Women’s Only: Strength and Femininity

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Women's Only: Strength and Femininity

The other day, I found myself involved in a¬†conversation regarding a comment made by a man (who happens to be a weightlifter) to a woman (who is also an avid lifter) about how he prefers more feminine women. And that he wouldn’t want to date her, unless she toned it down. This type of conversation has unfortunately become very common in my world, as have remarks from both men and women, about making myself “too muscle-y”/”too masculine” or inquiring about whether or not I’m worried that building muscle will cause me to lose my femininity.

Before I really start writing, I want to make one thing clear: everyone is entitled to their preferences, both physical and emotional. No one is required to be attracted to anyone else. That is not what this is about.

“Femininity” is NOT Weakness

Having an opinion doesn’t mean that it matters enough to express. Your feelings on another human being’s body fall into this category.
First, this post is about allowing other’s autonomy. I am not here to be decoration. No one is. Our bodies are for our individual selves, and it is our freedom to dress them, style them, build them, and share them as we would like — and abstain with the same freedom. There is no reason, in an innocuous conversation (or even in a conversation about why a date didn’t work out), to tear apart a person’s physical appearance, and tell them what they can/should do to appeal more to you. If something doesn’t work for you, and someone asks, just say you don’t feel that way about them. It’s that simple. If someone doesn’t ask, then your opinion on how they would be most attractive is not something that you should be sharing with them. It is entirely unimportant and irrelevant. Having an opinion doesn’t mean that it matters enough to express. Your feelings on another human being’s body fall into this category.

Second, this post is about how absurd it is that the word femininity is associated with weakness. It’s about how women are often made to feel like in order to be “feminine”: they must appear frail and take up as little space as possible. This post is about how the idea of femininity being associated with weakness (and traits that are considered feminine, often being wrongly thought of as weak) and masculinity being associated with strength hurts men and women alike.

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