If you ask who runs the world, you know Beyonce’s answer: Girls. But keeping the earth spinning is a surmountable task for women and it’s hard to articulate how it gets done in any other way besides this: women are strong.
As women mature, have kids and continue to have careers and interests outside of their partners and families, the questions plagues them, “How do you do it all?”
They just do it, OK?
But that kind of strength – the running the world kind – is an internal get-stuff-done-don’t-take-sh*t-from-anyone kind of strength. We don’t have to look at it. We just see the effects of it.
Strong women who can pick heavy stuff up seem to be a topic Internet trolls love.
“She has too many muscles.”
“Yuck, I hate her thighs”
“I want a flat stomach, not a six-pack.”
“Are guys attracted to that?”
You can see how this would get confusing. Ladies should run the world, they just shouldn’t pick it up.
One strong woman doesn’t care what you think of her body – that’s Ronda Rousey. When asked about her body that some call masculine, she told FOX Sports, “I think it’s femininely bad-ass as f*** because there’s not a single muscle on my body that isn’t for a purpose.”
Strong women who do things, lift things and crush opponents (in 34 seconds) have bodies that are formed to fit that function. Female athletes look like athletes, but it’s hard for the American society to accept as “beautiful” or “feminine.”
It’s a position that a lot of female athletes find themselves in, what Cultural Sports Psychology calls the choice between feminine identity and a body built for performance. It says, “a female athlete may find herself positioned in a discourse that assumes women’s bodies in a sport are less feminine if they are muscular.” It goes on to say that there’s an alternative: “a female athlete may draw upon a discourse of muscularity and performance in which muscle and size are viewed as a resource for performance, strength and empowerment.”
To wade through that academic view, it’s what drives Rousey to not be what she calls a “do-nothing b****.”
Feminism can be a controversial topic (for some reason), but if you break it down, it’s pretty simple. Feminism is the view that women should be afforded to same opportunities as men politically, socially and economically. Women’s bodies and what those bodies can do are often at the center of this (editor’s note: totally dumb) controversy.
And at the heart of all of this is the development of strength: strength of mind, body and character. If running for political office makes you stronger, I hear there’s a glass ceiling that’s been cracked for you. If competing in CrossFit makes you feel strong, kip your heart out. If using the word b*tc# makes you feel empowered, great. Feeling strong is all that matters as long as your strength is used for good, not evil.
Mind, body and character all have to be strong to be truly strong. And some who lack character can distort what strength and beauty are. Those are the people who troll the internet to find others to tear down. To put it in terms like Rousey, they are the do-nothing b****es.
Let’s be clear, you can be that above phrase (that kind of makes me uncomfortable to say) and be male or female. Equal opportunity.
Because there is nothing on aSweatLife that doesn’t have a positive outcome, I’ll ask you to hang in with me here for that. What I want to ask of you is to look at photos of other people and ask yourself this question before posting a comment: Is my comment going to demonstrate all aspects of strength – mind, body and character? If the answer is “no.” Then do. Not. Post.
Saying negative things about someone else’s body – no matter how famous she is – isn’t going to make your body any more beautiful or strong.
It took about an hour and a half of Mean Girls for Cady Heron to realize something similar in her assessment that (11 years late spoiler-alert) “Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.”
You know what makes you beautiful and strong? Setting a goal, getting after that goal and achieving it. Your goal could be to clobber other humans in a controlled MMA situation like Rousey or to simply make it through a HIIT class without quitting.
Your goals are similar to your version of strength and beauty – personal, specific and your truth. And everyone is entitled to have a unique take on that. But you don’t need to make people feel badly about themselves to make your truth truer.
Now go do something.