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I AM in Control.org Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality
Aug 5

Defying Gender Stereotypes: Muscles are Beautiful

Posted By iamincontrol | August 5, 2014

Girl lifting weights
The results are in!

Last month we asked you guys:

How often to do you see peers participate in activities that are not typical of their gender?

You said:

  • I see it all the time – there aren’t any activities that are “typically” for girls or boys anymore. (0%)
  • Sometimes (50%)
  • Hardly ever (25%)
  • Never (25%)

Here at IAMincontrol we think you should feel free to participate in any activity you enjoy, even if it may not seem “normal” for your gender.  We love Jessica’s take on this below!

By Jessica

I began weight lifting in high school. I did not participate in basketball like most girls, so to keep myself in shape I began using the weight room after school. Often I was the only girl in the weight room, surrounded by sweaty guys throwing weights around.  In order to better fit in with the guys, I began to lift heavier and more often. I saw that they accepted me more and were impressed by what I could do. However, a few girls in my grade commented on my arms or legs and said I was getting “too muscular.” I was proud of my achievements, but I didn’t want to look masculine because that is not what ladies look like. I continued to lift weights, but I focused less on large weights and more on repetition, which resulted in leaner muscles and the “toned” look that girls want.

While I still continue to lift and occasionally will lift heavier, this experience stayed with me and has stuck with me in current weight lifting practices. I’m glad that I started to lift because it led me to pursue an Exercise Science degree and teaching fitness classes. I wish I would have stood up to the girls who made fun of me then because I love my body, and I work hard for my muscles. Every body is different, and whether they have big or small muscles, they are beautiful.

Here’s a website to help when dealing with bullies and a Facebook page for girls embracing their muscles – check them out!