Joan, 48, who went to the same high school as Cory Everson, is a genuine trailblazer who battled against the sexist conventions of the times, and went all out to build the most muscular physique possible (see gallery below).
Her incredible success as a bodybuilder not only helped redefine modern notions of femininity but helped pave the way for generations of women to finally start feeling comfortable about going to gyms and working out.
Not all would achieve the staggering muscularity of a Joan Lauth but millions would be stronger and fitter, both physically and mentally, as a result.
And a few - the most dedicated and determined - would go on to become the next generation of female bodybuilders and again help break down the entrenched ideas of 'femininity'.
Joan would be far too modest to think it but this Illinois powerlifter-turned-bodybuilder (who is now a grandma!) helped challenge accpted notions, open doors for today's women and ultimately change history.
Understandably she is appalled that the IFBB, and others, plan to turn back the clock.
Read Joan's letter in full below and please sign our petiton which will be handed to the IFBB on October 30.
Women's bodybuilding must survive ~ by female bodybuilder Joan Lauth
“The plan to kill off female bodybuilding after 30 years is a very backwards move on the part of the IFBB and reminds me of the bad old days of bodybuilding before women were accepted.
When I was lifting in 1980s I went to California and wanted to train where all the bodybuilding greats did.
I was asked to leave the men's section, where the free weights and squat racks were, and told to return to the women's side of the gym... basically to all the crappy equipment.
I was told women weren't allowed to workout with the 'real' equipment, so I told them what I thought and left the gym for good.
I endured a lot of criticism because there was only me and maybe one or two other women with any size back then.
I was bigger and more muscular than Cory [Everson] but I found out, and here's the crux, that I was limited as to sponsorship – I was just too muscular.
It is all about what the people with money consider mainstream and saleable. I've had many clients over the years tell me they don't want to be as big as I was but they absolutely respected me for it!
Cory was the quintessential female body builder of our time, she brought muscle beauty and skilful and entertaining routines to the sport. She was superior in many ways.
Cory came on scene with more muscle, more pizazz, more personality and more beauty than anyone before her. Her routines were dynamite and she got the audiences involved and sold tickets, magazines and merchandise and she was always improving moving forward trying new and different approaches
But women have never gotten paid what the men made, even at the Olympia! Cory [Everson] is not sitting on fat stacks of cash for all her hard work! It is just another form of sexism.
Women simply aren't equal and in bodybuilding you work your butt of to be considered a freak?? It doesn't make sense, but some of the prejudice comes from our social views and standards, even today in 2013.
The implication is that women are just not as good, or competent, or as smart, or whatever as men. It is all very backwards, but unless you have the backing and the financial support women will be tossed aside again.
The conflict that is arising now is strictly about the freedom to continue a sport that has moved away from our mainstream views and gone towards building muscle, which is bodybuilding in its purest form.
Men are the most influential movers in bodybuilding in many ways and are putting their preconceived ideas of feminine beauty into the sport to the point where we really have to ask ourselves... is it a beauty contest or an athletic competition?
I absolutely don't approve of the moves by the IFBB and think women should be treated fairly, if not equally. But, in all honesty, mainstream society finds female bodybuilding at the competitive level a freak show and a sub-cult. They prefer the women to look fit but not big and muscular, let alone veiny!
I admit that like many others I find this a tricky problem and I don't know exactly what to do, but going back to the stone ages is no answer.
I hope the petition and the articles on realfemalebodybuilding.com help the IFBB bosses see the light, but whether or not it changes anything, well we will see!”
<!-- MadAdsMedia.com Iframe Ad Tag For RealFemaleBodyBuilding.com ?