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[[quoteright:236:[[Webcomic/ManlyGuysDoingManlyThings http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jaredcommander_9027.png]]]]

->''"I think huge muscles\\
Are fine on ''men'', but on ''me''\\
They're kinda freaky."''
-->-- Titanium Maiden from ''Webcomic/TheHeroesOfCrash'' expressing the feminine version of this trope [[http://www.theheroesofcrash.com/2010Haiku11-27.htm in haiku form]]

A lot of body-image issues are [[AlwaysFemale related to/centered around femininity]]. Thus, we have tropes such as ACupAngst, HollywoodHomely/[[HollywoodPudgy Pudgy]]/[[HollywoodThin Thin]], FatGirl, 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 AlwaysMale version. A weak or skinny male character angsts about not being muscular. The focus may be on how this affects his [[WomenPreferStrongMen success with women]], his usefulness in sports/combat, or his attractiveness. If the focus is on his success with women, WeaknessTurnsHerOn may come into play as a solution/counterpoint. Unlike breast size, [[ACupAngst which is mostly unchangeable]] without surgery, it is possible to build muscle, so whether this trope is [[JustifiedTrope justified]] or not depends on there being a health reason for the male being incapable of doing so. Alternatively it could be a case of them lamenting how high the price for them to gain muscle would be (if, for example, they wouldn't have time for it without giving up parts of their lives very precious to them, or fundamentally changing who they are).
* '''Too Much Muscle''': The AlwaysFemale version. A female character, usually an ActionGirl worries that her muscles are [[BrawnHilda unattractive to men]]. This version is similar to NoGuyWantsAnAmazon. Just like WeaknessTurnsHerOn may come into play in the first version, AmazonianBeauty or AmazonChaser may come into play in this version.


* The ad for Charles Atlas where a bully (inadvertently) 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. A side note: according to several sources, Atlas built his physique with conventional weightlifting, and then devised dynamic tension because he figured it would be easier to sell to young boys with plenty of Muscle Angst but without the resources to buy barbell sets or go to a gym regularly. The failure of dynamic tension to actually work wasn't a sales problem in the days before internet forums.
* Mixed with ACupAngst in an ad manga for Chasteberry E breast enlargement pills: the small-breasted person 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.

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/{{Claymore}}'' has Undine, who always looks like an amazon warrior ready to rip your arms off if you so much as glance at her wrong. [[spoiler: She is actually just as lithe as the rest of the Claymores, but she lost a friend long ago, and channels her Yoki into her muscles to keep up a strong appearance for the other Claymores.]]
* The comedic manga ''Manga/ShortCuts'' 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!
* [[CuteBruiser Biske]] of ''Manga/HunterXHunter'' explains that the reason that she stays in her SleepModeSize is that her regular form is "too bulky".
* Casca from ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' complains that the [[PimpedOutDress fancy, frilly gown]] she dressed up in for a ball looks weird because she's too muscular. Now Casca is toned, but the fact that [[SheCleansUpNicely every male character thought she looked irresistible]] proves her wrong.
