Just read an interesting commentary about the evolution of female bodybuilding and perceptions of what is an “appropriate” look for a female physique. The author made an interesting point – he, yes HE, said…
“Are women the weaker sex because we made them that way?…if women who were evidently designed by nature to be strong—at least, stronger than we’ve allowed them to be—are kept physically weak and encouraged to believe that nature and evolution intended them to be weak, how does this affect their self-image? Their feelings of confidence and self-esteem? Their overall state of health and fitness? Their sexuality? The degree to which their bodies deteriorate with age? Their ability to function independently in daily living? Their quality of life? “
I love the show “Legend of the Seeker”. I love that the majority of heroes and villians – the bad asses that will do hand-to-hand battle with six or more opponents at the same time – and beat them all – are women. That’s the image I want my students to see. Strong, confident, capable women. One of my real life heroes is a firefighter who could carry anyone out of a burning building. I wish for my girls to be bad asses -no matter what their size, or how pretty their face is, or how much sex appeal they project. I wish for my boys to be as strong and confident and capable.
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Imagine for a minute if in my world, a role reversal occurred…
A woman asks a man “What does your wife think about your muscles?”
A gym full of men doing bicep curls with 3 pound dumbbells or only using the machines with no more than 20 pounds selected because they just want to “tone” and not get “bulky”.
“Motivational” videos on YouTube of guys with a ginormous implant in that special place that women are obsessed with – and that gives the guy more confidence because it’s larger – working out and making sexual facial expressions as they lift or push or pull something.
In the middle of a bodybuilding competition, a male “divo” competition is scheduled. The male athletes pose seductively on stage, wink and smile – in Speedos. The rules for this competition explicitly prohibit flexing and there should be no muscular definition. They will be judged on their sex appeal and male attitude. There are also rules about whether the men’s posing suits are made with solid or print fabric, and they are encouraged to wear things that sparkle. The shoes worn in this competition can be purchased at many places, but some of these places also sell outfits for the guys who dance for “Thunder From Down Under”. And no one has a problem with that. It’s their bodies and they have the right to pose in their Speedos if that’s what makes them happy. Even if they are 14 years old. ( I kid you not. That’s happening.)
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I know. It’s absurd. But reverse the roles back and this is all real in my world as a woman who lifts. And it’s still absurd. What’s bad for the gander is also bad for the goose.