I have always had an issue with my thighs. Even as a small child they were a source of great embarrassment and shame to me. I’m really short so my thighs should be perfectly petite like Kylie Minogue’s, right? Except they’re not. They are large and chunky. Solid. My body image has improved dramatically over the last year and a half, I am very happy to be able to say that, but there is still the thigh issue looming in the back ground. My good friends went to America recently and brought me back a very cool top from CrossFit Brick City in New York and some long, purple socks. I took a picture of myself in my new gear, with very short shorts, but I could never imagine actually going to the box in them. I would be too self conscious. I am a reasonably intelligent human being, I know this is ludicrous, but still I have this crushing fear of people looking at me and judging me.
This bothers me. It bothers me that even at this stage in my life I allow myself to be governed by these ridiculous ideals of beauty and that I continue to feel ‘less than’ others because my thighs are thicker. I don’t want to be bullied into believing that I am not good enough because I don’t have perfect thighs (this could easily be substituted for boobs, bum, tummy, face), and when I have children I certainly don’t want to pass on these worries and concerns to them. It infuriates me that we live in a society where the worst possible insult you can give someone is fat. Surely it would be worse to say I was mean or cruel or selfish? A British comedian was recently heavily critisized on twitter for the dress she wore at the Baftas award ceremony. She wrote this fabulous, but very sad response, here. The critics, in my opinion, don’t care about the dress she is wearing. The message is not ‘buy a nicer dress and fancier shoes,’ the message is ‘who are you to be a successful woman if you are not skinny and pretty?’ It is a message that we have forced down our throats day after day and I’m sick of it.
It is the same message we get when we support CrossFit and people like Camille, Annie and Julie Foucher are the darlings, whilst the actual reigning champ, Sam Briggs, is sidelined. Don’t get me wrong I adore those women, I think they are fantastic, but if you really pay attention t0 the media coverage and the language used by the commentators there is a marked difference. Why? Because Sam Briggs is a total effing bad ass and she does not fit in to the prescribed view of what a woman should be. Because Annie, Camille and Julie are strong, with big muscles, but they are also very pretty, very feminine, and they smile a lot. I had an interview with the youngest member of our box, Madi Farley, on BoxRox website recently (you can read it here). She is 12, almost 13 and she is incredible. Her mum and dad (and extended family, who are all super human CrossFitters too) are doing a great job of raising her but I think its sad that these young girls are being raised in a world where if you are a woman it matters more what you look like, and less what you do or say. That’s the world I was raised in and it didn’t do me any good.
I have been inspired of late by the awesome, hard working, dedicated women competing in the Regionals, many of whom are very well endowed in the thigh department themselves. So today I tested myself. I decided that I would go out in public wearing what I like to call my booty shorts (they are just normal adidas shorts really) and see what happened. So I got on my bike and went for a ride and a few things happened. First of all the world did not stop. Nobody crashed their car or dropped their small child out of shock at the offending hunks of meat. In fact, I was just cycling along wondering how many people were silently judging me and my thighs, when a man called out to me ‘hey baby how ya doing?’ Obviously I blushed furiously and looked away but inside this made me laugh because I realised that its all about perspective. If someone is looking at you, you don’t have to assume they are thinking the worse. Try assuming they are thinking the best. If they aren’t its their problem, not yours. And me? I will try assuming that nobody else gives a crap about the size of my thighs but me.
* I have been loving watching the Regionals and I am really excited to catch up with the action today. Go Sam and Will, Go Go Go!
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