That's Not Attractive, Sweetie
by Jessica Fithen
*Actual Conversation on Instagram:*
Random Man: “You need low weights and a lot of reps.”
Powerlifter: “I lift heavy. Heavy weight, low reps.”
Random Man: “Trust me less is more hun. If you want your shit tight it’s the way to go.”
Powerlifter: “Bro – I powerlift.”
Random Man: “Why would you powerlift as a woman when you want to be tight and tone.”
In our diet-obsessed culture that encourages women to be smaller, be quieter, and be “less” overall, many men have begrudgingly admitted that it is now acceptable for women to trespass into their holy spaces filled with barbells and free weights – but only if the intention is to gain a big butt, be “skinny but not have abs,” or improve their general “fuckability” for the average male who may happen to stumble across their social media account.
A well-known health and fitness guru relayed this message to a woman (along with pictures of his penis, of course, when she rejected his advances): “No man will ever care or remember how much weight you lift; men are only watching you because you’re hot.”
Another woman received this message from a stranger on her video of an arm-day workout: “Why are you training biceps? Chicks should only be worried about butts.”
The message is clear – lifting weights has now been marginalized into a hobby solely dedicated to improving a woman’s physique for the male gaze. It is your DUTY, dear women, to be primarily concerned with how the Random Man views your body.
If you don’t want your shit tight and tone, what are you even doing here?
Ignoring the massive laundry list of reasons resistance training is incredible for a woman’s health (improving bone density, injury prevention, managing chronic conditions, improving stress levels, to name a few), reducing resistance training down to an increase in perceived fuckability by the average Random Man stinks of sexism and blatant misogyny. Imagine being a woman in the gym who is interrupted by a strange male and directed to do some “ass movements” instead because that’s the only body part a woman should be concerned with “toning.” Men don’t care about arms, men care about asses!
Sometimes the fitness industry gets it sort of right. This meme by Testosterone Nation encourages women to squat and deadlift – yay! – but only because it will make them “insanely attractive.”
“Feel free to print this out and hang it in your gym. It would be tragic if some unknowing lady accidentally became insanely attractive.”
Here’s something for the Random Men invading women’s social media accounts to chew on. Perhaps strong women don’t give a fuck whether or not a Random Man visiting their Instagram page wants to screw them. They are too busy being badasses to care. Has it seriously never occurred to Random Man that this woman doesn’t want to sleep with them either, or may not find THEIR body attractive? Incredibly these women are not traipsing around social media finding pictures of men with bodies they don’t find personally pleasing and blessing these men with their unsolicited feedback.
In the comments section of the an article I wrote called, “Stop Saying I Look Like A Man Because I Lift Weights,” (click here) a man let me know that I did in fact, look like a man, but thankfully said “I’d still hit it.” (I just can’t tell you how amazing this made me feel, a Random Man still wants to have sex with me, whew!)
Women should lift for whatever reason they choose. Want to become insanely strong and compete? Lift. Want to gain self confidence, a new group of friends, set some new personal goals, and challenge yourself? Lift. Want to improve your health? Lift. And yes, if you WANT to change your appearance using the iron – you can do that too. Lift.
Jessica Fithen (@filthy_fithen) is a competitor in the sport of Strongman and creator of You Look Like A Man.