* Variation in ''Manga/PokemonAdventures''. Ruby claims that he doesn't train his Pokemon for battles in fear that they will gain ugly muscles. [[spoiler:Looks to be a case of MusclesAreMeaningless, as it turns out his Pokemon are in fact very powerful and well-trained.]]
* One guy in ''Manga/FrankenFran'' keeps getting picked on by bullies, so he goes to Fran for help. He ends up bulging with muscle... and still gets beaten up.
* Gender inverted in ''Manga/MonthlyGirlsNozakiKun''. Nozaki's angst is about [[{{Hunk}} having too much]]--as a ShoujoGenre {{mangaka}}, that means he can't use his own body as a model as his readers prefer {{bishonen}}.
* Shin from ''Manga/{{Eyeshield21}}'' doubles his training every time he thinks he under performed due to being too weak. It's not remotely true since he is a LightningBruiser BruceLeeClone and his performance wasn't the issue (the other team brought the play where they know he would have trouble winning) but he still thinks it's not enough and his lack of training is the problem.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ([[GenderFlip Female]]) [[LightNovel/InfiniteStratos Ichika Orimura]] in ''The Mirrorverse'' has a little bit of this, since her [[TrainingFromHell intense physical regime]] caused her body to grew rather muscular. Understandable, since every other Cadet Rep [[{{Fanservice}} looks like a supermodel]] (or [[CuteBruiser unbelievably petite]]). Either way, [[UnluckyChildhoodFriend Dan]] doesn't give a damn, while [[ScrewYourself her male counterpart]] flat out said it's a sign of her effort and should be appreciated.
* ''Fanfic/PokemonResetBloodlines'' features examples of both versions:
** In the Whitney Interlude sidestory, the title character spots a [[MoralGuardians Johto Values Alliance]] ad. The billboard shows a muscular and lonely woman contrasted with a more conventionally attractive woman surrounded by male admirers.
** In Chapter 36 of the main story, Ash and co. are enjoying a beach day at the Seafoam Islands, and meet with a boy named Midori [[HeroWorshipper who is an admirer of Ash]] after seeing his battles on TV. Midori sees that Ash has put up quite a bit of muscle and feels a bit self-conscious about his own physique. Ash however assures him that if his own female companions don't mind about it, he shouldn't worry too much.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Hiccup of ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon'' is physically the weakest of all the characters, to his chagrin. It doesn't help that his father is practically a tank, and Hiccup believes that his lack of muscle is the reason behind his father's disappointment in him; in reality, as Gobber stated, it's more about "what's inside [Hiccup] that [Stoick] can't stand", which also doesn't help. Hiccup's strength lies in his smarts, but Vikings don't understand that as well as brute force. The [[WesternAnimation/DragonsRidersOfBerk show]] explores this further in the episode were Stoick has Hiccup drawn very muscular on a shield painting, in which Stoick doesn't catch on how this hurts his son's feelings and only worsens his already ingrained insecurities. And while Hiccup does remain leaner than most as he grows up, he ''does'' get stronger (i.e., being able punch the brawnier Snotlout so hard he lost a couple of teeth and fainted) and many other Vikings (including the Twins and Snotlout) still point out his scrawniness in an unflattering manner (which can be used either for [[PlayedForLaughs laughs]] or [[PlayedForDrama drama]]).

