'Don't Get Too Muscular, Ladies!" -- a must read article

Posted in my feed, but for those of you not on my FL, I didn't want you to miss out --

I think this goes on my MUST READ list! Definitely check it out (and thanks to Kelseyhere for the original link): "An Open Letter to Everyone Who Has Told Women 'Don't Get Too Muscular'"

Replies

  • roxylola
    roxylola Posts: 540 Member
    Excellent article - spot on in so many ways.
  • mymodernbabylon
    mymodernbabylon Posts: 1,038 Member
    Thank you. The first time some idiotic guy said that I was lifting too heavy I laughed at him because I read enough articles like this.
  • husseycd
    husseycd Posts: 814 Member
    Very interesting read, thanks! I perused some of the comments and as usual, found them somewhat disappointing (especially Marcy's comments). I'm the most fit I've been in my life with a pretty defined body, including abs, legs, back, and definitely arms (with a lovely shoulder vein now popping out). I also get more compliments on my physique than I ever have, including how "tiny" I am. When I tell women I achieved my results primarily by adding heavy lifting into my exercise regime, they immediately tell me how they can't do that because they'll get bulky. But I'm somehow tiny and currently squat 1.2x body weight for reps? C'mon folks!

    And for all the women out there worried they can't attract a man if they start lifting? I get lots of kudos from big muscular guys who lift. For every man that likes a really thin woman, or a curvy girl, or whatever, there's a man who respects a woman's strength. It's like saying, "I don't want to be an engineer (which I happen to be), or doctor, or lawyer, because I'm afraid it will scare off a potential husband." I think if you repeated that to most women they would roll their eyes.
  • bepeejaye
    bepeejaye Posts: 775 Member
    Thanks! Makes for a great read!!
  • What really made my blood boil about that article is the statistic that 5-8 year-olds are worried about their weight. There is something very, VERY wrong with our society when weight is a concern for girls that young.

    And @husseycd -- Yes to everything you said!
  • SkepticalOwl
    SkepticalOwl Posts: 224 Member
    crabada wrote: »
    What really made my blood boil about that article is the statistic that 5-8 year-olds are worried about their weight. There is something very, VERY wrong with our society when weight is a concern for girls that young.

    And @husseycd -- Yes to everything you said!

    This.

    My 11 year old daughter told me that kids her age at camp are already using "diet pills."
  • canadianlbs
    canadianlbs Posts: 5,199 Member
    when my son played baseball, i got a look at the guy form of it. and i think that's creeping down the age scale as well and may be only four or five years behind the girl thing with weight. it's funny to laugh about skipping leg day and all, but i do kind of understand why that one poster was really put off. i think any amount of time around any communal gym clues you in pretty quickly about the repressed terrors over body image that men deal with too.

    and i'll say this. my kid is pretty slight and never grew very tall, but he had enormous natural ability and love of the game, so it really put him in the crosshairs while he was playing. i actually agree about the total cultural colonization of women's physical identity, but ime that's mostly driven by commercial interests trying to sell stuff to us by making us feel like we're all wrong.

    but i came to discover that during adolescence and puberty, individual real-world people feel free to *blatantly* comment and compare boys by physical attributes, in a way that took the breath out of me. an equivalent would be if you had a collection of parents in the bleachers and they were saying stuff to each other like 'i don't think sally is ever going to be bigger than an a cup, is she?' and indirectly bragging to each other about the size of their own daughters' breasts.
  • I completely agree that it happens with boys and men, and it's equally not OK.

    I've started and stopped writing a feminist rant about four times. I'm not going to bore you all with it. But I do think it's safe to say that girls and women are valued for their physical attributes in a way that boys and men just are not. And that women's health and strength are terribly misunderstood, but still somehow viewed as "common knowledge" and communal property, if that makes sense?

    Bottom line?

