Increasingly, perhaps more than our society has yet seen, women are learning and being encouraged to embrace their health, strength and power and not be concerned with merely looking like stick figures.
This has led to an ever-growing generation of freakishly awesome women in athletics.
However, let these eight important points be known so that we may hope to enjoy a cultural movement with as few stereotypes and misunderstandings as possible:
1. Strong is beautiful. Healthy is beautiful. Quit classifying our shapes and sizes.
“Her legs are too big.”
“She has no butt.”
“Her shoulders are bulky.”
And, sweet baby Jesus, if I hear about the thigh gap one more time, I’ll throw myself off a mountain.
This is one of the biggest reasons girls have such horrible body image issues. We feel the need to categorize every kind of figure, but beauty is subjective. The word is arbitrary, and beauty means whatever we say it means.
The next time you want to rip on a girl for being too muscular and looking like a dude — or similarly, the athlete who just happens to be naturally thin, remember that they eat healthy, work hard and worship their bodies.
THAT is beautiful.
2. We sweat our balls off but that doesn’t mean we don’t like lipstick and heels.
We can’t be friggin' Charlize Theron all the time.
We’re dealing with boob sweat, camel toes and do you even realize how annoying it is having to shave and be smooth and hairless every single day?
Can’t we be hairy every now and then without someone comparing us to Chewbacca?
And, on the opposite end of the spectrum, quit criticizing the girl who wears makeup to the gym.
There’s a good chance she doesn’t give a flying fart in space what you think and wears mascara simply because she feels better about herself when she does.
I look like Gollum without makeup. You should thank me for putting it on every day.
3. Our weight fluctuates and the size of our quads may double before your very eyes.
Striking the balance between eating enough but not too much is NOT easy.
Some girls gain weight just looking at a piece of pizza. Some girls can finish off a box of Krispy Kremes on their own and not gain a single ounce.
Please also remember that women tend to gain their strength faster in their lower bodies. Don’t make fun of our “big” legs. We could snap you like a twig.
4. Yes, 10 pm is considered a late night. Shut up.
Have you ever tried to lift 180 pounds over your head while running on four hours of sleep?
It’s like trying to pull a truck by a string of dental floss. Please don’t get irritated when we say we don’t want to go out and party.
Please don’t judge when we pass on beer in favor of water. Please try to understand that we’re genuine when we say we want to go to bed early instead of going out.
Tomorrow morning, while everyone’s nursing a hangover, we’ll be running.
5. We’re health conscious, but yes, we can probably finish that entire pizza.
Of course, we watch what kind of food we put in our mouths. Any athlete with half a brainstem knows that success in the sport is impossible without major skillz in the kitchen.
On that note, don’t be surprised when you see us hit up an all-you-can-eat buffet and go back for seconds. Our bodies need a lot of fuel. Iceberg lettuce and a crouton or two won't cut it.
Some of us want heaping piles of tasty vegetables, burgers, sandwiches, tons of healthy carbs and fat and occasionally cake, pie and fries.
We work hard. Many of us can eat a lot more without looking like killer whales. We need calories. Feed us.
6. We get angry, frustrated, jealous and insecure. We're human.
We just ran sprint drills against girls of the same age, weight and skill level. Someone had to come in last and someone had to come in first.
As is, we already feel like we’re being compared. Whether we admit it or not, we do not take kindly to not doing well.
And on a similar note…
7. We might cry when we have bad training days. This does not mean we're weak.
More than once, I’ve headed to my car after what I considered to be a massive fail in the gym and ugly cried with tears streaming down my cheeks as I gazed out the window and pondered my purpose in life.
Don’t be a sexist f*ck; we all express ourselves differently.
When men are frustrated, they often yell, swear or throw something against the wall. Sometimes, ladies cry. We are not made of stone.
We have high expectations for ourselves and when we feel we’ve fallen short, we don’t feel good about ourselves.
8. We’re not obsessed. We’re determined.
Poverty. Hunger. Homelessness. Government corruption. Global warming. The world’s diminishing fresh water supply.
Our gym habits are hardly a problem.