I found this image on the forums at bodybuilding.com.
Among the comments was this exchange:
"They are figure competitors."
"Figure competitors [meaning] they have a FIGURE? Like waist, hips, boobs? Aren't all women figure competitors, then?"
Let's talk about how difficult it is to get up on stage in a bikini in front of hundreds of people with intentions of being judged against other women in bikinis. That takes some serious guts.
Additionally, having been to quite a few local shows I can tell you firsthand that not everyone on the stage is chasing a pro card. At most of the shows I've attended, at least a quarter of the competitors are strutting their stuff on stage after losing tremendous amounts of weight - 50, 75, or 100 pounds.
Besides, contest prep doesn't always go perfectly. We typically only hear about the success stories, but plenty of men and women sign up for shows and then either back out or show up not looking their best. Some people peak too early, stall out a few weeks out, or simply can't get down to that unnaturally low body fat percentage. That certainly doesn't mean they didn't work hard or don't deserve a spot on stage.
Chime in! Tell me your thoughts.