Iron Maidens: The Celebration of the Most Awesome female Muscle in the World


One of five new titles for women who resist easy definition. ~ Utnemagazine

Finalist for the Oregon Book Awards, 2006

At age twenty-three and fresh out of drama school, Kristin Kaye landed her dream job: to write and direct a Broadway show in New York City. Its title? The Celebration of the Most Awesome Female Muscle in the World, starring twenty-five of the world’s most muscular women. Her mandate? To turn The Celebration into a High Art Happening exalting women’s physical and intellectual strength.

Kaye thought this was her chance to enter a whole new feminist arena, but in reality she was about to enter another world entirely: her carefully orchestrated artistic interludes would be sandwiched between skits involving white lace thongs, smoke machines, and a bodybuilder spinning by her neck. Kaye tells the whole story in this hilarious book, alternating between an account of directing the show, which builds to the disastrous climax of opening night, and reportage on women’s bodybuilding and the little-known sub-culture around it, including the use of steroids, the side business of strong women who wrestle men for money, and the judging controversy that threatens to split the sport in two.

“Not long out of college and trying to figure out what to do with her life, Kristin Kaye found herself writing and directing a Broadway show about female bodybuilders. In telling the tale of this show and the women who were in its cast, she persuades us of their humanity while at the same time showing the less appealing aspects of women’s bodybuilding. Kaye tells her own story honestly and amusingly, but always keeps the bodybuilders at the center of the stage.” ~ OBA Judge Jonathan Yardley

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