Thanks (but no thanks…)

I was overwhelmed by the response I received regarding last night’s documentary! The sheer amount of people who watched it was one thing, but the amount of tweets and messages wishing me luck and cheering the whole team on was absolutely incredible. For the three of us featured in the show, the fact that we, three female British weightlifters, made it to a mainstream TV channel for doing the sport we love is amazing. A few years ago the idea of that would’ve been unthinkable, which really shows how far the sport has come in such a short space of time. While it is still very much a minority sport, the amount of both participants and supporters is growing rapidly.We’ve even had a few people tell us we’ve inspired them to try weightlifting, which means the absolute world to us.

At the risk of sounding slightly up myself, I’d love to be able to personally reply to every lovely message each one of you have sent, but there were so many I’d be sat on my laptop sending messages for the next year! (And I kind of have that thing to do next week…) Basically, what I’m trying to say is if you watched – thank you! And if you didn’t, it will be on BBC 3 more or less daily for the next week I think, and it’s also on iPlayer. So you really don’t have an excuse now. Wink.

While we can’t get enough of the supportive messages (seriously, keep ‘em coming, I think I speak for all of us when I say my self-esteem is currently at an all-time high), what we aren’t so crazy about is the few ignorant twerps making rude comments. We did a quick search on Twitter for the title of the programme, ‘weightlifting’ and our names (it isn’t every day you’re on telly for an hour, so of course you’d be interested to see what people are thinking!), and the majority response was still very positive. But there were of course a very small percentage of idiots who seemed to have missed the entire point of the documentary. However after reading for a while it became more and more obvious that these people had never done a moment of exercise in their life, or had the intelligence of a potato.

The obvious choice of slander when talking about female weightlifting is “how unfeminine, girls shouldn’t be strong or have muscles, this is wrong”. And maybe they’re right… in the Victorian era. To think people still think like this is laughable, we’re in 2012! This may sound like a sweeping generalisation, but most of the people that do think like this seem to be chauvinistic, pigheaded blokes who feel emasculated by the fact that we, three small, fairly feminine girls, are stronger than them. Simple as that. I confronted one guy that said “we’re probably all lesbians and look like blokes”, purely to explain the fact that his opinion is invalid cause he’s a moron. And wrong. He came up with the original comeback that I should get back in the kitchen. I laughed.

As Hannah pointed out earlier, we don’t lift weights in order to look hot, especially for the likes of men like that. What makes them think that we even WANT them to find us attractive? If you do, thanks very much, we’re flattered. But if you don’t, why do you really need to voice this opinion in the first place, and what makes you think we actually give a toss that you, personally, do not find us attractive? What do you want us to do? Shall we stop weightlifting, amend our diet in order to completely get rid of our ‘manly’ muscles, and become housewives in the sheer hope that one day you will look more favourably upon us and we might actually have a shot with you?! Cause you are clearly the kindest, most attractive type of man to grace the earth with your presence.

Oh but wait, you aren’t. This may be shocking to you, but we actually would rather be attractive to people who aren’t closed-minded and ignorant. Crazy, eh?! We, as any women with an ounce of self-confidence would, prefer our men to be confident enough in themselves to not feel emasculated by the fact that we aren’t weak and feeble.
And here’s some food for thought – maybe you should broaden your criteria for what you consider ‘attractive’ anyway, because these perfect, feminine women you speak of probably have no interest in you either. 

What makes me sad is that some girls had this opinion too! How ironic that the title of the show was Girl Power. You’d think that young women around the same age as us would commend us for doing something different and with our lives, and putting 100% effort into it in order to make something of ourselves. But apparently we’re ‘weird’ for not constantly eating crap, binge drinking regularly and wearing the shortest, tightest dresses that the high street has to offer. Sigh…

Anyway, that’s all I can be bothered to say for now as it’s probably a lost cause. It’s the first sunny day we’ve had in weeks, and I have loads of summer clothes that I bought ages ago that I’ve not had a chance to wear yet. It is going to take me hours to decide which to wear first! See, I can do girly…

465 thoughts on “Thanks (but no thanks…)

  1. You have the awesome :)

    I’m a (female) bodybuilder down in New Zealand, and have had similar comments (e.g. “You don’t want to get *too* muscular, surely?” and “You’ll end up looking like a man!” and “aren’t you worried that your husband won’t find you attractive any more?”) from well-intentioned but uninformed idiots. I can’t imagine the amount and variety of similar stupid comments you get in such a high profile position.

    Stand tall. For every idiot out there, there are thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of us who think you’re incredible. You’re a role model to our daughters and to us, showing us that we can be strong and female, and that nobody has the right to decide what we can do as women, except us.

    I hope, when my daughter is older, she’ll have the strength to choose her own path, as you have done.

    Good luck in your future. We’ll be watching and cheering you on!

    • Hi
      My name…well, that doesn’t matter, but I think you are all kinds of amazing. I think you’re strong, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. I love women like you who give girls like me the incentive to not bow down under the chauvinistic weight of society. Boys look at me like I’m some sort of freak because I don’t giggle coquettishly when they do stupid things like take my things. They call me fat (even though I barely weigh 55 kg) because I eat like…well, a boy. I’m proud of that.

      I’m a 16 year old girl and I’m doing a Global report on Sexism in Sports. I came across your blog and, after reading it, I’d love to interview you, get your story. You’re inspiring. So please reply and we can talk. Thank you!

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