According to my calendar the year is 2017, but some people still think it's "unfeminine" and unattractive when women lift weights. Fitness blogger Kelsey Wells has been on the receiving end of these sexist criticisms and she recently took to Instagram to call out body-shamers who offer their unsolicited feedback about women's muscles.
"Comments along the lines of 'you're looking manly' or 'careful you don't want to be bulky' or 'weightlifting isn't feminine' never cease to amaze me.🤦🏻♀🙄 I choose not to respond to negativity, but I do have something to say about this and I want to say it loud and clear," Wells wrote. "NOT in response to those who have left negative messages and comments, but instead to ALL MY FELLOW WOMEN who have ever received a similar comment or been told they need to do/be something different to be beautiful or feminine. THE ONLY THING A WOMAN NEEDS TO DO TO BE BEAUTIFUL AND FEMININE IS TO BE HERSELF."
"We empower ourselves when we are living our truth and doing what we are PASSIONATE about with our WHOLE HEARTS. I was always a girly girl growing up and I love getting dressed up on occasion," she continued. "What has surprised me though is finding I feel most beautiful when I'm gross and sweaty in the gym when I'm pushing myself in my training, and even more so as I'm wrestling on the floor with my son or any time I'm looking into that little face and teaching him about his world... There is 100% beauty and femininity in lifting weights. Just as there is in dancing."
A number of female athletes have recently spoken out about being shamed for their strong, muscular bodies. Serena Williams recently shared that she's been criticized for being "too strong." A man on Twitter asserted that she's only successful because she's "built like a man." (Don't worry, JK Rowling quickly shut him down.) In a recent essay published in Today, gymnast Aly Raisman wrote that she stopped wearing tank tops in fifth grade because boys at school called her muscular arms "disgusting."
Wells' post went on to point out that the broad definition of "beauty" extends far beyond what we choose to do at the gym.
"There is beauty in MOTHERHOOD. There is beauty in marriage. There is beauty in being a homemaker. There is beauty in being single. There is beauty in pursuing a career. There is beauty in education, in learning both inside and outside of school. There is beauty in public speaking. There is beauty in private, sincere conversation," Wells wrote. "There is beauty in writing and cooking and cleaning and singing and playing sports and playing instruments and anything and everything else you might enjoy, because simply there is SO MUCH BEAUTY in YOU, you just need to choose to see it. And it has nothing to do with what you look like. So free yourself of the opinions of others and the beauty standards of society. Pay attention to the moments in life you FEEL beautiful."