For many years now I have felt the need to justify my muscles and training method to people. Comments about my arms, abs or legs being ‘larger than most girls’ always left me shocked. That people could just blatantly comment on your body like that.
“How did we as a society ever decide it was ok to comment on a woman’s body? Why would we ever think that she wanted that commentary or opinion?”
However, we are slowly seeing a turn around in the way people perceive muscles on women. Although there is still a long way to go, terms like ‘strong is the new skinny’, weight based training systems like CrossFit, and an overall acceptance for the dedication and hard work muscly girls put in to achieve that ‘look’ is beginning to be recognized.
WHAT I SEE IS NOT WHAT YOU SEE
There are obvious issues like no matter what you look like no one should be able to comment on your body the way people do. Thin, large, tall, short, curvy, slender, muscly or not. In a time where disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are at a high, and 90% of women take issue with their body, our culture needs to learn that beauty is subjective – that is beauty is in the eye of the beholder so you will never get a clear consensus on what is beautiful. Since this is the case you would think people would think twice before they open their mouth and make judgements.
What I see as beautiful is muscles. That’s why my body is the way it is – because I choose this look, a look I happen to love! So we are not gonna agree when you tell me I should stop weightlifting to look more feminine… To me muscle are feminine. I believe women are powerful and strong and I don’t want to dumb my body down to something less than it can be athletically because society says I should look a certain way.
I believe the current ideals of beauty that the fashion industry has imposed on society should be changed to ideals you want your daughters and sons to aspire to. Healthy, clean, strong bodies, which do what life demands of us, should be celebrated more than simply someone who eats crap and is naturally skinny. There are models who are naturally skinny that’s fine but to have pressure on the average person to look this way is just absolute crap.
“I think the goal for any woman is to be happy and healthy in her body. Regardless of what society has decided is beautiful. If lifting weights makes you feel good, do it!
I’m 5’4, 66kg but 18% body fat. I literally have 10kg of fat in my whole body, so for me to look like a 5’8 56kg model is impossible. Even if I got down to 10% body fat I would not look like the models. I think this almost anger at the fashion industry come from growing up being constantly pushed and pressured to be something I couldn’t achieve. I also feel women should not be pushed into a box in how they should look, act or feel. The thing that angers me most is why do you get to decide how I live my life and what my body ‘ideally’ should look like. I am very capable of deciding for myself and I never asked your opinion.
I am passionate about women in weightlifting and women who do strength training. Being able to transition in weight training was one of the best things I ever did for my fitness, health, body and mind. Weightlifting is amazing for women despite the stigma being women who lift are for example manly. Today only 1 in 6 women who train incorporates weights and although I have seen a change in the fitness industry with more women coming to me as a trainer and wanting to incorporate weights into their training and then seeing the benefits of weight training, I would hope this number can grow!
To finish let me say:
“The idea that women who lift weights are masculine needs to be redefined asap. What we see as beautiful needs to be reshaped because if we see health and athleticism as ugly, we have a big problem on our hands” - Elle Belle
Need more advice on your body image? I want you to love your body and enjoy your time here rather than worrying about what you look like!