“Women athletes fear pressures over appearance”

This is the headline of an article published on the BBC website on Saturday, the sub-heading of which is “Young women are being put off sport by fears that training will make them unattractive”. It makes me sad to read stuff like this. 

Some soundbites:

“Girls want to be good at their sport, but on the other hand a question around their femininity is raised because they are considered too muscular.”

Some studies have suggested that two in five girls refuse to participate in sport because of concerns about their appearance.

“This is not going to be an easy problem to solve as effectively it is about changing culture.” 


It’s this last point that sums it up for me, but that the article stops short of saying. In my opinion (and experience) one of the reasons that some men are not readily accepting of fit muscular females is that it intimidates them – it challenges traditional gender roles, and makes them feel insecure about their own bodies, particularly if theirs in no way rivals that of the females.


Add to that the preconceived ideas that people have about a muscular or fit woman (that we are in some way different to other women – more agressive, feisty, alpha, bossy etc.) then of course women are going to feel self-conscious about allowing their body shape to change as a result of the sport they do.

There are still so many guys that are unaccepting of things that challenge the old-fashioned way of how (they think) women should behave, that until they start changing their ideas in-line with how things actually are in society now, we will always have to deal with nonsense like this. I just hope that more and more women will have the confidence to get involved in sport, regardless of the changes in their body and how that may affect what people think of them.

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3 Responses

  1. Doesn’t matter to me how muscular a woman is, as long as she still makes me a good sandwich. J/K (For the record, I am the chef in my home).

    A while back I came across a pic online of a female boxer and it was captioned, “‘Strong’ is the new ‘Skinny'”. Couldn’t have agreed more.

  2. Fi says:

    Funnily enough, a friend sent me a link to these shirts recently – he saw a girl wearing one in the gym – http://strongisthenewskinny.spreadshirt.com/

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