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow'', Dr. Frank-N-Furter created Rocky because he wanted a man with muscles. Frank insults Brad's lean build, and Brad's fiancée Janet replies that she doesn't like a man with "[[ArtisticLicenseBiology too many muscles]]" ([[AudienceParticipation Just one big one!]]). [[SubvertedTrope She somehow quickly changes her mind by the end of the song, just about a minute later, singing, "I'm a muscle fan."]]
* Steve Rogers, whose health problems and weak build keep him from joining the army and getting girls, before he becomes Film/{{Captain America|TheFirstAvenger}}.
* The film adaption of [[ComicBook/GenerationX Generation X]] [[SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute replaces Husk]] with a girl whose power is a form of SuperStrength where MusclesAreMeaningful that angsts over what's described as grotesquely overdeveloped musculature.

* Keladry, the protagonist of ''Literature/ProtectorOfTheSmall'', training to be a knight, is big and tall and develops muscle, as you might expect. There's a scene where someone takes her by the StandardFemaleGrabArea and she flexes her bicep so that it swells and forces his hand open. [[TheBully Joren of Stone Mountain]] tries to make her insecure about that, claiming she'd be pretty if she stopped working out, and she flatly ignores him. At times - worrying about love interests - she thinks they probably prefer small girls, but being a knight means a lot more to her than maybe "attracting" a man, and no one but Joren evidences disgust.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The 2005 Creator/{{TLC}} documentary ''The Man Whose Arms Exploded'' looks at an extreme degree of male MuscleAngst leading to [[PsychoSerum steroid abuse]] and (in the case of bodybuilder Gregg Valentino) ''injecting oil'' into the biceps. Can be seen [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZb-2srkbvM here]] (warning: some NauseaFuel and a fair bit of bad language).
* DragQueen and ''Series/RupaulsDragRace'' finalist Courtney Act, aka Shane Janek, talks about feeling the worst of both worlds with this trope. As Shane, he feels too skinny compared to the {{Gym Bunn|y}}ies of [[{{Gayborhood}} West Hollywood]], but he worries that bulking up would hurt his image as Courtney, who's known for looking like a [[http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/courtney-act-attends-the-rupauls-drag-race-season-6-party-news-photo/470551315 natural modelesque woman]].
* Atalanta in ''Series/HerculesTheLegendaryJourneys'', portrayed by Cory Everson, got a little bit of this because of one guy's NoGuyWantsAnAmazon reaction, so she covers her muscles up. This doesn't last long, much to AmazonChaser Salmoneus' delight.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* Peter Fox of ''ComicStrip/{{Foxtrot}}'' sometimes stresses about not being able to gain any muscle due to his superhumanly high metabolism. One Sunday strip had him and his friend Steve cramming a huge work out session into one day to prepare for going to the pool the next day. Unfortunately, the next day they're barely able to move due to being so sore.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Mentioned in ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' fluff as a source of self-image issues for half-orcs. Half-orc boys raised among orcs feel like ninety pound weaklings and half-orc girls raised among humans feel like {{Brawn Hilda}}s.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsOriginalGeneration'': [[VideoGame/SuperRobotWars3 Lune Zoldark]] complains that, regardless of her diet or exercise routine, everything she eats turns to muscle.
* The Sports Club Manager Arcana from ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' has a case of this. She's tanned and toned, but other girls tell her that NoGuyWantsAnAmazon. A likely case of TruthInTelevision as the game takes place in Japan, and girls (currently) avoid tans and aim for that "fragile" kind of thin.
* Inverted by Guan Yinping in ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors 8''; she thinks that she doesn't have ''enough'' muscles, despite the fact that [[GlacierWaif she doesn't need them]] [[SuperStrength to hoist a weapon bigger than she is with one hand]]. Also, she's female when this type of angst is mostly AlwaysMale.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''VisualNovel/DanganRonpa'':
** [[spoiler:Fujisaki]] has serious issues with his lack of muscle because of other boys bullying him for his weak body. Not soon after the Killing School Life has started, he desires to improve himself and build some muscle to overcome his weakness. [[spoiler:It's that determination that gets him killed by Oowada, whose inferiority complex, SurvivorGuilt and stress from the Killing School Life causes the him to snap and kill Fujisaki in a moment of uncontrolled rage.]]
** Oogami is aware of her BrawnHilda look and since she has a feminine side deep within her, she is sometimes insecure about her appearance clashing with her gender. In Free Time Events, hearing from Naegi that he views her as a girl really relieves her. (The only other character who does that is Oogami's best friend Asahina.)
** In ''IF'', [[spoiler:Enoshima]] teases her twin sister [[spoiler:Ikusaba]] to be too muscular, although that is rather an InformedDeformity. But since it's [[spoiler:Enoshima]] we are talking about, she may just trolling her.
* Saber in ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' thinks she's too muscular. Not that you can tell by looking at her. Some promotional artwork of her leads to InformedDeformity.

