“And along with that assumption about physical weakness comes a host of other value judgments: women are physically weak, but also emotional and deferential and - most appalling of all, in my mind - dependent. The concept of being feminine has brought with it the dangerous notion that women should be delicate and ethereal (and they should DEFINITELY not have any “bulky muscles”).
Not to put too fine a point on it, but fuck that shit. I’m not some Victorian waif waiting around for a husband to provide for me (and, it would seem, move my furniture around). None of my female friends are such wilting flowers.
So this is where the fitness element of this post comes into play:
I’ve decided that for women, lifting heavy is a feminist act.
Lifting heavy, when you’re female and practically everyone tells you that doing so will make you look “bulky” and unfeminine, is a great big fuck you to the patriarchy. It’s a statement, not only about taking for ourselves what was once exclusively for men, but also about using, enjoying, and feeling pride in our bodies in a way that’s not about the male gaze. It’s about being physically capable of the things that are important to us.
By going to the gym and lifting heavy things, I can defy the common idea that I should be weak, deferential, and dependent. I can take ownership of my body and feel proud of it in a way that is separate from its objective “attractiveness” to the opposite sex. If I can be - and AM - physically strong, that means that I can also be rational and assertive and INDEPENDENT. I can reject the idea that I should be delicate and “feminine” and weak. I can move my own goddamn bookshelves, and when I do invite a man into my life, I can value him for his emotional and intellectual qualities, rather than for his ability to lift shit for me.”
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