I’m very tired of hearing this conversation between women:
Non-lifter: I’m interested in lifting weights, but I don’t want to get bulky
Lifter: Oh don’t worry, you won’t! Women can’t get bulky!
Andrea Ager is one who comes to mind as somebody who, in interviews, loves promising women that they won’t bulk up. Girl, I mean this as a complement, but you are jacked! I don’t know that you’re really the best spokeswoman for Team Women Can’t Get Big, you know?
Fit, Feminist, and (Almost) Fifty recently shared this article on their facebook page and it got me a bit riled. The part that was like, “you’re not actually bigger! It’s all in your head, you silly, silly woman!” was just insulting but the part about less than 1% of women being able to get big is just wrong.
There are some women who get smaller when they start Crossfit, but those are mostly bigger women who begin to lose some fat. Smaller and average-sized women get bigger. Like, all of them. Why are we trying to deny this? It’s happening to all of us! Somebody will post a facebook status update about how annoying it is to look for jeans that will fit their newly huge quads and bum and 50 people will like it. Very small women start buying large or extra-large shirts to stretch over their lats. I had to go up an underwear size! Like, leave a comment if you think I’m wrong here, but anecdotally I’m certainly right.
I have a photo of myself flexing while wearing a strapless dress and my traps are so big that my little sister just does not believe it isn’t photoshopped. Because I’m huge!
My point in all of this is not to say that when a nervous new lifter mentions their fear of becoming bulky that we should take their weights away and point them back to the elliptical. Rather, let’s get down to the real issue of why we’re afraid of getting bigger anyway. And why we’ve all accepted that to be feminine and to be pretty means being small and fragile.
Look, I think that most women, by the time they get big, are more interesting in their next PR than in having stick legs. So maybe let’s keep telling our friends that they won’t bulk up so that we can get them hooked on lifting before they know what hit them! Or maybe let’s just be like “you will, but you won’t care.”