Recently, Simone Biles was body-shamed by Internet trolls.
If you find her name familiar, it’s probably because she’s about the biggest gymnast in the world at the moment. If you followed this year’s Olympics, you’ll know that she walked away with 4 gold medals and 1 bronze. With people describing her things like physics-defying, you bet she’s an incredible athlete.
But despite her achievements, this guy brought her down for how she looks – how her body looks, specifically. Because the most important thing a woman should be is attractive, right? Who cares about the kind of discipline she put herself and her body through to get to where she is today? Who cares about the mastery she has over her body? Who cares what feats her body can do? Being physically attractive is so much more important.
It’s not news that people – both men and women – find overly-muscular physiques unattractive on women. Men like fit girls but god forbid her arms or back be too sculpted. Women want to be fit but hold back in their workouts, out of fear that if they squat too much or cycle too much, their thighs will grow big. They stick to some forms of exercise and avoid others like the plague because that’ll “ruin” their physique.
I, personally, think a person’s body tells you a lot about them. A muscular body tells you someone was disciplined enough to hit the gym and eat right regularly, and FYI, that in itself is not easy to do. It also tells you someone has been hitting the squat racks, the benches, stacking up weights, grunting, sweating, and pushing themselves to their physical limits. Someone has challenged and proven to herself again and again that she can do it. Someone did not give up.
Strong women, whether the professional athlete or the highly motivated gym rat feel strong, powerful and good about themselves when they see what they are capable of, in their bodies. That is, until other people come along with their nasty comments or subtler implications that all that doesn’t matter, because look what you’ve done – you’re not attractive anymore.
No one is born into a muscular body. There is no genetic lottery to win that makes you muscular. A strong, muscular body is entirely earned, and no one should have to feel like that body they’ve shed sweat, blood and tears to earn over months, or even years, is anything less than amazing.
I know we all have this certain idea of what beauty looks like, and that image may not consist of a woman with a six pack or big thighs. But I think we all can afford to stop and look again, and this time round, recognize that there is incredible beauty in strength.