For years now the demise of female bodybuilding has been in the clutches of despair. Pro and amateur female bodybuilders have been training harder than ever for a sport that is slowly minimizing the female bodybuilding division and in some cases completely excluding it. A recent thread posted on the Muscular Development forum states "According to undocumented sources at a recent seminar in Colorado the NPC is eliminated NPC female bodybuilding and replacing it with Women's Physique in 2012." Because this is unsubstantiated we can only hope that it's not true since the Women's Physique round has yet to be put to the test and portrays the analogy of "putting the cart before the horse."
The Physique division is creating a change within the sport; just as the Bikini division changed the shape of Figure. Yes, the Figure division. In the past few years competitors in the NPC and IFBB who were known for harder lines and muscularity had to change their nutritional and training programs in order to place higher because their "look" was no longer deemed the quintessential figure build. Smoother, softer builds replaced harder physiques and left some of the best conditioned athletes with lower scores.
Though we all know change is inevitable this is a change that will effect women in the sport who have given up the most. As fans and athletes already know top ranking female bodybuilders win a substantially lower prize purse than their male counterparts. For example; four time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler won $200,000 while six time Ms. Olympia Iris Kyle won $28,000; just over an eighth of Cutler's winnings.
Not only are female bodybuilders paid less but many female bodybuilders have spent years perfecting physiques with the use of performance drugs and have lost much of their femininity. They have worked hard to maintain muscle mass but have since been considered "freakish" and "manly" to the mainstream and now are at an even greater loss with the decrease in the bodybuilding division. Unfortunately, the mainstream is not the only group ostracizing female bodybuilding as there are athletes within the industry who do not necessarily like the look of the female bodybuilders.
At the moment there doesn't seem to be a happy medium as the New York Pro is not including female bodybuilding this year, either. The event is set for May 28, 2011 with the addition of Pro Figure but no where on the flyer is women's bodybuilding.
So what happens next? Will it be replaced by the Physique round? At this point it's unknown but one thing for sure; if all the athletes don't defend women's bodybuilding it will soon be something we read about in old magazines and articles online.