    Just *sigh.*
  • canadianlbs
    canadianlbs Posts: 5,199 Member
    yeah, i could write you a rant of my own. it's sociologically interesting just in its own right, aside from the questions of autonomy and intrusion. the most noticeable thing that comes to me off the top of my head isn't the degree of unwanted judgment between the genders (although i think it is worse for women and girls). to me what's most noticeable after raising a boy is that whatever other people might think, they don't take it as a given and automatic prerogative to tell the boys themselves what they think.

    so it's not just that everyone's a critic and everyone wants you to live up to their private ideal. it's that the general threshold of expected respect for women is so much lower that people don't even question the idea of women being a kind of communal property, part of the public domain. the idea of us having identity as beings in our own right is actually still missing to a lot of people. they sincerely think of us as just being figments of their own perception and taste.
  • Yes, exactly.
  • canadianlbs
    canadianlbs Posts: 5,199 Member
    okay, i haven't even read all the way through this yet, but my sister sent me a link to something else on this site, and now i just have to.

    http://the-toast.net/2014/11/13/want-pick-lift-man-overhead-fitness-roundtable/

    i've always wanted to tell my great-big-artsie-male friend that i could deadlift him. i'm unlikely to ever get the chance because Reasons, but i'm still aiming for 220 some day because he'd get such a kick out of it.
  • Thanks for the article! It succinctly explains why it's wrong to make any unsolicited comments on women's bodies let alone the "don't get bulky" comments. A lot of other articles about women strength training miss this point. They say that it's hard to get bulky so we shouldn't worry but, really, why should we worry at all? My attractiveness to nameless faceless others should have no bearing. If I want to get bigger muscles or somehow end up visibly muscular and "they" don't like it, then WTF ever!

    @crabada the stat about 5-8 year-olds shocked and upset me, too. I thought about it more, though, and it's become so engrained to comment on other women's bodies that it makes sense that it affects young children. Thinking about it, I have vague memories of "wanting to be thinner" when I was very young, too. I put them in quotes because these thoughts were fleeting and I didn't fully understand what that meant. I think after hearing on TV* or from my female relatives that they wanted to lose weight even though they always looked thin to me, I just thought it was something I needed to think, too.

    @canadianlbs I remember deadlifting the equivalent to my husband earlier in the SL program (and again two weeks ago) and feeling victorious! I think I would laugh in his or her face if a stranger said something to me other than, "Awesome job!" or the equivalent.

    *I Love Lucy episode where she tries to model and compares herself to the other younger women in casting and they all say their weight is 110 and she fudges hers even though she looks like the other women; Golden Girls when they all go on a diet even though they look the same as they always looked; Gone with the Wind when she's trying to shrink her waist; etc. They're all women that look fit and trim but they felt bad about themselves and stated they wanted to lose weight/measurements.
  • husseycd wrote: »
    Very interesting read, thanks! I perused some of the comments and as usual, found them somewhat disappointing (especially Marcy's comments). I'm the most fit I've been in my life with a pretty defined body, including abs, legs, back, and definitely arms (with a lovely shoulder vein now popping out). I also get more compliments on my physique than I ever have, including how "tiny" I am. When I tell women I achieved my results primarily by adding heavy lifting into my exercise regime, they immediately tell me how they can't do that because they'll get bulky. But I'm somehow tiny and currently squat 1.2x body weight for reps? C'mon folks!

    And for all the women out there worried they can't attract a man if they start lifting? I get lots of kudos from big muscular guys who lift. For every man that likes a really thin woman, or a curvy girl, or whatever, there's a man who respects a woman's strength. It's like saying, "I don't want to be an engineer (which I happen to be), or doctor, or lawyer, because I'm afraid it will scare off a potential husband." I think if you repeated that to most women they would roll their eyes.

    Agreed.. the old, "Men are visual people" comment from her made me puke. I hate when people excuse sexism (or other bad behavior) by saying that men are too simple or stupid to act otherwise.

    Great analogy of women lifting to working in typically male-dominated career fields. It's less of a thing now but it used to be considered wrong for women to be engineers or doctors because of that very reason (as well as others like taking money away from men who have to support families). I work in a male-dominated field within a male-dominated industry and I somehow got married and have yet to grow a beard. So, progress?

  • VeryKatie
    VeryKatie Posts: 5,878 Member
    edited December 2014
    I don't think anyone has ever looked at my gut and raised their eyebrows while I was eating an ice cream cone. I liked the article, but it kind of seems like it blows things out of proportion. And it implies that no one ever comments on men's bodies, which is false. The way things are trending is not that women will get fewer comments, but that comments about men are catching up to the amount that women get. Soon we will all be equally pressured. Yay, society.

