The general public often attaches women’s bodybuilding to a certain stigma. They mock the idea of highly muscular women, and very often these women will perpetuate the image by doing commercials or acting in stereotypical ways. The topic of “manly women” is an interesting one, and a few questions continually pop up. Let’s delve into them.
What is Virilization?
Virilization occurs when women develop masculine characteristics due to taking anabolic steroids.
What are the signs of virilization?
Commonly known in the various stereotypes, the side effects of steroids in women vary. Some consistent signs include a deeper voice, excessive body hair growth, baldness (similar to male pattern baldness), acne, and enlargement of the clitoris. Some women who use in extreme amounts develop a squaring of the jaw.
Are these side effects reversible?
While the acne that occurs with steroid use may subside in women, the other side effects do not go away when steroid use is stopped. They are permanent. One cycle can mean a lifetime of these consequences.
What is the sport of professional female bodybuilding like?
While men’s bodybuilding is a cult sport, it does enjoy audiences in the thousands at the larger events. Male bodybuilding shows sell tickets, and promoters often see profits. Male bodybuilding supports (and is supported by) the nutritional supplement industry. Female bodybuilding, on the other hand, has a much smaller following. There are some seriously dedicated hardcore fans. But for the most part, they might number in the dozens at a show, not in the hundreds or more, as you see with the men. Most female bodybuilding shows take attached to men’s events. Prize money for the top female bodybuilder in the world is around $5000. For the men, the prize money is about $150,000. Female bodybuilders also have a hard time securing sponsorships and financial backing, while the top male athletes typically find at least some support from fans. Male bodybuilders are more marketable, as many men would like bigger muscles. Simply put, don’t get into female bodybuilding for the fame or the money, because it is few and far between.
Bottom Line… Should women use steroids?
If a woman’s passion involves getting onstage and presenting a highly muscular physique, then by all means she should follow her dreams. However, she should be very aware of the lifetime of side effects, which she is accepting in exchange for a relatively short period of extreme muscularity.