Pyewacket Books


Vintage and found photographs and albums

Photographs of Bodybuilder Kay Baxter

Photographs of Bodybuilder Kay Baxter


13 photographs of bodybuilder Kay Baxter. 8x10in. 11 b&w. 2 colour. Photographer unknown, though it seems likely some of these sets appeared in Women's Physique World c.1982. Photos are of Baxter in the gym, lifting weights and posing (4), and posing in a private residence in dresses and heels, in one picture holding an award from "Women's Physique Publication" which had voted her "Best Woman Bodybuilder in the World, 1982" and "Most Votes Received 1979-1982."

Kay Baxter (1945-1988) was a pioneering female bodybuilder. Baxter had been a gymnast at Kent State University in the 1960s before turning her career toward bodybuilding and, after her retirement, acting. She trained such 80s notables as David Lee Roth and Cybil Shepherd. Baxter died in a car crash in 1988.

During the years she was competing (1979-1986), Baxter won few titles as her extremely well-developed physique was not in favor with judges of the time, who deemed her appearance "unfeminine." If you can believe it, during the years Baxter competed professionally, the men judging her were...not really fit to be judging. Surprisingly (or not), this was probably best summed up by Arnold Schwarzenegger, master of ceremonies at the 1979 World's Best Woman Bodybuilder competition in Warminster, PA, in which Baxter competed:

"Judges sometimes look for the sexiest women, but they should forget that. What counts is: Who is the best female bodybuilder? What do her muscles look like? They confuse muscles with masculinity, but women are the same as men. They have fewer male hormones, so their muscles won't grow as large, but they work the same. They grow larger from being trained and fed, just as men's do. I'm not proposing that all women be bodybuilders, but those who are should be judged exactly as men are judged, on the symmetry and proportion of their physiques, on their muscularity and definition, and on their posing routines.

"People say it's O.K. to have women onstage, but that they shouldn't pose like men. But the point is for them to demonstrate their physical development, to show it off in a dynamic way, and if someone says, 'It turns me off to see a woman hit a muscular shot.' well, who cares?"

Right on.

In the decades since Baxter competed, high muscle mass and strongly defined muscles have become the norm in women's bodybuilding. Her catchphrase was "Get built without guilt."

Add To Cart