Today’s workout was another active recovery session– 30 minutes on the elliptical at a light effort. I’ve been thinking that the heart rate monitor on the elliptical was broken, so I brought in my fancy HRM watch– and nope, it’s not broken, my heart rate is just staying that low. Whatevs.
Now, a serious post. I keep writing this post over and over, but hesitating to actually put it up as a "reaction post" because I don’t want to dismiss the feelings of the folks who write this stuff, but it drives me nuts. So I gave it some space, but here it is.
I am tired of hearing from thin ladies who feel like they are challenging beauty ideals when they start lifting and gaining muscle.
Inevitably they talk about how people warn them against "getting big". Don’t be too big, it’s not feminine! Muscle adds bulk you know! And they post pictures of their well-developed backs and arms, flexing their guns, and complain about finding pants to fit their growing quads.
However, as a fat woman, no one ever warned me against "getting big" when I started lifting. It was assumed that I’d get smaller, actually. I lift plenty heavy (see yesterday’s post for my current bragging numbers) yet I’ve never lost my "feminine physique", My guns hardly show much when I flex. The hard ridge of my quads above my knees and the profile of my hamstrings are less noticeable when my thighs are already well-padded. My strength doesn’t "show"; indeed, most people who look at me might think I’ve never set foot in a gym.
Can we talk about the modern feminine ideal for a second? Let’s not pretend that there aren’t a billion fitspo pictures out there that look just like those thin ladies flexing. Googling "Top female weightlifters" returned a bunch of listicles like "The 12 Hottest Women of the 2015 CrossFit Games" and "Hottest Female Weightlifters in the World"– and the same thing happens for "top female athletes", too. And yet the strongest women in the country, the Olympic lifters in the highest weight categories, can’t pay their rent and aren’t offered sponsorships– because women are valuable because of their attractiveness and not their ability.
Anyway, thin ladies, please keep lifting if you enjoy it. Be proud of the muscles and power you’ve earned– and I encourage you to brag about them while being aware that you still fit well within the feminine ideal. Some strong women aren’t so privileged.