“Foremost Female Physical Culturist, Writer, Authority on Feminine Figure Contouring, Cover Girl.”
So read the business card of one Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton, a pioneer of female bodybuilding and weight lifting in the 1940s and 1950s. She also briefly ran a gym on Sunset Boulevard named “the Salon of Figure Development”. With credentials like those, you’re Funny Names Blog- bound from the start.
Abbye had acquired the nickname “Pudgy” as a child, and as nicknames tend to do, it stuck. It wasn’t a particularly apt name, considering at 5’2” she only weighed about 115 pounds, but it does sound funny and personable so we at Funny Names Central are certainly delighted she kept it.
Pudgy found fame after her husband Les bought her a pair of dumbbells to help her shed some of the weight she had gained working as a telephone operator. Not long after, she and Les found themselves frequent visitors to Santa Monica’s Muscle Beach. They soon attracted huge crowds who came to watch them perform acrobatics and displays of strength.
Pudgy was a breath of fresh air in an age when women weren’t exactly synonymous with weight lifting. She was featured on the covers of dozens of magazines in her patented two-piece swimsuit, and wrote an advice column in Strength & Health magazine for years.
She helped organize the very first sanctioned women’s weight lifting contest way back in 1947 in Los Angeles. In 1948 she acquired the title of “Miss Physical Culture Venus”, a rare honor in an age where women’s “physique contests” barely existed.
We remember her fondly not just for her great accomplishments and amazing job titles, but also the unusual spelling of her first name and delightful nickname.
Those of you expecting girls, go ahead and add Pudgy to your list of potential names. It’s only a fitting tribute to a great woman who literally smashed through gender barriers.