Women’s Only: Muscular Does Not Mean Masculine 

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by NOELLE ELLIOTT

Women's Only: Muscular Does Not Mean Masculine 
I was shopping for a dress at a boutique recently. The type of place that you have to step out of the dressing room to see the only mirror, so the saleswomen can tell you how fabulous you look. I found a sexy little dress and the saleswoman said she had the perfect thing to accompany it. I was sure it was going to be a necklace she was going to try and upsell me. However, she returned with a sweater. It was July.

I have always been muscular. I was an athlete throughout college, and something that comes with being an athlete is muscle that allows you to perform at your best.
“To minimize your arms,” she said.

Not only did I not purchase the sweater, I didn’t purchase the dress either. In the words of Vivian in Pretty Woman: “Big mistake. Big. Huge!”

I have always been muscular. I was an athlete throughout college, and something that comes with being an athlete is muscle that allows you to perform at your best.

There was a time when I tried to hide my muscles. I bought into the media stereotype that the thinner you are the better you are. I was living in Los Angeles when I attempted to change my body into something it wasn’t. I spent at least three hours a day on the treadmill and ate iceberg lettuce for an entire month. I lost weight, but I also lost my happiness. I didn’t have the energy to do anything fun, and I was so hungry that I became a horrible person to be around. Which resulted in me being hungry and lonely.

Why was I trying so hard to shrink away? I had to wonder: How is something considered to be an asset to a man so often seen as a disadvantage for a woman?
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