    ETA: To be clear - I don't think it's okay to comment on women's bodies. My point is it's not okay to comment on anyone's bodies unless they've asked for input or if you're their doctor and it's medically relevant.
  • VeryKatie wrote: »
    I don't think anyone has ever looked at my gut and raised their eyebrows while I was eating an ice cream cone. I liked the article, but it kind of seems like it blows things out of proportion. And it implies that no one ever comments on men's bodies, which is false. The way things are trending is not that women will get fewer comments, but that comments about men are catching up to the amount that women get. Soon we will all be equally pressured. Yay, society.

    ETA: To be clear - I don't think it's okay to comment on women's bodies. My point is it's not okay to comment on anyone's bodies unless they've asked for input or if you're their doctor and it's medically relevant.

    I haven't witnessed that exact example either but I've gotten, "Oh, you're thin so I thought you just eat salad. Aren't you worried about weight?" I've heard people comment on others' food choices because of their size. Female celebrities are torn down constantly for the smallest imperfections so much more than their male counterparts. I hear subtle disapproving sounds at the sight of an overweight woman quite often. Pregnant women get unsolicited advice from and even felt up by strangers and it's assumed it's all OK. These anecdotes are all part of the women as communal property argument the author makes. Men do not experience this to even a fraction of the level women do.
  • canadianlbs
    canadianlbs Posts: 5,199 Member
    VeryKatie wrote: »
    The way things are trending is not that women will get fewer comments, but that comments about men are catching up to the amount that women get.

    agree.

    on the general topic of 'could it really be getting to girls quite that young' . . . i'm just gonna ask. weren't we talking just a few days ago in the the chat thread about how many of us yearned to have straight/curly hair even when we were little kids? where do you (we) think that that stuff came from? same thing. if you ask me. i can remember it clearly, in my case; it came from hearing and hearing so much stuff about what makes women or girls attractive to other people. hearing their hair colour and eye colour and body type and bone structure given as information about them in stories, as if these details about them were significant.

    so it's not about direct commentary, or it wasn't in my case. you don't need it. all you need is to keep hearing about someone else (who isn't you) is pretty or ugly or anywhere in between because [fill in the blank].

    re: doctors/engineers . . . love love this song. always did. it must have come from around when i was first starting to be asked 'what do you want to be when you grow up?'


  • symba1130
    symba1130 Posts: 248 Member
    husseycd wrote: »

    Great analogy of women lifting to working in typically male-dominated career fields. It's less of a thing now but it used to be considered wrong for women to be engineers or doctors because of that very reason (as well as others like taking money away from men who have to support families). I work in a male-dominated field within a male-dominated industry and I somehow got married and have yet to grow a beard. So, progress?

    I also work in a male driven industry, I have for almost 11 years. I am also married with 2 children and do SL 3x a week! I am sometimes stronger than some of my male co-workers and I have to say I enjoy it. Ha!

    On a super positive note, last night at dinner my 5yo daughter was saying that she was too full for her dinner (but wanted a treat of course!), and my hubby told her to eat her protein so she can be strong! It wasn't about being thin, or small, he is VERY encouraging of our daughters and ME to be strong and capable. It used to drive me nuts when he would only show me how to do things that typically a man would do around the house/car, etc, but one day he explained that he wants me to be able to do these things on my own if he, for some reason, wasn't around to do they for me. Now I appreciate the fact that I carry the 50lb bag of dog food in the house and can lift 4 jugs of milk at once. Its a bonus if he does it for me (who doesn't like the help, right?!?), but knowing I can do it rocks!!!

    End tangent...

    Great Article!!!!! Thanks @crabada
  • arrrrjt
    arrrrjt Posts: 245 Member
    At the supplement store yesterday, my lifting buddy and I were going and asked for a protein supplement that "tastes good, but is not intentionally for bulking as we were trying to lose weight". The poor guy started automatically trying to reassure us that we wouldn't bulk up. Buddy, if we didn't have weight to lose, we'd love to bulk up!! Haha.