So, I read this article a few days ago, actually a few of them, regarding the sexualization of the fitness industry and the impact it has on young girls self-esteem. The article talked about women, and the clothing they wear while working out, how they expose more of themselves then they should, how they are teaching young girls to sexualize themselves during a workout in order to get attention. hmmmm? Not one single word in their about how almost every gym or CrossFit box you walk into, men strut around with no shirts, tight shorts, grunting and moaning as they attempt heavy weights. Is that not sexualization? Why do female athletes only fall into this category?
After thinking about it, I wasn’t sure which side of the table I’m on. Until the other day. My love for fitness is not a secret. I have a business page, I work as a Personal Trainer, my personal Fb page is basically a shrine to all things I do, fitness! Sorry, not sorry. However, the other day, my 4yr old and my 9 yr old are watching the Crossfit Regionals with me. We probably watched about 2 hours of it. Not one single time, did either girl ask or even mention what any of the female athletes were wearing, or why they didn’t have a shirt on or why they didn’t have long pants on! Not one single time. I don’t know if that’s because for the last 3 years both girls have spent a ton of time in a Crossfit box, where it’s fairly normal to see the short shorts and the sports bras on the ladies, or if because, the entire time both girls were completely enthralled with the things these ladies were doing. I kept hearing them say things like, “I’m gonna be strong like her”, “I’m gonna be fast like her”, ” I wanna do what she’s doing”. The obsession was with their abilities, not with what they were wearing.
I sincerely believe, while children do emulate the people they hold in the highest regard, I also believe that as parents, we have the ability to mold the situation into what best fits our beliefs. My husband does want my young girls dressed modestly when they are in public, so they wear tank tops or t-shirts over their sports bras, as do I. My oldest has asked why she can’t take her shirt off, and my response to her is, your too young. When you are older and you feel comfortable enough to do so, that’s fine, but your still a kid, and its appropriate for you to have a shirt on!
Now, let me make one thing clear. I wont stop going to CrossFit! What I will do, is be firm in my stance that they will be covered up, and they will be modest in public places. I totally understand that children are impressionable. However, in reality, I spend more time with them than anyone at any of these places. So, I have more of an impression on them then anyone else. I just have to be willing to stand up and be louder and more impactful.
As for how these ladies dress, I mean can you blame them? Look at them! They are strong and beautiful. They have conditioned their bodies to be capable of more than any other woman could ever dream of doing! They are simply amazing. Are we not being a bully on the playground, when we ridicule and demean them for what they are wearing while they workout. If they are comfortable, if their significant other has no issue, then why do the rest of us? I have the privilege of being friends with some awesome ladies who workout in short shorts and sports bra, and frankly, I don’t think twice about it. Except when I attempt to wear some little shorts while cleaning my house and I’m constantly having to pull them down and I wonder….how do these ladies jump around and kill a metcon and not have to adjust every 2 minutes? lol!
The point I’m making, while yes, my girls are exposed to women who workout without shirts on, they are also exposed to women who are strong, strong in all aspects. They have all the traits I want my girls to have…confidence, strong bodies, strong personalities, a love for fitness, a love for other women, a love for my girls. Can I really ask for anything else? Why would I take away the exposure to such wonderful women from my girls, because 3x a week, my girls watch these women take off their t-shirts, exposing their sports bra, they watch these women smash heavy weights over and over and over again. They have experienced these women, shed blood and tears for each other, scream and yell, jump up and down cheering on other ladies, as they push themselves through an excoriating workout. How is removing them from such a positive and uplifting experience going to fix anything? We are told to teach our girls to be uplifting towards each other, however, in reality, society demeans and rips apart women for the dumbest things. If you don’t like the CrossFit girls in their short shorts and sports bras, strutting those rock hard glutes and strong thighs that can crush watermelons, then you can find somewhere else, but don’t try to break them down for being who they are…STRONG CONFIDENT WOMEN!