Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Women's Studies

First Advisor

Megan J. Sinnott

Second Advisor

Amira Jarmakani

Third Advisor

Jennifer Patico


Once known only as Bodybuilding and Women’s Bodybuilding, the sport has grown to include multiple competition categories that both limit and expand opportunities for female bodybuilders. While the creation of additional categories, such as Fitness, Figure, Bikini, and Physique, appears to make the sport more inclusive to more variations and interpretation of the feminine, muscular physique, it also creates more in-between spaces. This auto ethnographic research explores the ways that multiple female competition categories within the sport of Bodybuilding define, reinforce, and complicate the gendered experiences of female physique athletes, by bringing freak theory into conversation with body categories.


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