54 Comments

Stop Being Full of Shit When You Celebrate Strong.

This is part II of “Strong is my Victory over the Skinny Word” rant.

** And another disclaimer at the bottom of the page***

I inhabit a community that celebrates getting and being strong. It’s a radical departure from inhabiting a world that idolizes eliminating oneself to the body size of Skinny.

Getting Strong

My Community proclaims that our goals are building strength, getting fit and being healthy.  We don’t care about scale weight, we care about building muscle and pushing daily to our personal best!

We don’t crow about the weight we lose.  We ecstatically post the amount of weight we ADD – to our squats, lifts, presses, cleans and jerks.

And some of us  celebrate the growing of bigger body parts as a good thing.

How cool is that?

Lift Big Eat Big - Squats do a Booty Good

Here’s my problem. 

My Community is Completely Full of Shit.

Every time I open my Facebook page or popular pages that celebrate “Strong” or  Google CrossFit Women or go to Pinterest, I am bombarded with a stream of pictures of muscled women scrawled with motivational sayings.  You know the ones.

SkinnyStrong is the New Perfect? WTF. Did I not get that memo?

Why the hell is every single “motivational” picture an image of a woman who is SkinnyStrong – a muscular chick with like 8% bodyfat and a killer six pack?

Why is every message proclaiming that it’s about being STRONG, and assuring me that it’s all about my determination to do better, be my best  yes I can  – pasted on some chick who is clearly a fitness model, a figure competitor, or belongs to that elusive 1% of women who have THAT kind of body?

And why is our supposed new breed of CrossFit women, you know, the ones who reject the focus on the body image thing to redefine the whole Strong is Beautiful thing, posting them?

I Am Not That Kind of Strong. I am RealStrong.

See, I am strong. I have worked hard to get stronger and am still at it.   I am healthy, fit, and I’m hot.  Yes, I just said that.

And guess what? I don’t have abs.  I am not perfectly proportioned or perfectly lean.  I’m not perfect in any way. You can see real parts of me jiggle!

I'm strong. But I'm kind of spazzy, not perfectly proportioned and I still jiggle.

This is My World of RealStrong

Moreover, I know a shit ton of people who embody strong, fierce, successful, and over the top awesome who may not have the muscles I do, (I was a tomboy, I’ve had muscles all my life) but they can kick my ass in seventeen different categories.

Most important, I know people who embody what to me is the true meaning of Strong.  Maybe they are cancer survivors training their hearts out, maybe they lost 200 pounds to be healthy for themselves and their kids.

Or maybe they are people like you and me pushing to our maximum capacity every day, redefining our personal limits, exceeding our goals, outshining our own expectations -

  – and are outrageously sexy just because of that.  Not because of abs and body proportions.  But because of a lifestyle of Strong that is all about attitude, achievement, health and sharing it.

Strong is an Attitude and it is Sexy, Beyatch.

This is the RealStrong Challenge.

realstrong facebook page

We are living at a time when we who love strong are changing the world.  So let’s do that.  Really Change the World.

Step off of the unconscious bandwagon of promoting SkinnyStrong is the New Perfect and THINK.  I just said that.  THINK.

What does Strong really mean to you?  Who is Strong?  And Create it. Yes You.  Create a different kind of Strong with me. I’m calling it RealStrong.  

RealStrong is Passion, Dedication, Relentlessness and Positive Energy. 

RealStrong is seen in the eyes, the smile and shines from the soul.

Not the abs.

It is me. It is you. And Grandma.

 (RealStrong is also totally equal opportunity and happily includes people with killer abs and 8% bodyfat).

The Call to Action

If this speaks to you in that motivational way – even for a second before you leave and go to your nonfacebooky real world – take a minute, go to the RealStrong Page on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and like them. Share this and all those pages with everyone you know and start creating our RealStrong world. 

RealStrong Facebook Page. Like It.

Post pictures of yourself, of real people you know, and say something uncool like – that fat chick over there motivates me because she is hammering that workout!

That chick over there, yeah, thunder thighs over there, just deadlifted 300 lbs.  She happens to have 3 kids.  That is HOT.

Make RealStrong the sexiest, bestest  positive thing ever for people like you and me who shine our strength from our hearts, want to share that, and are saying NO to the SkinnyStrong is the New Perfect bullshit that repeats the body image crap we say we have overcome.

But obviously haven’t.

____________________________________________

**Disclaimer.  I am not saying that SkinnyStrong women have it easy, do not work hard or are not a representation of Strong.  Some of my best friends are SkinnyStrong (for real!) and they motivate and empower me through their dedication.  What I’m saying, if it was unclear in the rant, is that I don’t get why our community is using  only one bodytype – SkinnyStrong – to represent the beauty of strong, in the same way the rest of the world uses Skinny to represent beautiful. We are better than that.

About Eileen Schreiber

CougiePower. Woman in her late 40s dedicated to living life beyond prescribed & inspiring others to laugh. Dedicated CrossFitter. Real Estate Agent. Not to mention Facebooker. Creator of this blog so that you have access to the opinions and wisdom of some awesome women. One day you will stare into space and say "Damn, I wish I had listened to them. They were right".

