Whitbread married one of the most influential men in British sport.

I remember Susan Walsh referencing the Olympics in a recent HUS thread. She quoted a female athlete whose stunned reaction at suddenly being surrounded by thousands of other single-minded Olympians was, "Why did I get married?" :S I presume the implications were that she wished she were free to date one of the men there . . . and that her husband wasn't that sort of man.

Spacetraveller said...


Yes I really respect Fatima Whitbread a lot too. If you read her life-story, you will have seen that she had a particularly hard life...being abandoned by her (Turkish) mother for one and then other horrible things that happened to her as a young girl...

She is a survivor, and for that reason alone she gets my utmost respect.
But yes, the masculine appearance must have been such a turnoff for men. Her husband must be an extraordinary man, is all I can say. Yes I know she took part in 'I'm a celebrity'. There is a promoional photo of her (for the show) where she is wearing a cowboy hat. She looks so manly there it is downright scary.

"...if she had suddenly screamed and acted a bit more scared and helpless, would it have jolted them into "knightly" action for a "damsel in distress"?"

I doubt it, Bell. Looking like she does, my guess is, they would have treated her like a gay or effeminate man would be treated - with scorn. I think that knowing she is a woman is not an automatic ticket for her to be treated like a woman - she has to look like a woman to get that treatment, for the simple reason that men are visual...
But I could be wrong on this...
Could the gentlemen here please explain why I might be correct or wrong as the case may be?

(By the way, I think I would treat Fatima as I would any other woman, because for me, knowing that she is a woman is enough, even if she doesn't look like one. Because I am not visual. If, like that woman you mention in 'Junior', I saw a pregnant Fatima Whitbread, I would do everything I could to make things easier for her, call her 'beautiful', etc. A man might just see a pregnant Fatima Whitbread as a 'freak show'...)

The other (important) thing to consider is that certain actions really need to look 'genuine' to be believed. If Fatima Whitbread screamed like a little girl at the sight of a bug, I am not sure anyone would believe for one second that this was a genuine thing. If you did that, Bell, it really would be believable lol. To give another example if you and Fatima were both broken down on the motorway because you each had a flat tire or something, I am pretty sure men would stop to help you, but when they see her they would drive on, thinking, 'well, why can't she fix her own darn tire, she looks like she might be capable.' And if you were 'feminist-minded', you might be offended at the idea that you would be deemed incapable of fixing your own tire, but since I know you don't have such silly ideas, I could use this example...

"I wonder how hypergamy would work for most of these women."

I remember when Lolo Jones 'came out' as a virgin (hahahahaha! I make virginity sound like homosexuality...sorry, not intended like this!) there were lots of men saying she would really fnd it difficult to find a mate. I was surprised at this, because I thought it was to her advantage that she was a chaste woman, she was fit, toned, haelthy, etc. I thought, 'what's the downside to Lolo Jones'?
Then someone explained... She was simply too 'high value' and 'out of reach' to most men. But worse, her own hypergamy instincts would be her own worst enemy. Being a top athlete meant that her hypergamy would dictate she choose the highest-ranked athletic male. Being a virgin might dictate she pick a man with the lowest 'number' that she can find. The two are often mutually exclusive!

However, this stuff is all theoretical. Lolo Jones could end up marrying a man twice-divorced with a paunch the size of new York and a history of a thousand-strong soft harem.
Life can be funny sometimes, no?

Spacetraveller said...


You are nothing if not consistent!
I suddenly realised that Leryn Franco is very much your 'type'! The dark hair, Latina appearance, and... no six-pack!
No wonder you commented the way you did earlier ;)

Well, look what I found for you, Your Maj!
Here's your 'treat of the day'. An article all about Leryn Franco.

And in keeping with our current theme, Bell, this is a comment I picked up from one of the many comments on this article. From 'Jamie in Manchester'.

"whoaa she is beautiful!! but i don't think pretty girl like her should be doing this competition because anything can go wrong and she get injured. She should only do modelling because she wil mak more money and javelin only for non good looking girls."

Hahahahahaha! So let's get this straight: Leryn Franco is too beautiful for javelin-throwing. Javelin-throwing should only be done by ugly girls!

Beauty can definitely get you everywhere in this life lol. I don't think ANY man reacted this way to Fatima Whitbread...unless I am grossly mistaken.

Spacetraveller said...

@ Bob,

"As for women boxers -- my God!"

I have a present for you too. You're welcome ;)

This commenter has a point:
"What a girl! But it doesn't feel quite right watching women beat seven bells out of each other for a baying mob of boozy men=====Happens every weekend in most English towns."

