“A skinny bag of bones is not womanly or attractive. Muscles and curves are hot!”
Ugh. We’re back here again. Granted this phrase (I modified a bit to protect the source) was intended to help out a fellow female gym member who was told she “was looking pretty buff but you better watch out or you’ll lose your womanly shape.” (We can discuss this phrase later…another peeve of mine, the fact that people can say whatever they want to you about your body. Yes please, I asked for your opinion on my muscles. Actually did you ever stop to think that what I am doing has nothing to do with pleasing you? If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.)
But first-let’s address this skinny comment. Maybe it’s just in the fitness community and so I just come across it more than others, but it’s becoming more and more fashionable for women to be more muscular. Which, admittedly, works in my favour. (Yay me!) I tend to be on the muscular side, I enjoy activities that lend to my muscular body shape and I work in the fitness industry so it’s great that more people are looking to get fit and build muscle because that means my business will continue to grow.
And let’s be honest…building muscle and strength tends to make life just a little bit easier. Day to day activities aren’t as much of a struggle. And countless studies have shown exercise makes you healthier, happier, more positive, more energetic etc etc etc. Ok great. Positive energy is contagious and the world needs more of it. That is totally awesome and I encourage everyone to exercise on a regular basis.
What I am not ok with, however, is the fact that certain body types are being hailed as better than others. Constantly we are bombarded with these images “Strong not Skinny” with a fitness model in a sports bra flipping a tire looking pretty sexy. (Men too.)
Granted, I fell into the same trap and posted a few of these memes when I first started my Facebook page…motivation, right? I can get that six pack! And again, I think the intentions behind this may not be mean spirited, as building strength can add so many positive things to your life. And the drive towards model skinny which was the previous fad has led many down an unhealthy path (eating disorders, self-loathing etc). But we must be careful here when promoting a “healthier” fit body image.
Are we really promoting an attainable body type here? Is it sustainable in a healthy manner for people? Are we promoting health? I don’t know. Ask the fitness models. They will tell you. (I for one do not have a six pack. Do I want one? It would be nice. But I do not form my life around it. I train because I love to train, I eat healthy because it makes me feel good. My body changes over the years as the activities I enjoy doing change. I feel strong and healthy. I’m not going to kill myself if I have a glass of wine or a piece of chocolate because I eat healthy and exercise regularly. If I have too much, my body lets me know. If I don’t exercise for a while, my energy sucks and I tire easily. So I have found a lifestyle that works for me.)
And you must figure out what lifestyle YOU are happy leading. (I would suggested a lifestyle of daily movement and balanced nutrition. Good times with friends and family. Lots of laughter. But I’m biased. That makes me happy. And feel good. And I see a lot of other people become happier and more positive when they choose this lifestyle so…)
But I think the bigger issue is, why should we be putting down another body type while lifting another body type up? Can’t skinny people be strong too?
Don’t the truly strong build each other up?
Think about it. Your friends, your family, your children, your friend’s children, your coworkers, your boss, your teachers…would you like those who lean towards a ‘skinnier’ frame to feel less because:
A. They don’t enjoy lifting weights or muscle building activities
B. They can’t build muscle as easily even when they do work out
C. They prefer a less muscular version of themselves
Or any other reason they may be on the slighter side?
How would you like it if your smaller framed daughter overheard a man say that, “Skinny girls aren’t attractive.”
How would you like it if your athletic framed daughter overheard a good friend of yours saying, “Ewe. That girl is too muscular! Look at her veins.”
You better watch how you talk because you never know who is listening. And tiny ears are impressionable.
Ok so back to the original comment above. It was spoken by a male who was trying to make a muscular female feel good. And really, I do believe he tends to like women who fit the fitness chick frame. And he is totally entitled to that. But polarizing the two body types and suggesting that skinny chicks are not womanly is wrong. Because skinny chicks are women too.
What happens when muscular girls aren’t fashionable anymore or if women become too muscular? (I mean, there’s a limit to how muscular a girl should be, right?)
News flash: women and men like and are attracted to a wide range of shapes and sizes. Look around. Just because a certain body type is being marketed over another body type doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there that like your body type. That think that YOU are sexy. Some guys like a smaller frame, some like a larger frame, some like junk in the trunk, some like small hands…you get my point. (And maybe you get my joke?)
The thing is, you’re never going to be able to satisfy everyone’s desirable body type. Never. Impossible. Look at celebrities. No matter how “perfect” or how “beautiful” they are, there are still people out there picking them apart.
The most important part is making yourself happy and becoming the best, healthiest version of you you can. Muscular, skinny, junk in the trunk or whatever shape or form that takes. Let your body be the result of what you love to do. Because every BODY deserves love and respect. Give yourself some love now.
(And may I add one of the most attractive traits I like in a person has nothing to do with what they look like and everything to do with confidence?)