Scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed I found a sponsored ad from a gym chain stating that the sole purpose of ‘working out’ was to ‘transform your body’ and an article stating that men now find women who train with weights ‘desirable.’
This really annoyed me. Granted, I’d just come back from working my day job and wasn’t in the most forgiving of moods but the media’s perception of women and what they want from exercise really needs to change.
I actually thought that society has gotten past the whole ‘women want to be desirable to men so that they can find a husband and bear his children and please him in all ways’ mentality. Who gives a flying fuck if men find women who lift attractive and there are many more reasons to exercise and lift weights than transforming your body into a ‘new, sexier you.’ To be constantly bombarded with this message is damaging to all women and potentially quite dangerous to young women who are just starting to develop an understanding of relationship dynamics and the role of self esteem and respect for oneself.
Lifting heavy things builds confidence, mental fortitude and physical health and it promotes a value system that is based on performance rather than vanity. Compression of morbidity has to be the single most important aspect of lifting weights – essentially increasing your quality of life. Picking up your grandkids when you’re sixty, not falling over and breaking a hip when you’re seventy and wiping your own arse when you’re eighty. And for the younger generation, who doesn’t want to feel better, prevent a number of dangerous medical conditions and show off when moving house or arm wrestling in the pub?
So fuck the media’s propagation of damaging values and fuck the gyms that buy into that mentality. I am a woman and I lift because I love lifting, for my own personal gratification and my own personal health. Conventionally attractive or not, my body is capable of great things and my mind holds a focus it never had before. The curve of my arse is secondary to these simple facts.