I have read a lot of articles and forum discussions lately regarding the NPC's pro-card bonanza for the Figure Class. For the most part (99%) it is of the negative sort. Everyone seems to be unhappy with the fact that Women's Bodybuilding only gets 5 per year and the same amount and more gets handed to Figure per contest. This has created an idea that Women's Bodybuilding is doomed to failure, that the dreaded "Stepford Wives" figure girls are taking over. (I'm not even going to mention fitness, 'cuz thatís a whole 'nother animal). My wife Emery and I have discussed this at great length and derived this analogy that might serve to explain how we see what is happening within in the sport.
The Video Store Analogy
A video store owner must stay current with his movie titles to keep customers and attract new ones. Therefore he must buy a certain amount of mainstream titles every month to keep the common customers coming. They want the latest box office release or whatever is currently popular. The store owner must cater to their whims to maintain a steady flow of revenue.
Now consider this: to initially open his store the owner can not just open his doors with only a few new releases in stock. The customers would tire very quickly of looking at the same box titles that they might have already seen, and frankly, even some of those titles might not appeal to them, since everyone has different tastes in movies and this would further limit the stores desirability. So to avoid this, the owner must open his doors with as many titles as he can, old and new, so that the customers have a variety to choose from. He must buy hundreds to start with, so that even if the customer doesn't see a title they want to begin with, they will still look around to see if there is something else that might interest them. The owner, in the meantime, doesn't care if the customer rents an old or new title as long as they are in the store and they rent something.
As many of you may know, not all movie stores carry adult titles for whatever reason. If they do, they are in an area separate from the rest so that children do not receive an epiphany at a young age! ;-) Once again, not everyone cares for that type of movie but in most cases, they will not complain to the authorities about the movies being there. If the store carries enough new popular titles the non-adult watching customer will still frequent the store but will not venture into the curtained area. Lest we forget those who do watch the specialty titles, they can oft times be seen renting any and all titles available for their own tastes, carrying them out under their coat or with the bag tightly clutched to their bodies. The store owner knows that he makes fair amount of money from that section and therefore tries to purchase 1 or 2 specialty titles per month, maybe less maybe more, depending on requests and so on. From what I have heardÖ.the tastes can be quite diverse but still boil down to the basic act.
Following the Trends
I donít think that I am the only person who has noticed that as regular television and movies have become more "open" that the adult industry has also become more mainstream. Back in the 70's adult movies where not easy to come by, since not everyone owned a projector and the Pussycat Theatres saw a lot of patrons who covered their faces as they purchased their tickets! Along came the Beta machine and a few titles quickly appeared. VHS came out and BAM! More titles, with a few notables become household names due to whatever endowments they had! (Remember we are referring to muscles here)
As governments and restrictions and church figures etc, etc changed and the public followed the general consensus on what was acceptable, adult movie popularity waxed and waned. But it always remained because people will always be doing what adult movies are doing and there will always be people that want to watch. Its human nature.
Putting it All Together
So, by now we realize that the mainstream current titles in the store are Figure Competitors. The NPC has to grant a lot of pro cards at the beginning so that they can fill the ranks, so that people will come to watch. The inconsistent judging has served to put some less than adequate figures on the stage, which is needed so that the better bodies can be held in higher esteem later and the not as good bodies will fall by the wayside naturally. The pro ranks already had some great physiques to start with but they still needed to attract more people to the contests to show them that it was possible to achieve pro status in a sport. That has never and will never be easy for women to do.
If the NPC makes more Women Bodybuilders pro, they will have the same problem. A lot of less than adequate women having pro status that honestly shouldn't. If a pro qualifier has a low turn-out and still hands out pro-cards, the best that shows up will become pro. The best that shows up isn't always the body that is up to standards. The adult titles can be numerous in our virtual store but only a handful get recognition outside of the curtain by the regular customer.
It is very important for the business side of the sport to attract new customers but it will always need to keep its current folks too. Like I said before, not everyone rents the specialty movies and sometimes even those that do have a lapse in interest and just go for new release now and then, but they still go to the store. And that makes the owner happy.
Thanks for listening.