It may be 2016, but that doesn’t mean society has a fully progressive mentality. For many irrational and traditionally hegemonic reasons, society, in a lot of ways, still has a ‘50s mindset, in which women can only excel at certain occupations and activities. This condescendence toward women is degrading, but there’s another outcome of this sexism that’s even more significant. It’s completely laughable.
There is no better reason to “LOL,” “ROFLMAO,” or “OMG I CAN’T EVEN,” then when people say women can’t do the same activities as men, or even excel at those activities. The women who know this best are the ones who are in the gym, day in and day out, busting their butts and guts to challenge their bodies to a new level.
Here’s the truth: women are stronger than men. And women who lift – that’s right, women, not girls – understand this concept better than anyone. From a glance, lifting appears as a sport that’s all about the biggest muscles and hardest routines, but anyone who truly lifts knows this is not what the activity is about. Both sexes know that lifting is about dedication, strength and confidence, but it’s only the women who know another side of this battle that men couldn’t even come close to understanding.
Men are dedicated to the physical gain while women are dedicated to the mental game. For women who lift, yes, one of the main goals is to work on their physical appearance, but there is so much more underlying that. It’s about deciding that, from the moment you first set foot on the deadlifting platform, the only woman you will be weaker than is the woman you’ll be tomorrow, and the only woman you’ll be stronger than is the woman you were yesterday. It’s choosing to defy all society’s traditional standards of women and setting foot in a “man’s world,” where it’s more than probable that some kind of sexism will take place, as people like to think that females don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to being fit. And, most importantly, it’s realizing that the reason for lifting with the guys isn’t to be one of the guys or to beat the other girls; it’s to prove that no matter how heavy the burden or standard, it can be lifted by the woman who is her own hero.
The best part of a woman being her own hero, rather than being the damsel in distress, is the strength that comes along with it. Of course, beautiful biceps, tree trunk thighs and a hard core are all proof of the physical strength and endurance accomplished at the gym. But, the true strength stems from a woman’s ability to defy all the rules and fight back against all the rejections that say she isn’t strong enough from the start. The truth is, men created strength as a word, but women created strength as a lifestyle. The moment a woman decides to push herself, there is no going back—there are no what-if’s, there are no comparisons to those who surround her and there are certainly no moments of defeat. Lifting comes with a bonus package of blood, sweat and tears, but every woman knows how to handle those measly side effects with her head held high, flawless form and a look of confidence on her face.
The true result of having such determination and strength is the confidence. There is no better feeling than walking into a gym, seeing the 15-to-1 ratio of men-to-women and knowing that there is nothing more admirable than a woman who sees so much potential in herself, that she’s literally stepping into a new world to not wander, but master. Her ability to not only join the ones who are traditionally thought to be the strong, rugged caretakers but, in many cases, to surpass their strength and perseverance is a feeling that proves that women truly do run the world.
There will likely always be some sort of female degradation, but it is up to women to defy those standards. Long gone are the days where women fulfilled fairytale obligations and were the fragile damsels in distress. Women are determination, they are strength and they are confident in a world that tells them to be otherwise. In this world, it’s one small rep for woman, and one giant set for womankind.