Saturday, April 14, 2012

Enough with "Strong is the New Skinny" and other Hyperboles

A Controversy:

I posted this on facebook yesterday and it stirred up quite a discussion with a yoga instructor friend. 
I am so tired of "strong is the new skinny," "real women have curves," and other hyperbolic cliches that claim to empower while simultaneously denigrating other women. All women are real women; all bodies are real bodies. Celebrate all women: that is true feminism.

Many of my friends agreed, but this particular person felt that messages like the one above were empowering.  I am all about empowering women, but does motivation have to rely on critiquing others?  When I see people criticizing a skinny woman and say "Eat a Sandwich" or "I look better naked than her," I think that is just a destructive as criticizing a woman for being large.   I will not upload that person's comments but here was my final response:

I have no problem with inspiration photos or quotes as long as the message is not predicated on critiquing other body types. Polarizing women who are skinny or small breasted or very muscular or large is unnecessary and hurtful. I know so many powerful and beautiful women and none of them have the same body; in this way, beauty is multiplicity of forms rather than a singularity.

All the women in the picture above are beautiful and they are all women.  Thoughts?
On the training front...
Saturday is my favorite training day of the week.  Open mat is usually pretty small and I can concentrate on myself, which I do with gusto.  Today's workout was awesome

Warm-up 5 reps @ 95#
-Regular Deadlift
-Wide Stance Deadlift
-Jefferson Squat

Then 5 reps each for 120#, 140#, 160#
Easing back in after dealing with the sciatic injury

Lower-Body Assistance work:
-Hip Thrusts 160#
-Hamstring Raises 15#
-Good Morning 95#

Upper-Body Assistance work:
2 x 7/4/7 from Nick Tumminello
- Croc Rows 40# / 53# / 40#
- KB Incline Bench Press 25# / 30# / 25# (weight for each KB, not the total for the pair)
- Bottom-Up KB Press 15# / 20# / 15#

5 x 10
- Box Jump
- Ball Slam
- Half Jacks
- Swings 53#

Final Burnout:
Max reps regular bench press 45# bar - 35
Max reps narrow grip bench press 45# bar - 30


Sable Weisman said...

I absolutely, totally agree. I am so sick of the whole message that women should be empowered based on their appearance, too. Why can't we discuss any qualities other than 'hotness' or 'skinniness' or 'attractiveness' when we're talking about women? It just frustrates me.

slideyfoot said...

I agree that appearance should never be a basis for judgement of a person's worth, whether that's as an athlete, a potential employee or just as a person.

However, I do think that the manner in which the media promotes the body type of the top four women is negative. That is a body type most easily achieved by teenage boys (except the bust, obviously), not adult women.

Though I'd also agree that it's just as bad to try and set up some kind of competition between women about who has the 'right' body type or 'most attractive' look. There was a good piece on that by Ashley Judd recently.

Ashley said...

Hear, hear!

The true empowerment comes when you stop giving a crap about how other people look, and even how you look yourself. I actually think the former may need to happen first -- then you realize you need not compare yourself to others. This book had a huge impact on me. It helped change the way I view myself, and others in turn. I think everyone should read it, women and men.

Then I found Stephanie Vincent's site, who gave a name to what I feel I experienced, "radical hateloss" (ie. self-hate). She wrote about the SINS movement here.

Though, I don't think men are immune from sort of similar judgment entirely. They are often made fun of for the way they look. For example, on Colbert Report, an appearance is sometimes made by 'Ham Rove" (Karl Rove). I gotta admit, I find it hilarious. But for some reason, it feels different for me when women are made fun of for their appearance (???). I think it may be because of this.

Train.Fight.Win. said...

Thanks for your excellent points and for links to corresponding articles. I think the Ashley Judd response was one of the most intelligent and impassioned arguments I have read in a while. I also love the Stephanie Vincent article in the link provided by Ashley.

Anonymous said...

Strong is the new skinny. This picture is invalid due to the fact you comparing skinny women to the women with curves. Try posting fitness model and ask this question again.

Jiu Jiu said...

This is what I wrote on my Facebook:

PSA - everyone has body types they like, or body types they idealize. Please just remember not to body bash. I see so many pro-curves pics nowadays that bash skinny women - with phrases like "only dogs like bones" or "real women have curves" which are just as hurtful as pics that bash fat women. Don't hurt people on your path to self love, and don't put down one body type to proclaim your love of another. Hate is hurtful, even when disguised as tolerance.

Lisa Creech Bledsoe said...

Point well made! All body types welcome and affirmed. I should have known this myself because in boxing, there is every size and weight of woman, and they can ALL fight. Thanks for the reminder. (Btw, good to discover your site; I've added you to my blogroll!)