A lot of body-image issues are related to/centered around femininity. Thus, we have tropes such as Big Breasts, Big Deal, A-Cup Angst, Hollywood Homely/Pudgy/Thin, Fat Girl, and so on. But the same way that thinness and breasts are associated with femininity, muscles are associated with masculinity. Thus, this trope, in which a character angsts about having not enough or too much muscle. There are two versions:
- Not Enough Muscle: The Always Male version. A weak or skinny male character angsts about not being muscular. The focus may be on how this affects his success with women, his usefulness in sports/combat, or his attractiveness. If the focus is on his success with women, Weakness Turns Her On may come into play as a solution/counterpoint.
- Too Much Muscle: The Always Female version. A female character, usually an Action Girl worries that her muscles are unattractive to men. This version is similar to No Guy Wants an Amazon. Just like Weakness Turns Her On may come into play in the first version, Hot Amazon or Amazonian Beauty may come into play in this version.
- Mixed with A Cup Angst in an ad manga for Chasteberry E breast enlargement pills: the Pettanko tries out all kinds of hoo-hah gimmicks to make her breasts grow, including drinking milk, using a suction device, and doing dumbbell exercise... The last one of course does nothing to increase her mammary mass but gives her muscled arms, which she regrets.
- Milhouse on one of The Simpsons episode that takes place in the future.
- In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dr. Frank-N-Furter created Rocky because he wanted a man with muscles. Frank insults Brad's lean build, and Brad's fiance Janet replies that she doesn't like a man with too many muscles. Later Janet sings she is a muscle fan after having sex with Rocky.
- Saber in Fate Stay Night thinks she's too muscular. Not that you can tell by looking at her.
- The ad for Charles Atlas where a bully (inadvertantly) kicks sand in the face of Mac and his gal. ◊. Allegedly this actually happened to the real Charles Atlas before he started doing dynamic tension.
- Super Robot Wars Original Generation: Lune Zoldark complains that, regardless of her diet or exercise routine, everything she eats turns to muscle.
- The comedic manga Short Cuts has a story in which a typical "kogal" gets trapped in a sumo wrestler costume and is forced into actual sumo competition. Eventually, she manages to get the zipper unstuck, only to find out all that exercise has made her unfashionably muscular. Not to worry though, a passing man still wants her...for the military!
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