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Being afraid of Bulk – It’s all grey


Then why are so many freaking women so afraid of lifting weights?

Because we aren’t logical when it comes to how we look?

Possibly. I know Ryan would probably say that most of the time my emotions more than my brain dictate how I feel I look.

But so then what keeps convincing us that we will get bulky, if that belief isn’t at all logical?

What makes women shy away from lifting heavy even when they KNOW logically that they don’t have the hormones/eat enough calories/lift enough weight to become big and bulky?

I honestly believe it may be our definition of femininity. It is this standard that irrationally makes us fear anything that might take us away from this traditional belief.

I mean really think about it….What words do you associate with feminine? Or even masculinity for that matter.

Feminine – gentle, sensitive, thin, empathetic, caring, compassionate

Masculine – strong, competitive, virility

I know these are generic, but let’s face it….They are to some great extent what most people truly believe.

We like things in black and white – female or male.

We fear the “grey areas.”

And to be a woman who lifts weights…well that area is still grey.

It’s still emotionally  a struggle because it goes against things we’ve been indoctrinated with since we were very young.

I mean shoot, you say to a woman, “Wow your arms are jacked.” Or “Wow your arms are toned.” And I guarantee she will  go home and stare in the mirror and wonder if she is bulky. She may even be so offended by those comments that she cries or turns to friends to tell her she isn’t bulky. (Trust me…I’ve had friends do this).

Even I’ve had moments of being illogical. I’m sure every woman has.

It is hard operating in a “grey area.”

But we can’t give in to that ILLOGICAL fear that we will become bulky.

We can’t give in to all of those freaking people who seem to keep spewing the “Women who lift heavy look like men” phrase.

Because the simple truth is we don’t.

And we never will.

Because even though we may lift like men, we don’t look like them.

(Of course there is still something wrong with the fact that lifting is defined as masculine, but that is a topic for a different day.)

Being one of the guys

So I got this great comment from Steph the other day:

hi, i love this blog and find such great feelings of accomplishment from lifting heavy and seeing myself grow stronger, and enjoy reading your insight.

In the next few weeks can you post something about the BENEFITS of being a woman? I feel like in the last few posts you have (understandably) been ranting about the struggle to be taken seriously as a strong and knowledgeable woman. but I think it has taken on a slant of “trying to be one of the boys” and trying to prove yourself as not just some girl. while i understand your frustration at the Ikea Girl and the frustration of seeing some women taking on the role of helpless weakling, I feel like in some areas you are thinking as yourself as having to catch up to your male counterparts- as if maleness were the norm, and being a girl is “other”
i am very interested on your thoughts on this, as i have had similar struggles as a bike mechanic- customers looking over my head to have “one of the guys” look at their bike, or asking one of my co-workers the exact same question to double check my answer… this left me feeling inferior and caused me to be frustrated with my femaleness, constantly falling short of my attempt to be a guy. It took some work to see that I had so many strengths that my co-workers did not that I think customers appreciated – such as taking the time to explain the problems with their bike, etc. I am still struggling with this- especially as i have become more interested in body building. I get so mad at myself that my boyfriend- (who does not work out) can still lift heavier things and beats me everyday on out bike ride to work

would love to hear what you think!!

And her comment got me to thinking because my intention was never to sound like I wanted to be “one of the guys.”

The intention of my last couple of posts is to show that I’m proud to be a female and that a female can be STRONG and still be FEMININE. Strength IS feminine.

I’m frustrated because people still define things like strength, competitiveness and command as MASCULINE qualities.

Which they aren’t.

I’m a woman of strength, power, competitiveness. I’m not afraid to command a room. I’m not timid. But I consider myself to be feminine. I’m not frustrated by my femaleness.

I’m frustrated by others’ view of femaleness.

But the only way to change that is to continue to be strong and spread the word.

To embrace all of the qualities that society deems to be “masculine” as feminine qualities. To be a powerlifting, dress wearing, bad at putting on makeup female. To help other women find strength in the weight room and empowerment through working out.

To embrace who I am and help others do the same.

I try to see the situations I’ve encountered over the last week as opportunities for change – not as blows to myself as a woman. I share the stories to make others aware and to hopefully lead to some change!

So Steph, be proud of your strength. Be proud of your knowledge. They define YOUR femaleness! 🙂

P.S. I also get mad when guys who workout less and are “less fit” than me can lift more than me. I also get frustrated when girls who are taller can naturally lift more than me. AKA I just hate in general when anyone can lift more than me!

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