Does the muscle damage a woman? The production of femininities in bodybuilding

This paper analyzes the relationship between muscle potentiation and representations of femininity involved in bodybuilding. It is anchored in cultural studies and aspects of the poststructuralist feminism establishing a dialogue with the theories of Michel Foucault. The results of the analysis indicate that there is an investment in bodybuilding so that the female athletes preserve cultural attributes related to a normalized representation of femininity. However, this recommendation does not reach all the female athletes the same way. Some of them are caught by this speech, others react and resist indicating that a muscularly potentiated body architecture does not ruin the woman. On the contrary, it is seen as another femininity which questions, therefore, the binary representations of gender.

Gender; Sport; Bodies; Femininities; Bodybuilding


Centro de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas e Centro de Comunicação e Expressão da Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina Campus Universitário - Trindade, 88040-970 Florianópolis SC - Brasil, Tel. (55 48) 3331-8211, Fax: (55 48) 3331-9751 - Florianópolis - SC - Brazil
E-mail: ref@cfh.ufsc.br