Women in sport, women who train, women in business, just being a woman can often be one of the hardest jobs we do. I could write on womens issues for the rest of my life but today I am really want to discuss women in sport and female athletes-from the professional right down to the woman that runs, swims, power lifts or practices yoga. We as women are under constant scrutiny physically and definitely feel much more pressure than our male counterparts when it comes to how we look and more importantly how people perceive we should look.
On a very positive note, women are breaking into non traditional sports every single day with Olympic Weight lifting, power lifting, wrestling, MMA and boxing now boasting serious female athletes and attracting us regular Josephines to take up as our sporting discipline of choice. However it is not without generic observation from many media outlets and indeed people in everyday conversations when they discover women leading the way in these arenas, however though still stressing " she isn't losing her femininity" . This annoys me, why as women do we always have to justify our femininity, like somehow lifting a barbell makes us less feminine. Are we as women simply meant to throw on a leotard and hit up a step aerobics class armed with one pound weights for fear we will "bulk up". It is really time to help move the conversation along.
I know people are still adjusting to the change in fitness trends and there has been an entire movement around being strong over skinny mainly down to the CrossFit movement throughout the world. This in essence is a good message, however what I read and what I am faced with myself when people learn how and what I do for my training is almost at this point getting old. Every women that is faced with this question, that especially is training in a more typically male orientated sport "Oh you do CrossFit, oh you Olympic Weight lift, oh you Power lIft or you train with Kettlebells" last year the next part was "you are not bulky at all" but this year I have found that the tone has changed and especially in media articles pitched with the "women in a mans world" style pieces is that in fact "this woman is still a woman and still wears make up, styles her hair and loves getting dressed up" This to me is so irrelevant to the topic. It is again making or leading women to having to justify that they are still a woman but you know are lifting weights, with lipstick on of course.
It is infuriating, we would never ask a man does he style his hair, love grooming and or what he likes to wear outside the gym, but we are flat out explaining why we do this and why we do that. It is draining, my answer is this, we simply are and I simply am.
I am a woman who likes many things including, fashion, make up, beauty products, beauty treatments, politics, current affairs, books, newspapers, magazines, music, working, learning, food, people, life, training, Pilates, CrossFit, Gymnastics, swimming, running, all sports but especially GAA and someone who is inspired by people and reading autobiographies. But why do I need to explain any of this, because as women my interests and what I do always cross over.
In 2012 Galway reached the All Ireland hurling final, I was involved in the background PR campaign and was being interviewed by a female journalist on the upcoming match and after the initial question of who I thought would win, she then proceeded to ask me had I my dress picked for the banquet. I was disgusted by this question, yes because that was all I was thinking about what I was going to wear after the match. When I explained to her that this held no relevance to the match, the piece or in the larger context to anything essentially- she,I hoped saw my point. I followed up with three phone calls to ensure my quote was solely on the occasion and the match.
My point is this, we as women do not have to justify what we do and why we do it. Whatever training you enjoy and want to do, then do it. Don't be boxed into categories that you can't do a certain sport or training style because it isn't girly (terrible word) go try it and own it. And if you want to go training rocking an up style, bright red lips and the nails done, then do that too and one thing is for sure, certainly don't make any explanation or apology for it.