Alberta professor flexes her muscles for feminism Earlier this month, Lianne McTavish trotted before a row of male judges sporting a spray-on tan and bedazzled bikini, blonde hair extensions and fake nails. Then, under sweltering lights and standing on teetering heels, she twisted and posed to showcase her bulging muscles, her 25 inch waist, and her meticulously crafted derriere.
This is the same Professor McTavish who teaches art history at the University of Alberta, a woman who was once a “dowdy ass-kicking feminist,” her life’s work committed to lobbying for reproductive rights and teaching students about body image in the Renaissance period.
Lianne McTavish on stage as Feminist Figure Girl, Northern Alberta Bodybuilding Championships, June 4, 2011
But the 43-year-old’s transformation into a ripped body building competitor is not a ‘‘good riddance’’ to her feminist past —if anything, it’s been a segue to a future of turning the public’s view of a feminist on its head. She’s also turned her quest for the perfect “figure girl” body into a research project and a politicized discussion about feminism with her blog FeministFigureGirl.com, a chronicle of her journey from flabby to fit under the banner ‘Look Hot While You Fight the Patriarchy.’ (Photo: David Ford)