54 comments on “Stop Being Full of Shit When You Celebrate Strong.

  1. I love you. I love this. I love your voice! Keep at it, sister!

  2. YAY!!!!!!!!!! :)

  3. Ditto on what A Slim Winter said. = )

  4. Great! I am also super tired of the “You go girl! Strong is the new skinny!” skinny strong inspirational messages. Thanks for putting into words what I’ve been thinking.

  5. Do you actually have a Twitter account? I’d follow that.

  6. What about getting enough sleep and rest and not constantly pushing and achieving, is that sexy and strong?

  7. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Never having been skinny, when I first started really piling on the weights at the gym, both men and women would advise me to cut back on the weights and increase my reps. PULLEEAAASE! I believe in a goal of being strong and healthy first. Stamina and power and to H&$# with men and women who think we’re too big or less fit because we have chosen to lift like real women rather than skinny wanna be’s.

  8. THANK YOU!!! I can really relate. Im strong, but I dont “look ripped” and I have some extra softness on top of my awesome muscles! Sometimes As a trainer I feel like I dont look the part. This has been a very motivating read and connection for me. THANKS

    • it’s up to us to really re define our image of strong, and be proud about it. We are doing it and I hope you post on the RealStrong page. It takes a lot of people to create a new identity and we got it going on!

  9. LOVE this!!! I totally wrote about this EXACT same thing! Those women are beautiful
    And strong in their own way, but once again society as deemed one body type as the goal for all women- THAT is what is wrong.

    • the wierd thing is that it’s US.. we newly strong women who crossfit or kettlebell or whatever.. we are the ones creating this, and I think it’s happening because nobody is stopping to think about it. So.. I’m glad you love it. We are THINKERS. It’s good. :)

  10. Thank you for the call to get real with all this! Not everyone has the genetic potential to be skinny strong, but we all can develop our genetic potential and work hard. Setting a small percentage of women up as the embodiment of perfection is unfair to all women.

  11. Amazing. Perfection. You all are kicking ass over here! I smell an Achievement Challenge…

  12. LOVE it! I’m 200 pounds, that’s 50 down from where I was, but I’m still struggling constantly with no being able to lose. I lifted 305 pounds this weekend and yet I still don’t feel good enough because of the spare tire I have around my waist. No more of that! I’m STRONG!

  13. You know what – you’re absolutely right and truth-be-told, I didn’t even notice the skinny strong thing. But you’re right! I guess we get so easily lulled into these “hot” images that we diminish what’s real. I’m one of those real, strong chicks (if I do say so myself) and consider myself to be a hottie too. I don’t have the ripped abs but I can lift 40lb trays of soap, 50lb pails of coconut oil, and more around the house no problem. Gotta celebrate strong – we women have a long heritage of being just that and need to be discerning with the skinnystrong propaganda. Thanks for the rant and the course correction. :)

  14. I think I love you!

    I’m 47 and I read utility meters for a living. That means I walk between 5 and 20 miles a day, stopping to throw myself over block walls or walk into backyards unannounced and do battle with the irate dog while armed with only an umbrella.

    I love how people don’t think of me as “strong” just because you can’t see my abs.

    But it’s not my problem, it’s theirs.

  15. Love it. Let us know when you’re on Twitter pls.

  16. I absolutely LOVE this!!!! I just realized not that long ago that I didn’t have to be skinny to be strong. I am 49 years old, and work out 6 days a week. I am NOT skinny, but am definitely strong, and getting stronger every day. You are never to old to be strong!

  17. Holy cow, I was ranting about nearly the same thing to ManFriend the other day! I’m so sick of these women, and let’s face it, they’re skinny, with “empowering words” written everywhere. Thank you for further putting my frustration into words.

  18. It’s not how much you bench, or your BMI, it’s attitude.

  19. Great rant, I totally agree- but why did you have to use the terms “fat chick” and “thunder thighs” when describing the strong woman who isn’t model thin? That doesn’t help with healthy body image either. I am a curvy, strong woman, and if someone admired what I was doing, but prefaced it with calling me a fat chick or thunder thighs, that negates any nice thing said afterwards.
    That’s my rant.

    • Heather, you are completely right about that. I was thinking of things that people say in a negative way like “fat chick” and “thunder thighs” and putting them in a positive sentence. But you are right. I don’t think I can change the blog, but that can be a followup. thank you for pointing that out.

      • I don’t know … I think saying “fat chick” in this sense is a grea way to reclaim the term as a positive one. Although I prefer to refer to myself as having an hourglass figure with lots of extra sand.

  20. This is absolutely spot on. Thank you.

  21. Eileen! We were neighbor’s back in the day in Sedona! Good to cross paths again and I really like where you are headed with RealStrong! Go Girl!

