Three things happened over the past week or so that have brought my focus back on the female physique and psyche.
All done in California (maybe a quick trip to Disneyland first) and I'm pretty excited to bring this stuff back to y'all (especially the recovery knowledge...ahem, Brian, Audrey, Adrianna, just to name a few). And the strength of the women was inspiring. I felt right at home being surrounded by women who are stronger than me. And they were awesome coaches! @ejanss and @jessien_bradley were super helpful as were all of the others! And the @rpstrength presentation on recovery by Dr. Israetel and Dr. Hoffman was right on the money (#duh). And I loved hearing @chadwesleysmith talk about proper peaking as well as @burnscolin discussing two different approaches to weightlifting technique. (Almost done). @clinicalathlete laying out the real purpose and proper approach to using movement to identify issues in ourselves and our clients may pay off the most in application. And of course @gregnuckols discussing research showing just how unique a snowflake we really are not was great because #science! Thank you @juggernauttraining for putting out such a great resource! Now it's back to Texas. See y'all Monday at 5am! #bus4 #knowledge #california #recovery #weightlifting #powerlifting #crossfit
A photo posted by @blackwolfcf on Oct 31, 2015 at 6:34pm PDT
1) A social media post mentioning strong women in my life that I put out apparently conjured up at least one heavy eye roll.
2) A female client told me, “you probably like girls with traps” with the sort of condescension you might expect that sentence to be communicated with (by the way, hell yes I like traps).
3) Ewa Januszkiewicz (@ejanss) told me she basically accepted that she no longer had a neck a while ago. She had no problem with this and didn't say it with any sort of defeated tone. She's proud of her accomplishments and I'd imagine she would never give any of them up to "have a neck." By the way, she does have a neck and she's really smart, stronger than you, and smoking hot.
Where is your husband?
Let me explain why I will always, always, always celebrate the strength of women, both physical and psychological. I am an American male. Im white, raised middle class (probably on the upper side of things), and might be mistaken for being attractive on certain days. If I go about my business nobody will question me about my choice in body composition or task I choose to take on. I literally am allowed to get soft and unhealthy and it is celebrated (Dad Bod anyone?). I am able to choose to work at a desk 9 hours a day and then drive home to sit on the couch in front of Netflix for another 3. And I am allowed to do that everyday. I am allowed to drink beer until I am an embarrassment and, other than those I inconvenience in the moment, nobody will say a word or even give me a look of disapproval.
Women don’t live with such luxuries. The standard set by society (I am so happy to say that I really do feel like this is changing) suggests women should sit back, look pretty, do enough to get by, and find a man who will take care of them. Their value has been derived from their appearance (and willingness to stay home and be a good wife), and the expectations for their individual developments are nearly non-existent. Just don’t be the type that can’t get a man, right?
SIDE NOTE: gender roles in this day and age are largely to secure the man’s spot on top. A person is not greater simply because he was born a man. Plain and simple. I cook, I clean and I wreck shop when it comes to playing with kids. The only reason a woman in my life is going to cook me dinner is because she wants to. It certainly will not be because it is the expectation.
The fact that muscles are seen as unattractive on women, being most apparent when discussing nicely developed traps, is enough to show that there’s a long way to go. We are not discussing body builder style muscles here (nothing wrong with them either). We are not talking about 10 years of hypertrophy training. We are talking about muscles that have been born out of necessity and used to accomplish great things. Why is it ok for you to come out and say definitively that it is unattractive? And that question is for both men and women alike (Women are far worse than men at tearing down their own. Both say it out of insecurity but women take it to another level). Your choice in make up and clothes and hair color and hair style and Starbucks order and diet choice all disgust me at different times. But I am not allowed, nor do I have a desire to tell you, or your social media post for that matter (way to comment on @MiranadaOldroyd’s photo you big strong man), that I find your choice unattractive.
