I have always been a runner until one day I decided to start to focus on powerlifting. Running and lifting both helped me to become strong physically and mentally, in different ways. Becoming a part of the world of powerlifting, I entered feeling intimidated and left feeling empowered. Having brute physical strength to lift something heavier than myself is exhilarating.
The women I met are amazing, strong, and beautiful- even if some may think otherwise. Women who powerlift often get a lot of flack for looking "like a man" or "too bulky". I don't believe this to be true because if your desire is to be as strong as you can be and that makes you feel beautiful, then you are, simple as that.
However, I also see some powerlifters who I'm sure have been through their fair share of body shaming, turn around and do exactly the same shame game to other women who are smaller or less focused on lifting heavy. I have heard things like "I would rather be big and strong than skinny and weak". This is just as bad as body shaming women for being "too bulky". We need to stop this negative cycle- where we feel the need to shame others, or divide ourselves in order to feel more included or beautiful.
Women who are "skinny" may have a fast metabolism or they may have a passion for dance or ballet and their focus is not on heavier lifting, but more on technique or strength endurance.
Yes, there are plenty of women whose goal is to be "skinny" because that is what they feel is most beautiful in the eyes of society, and this is an internal struggle brought on by external pressures of the world. Today the pressures are still there, except now, not only are you expected to be skinny but also have an ass and nice tits. Society continues to project bombshell barbie on girls, and now I just see girls divided. We need to be strong. We need to be supportive. We need to be women.
Women support each other. Women see their own beauty without breaking down others. Women are warriors who are called to action.
No matter what your personal fitness goals, when you see someone with different goals take time to learn about their progress and their struggles. Stop shaming. Spread love.