Why Women Own Powerlifting
In the past, female lifters had to work past a heavy social stigma in their pursuit of competition glory. As if the actual obstacles of eating and training for a meet weren't difficult enough, female lifters and athletes would have to deal with a barrage of questions and looks from family members and strangers alike.
"Why do you do that to yourself?"
"You look so..... manly"
"You're going to ruin your ovaries"
I'm sure the list goes on.
Now, I say 'in the past' because the tide has shifted, even though this type of un-solicited commentary will still be passive-aggresively volunteered from Aunt Junie at family barbeques (mom and dad have given up already). But, with the proliferation of Crossfit as a world superpower, the rise of the IG 'fit chick', and the regular attention given to female Olympic athletes, the modern social climate has become a bit more acclimated to the sight of a muscular and utilitarian female physique.
It is a nice thought that women be able to train and compete, breaking records along with paradigms, without being looked at like the star of a show that airs somewhere in between Hoarders and My Strange Addiction.
But in reality:
No body is obligated to love or respect you.
Everyone is entitled to their commentary; negative or ill informed as it may be.
No one, aside from your friends and family, is truly invested in your body image or self esteem.
It is futile to worry about whether or not every stranger arbitrarily supports who you are or what you do.
Strength is really what matters, and strength is about being steadfast in the pursuit of your own personal success story, knowing exactly what it is and owning it at every turn. The important thing, the thing that has weight and value to society, is that young girls have role models in the form of strong women. They deserve their superheroes. And superheroes never apologize for being strong.
I've been critical of the watered down lifting climate that comes with a rapid influx of recreational lifters. Lots of meets, lots of participants, but little real competition, so little real value. But the huge surge in popularity has brought in a bigger talent pool, especially for the divisions which were previously under-represented.
I'm not thrilled about the number of people that half ass a training prep, get a plastic medal, and put 'strength athlete' in their IG header. But where these sports have failed by catering to a generation of tourists, they have succeeded by exposing women (in rather large numbers) to a field that was previously off-limits. While most of the amateur ranks of Powerlifting and Strongman seem to be spiraling in a perpetual state of self-fellatio, the women's divisions are exploding and changing a lot of public perception in the process.
Inclusion just for the sake of it is all well and good, but it's best when it satisfies something essential that has been missing. What excites me is that this inclusion is into a field that requires, builds, and rewards qualities that women were historically not encouraged to have.
Basic Physical Capability
A desire to bathe in the blood of one's enemies.
Women are vile creatures, and I mean that in the best possible way. They are strong in a way that can be merciless and unforgiving, every bit as it can be nurturing and all of society is stronger when that strength is applauded.
Hats off to the new female super-heroes, The CC Holcombs and Stefi Cohens, who inspire and astound with each workout.
Congratulations to the Becca Swansons who made this climate possible by breaking the mold before it was worth a single social media subscriber.
And Godspeed to the lady gym-rat, who trains to be brutally strong and apologizes to no one for it.
In our latest video, Russ and I talk about the new surge of women in Powerlifting. Jump to 4:10 to catch our excitement about female competitiveness, or just watch the whole thing :)