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A Woman's Battle: Fighting The Perception Of Femininity!

Immediately, I noticed that both of them were rail thin. I was thunderstruck. I couldn't believe my eyes! Fight past the perception and get healthy! Here are my thoughts:

On the way to the gym the other day, while stopped at a red light, I happened to see two teen-aged girls, probably no more than 14-or-15, walking down the sidewalk - certainly not a sight that would ever command my attention beyond a passing glance if that. However, these two young girls captured my attention. They wore tight, sleeveless half shirts and shorts cut high onto their thighs.

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Too Skinny
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Immediately, I noticed that both of them were rail thin. I was thunderstruck. I couldn't believe my eyes! From where I sat in my car, I could see their collarbones. Their arms and legs were so thin that their knee and elbow joints looked disproportionately large and out of place. I watched them pass by and as they continued down the sidewalk, I couldn't help but note their protruding shoulder blades.

A few weeks later, mental images of these two young girls re-emerged as I leafed through a Victoria's Secret catalogue and noticed all of the waif-like figures that filled its pages. On every single page were images of the most unhealthy, mousy-looking women I'd ever seen in my entire life. If women are supposed to strive to look like the models in these catalogues, then we are all in really big trouble.

Is this really the personification of "attractive" or what women in this society think they are supposed to emulate to be desirable? As opposed to confident, self-assured young women, these women appear weak and sickly.

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In my opinion, they look like victims, subject to anyone's whim. It's disgusting. So, what happens? Teenage girls are inundated with these images of what the media considers "attractive" and end up looking like they just stepped out of the cemetery. Personally, I think that it's absolutely criminal.

Intent upon understanding this mindset from the inside, I asked one of my training clients who once admitted that she struggles with her own body image. To give you some perspective, this woman is young, early 20s, attractive, and very, very, thin. Recently, she renounced her obsession with the scale and decided that she wanted to train with weights so she hired me and together, we began the journey toward physical fitness and self-awareness.

Through the course of our conversation, I learned that many of her contemporaries refused to lift weights; they were utterly convinced that lifting weights would give them bulging muscles and make them "look like men." She explained that her decision to weight train met with some stiff resistance from her comrades. Apparently, to these women, an increase in muscularity is synonymous with relinquishing their "femininity."

Women: You Don't Have To Get Bulky! Women: You Don't Have To Get Bulky!
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For these women, weightlifting and increasing in muscularity conjures unfavorable images of Amazon women from ancient cultures. According to myth, the Amazons were female warriors that fought in battle right alongside the men and were the complete antithesis of everything that this society considers "female." In fact, the word, "Amazon" literally means "without breast."

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Which makes sense considering that to facilitate the efficient use of a bow and arrow, legend has it that upon the birth of a female infant, the Amazons would sear one breast so that it would not develop. Consequently, the mere mention of the word "weightlifting," to most women brings to the forefront mental pictures of humongous, breast-less, likely unattractive, physically imposing women.

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So, on one end of the continuum lie images of massive female warriors which society condemns and on the other end, lie images of wafer-thin models which society considers feminine and attractive. Given many women's association of increased muscularity with Amazonian-type, "manly" physiques, its not at all surprising that young girls strive to become paper thin thus "feminine" which results in malnourished, underdeveloped teen-aged girls that remain little better than one meal away from their coffins. Outright criminal.

Girls: Which Body Type Would You Rather Achieve?

Figure Body

Skinny Runway Model

Female Bodybuilder

Every time that I train a woman, I am fighting against the images of what this society considers "attractive" and "desirable." With every single repetition, my female clients are waging a battle within. On the one hand, they want to be healthy and physically fit but on the other hand, they are deathly afraid that lifting weights and increasing muscularity will make them look too "masculine" thus undesirable.

I have one question. Since when did men obtain a monopoly on muscularity? When did it come about that muscular men are attractive and muscular women are amazons? What is to be gained by keeping women from developing their physiques to their maximum genetic capabilities? Do women that weight train transform into The Hulk?

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Absolutely not. Why? Because women just do not have the requisite testosterone to build large, bulging muscles. Absent anabolic steroids, it ain't gonna happen.

What I have noticed, however, is that when women weight train and begin to fill out their own physical frames, they begin an inner transformation. These women experience an increased sense of self-esteem, a more positive self-image, and become much more self-assured. Women, who previously apologized for their very existence by walking with their heads down and shoulders slumped, walk a little bit taller and exude a bit more self-confidence.

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Instead of attempting to erase their own existence with a wafer-thin appearance, women that strive toward fitness by developing their physiques and increasing their strength command power through their very presence. Are these "amazon-like," "masculine," thus undesirable attributes? Well, I suppose that it depends upon whom you ask.

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To those that find themselves threatened by a self-assured woman, strength and muscularity are undesirable; i.e. "amazon-like." But, for those that are internally secure - a woman that commits to developing her muscles and increasing her strength; are the pinnacle of attractive and does not rival a woman's "femininity."

For my money; strength, muscular development and femininity are not inversely related. On the contrary, increased strength and muscularity are the cornerstones upon which to build an unwavering self-image and an unforgiving sense of self-confidence.

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If you are a woman who battles with self-image ask yourself this, do you want the power to define your own self and what is considered feminine, attractive and desirable or are you willing to merely accept what the media shoves down your throat.

Women need to reclaim the power to define what is feminine, attractive and desirable. Take control and define your own self. At the end of the day, the choice remains entirely yours.

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