  22. Excellent post! Completely agree.

  23. As much as I agree with you that it’s so much better to promote fitness as an ideal rather than low #’s on the scale as an ideal, I take exception to your qualifying only non-skinny women as RealStrong. Those of us who happen to be skinny as well as fit, we’re what, fakers? not actually strong? Secretly anorexic?

    You setting “Real” up in opposition to “Skinny” is alienating an insulting to a group of women based on their body– isn’t that exactly what you’re ranting against?

  24. Christina. two of my closest friends are SkinnyStrong and read this before I posted it. Did you read my big purple disclaimer at the bottom? Did you see the part that says that RealStrong is equal opportunity and happily loves skinnystrong people with killer abs?

    The disclaimer says what I will say here again. It is not about body type. Period. So why is everyone who is celebrating STRONG using ONLY ONE type of body image to represent the beauty of strong? Why is every motivational photo one of a chick with 6% bodyfat and abs, instead of various types of strong bodies?

    Bam.

  25. So what you’re saying is you’re fat

  26. Eileen, I just have to thank you for this. We all need to hear this and repeat it over and over, not just to ourselves, but to anyone who wants to try to make us feel “less than” because we don’t look a certain way. Women especially need to stop judging each other on their looks. We are all so much more than that!

    I don’t do CrossFit (yet; it’s something I’ve been longing to try) but I very much admire the CrossFit philosphy and spirit. The gym where I’ve been working out has a similar philosophy, and it’s very empowering. So rawr! And thanks. Keep being awesome!

  27. I am newly STRONG after discovering and falling in love with weight training recently at 41,thanks to a very special gym, The Lab, founded by an Olympic Lifting Coach, but I live 5000 miles away in the Netherlands. I’ve started a mini movement here, and I started my STRONG site a few months ago, but it often feels lonely being the only woman going for STRONG! I did lose 60 pounds in less than 6 months through my training, so I am actually skinny for the first time in my life, but nobody can believe I can press 220 kilos with my STRONG legs or lift what I do & I am damn proud of that! I love your post & your RealStrong movement!!

  28. Love this! Thank you!

  29. I can only speak for myself, but I know MOST men find a woman who can handle business in the gym or box MUCH more attractive than the ones in the cardio classes. Regardless of the body type – a woman who possesses physical strength, also conveys a woman who has mental & spiritual strength – and that is HOT!

  30. thank you thank you thank you! yep…realstrong with jiggles. realstrong regardless of the scale. and yes, I LOVE seeing the nontraditional players being determined, powerful and strong – much more than the “others” doing what they “look” like they “should” be able to do :)

  31. I m grandmother of 2, a mother of three and a widow now of 8 month. I will run my first Spartan race next week. That is my Strong.

  32. well what can i say except round of applauds, spot on girl! last time i checked, real women who want to have children can’t afford to do 8% BF and it’s frustrating when if you don’t have a manly 6 pack apparently you’re not strong. thank you for being one of the phew women still living in reality

  33. Thanks Eileen for this rant. I’ve had my own struggles with body image and have finally started to believe in the past few years that there isn’t a once size fits all ideal of body, and that beauty can take many shapes and sizes. Still, every day I have to remind myself of this. This rant is inspiring and I will re-read it when I forget how strong I am.

  34. Love! I am no closer to being the 8% bodyfat bodybuilder than I was being the heroin chic supermodel. I’m so tired of this community replacing one unachievable ‘goal’ with another, equally unachievable! I am middle-aged, jiggly and RealStrong. Oh, and I just hit 210 on my back squat.

  35. I continue on my path and goals…..not unattainable ones. I am stronger than I have ever been in my entire life. But not by a standard set by others. I do what I can and i come back tomorrow to try again. I feel wonderful. I look forward not to a chart but to how my “self” and body feel.

  36. I love this! I have been strength training for just over a year and while I have lost inches, I haven’t lost body weight. Once I re-programmed my brain to realise that strength gain and not weight loss was the goal, it was easy! Plus I love the surprised looks I get from men in the gym once they realise I can lift the same if not more than them.

    Hitting 102.5kg (226lb) deadlift is my highlight so far. :)

  37. I am of the age where I don’t measure my worth by how interesting I am to some guy’s dick. I love picking up heavy things and working toward goals in the real world. Thanks for speaking out!

  38. Strength is measured in many different ways. The power to lift heavy things is only one way to measure it. My strength goals are a by-product of the life I want to live. I don’t lift heavy just to lift heavy; I lift, sweat, run, jump, kick, punch, and crunch all in the name of being able to do something awesome. That “something awesome” changes as I accomplish and experience more options. The key to maintaining the strength of my conviction to remain powerfully strong comes from my burning desire to LIVE FULL ON. I loved your honest and vulnerable approach to inspiring others to BE STRONG.

  39. E
    You are BEAUTIFUL! I love this and this may just be the motivation I need to help a young woman I know who has literally had an issue with her weight her whole life and she thinks the whole skinny idea is bullshit. She is strong as an ox and built like one too just like her mother. I have been able to get her to lift a couple times and she loves it. Now to get some pictures of this beautiful girl to build her self esteem

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