I have been put on this earth to help people accomplish great things. Men and women alike have come into my life and we have worked to make huge changes occur in their lives. However, over the years it has become apparent that my skill set (seems like a silly term I think but works) draws female clientele into the business more often than male. Our client base is 70-75% female and this makes it glaringly obvious that there is a disconnect between where the world places women and where they are capable of going.
A couple of things:
- (Not fact but definitely true) Women are far more beautiful than men. I have no problem recognizing beauty of all types, but women are absolutely gorgeous and until we all start looking like Daniel Craig we have no argument.
- (Not fact but probably true) Women are smarter than men, like way more often than not. When I think of people being dumber than dumb, it’s almost always a guy I have come across. I am more likely able to have a deeper conversation with a lady then I am a random man. Much more goes into this like willingness to listen, ability to sit still, ego, etc. But surely that still counts towards more things women are better at than men.
- (Not fact but definitely true because of the male ego) Women are often able to maintain balance with a high level of skill. Now this may be the result of evolution. The strength of a woman's mind is demonstrated in her ability to navigate the messy, often hyper-critical world we live in while pursuing the goals she has set for herself. Whether it is the expectation to be married by 30 (or 25, or 20 depending on the culture I suppose), or to have children, or to stay home, a woman's life is pretty much planned out by people outside. If she works hard and is successful she's a failure because she is childless. Really? Are we kidding here? A woman must withstand these judgements that are applied to her (and vocalized loudly if she is producing anything that is recognized in the public realm) all while still finding the energy to make inroads on what is actually important to her. But if I want to be 30 and unmarried and building a business then I am crushing life, right? Because I'm a man, right?
- (Fact. Because science.) Women are simply more badass. Pain tolerance (see child birth) alone is enough to put them on top here. But when it comes to training women are able to handle more, training at higher intensity for longer periods of time. This is science. I believe it was Greg Nuckols (@GregNuckols) who said, “Women are more metabolically suited for just about everything” at the Juggernaut Training Systems’ Becoming Unstoppable Seminar 4 this past weekend. This is simply because women are WAY MORE IMPORTANT than men when it comes to keeping our species alive.
Times Have Changed
So now that men are not out hunting for food each day or standing guard in case a neighboring tribe decides to get sassy (thank you to all of the men and women who choose to do this as a part of this nations great military), why are we so set on the women still fulfilling the roles they held in that period of time? If I don’t have to go hunt a buffalo with a spear then you don’t HAVE TO stay home with the kid or prepare the meals. And no, going to your cubicle for 9 hours a day in your khakis and your incorrectly sized short sleeved button down is not the same thing as what your ancestors did. You aren’t bringing home the bacon. And even if you were, now that women are stepping out into their new badass roles, they just might be able to that better than you too!
I will capitalize on the opportunity to build a client base and staff of amazing women because unlike the world, I do not see a disadvantage in empowering them to conquer the world.
To the women who have to deal with this: You know what’s attractive? Confidence. If you love yourself (Truly love yourself. Like grateful for every inch of your body) then you are gorgeous. Simple as that. Stand strong in who you are and your beauty will shine through.
To the critics, men and women alike: For those who may not be there yet, we all go through tough times. I have certainly lived through seasons of immaturity where I have been unnecessarily critical to others or insecure in where I am at so I lash out at the world around me. But in those moments we must remember to be grateful with what we do have and that will allow us to move towards what we will have. And I believe it was the amazing writer/director/producer Robert Rodriguez (@Rodriguez) who said, “Be Useful” on the Tim Ferris Show podcast.
And to all of us: When we tear people down we indirectly remove opportunity. This world is a better place when all of us have the same chances to thrive, to conquer, to build, to create. The two second high you get from feeling better that your soft body lacks any definition when you tell someone they are unattractive (pretend a kitten loses it's life every time you use the word bulky to refer to someone else) isn't actually doing you any good and it truly may be damaging the person in question more than you know.
"Haters gonna hate, hate hate," and when we are feeling good we are absolutely able to ride the wave of criticism to push us towards greatness. But people do not deserve that sort of thing because of their body composition, especially when that body composition is the result of healthy living. Be useful and be happy!