Last night I was watching American Ninja Warrior which I am just slightly obsessed with. I’ve talked about the show in this blog before and it keeps getting more popular. Last night 4 women were featured who all had made it to what is basically the semi-finals.
Just a couple years ago ANY woman making it that far was basically unheard of. But now women are getting into lots of activities that were previously almost exclusive to men and require a lot of strength and stamina.
I was tweeting during the show and as one woman made her run I tweeted that “Strong is the new sexy!’ One of my twitter followers who, incidentally, has been incredibly supportive to me and my struggles on this blog wrote “New?”
Of course there have always been strong women and many people who find that attractive. But I don’t think that this has been the norm.
I WISH that I was immune to society’s opinions about what women “should” look like. I have no problem whatsoever at not behaving like a traditional lady, but I freely acknowledge that one of the reasons I am so self-critical is because I don’t - and never have - looked like what an attractive woman “should” look like.
In the 80's, the fashion was the soft looking big boobed women like Pamela Anderson and Cindy Crawford. No doubt they were beautiful, but they were not muscular or overly fit. And I was never going to look like them. Then the 90's came and for a while the “heroin sheik” was in. Extremely skinny, pale, with almost no muscle tone. Well shit, I looked even LESS like that.
In the last few years, I think that FIT has started to take it’s place. Suddenly women having muscles is a good thing in the mainstream. Being strong and fit has replaced striving for thin.
Besides just being in shape, the very definition of “fit” has been challenged. I mean Serena Williams is a phenomenal athlete, but with her big boobs and butt, she isn’t what we have traditionally thought of as a superior athlete. And take Michelle Carter who just won an Olympic Gold medal for Shot Put.
She also doesn’t look like your stereotype of an Olympian. I’m guessing neither of them go into Old Navy and buy a size 2. Guess what? They are both muscular, beautiful and, at least from what I have read, confident.
Just last week I was ready about how women getting huge boob implants is “out”. Women are still getting boob jobs, but unlike 20 years ago when everyone wanted to be a DD, women are instead opting for the more subdued full B or small C. According to a plastic surgeon who was interviewed, for many women this is at least in part because they still want to work out hard and huge boobies get in the way.
In my opinion this is great news for women. Because being fit is being healthy. And if we change our definition of what attractive looks like and open it up to women of all shapes and sizes - well, maybe young girls out there won’t grow up to be head cases like me.
I continue to admire women who lead the way on body confidence and defining beauty outside the lines - women like Jennifer Lawrence, Meghan Trainor and Kate Winslet.
Who are some of your body confidence heroes?