Yesterday, my students were questioning me about CrossFit. They wanted to know what I bench, what I clean, if I was better than my husband at it, and what it was like when I participated in the CrossFit Games. I answered their questions, as I love to talk about CrossFit with them, and rarely get the opportunity to do so.
But then one student said something that spurred the writing of this blog. He stated, “I watch those Games on ESPN. Those girls look like men. You don’t. You still look like a girl; that’s probably why you didn’t win this year”.
My response: “I would love to look like that. If it meant I were stronger“.
Women are proud of their accomplishments; as we should be because we (well not so much my generation) worked hard to achieve them. When women like Margaret Fuller, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony argued that women have a greater range of occupations, equal educational opportunities, more of a voice in government, and other equal opportunities to men, people (including other women of their time) thought that they were insane, evil, and actually satanic; so much so, that when Fuller’s boat was shipwrecked off of Fire Island and she, her husband, and infant were killed, people said it was divine providence. God wanted her dead for her evil thoughts. How dare a women attempt to have jobs outside of the home, an education, a voice??!?! It was merely preposterous to most.
Well, here I am 100+ years later, and I’m proud of my accomplishments. I have college degrees, I have two jobs that I love. My husband listens to me when I make suggestions. My voice is heard in my church and if I were politically inclined, I’d have the right to be involved. But, when my muscles get “too big”, I’m called a man. I’m told that I’m gross, revolting to men.
I truly believe that many men in the 19th Century and prior didn’t know why they reserved the right have unfair dominance, it had simply always been that way, but I’d assume the vast majority of them enjoyed it. Having power feels good. It’s easy. No one wants to feel weak. You can disagree with me if you’d like, but I think that subconsciously, when a women is criticized for having a muscular build it is because some don’t like to think of women as stronger or more dominant than they are. To have a frail, dainty women is empowering.
This is why when the above picture was posted of me on CrossFit.com and people commented with statements like “It’s a man!!”, or “Beautiful face. The rest looks like a man. Just take a look at dem pec’s, thighs & legs. She is probably amenorrheic“, I just chuckled to myself….
Just as I worked hard for my degrees, my jobs, and respect within the community that I work, I worked hard for those muscles that got me up that rope.
When I look into the mirror and see my traps, biceps, quads, pecs, delts, glutes (especially glutes!) getting bigger, I think of the countless hours of effort that went into developing these. I think of my effort, my hard work, my dedication, and I’m proud.
You should be too. It’s your trophy for your hard work.
I am glad that CrossFit has been working hard to dispel the idea that women with muscles are unappealing. And it thrills me to think of the generation of young men and women that are being raised in CrossFit gyms that will not be brainwashed by what the media commonly tells them is necessary for beauty.
Cheers, CrossFit…Lift on.