You don't need an Olympic boxing ring to experience female 'boxing' these days. Danny had a post about that not so long ago.
At least these women are doing it for Olympic glory...
There is some sort of funny nobility in that...

dannyfrom504 said...


uh. yeah. she's been on my radar since 2008. she's my future ex-wife, i kept sending her letter's and she finally wrote back. i know she's down because the letter looked real official and made mention of 100 yards distance...i dunno. whatever.

point is, she FINALLY responded. she's practically said "i do."

Bellita said...

If you read her life-story, you will have seen that she had a particularly hard life

I just read it. :( You're right that it was horrible beyond words.

I think I would treat Fatima as I would any other woman, because for me, knowing that she is a woman is enough, even if she doesn't look like one.

I feel the same way, ST! But I think this is related to what Ceer was saying in the other thread about divorced women wanting a "second chance" in church and being championed by fellow women. In Fatima, we see a woman we emotionally connect with and whom we believe is due for some happiness and love . . . but who does not inspire the necessary feelings in men.

Re: Lolo Jones
there were lots of men saying she would really fnd it difficult to find a mate.

Is she religious, too? Maybe someone can set her up with Tim Tebow. ;)

But I do see where the men are coming from. If a woman gets to a certain age without losing her virginity (even if she might have wanted to lose it), then holding on to it can become more of an "endurance test" . . . the same challenge to "go the distance" that I brought up in the "Manhaters" thread. And then she will only want a man who will also "go the distance" with her . . . preferably one who already has gone some "distance" on his own. He'd be hard to find, though, especially in this age when it is not advisable for a man to give a woman anything on "credit," but when a man should wait and see whether she is worth it at all. Lolo may be looking for a man with credit.

(But as you said, this is all theoretical. We don't know for certain what her non-negotiables are. . . . Or do we???)

just visiting. said...

@ Danny


ST and Bellita

Very good points!! I think Lolo would have one more thing going for her. Every Olympic's , several thousands of condoms are handed out. All those physically fit people, being away from home, years of discipline and hardwork culminating into one long party after your event. If you could avoid temptation atthat level, I think that you could rest assured that she could avoid the temptation of affairs after marriage.

Spacetraveller said...

@ Danny,

Um, funnily enough it's the same story with me and George Clooney. But that Stacey woman keeps getting in the way...
Danny, why not? We SHOULD dream big, lol.


"Is she religious, too? Maybe someone can set her up with Tim Tebow. ;)"

Several people beat you to it!!!
Lolo Jones is indeed a Christian, yes. And several people have suggested she pair up with Tebow. In fact this was her response:

But alas, she is around 5 years older than Tebow, and he currently has a gf, so...
But you never know, right?

@ JV,

"Every Olympic's , several thousands of condoms are handed out."

Please tell me you're kidding.

just visiting said...

@ ST

Anonymous said...

The 21 year old daughter of a friend of mine is getting into sports modeling, she is a runner , studying nutrition and a fitness coach.

She has a boy friend and as I understand it understands both her sports and reproductive physiologies.

She is university trained, fit, works hard, and has nutrition and coaching skills that will benefit her partner and family in the future.

She may have to put on a few kg to have a family, but she will have great bone structure and fitness when the time comes.

Not bad really.

dannyfrom504 said...


JV isn't joking. there's a LOT of sex going down in olympic village. it's almost orgy-esque.

Spacetraveller said...

@ JV and Danny,


Actually, this shouldn't surprise me at all. I remember reading an article about this on Athol Kay's blog.
People at their physical peak, at a time of great stress (competition) with tons of availability (other fit-looking people in close proximity) and opportunity (separated from their usual partner)...
Yes, I see how this could cause a major orgy-esque fest, Danny!

@ Anonymous @ 6:19 AM,

This young lady you describe has it perfectly right, I agree. If only the rest of us were this savvy at that age, there would be no need for this blog ;)
She is truly blessed. I hope she stays this way...

Lost said...

I'm willing to give my 2 cents, as an athlete and a topic that comes around often in my social circle. we are all athletes.

Every year the bar is set higher and higher for athletes of a given sport, to be the best and to best the previous best. therefore the sport must consume you, it must become you life and your addiction.

Even just back in my day, and i'm not even 30 yet, Attend hockey schools, make the top tier team, work out sporadically in the summer and play other sports to keep yourself active and you have a chance to make it pro.
Also pro athletes off-season workouts were to add extra cheese on their Poutine....(google if you don't know my ever so favorite patriotic cultural dish)

Fast forward to today, you have to be on a strict regimen, diet, practice and physical conditioning. where in yesteryear being an athlete was a part time deal, today being an athlete is a way of life.

