Yesterday, Crossfit Games athlete Jamie Hagiya posted a picture of herself to her Instagram and wrote, “my body does not look like all the other @crossfitgames female athletes with crazy ripped abs and zero body fat on their stomachs…so for anyone who thinks they need to look a certain way to be a Regionals or Games competitor, you don’t. Stay the grind and keep doing you!”
I think there’s a new unspoken standard within Crossfit with regards to its female athletes. When the “strong is the new skinny” stuff started floating around, I felt myself going “HELL YEAH!” I was excited to throw myself behind the concept of strong women becoming the new norm. The more that sunk in, and the more I read articles and listened to various podcasts, the more I realized that we’re just trading one unrealistic body type for another. I no longer “have” to be skinny, so I don’t have to eat my 1200 calories a day and spend an hour on the elliptical; I have to eat 2500 calories a day and spend an hour lifting progressively heavier weights. GREAT.
I don’t want to sound like an asshole, but I sometimes (often, actually) struggle with the body that I now have. I am proud of it in so many ways, but it’s a different body than I had for almost 30 years of my life. I’m still getting used to it. I’m leaner and more powerful than I used to be; and I still haven’t quite brought myself around to owning that. I’m working on it.
The thing that often gets in the way of me being comfortable with me are the opinions that others share with me. Not so much my friends and people that I know; I value their opinions and I thank them for compliments.
“Do you compete??”
“Let me guess, you work out.”
“How did you get those arms?”
All these and more can be heard at your local neighborhood Brewery District Kroger. I won’t get into my rant about men and women and catcalling. Because it’s long and feminist and men never (NEVER) understand why it’s offensive to tell a woman to “Smile! You’d be so pretty if you did!” But most comments, while they are fairly harmless, are still unwanted. The bottom line is this: I DON’T WANT TO KNOW OR WANT TO CARE WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT MY BODY.
Which also translates to: STOP BASING MY SELF WORTH ON MY APPEARANCE.
And I know that sounds unfair, because these strangers are just responding to the part of you that they can see. But let’s get one thing straight: these comments don’t do anything for my self esteem. They tear it down. They make me want to wear the giant Fit Club sweatpants that I generally only break out in the winter that my husband loves so dearly.
Not too long ago (a few months?) I would bring an extra pair of shorts and a T-shirt with me when I knew I had to run to Target or Kroger after a WOD. I deemed it unacceptable to wear my booty shorts out in public.
But up on further investigation into my own head (a scary place), I realized that I actually didn’t think it was inappropriate. It was just that I didn’t want to hear what other people thought of me.
THAT’S SOME BULLSHIT RIGHT THERE. I was basing my behavior on what other people think, and not my own convenience and comfort.
Let me tell you something about booty shorts: I frickin love them. You can peel them off of my cold, dead, muscly body. They are the best for me for function, performance, comfort, etc. I wear them when it’s 10 degrees. But I do NOT wear them to appeal to other people or to look “cuter.” Yeah, I like the way I look in them, and that’s fine. And frankly, most other shorts strangle the life out of Quadrille, and I don’t need that kind of stress in my life.
But under no circumstances should I be letting what other people think of what I wear dictate what I wear in public. Okay, yes, booty shorts are not appropriate for many occasions and locations. But a trip into the store is perfectly acceptable.
I applaud Jamie Hagiya for posting what she did. I can, in some ways, see how it can come off a bit body shaming of the women that DO have zero body fat on their abs and rock it proudly. But I think her post IS helping us to move in a more positive direction. We cannot let ourselves be held to impossible standards: you have to rock the body you have. Nourish it, treat it well, and realize that this is yours. Own it. And having your body HAS to be okay. Because it is yours.
Consider this Part 1 of my 203487 part series on women, bodies, and Crossfit.
Now if you’ll excuse me, this kitty litter ain’t gonna buy itself ::pulls shorts out of butt::