The chatter is just noise. Focus. Ignore it.

I think all of these women trained to do something different.  It’s a heck of a lot harder to do what the ladies on the left did.

The noise gets to be overwhelming.  “Women should look like ______.  Women shouldn’t look like _______.”  It’s not just opinions and personal preference.   The divisions and rules for women’s bodybuilding competitions are changing because of opinions about what is an acceptable “feminine” form.  Really?  Is there a limit to how fast a woman can run and still be considered feminine?  Probably.  Track and field is not my sport so I don’t know.

Standards change for everyone, but the conversations about female bodybuilders seem to be more emotional than the ones about male bodybuilders.  People will tell you what they think about male bodybuilders and what they feel about female bodybuilders.  Just listen.  Pro and con – people have stronger reactions about the women in the sport.  I’m also one who has strong feelings about the sport.  My husband and I don’t see eye to eye on this.  Because he loves me, he supports me, but I try to avoid the discussion about “appealing” feminine form with him.  I know he’d prefer me to look like the women on the right and I want to look like the women on the left.

My Facebook feed is inundated with images of the “ideal” female form.  They are different.  Some slender and some with lots of muscular development.  The only thing most have in common is that there is usually some guy out there making a comment about how appealing that particular image or body type is to him.

The legit bodybuilding websites can be the worst when it comes to disrespect toward female bodybuilders.  T-Nation, who says they are the site for “the intelligent and relentless pursuit of muscle”,  has a whole section devoted to “Figure Athletes”.  I was naive and thought that it was a section of their website for female bodybuilders.  It’s not.  It’s just pictures of almost naked women.  Tacky.  There are plenty of resources for muscular women, but even there, you may find pics that are provocative.  To me, there is a big difference between a woman posing in a posing suit and a provocative picture.

I’m 50 now.  I’ve seen a few decades.  We are still judged by how appealing we are.  No matter what we have achieved, or how hard we train, it’s about what we look like0.

I’ve had real life conversations with female bodybuilders this week about how the “female bodybuilding” category may be phased out because the public doesn’t like the look of developed muscle on a woman.  Don’t assume I’m talking about steroids because I’m not.  Any human who trains with weights for a long time – like decades – will develop muscle and have a certain shape.  If they lose body fat and aren’t all smooth and squishy, they will look hard, athletic, and muscular.  Our societal norm is that this ‘shape’ is masculine.  It’s not anything except what an athlete looks like when she’s been lifting.  Some women who are smaller than me, but who have been doing this a lot longer than me, have that shape – with no steroids.

None of this matters to how I train or what I’m training for.  It’s just annoying when I’m not lifting.  When I’m training, I’m in my happy place.  No noise.  No chatter.  Just me vs the iron.  No, it’s not “vs”.  The iron is on my side.  We work together.  Me, the iron, and gravity.  Teamwork.

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6 Comments

Filed under Opinions, Venting, Ranting

6 responses to “The chatter is just noise. Focus. Ignore it.

  1. HA HA.did you know that that T-Nation “figure Athletes” page used to be an entire website dedicated to super slender (slightly muscular) women?? yea…you rarely saw a female bber on there..at all

    Like

  2. Just. Don’t. Get. Me. Started.

    !!!!

    There is sooooooo much delineation about what women are and are not supposed to be, and when you start to lift weights, you run into it head-on.

    Yes, we’re supposed to be strong. But not too strong. Yes, we’re supposed to have flat stomachs. But not too flat. Yes, we’re supposed to be muscular. But not too muscular.

    In the end, I think the subtext is really saying “you can be anything you want, as long as you don’t rise up to actually *challenge* men. Men are superior, women are inferior, and if you challenge this, we’ll squash you flat.”

    Can I be a loving wife and mother, and love gardening, and chick flicks, and going to coffee with friends – and be a bodybuilder? Absolutely. Am I any less feminine because I want to see how strong and wonderfully powerful I can be? Absolutely not.

    But something in our collective psyche is threatened the moment a woman steps up to the plate. The moment we decide we’re okay with being strong, and grunting, and sweating, and – God forbid! – even swearing a bit! Because when we do that, we widen our possibilities of what we can do. We push the envelope.

    Yes, I’m a feminist, and yes I’m feminine. I love makeup and I love wearing feminine clothes and I love being female. I am not a moustache-wearing lesbian – but if I was, maybe society should learn to be okay with that too.

    People come in all shapes and forms. Maybe what this is all about is acceptance. Learning that creating barriers to people is NOT okay. And that it is okay for women to break moulds, smash traditions, define ourselves by what WE choose to be, and not what someone else has told us is okay.

    Rant over. Except that: women are strong. And the most beautiful women I’ve known in my life have been the strongest, not just physically, but emotionally. Maybe its time we learned to be more beautiful by finding our strength, in ways that we choose ourselves 😉

    Rant really OVER.

    Like

  3. That was a good rant. Enjoyed it very much. And I agree.

    Like

  4. guest

    A friend on fb who has started lifting shared your page and I’ve been reading through your blog and THIS post got me all riled up! I’m actually writing a book right now about feminism and Christianity, and how the church has historically been one of the worst offenders against women claiming God wants it that way etc. Sickening! As a strong Christian and a strong feminist (because the Bible is very feminist) I love what you’re saying here! Men don’t want women to break free from the oppression they’ve kept them under by telling them what they have to look like and do to please them! Women don’t exist to please men! Good grief far faaaarrrr from it! And as I point out in my book men are commanded to serve their wives not the other way around. If you really want to bring scripture into it.
    I’m so proud of you for being strong and confident and refusing to let men you know or don’t know tell you what to do with your body! You don’t exist to please any man! Your life is far more important than that!! Don’t waste a single brain cell on these idiotic fools. You keep doing you! And btw you don’t have to please any woman either who may have opinions about your body. It’s YOUR body not anyone else’s. And it looks amazing, not that my opinion matters. 😉 And I wanted to point out it doesn’t just look amazing for your age, it looks amazing period! For any age! I’m several decades younger than you and I’m in awe! Keep being you! It’s impressive.

    Liked by 1 person

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