I am a girl, and I like to lift heavy things. I am a girl and want to be inspiring. I am a girl, and I like being strong.
As a female working her way through several male-dominated fields, I am indeed a feminist. I would be surprised if most people around me were not. See, feminism is equality. It is the understanding that women can do virtually the same things as men. I believe that women are strong, but the problem is that there are some, including females, who do not.
Females have traditionally been seen as the stay-at-home sorts, males as the bread winners. We all know history. Tradition needs to change, and stereotypes cannot continue. Today’s generation of girls have the power to be strong as they grow up – physically, emotionally, mentally and whichever way they want to be.
Who is telling these girls that they can be strong?
Coaches, teachers and parents are the people who generally set the examples of how to live and do things in life. Anyone in a leadership position should be telling women everywhere that they are strong, but not all are. A female can lead in the military just as well as a male, make a movie that is just as beautifully filmed, and lift weight just as effectively.
I did not say as well as “any” man. We are all different, but the expectation that women are a weaker sex is ridiculous.
The first time I ever lifted a barbell I was 22 years old. I grew up knowing full well what weightlifting was but never gave a second thought to the fact that anyone besides the football team in the high school weight room did it. I never knew I was strong until someone told me I could be.
I grew up being told “girls don’t have the right muscles to perform a pull-up” and that it was harder for me to do push-ups for the same reason. Yes, women are indeed built a bit differently in the anatomical sense, and weights for women are generally lower, but I’m tired of people making excuses and telling girls they cannot be strong.
I have trained for months, day after day, to be better physically, but my mental strength would not be where it is without motivation from positive role models setting great examples of female strength in society.
Imagine if every little girl was told she could do what society has deemed unconventional for her.
There are indeed prominent women who I see as strong in society today. Angelina Jolie tends to get on my good side when she does amazing things with her work. Oprah is the symbol of how hard work pays off, despite gender stereotypes and how they’ve evolved over time. My favorite athletes in weightlifting and functional fitness are so motivating that I can’t help but look up to them as role models.
Still, these icons represent a small portion of successful women. Both men and women in society need to tell girls they can do anything. Girls can dance, they can lift, or they can be intellectual geniuses. All activities exert a decent amount of intensity on the mind or body and require dedication to performance. Girls should never be denied the opportunity of daring to be more.
I know I am not the strongest, but I know that I am dedicated to be the best that I can be.
We are moving forward, but don’t be the one to hold young girls back from their dreams. Don’t be the one to tell girls that they can’t be strong, too.