On Facebook, I’m a member of a few different private, women-only fitness groups; they’re great places to find women with similar mindsets and similar fitness interests. Recently, a member of one of the groups posted a blog that was written as an open letter to “the girl who has/wants muscles.”
Uh, hi! Hello. That’s me.
So, I read the blog. A couple times. Thing is…I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was that bothered me about the blog…I wanted to love it start to finish: I love the, “You do you, boo boo!” message that is, I’m assuming, the main message of the blog. I appreciate and enjoyed reading the encouragement for women to explore lifting and to feel the freedom to excel (if that’s what they want to do).
However, I was confused by the judgement thrust on others in the blog. The author of the blog provided thinly veiled criticism of other women’s fitness paths or goals – while also encouraging women to do their own thing…as long as that is lifting:
“Other girls at the gym will look down their noses at you like your muscles are an abnormality. They’ll whisper to their friends as they walk on the treadmill or curl their 10lb weights.”
Ironically, the same day that blog was posted in one of the groups on Facebook, there was another, mildly dramatic post in a different group. A quick synopsis of the sequence of events:
- One member referred to members of the group as “mediocre lifters” – most likely just to indicate the levels of ability a lifter can achieve increase greatly if they have the ability to hire a personal trainer. This is conjecture, though, because the member didn’t totally clarify her meaning.
- An admin in the group (and other members) asked her to clarify what she meant and tried to point out that all the members of the group are awesome for trying to be their best and strongest selves.
- A member of the group, who is also well-known in the lifting world and popular on other social media platforms, said the group must be “full of pussies” and they (the women who asked the original poster to clarify her comment) probably expect everyone to get “participation awards” for picking up a barbell.
Hmmm…Ok. Well. This comment steamed my broccoli for a few reasons:
- A well-known female lifter called the women of the group names and criticized members of the group in a childish and unprofessional manner.
- One woman is calling others names in a group formed and built to support and empower female women.
- I’m of the opinion that women, particularly women in positions of influence, should build other women up and empower them – not tear them down and call them names. (One of these days, I’ll do a blog about Shine Theory, but a link will have to be sufficient for now).
Let’s be totally honest, I used to offer judgement of others at the gym, too; for instance, I referred to the ladies who spent most of their time on the cardio equipment as “cardio bunnies.” I’ve learned, though, as a member of the fitness groups I’ve found on Facebook and on Instagram, that everyone is in their own place. We all have our own goals; we like different fitness endeavors; and we’re on our own paths to whatever fitness destination we have.
- Plenty of people walk on the treadmill – and for a variety of different reasons.
- 10 lbs may be all that person by the dumbbells rack is capable of curling at this time.
- And a lifter is not “mediocre” just because they can’t lift as much as you or because they don’t compete.
One person’s fitness choices don’t make them superior to anyone else. Let’s be strong and supportive and kind to our fellow ladies just tryna work on their fitness, too.