The Feminine Physique

Petra Browne at The Believer:

Years ago, when my body simply was what it was, soft and long, before I had even contemplated changing it into anything else, I came across Martin Schoeller’s Female Bodybuilders on a bookstore display table. In it were studio-lit portraits of women whose faces had been reduced to bone and socket and vein, whose skin had been stained with spray tan and eyes outlined in shadow. Enormous muscles rose up to enclose their necks. They looked prehistoric, fossilized and eternal. I thought they had destroyed their chances at love. My mistake was to assume they were living under the star of sexual capital, as I was. After all, they wore the rhinestones and velvet of showgirls. What I didn’t yet understand was that bodybuilders are ruled by a different star, the same star that would later rule me, if only temporarily. It was dim and solitary, with enormous gravity. I still don’t have a name for it.

more here.