Women speaking out against abuse is making many people uncomfortable. And it's time we start asking why. “When they throw around terms like ‘cancel culture’ to silence me instead of reckoning with the reasons I might find certain actions or jokes dehumanizing, I’d led to one conclusion: they’d prefer I was powerless against my own oppression.”–Sarah Hagi, TIME, November 2019
This is not the time to laugh and keep scrolling when you see these comments, this is the time to say enough. Stand up for yourself and for others, have a backbone and don’t accept this behaviour. Join the YYLAM community and the battle against online bulling, sexism and misogyny. If you’re one of the ones lurking behind your screen, filled with poisonous words, maybe remember what I’m sure your mother taught you, which was if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it. Also, maybe make your own fucking sandwich.
A few months ago, a follower of our Instagram account sent the following message about a situation that had happened to her at a local vitamin store:
“Legit had the guy at my local GNC that I frequented look up my number though my membership and text me to show his interest.”
This comment was posted to our stories, and almost instantly the submissions of similar situations flooded our inbox for the next week. We posted over 400 stories of professional harassment to our account, all of which can still be viewed by looking at our “story highlights” on our page.
Women are actively discouraged from participating in strength and power sports in order to maintain a hierarchy in which men are considered physically stronger which allows for the continued justification of society to benefit men over women. Sexist microaggressions might be attempted to be framed as “well-meaning” or “chivalrous." However, all sexist microaggressions are meant to stop or deter women from continuing to participate in the activity or behavior. In the case of women’s athletics, sexist microaggressions are used to stop women from participating, performing, or competing in sports overall, but especially “masculine” sports.
In most sports even outside the strength world, the message continues to be clear. Women exist to turn men on sexually, first, as our primary means of measuring self-worth, even during an athletic competition. Hey that’s cool that you have a 500lb squat, but what do you look like in a bikini? Oh sweetie, men don’t care about your world record dumbbell lift, they just want to you look sexy in a dress. Nice deadlift, but you really need to get a boob job! And above all else, remember it’s not “sexy” to compete as a heavyweight athlete as a woman.
Telling us to always love our bodies is just another way of teaching women to require perfection in themselves. The only thing that could be loved all the time is a perfect thing. Everything else has flaws. There isn’t anything on the planet that any of us unconditionally loves all the time, and we should be allowed to include our own damn bodies on that list.
“Be the bigger person is bullshit advice. My bigness is not determined by my capacity to quietly absorb bullying, degradation, or abuse.” – author unknown
Recently, a friend of mine shared one of YLLAM’s Facebook posts. One of the responses from a man was, “Have you thought about not caring?”