The 32-year-old winner of the recent 2013 Arnold Classic USA Heavyweight Amateur competition is deeply angered by the IFBB's scrapping of the Ms International bodybuilding competition - a show which has showcased some of the finest female physiques of the last 25 years.
Writing exclusively for realfemalebodybuilding.com Kashma argues passionately and intelligently that without female bodybuilding all the other women's categories are demeaned.
She is further calling for ALL female muscle athletes, including fitness, bikini, figure and physique, to make their feelings known to the IFBB and boycott their shows until the decision is reversed.
One way of doing this is to SIGN UP TO OUR PETITION HERE. More than 600 people have already done so!
Read the full Kashma Maharaj article below.
I was deeply upset and angered when I read about the IFBB's decision to eliminate the Ms International event from the Arnold Classic.
As an amateur female bodybuilder, there are some competitions that I dream of one day competing in.
But the constantly diminishing number of shows that have female bodybuilding categories both for amateurs and professionals leaves me wondering what I am expected to do as an athlete in the years to come.
The International Federation for Bodybuilding, which is the worlds largest and most influential organization for the sport of fitness and bodybuilding, seems to be sending out the message that big muscles and ripped conditioning is a look that only men should attain.
I would expect the IFBB to be encouraging women into the sport of bodybuilding instead of against it. I would expect more stages to be available around the world as opposed to less and I would expect the IFBB to be spreading awareness of female bodybuilding and embracing the female contribution to the sport instead or reverting to the practices of 50's and 60's where women had to fight for the right to equal opportunity.
The name of the federation should perhaps be changed to the International federation of male bodybuilding in that case.
In all other major sporting events, there are male and female categories and sporting on a whole is a growing industry, especially the area of bodybuilding and fitness.
So why must the IFBB adopt a different approach?
As a female bodybuilder, the message that seems to be loud and clear is "we do not want to see your bodies and we do not encourage you to be big, strong and conditioned". I am under the impression that the IFBB and the major players in this organization are exercising sexist and discriminatory practices.
This has been evident to me for a very long time now. Just look at the discrepancy between the male prize money and female prize money. Just look at the difference in exposure and opportunities to make money. I was appalled last year when I looked at group pics from the Olympia and saw none with Iris Kyle among the line up of winner's from that weekend. I am also disgusted by the magazines such as Flex and Muscle Mag that are plagued with the images of amateur and professional bikini competitors, the newest category for women, but the one getting the most exposure.
Again the message seems to be the old school of thought on what a woman should look like; big fake boobs, a nice butt and pretty hair and make up.
I have nothing against the bikini category. I like the fact that there are avenues for women of different shapes, sizes, fitness and musculature to enjoy the sport on a competitive level, but why cross out the foundation block of this whole game?
Before there ever was bikini, physique, or fitness, there was bodybuilding.
As a woman in the sport, I feel like I am being told "Don't train to see how big you can get, don't dream of pushing your strength and determination to the limit, don't go too hard with the diet, don't lift too heavy and don't dream of being a bodybuilder."
Next I expect to hear "If you are not white, your kind is not allowed here!"
I refuse to be told in this day and age what I can and cannot do with my own body and abilities.
I refuse to have my goals undermined and my dreams terminated by and organization that obviously does not have the interest of the sport or the athletes at heart. The organization only seems to be interested in the bottom line and profit margins.
The IFBB's decision to close the door to professional female bodybuilders at the Arnolds was in poor taste. With the Arnolds now taking place in Europe, South America and soon Africa and Asia (since I believe the ultimate goal is to have 10 Arnold franchises worldwide) the men in this sport and the women in other categories have more and more opportunities and options available to compete. They can earn new fans, visit new places stand next to a variety of competitors, and win some money (in some cases) – opportunities open to everyone EXCEPT the women at the very top of the sport of female bodybuilding.
How does that make sense? Instead of nurturing, growing and allowing equality in the sport, they have just blacklisted female body builders.
So what's next for us? Lose some the muscle and compete in physique?
I refuse to change how I train, eat and prep for a show. I refuse to change my ideal of what a woman with muscle should look like just to be accepted by the IFBB.
If the argument is the marketability of the sport of female bodybuilding, then it is within the power of the IFBB to change the perception of the sport, and add appeal.
Instead of just mandatory poses and a short posing routine, there is more that can be added to show case the beauty of the female muscle.
If the argument is that women with muscle are not "attractive" then please show me all of the attractive male bodybuilders out there....most really are not but they do have some world class muscle and freaky physiques.
I think the IFBB is missing the very definition and essence of what bodybuilding is. It is not a beauty pageant but a show about muscle, shape, symmetry, proportions and conditioning.
Since I started competing, I have seen an exponential increase in the number of women competing in my country and women who want to get the muscle and are no longer afraid to train with some weights. Additionally, I have so many fans and so many people that appreciate the sport and my contribution as an athlete. So you can't convince me that the sport does not have public appeal.
I truly wish that ALL athletes in the sport would unite and boycott competing in shows and attending shows and also protest the decision to shun female bodybuilders.