* Titanium Maiden from ''Webcomic/TheHeroesOfCrash'' is very self-conscious about her hulking, amazonian body. It doesn't help that her teammate Cannon refers to her as "Chickzilla". See also the page quote.
* Jared of ''Webcomic/ManlyGuysDoingManlyThings'' starts trying to work out after being the one scrawny guy in a temp office full of TestosteronePoisoning. Commander Badass, the head of said office, warns him that chasing a body image as a solution to your life problems is a quick path down the road of disappointment and eating disorders. Jared, being [[CloudCuckooLander Jared]], completely misses the point.
** They also parody the Charles Atlas ad mentioned above. [[spoiler: Jared eventually gives up and sics his Gyarados, Mr. Fish, on the bully.]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Bomango}}'': Gogo is an AmazonianBeauty (whose a bit {{Zig Zagged| Trope}} on the beauty part). She develops Muscle Angst in the 9-part short story, "Ego Generosity" because Andy told her she's not attractive as she thinks and she looks unfeminine. [[BrutalHonesty He only told her this]] because [[SmallNameBigEgo she thought it was a good idea to let Andy gawk at her as a birthday gift]].
* The main character in ''Webcomic/BrunoTheBandit'' is shown to suffer from this, despite being a muscular adventurer, due to comparing himself to the unrealistic proportions of fashion model adventurers, who's musculature reaches ridiculous levels (think Creator/RobLiefeld on his worst art day).
* Anvil in ''Webcomic/GrrlPower'' is an AmazonianBeauty. When she voices some anxiety about a publicity photo shoot, Sydney sarcastically asks if she's afraid of being "too physically perfect" to which Anvil points out that a significant percentage of people find her height and build grotesque or repulsive rather than desirable or attractive. Sydney, on her part, is prone to expressing concern about how she (being short, skinny, and flat-chested) compares to all her tall, muscular, and stacked compatriots.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* A ''Music/{{Vocaloid}}'' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSQZ4_LsPUs fan video]] by Kagome-P had Gakupo depressed over his lack of muscle mass, and his story of emulating figures such as [[Manga/FullmetalAlchemist Alex Armstrong]], [[Anime/UltimateMuscle Mantaro Muscle]] and an assortment of anonymous, heavily muscled figures in order to woo the girl of his dreams. [[spoiler: This backfires at the end of the video, when he discovers that she's now into skinny guys and his struggle to get a toned body was for nothing.]]
* This is ''Creator/TeamFourStar'''s interpretation of Tien in ''WebVideo/DragonBallZAbridged'', possibly coupled with CantCatchUp.
-->'''Chiaotzu''': But Tien, the doctor said if your shoulders get any bigger-\\
'''Tien''': [''darkly''] ''That's'' why we don't see him anymore.
* In the ''Website/{{Neopets}}'' ''Tale of Woe'' plot, Bruno is a skinny Gelert who wants to become muscular to impress his love interest, Lily. He is offered a potion by a mysterious stranger that supposedly will make his dream come true. He takes it, only to be mutated into a grotesque monster.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': The episode where Marge goes into bodybuilding had her obsessed with gaining muscle, despite being very muscular even for a man, due to her run-in with a mugger at the beginning of the episode. The muscle gain becomes a way for her to get rid of her feeling of helplessness, until it becomes a goal in itself.
* The first ever CutAwayGag in ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' followed a comment about how a poor self-body-image has created lots of problems, cut away to... a skinny and weak UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler in a gym, called Das Gym, struggling with a small set of barbells and glaring angrily at a [[MatzoFever musclebound Jewish man surrounded by beautiful women]].
* A long running desire of Ren from ''WesternAnimation/RenAndStimpy'' was to get pectoral implants. In one episode he finally does...using the fat from Stimpy's butt.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarePants'' had Spongebob ordering inflatable muscular arms after realizing how skinny he is. Too bad for him that they don't actually increase his strength.
* A very early episode of ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' features [[FatBastard Cartman]] winning an essay contest and getting to be on TV. It's PlayedForLaughs when he sees a commercial advertising a weight gain supplement, and worries that he's too thin when the commercial asks the viewer if they're tired of being a 90-pound weakling (with Cartman estimating that he weighs about 90 pounds - in a third-grader's frame). He gets a supply of the supplement, and bulks up to Jabba the Hutt-like levels. He thinks he looks awesome, but anyone else who sees him just says "Goddamn, that's a big fat ass!"
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButthead'' has the duo trying to gain a protein shake in hopes that it'll make them more attractive to chicks. After failing to order the actual thing (since they don't have any money) the two go over to Stuart's house and make their own drink using random food from his kitchen. The drink is thoroughly disgusting, but doesn't actually make any difference. The two try exercising for awhile (by which we mean badly copying the protein shakes spokesmans crappy exersize program, then jogging about 50 feet), but quit because it's too hard. When they return home, they catch a news story that the spokesman they were trying to imitate has just died of a heart attack (not in the least bit surprising considering the mans psychotically energetic behavior).
* Happens to WesternAnimation/DaffyDuck in the WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes short ''Muscle Tussle'', when he takes his girlfriend to the beach and she immediately falls for a musclebound hunk.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}}'', under the effects of TruthSerum, Mr. Cat [[BigEgoHiddenDepths reveals that he wishes he had larger muscles]].
* In the ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyBravo'' episode, "Jumbo Johnny", Johnny is lamenting over the fact that he's not as buff as he wants to be. He ends up getting conned into buying some bogus muscle ripper called "Uber Mass". It only makes him fat [[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever (and a giant)]] instead, mostly due to the fact that he chugged down what was supposed to last for six weeks in one night in an attempt to speed up the process. Thing is, Johnny was already pretty muscular to start with.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Female [[UsefulNotes/{{Bodybuilding}} bodybuilder]] Aleesha Young was teased for her large biceps as a child and spent years as a teen starving herself to get a more normal physique. [[http://www.ftppv.com/ftvideo/showthread.php?3388-Aleesha-Young Then she outgrew it...]]
* Creator/RondaRousey has gone on record saying she's not a fan of the way her body looks when she's in fighting shape (and thus at her most muscular), and feels unfeminine like that.