body image · Book Reviews · weight lifting

I love Venus with Biceps

227W 300x290 A Closer Look at <i>Venus with Biceps</i>I love, love, love this book! Venus with Biceps: A Pictorial History of Muscular Women is one of the very few books I’ve bought in the past year in paper rather than on my Kindle.

“Venus with Biceps is an illustrated history of muscular women over the course of more than 100 years. It features a wealth of photographs, posters, line drawings, magazine covers, and film stills documenting the image of the strong, healthy female—an object of fascination, derision, amusement, and fetishization, depending on the era. Unlike their male counterparts, muscular women were historically not considered to be prototypes for the ideal body but more akin to circus freaks.” It’s published by Arsenal Pulp Press and you can read more about it on their blog.

The images are just terrific. So too is the history and I keep picking it and wanting to show to people and share. I might even buy multiple copies to give some away. I like it that much.

In Stronger Than Yesterday, “Venus With Biceps” Do It Nothin’ But Their Way  Meghan writes:

“I love that this book exists because so many people still believe that women need to look a certain way, use their bodies a certain way, be in the world in a certain way in order to be women. Strength is for everyone. Pictures like these serve as a great starting point for conversations about the history of women in sports, about gender performance, about what constitutes beauty and why we create standards for strength based on gender. But more than that, these pictures, and these women, are proof that there have always been women who weren’t afraid to push the boundaries of social convention.”

There’s also a good review of Venus with Biceps in The Atlantic by Maria Popova. You should go read the reviews and then buy the book!

070F 213x300 A Closer Look at <i>Venus with Biceps</i>

4 thoughts on “I love Venus with Biceps

  1. Awesome! I’ll have to get this book sometime — it’d be nice to have pictures of all these ladies to keep coming back to.

    (Also, some of the pictures on the Atlantic review are astonishing! The lady hoisting the bicycle with three people on it one-handed is getting filed in my People to Be Like file right now! Other things that impressed me for reasons not restricted to strength: the lady lying down on a bicycle. HOW does she balance?! And the lady doing the seated shoulder press in high heels. It seems like the shoes wouldn’t matter, because you’re sitting down, but I definitely use my feet to help stabilize me when I am doing seated lifts. Can’t imagine doing them in heels! It’s like, instead of her feet helping stabilize her, she has to hold them in place for the duration of the lift. It seems to me like that would be as hard as trying to do leg lifts while doing a completely different exercise, with heavy weight, with your upper body. Boggles the mind, it does!)

  2. I’ve also read this book and really loved it but unluckily my friend borrowed it from me and still im waiting for it. Lolz. Anyhow after visiting your blog and reading this awesome post i’ll read it again. Thanks for sharing this excellent info.

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