Now women in sports, often the discussion goes around about who's the hottest women athletes..... my answer is always that they are all way too manly, except for like gymnastics, sync swimming and the likes so few they are. the reason for this is that we all know that its testosterone the builds muscle and a competitive nature. hence anabolic steroids gives you a max amount of testosterone. hence the males balls shrinking as they are hormonaly no longer needed.
but i digress.
As women get more and more competitive in athletic sports, so is their need to be high in testosterone, therefore women with a higher level of it in their system naturally, succeed. queue the scandal where the women runner looked like a man a couple of years ago.

But anyways. it is the way of our world, in anything, the next generation MUST surpass the last.
This brings me to the comment where there is mention of crazy sex orgies in the olympic village. well testosterone is also the horny sex hormone, and as testosterone peak, you get extremely horny, as the case with the O. village.

scientifically proven that men give women a dose of testosterone while kissing them to make them hornier and more willing to "accept the seed" haha

Spacetraveller said...


You make a great point there.
Bigger, better, faster, higher...this is indeed the motto of The Olympics.
But these make sense for MEN.

I see why PVW makes the case that 'amateur' i.e. school age sports for girls is fine, but beyond that, it becomes counterproductive for her.
I really see that now, in light of your comment.
The more a women goes into the world of sporting excellence, the farther away from her true nature she gets and as you correctly point out, the more the need for testosterone in her system, whether naturally acquired or artificially through doping.

"scientifically proven that men give women a dose of testosterone while kissing them to make them hornier and more willing to "accept the seed" haha".

Now I never heard this before...but now you mention it, is that why...?
No, I won't go there...but let's just say I kinda see your point!


Lost said...


I never said it made much sense for women. BUT it is the way of things in ALL domains. Look at any woman that is competitive in anything, she will start behaving like a man, certain aspects, not completely of course.

Spacetraveller said...


For sure...the drive to compete to the bitter end...not exactly feminine, so ulra-competitive women become more 'aggressive' which may be natural for a man, but not for her.
I agree with you that this doesn't only happen in sport...

Bellita said...

@ST and @Lost
I wish I had read this latest exchange between you two before writing my latest birth control post. I had been wondering what exactly about the birth control pill is so "masculinizing" to women, and you're touching upon the answer here . . . It enables her to compete on a more level playing field with a man, which in turn makes her act like a man. It doesn't have to be a hormonal thing, but if equality and victory over a competitor are a woman's ideals, then she is going to figure out that the feminine qualities aren't helping her to achieve them.

Lost said...

Unfortunately Both Men and Women's definition of victory is the same.... wasn't always such, but i have a great suspicion that its not helping the masculinization of women

Spacetraveller said...

Bell and Lost,

Now this is something I haven't relly thought about, but it makes sense now you mention it!

I have no doubt that it is every woman's right (and in fact duty) to ensure that she is at her best self before becoming a mother.
But I guess what you are referring to here is a woman who has all the conditions right for having children, but delays this whilst she pursues 'masculine' goals. Whilst many women do this in ignorance, there are, I am sure, some who really have no regard for what's right, and are truly selfish. And the worst part is that it is made 'normal' in today's world.
Well I now know it is far from normal...

Bellita said...

This is very late, but another angle at which to look at Fatima's jungle incident just came to me.

Remember that when the cockroach crawled up her nose, all the men (except for the medic) stood around looking disgusted and confused. I wondered whether they would have had the same reactions if Fatima had screamed and acted "girly." You suggested that it would not have been believable coming from her, although they might have reacted differently if it had happened to me and I had screamed . . . and cried . . . and fainted. Hahahaha!

Now I'm wondering . . . What if it had happened to a man? If a cockroach crawled up a man's nose and he was able to endure it for thirty seconds before asking for emergency attention, how would their reactions have been different?

Spacetraveller said...


I am sure I am not the right person to answer your question, but if I could hazard a guess, it would be... quiet respect.
I guess a man would expect another man to be able to endure a cockroach up his nose for 30 seconds. If he can't, he will be taken out to the Village Square and whipped with a horsewhip, figuratively speaking. Danny talks a lot about being 'bullied' by other men a lot. I guess all men go through this 'taking him through his paces' sort of thing at some point or other in their lives. A man who doesn't get this 'treatment' may feel he lacks something, eg. the ones who grow up in all-women households.
If he is able to do the cockroach thing, he is not lauded for it by other men. He is shown 'quiet respect', aka 'a simple nod and handshake will do'. It is women who might fawn over his supreme masculine-ness, lol.
Supreme masculine-ness in a woman, as Fatima displayed, however, will perhaps creep out another woman somewhat, unless she herself is masculinised too, in which case she sees it as a positive in another woman.
This is all theory. I would love to test it out on the 'field' one day.

Any of the men care to correct/uphold what I say with regard to this?