Just in case no one told you today:
- Good morning
- You’re beautiful
- I love you
- Nice butt
And I always want to point out here: women, on average, possess more lower-body strength, while men, on average, possess more upper-body strength. There’s a lot of overlap and it isn’t always individually applicable, but that’s the generalization, averaging across the population.
But we SOCIALLY value upper-body strength, and upper-body muscles. So we construct women as weaker, because we refuse to measure them on the body parts where they may be stronger, we devalue those.
Lifting is mostly done with the legs. So women may be as good or better at heavy lifting as men. But we socially construct lifting as having to do with large, muscular arms and chests. You don’t really need powerful arms and chests to lift—you need powerful thighs, otherwise you’re gonna throw your back out. We actually lie about what makes a person strong and capable to favor men.
Push-up and pull-ups are upper-body strength exercises. So they’re socially valued. The military doesn’t tell you to do 20 squats as penance. No one is fucking impressed by all the squats you can do. Squats just sound stupid, hah, squats. We laugh at them because women might be better at them than men, on average. They’re worthless.
This stuff plays into all sorts of other body image problems, too. The body weight that’s regarded as ideal for women, for example, is really only achievable for individuals suffering from mild to moderate muscular atrophy. You literally can’t get there just by shedding fat - you also have to let your muscles waste away. We actually regard it as “normal” for a woman to be suffering from muscular atrophy.
For the last six months I’ve been actively working towards doing pull-ups. I can squat fairly easily with 100lbs (could do more if my knees weren’t so wonky) and do all sorts of similar weights with other leg machines but my arms are weak as hell (see above). I’ve been lifting with all parts of my body but generally focusing on gaining strength in areas where I was particularly weak before, which is mostly in my arms. I can now lift more with my arms than ever before but am still far from being able to pull up my own body weight. And yet, too often, when I try to talk to female friends about this goal I get weird looks and talks about how I shouldn’t “bulk up.” When did we decide to start telling each other it was weird to want to be strong? Why should that be a thing that potentially makes me less attractive? It’s a good thing I just don’t give a shit.
DO YOU EVER WANT TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP BUT AT THE SAME TIME YOU’RE SCARED OF BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP