Saturday, 16 February 2013

Powerful Women and Why Lifting Weights is a Feminist Issue

I have been listening, with interest, to radio 4's Women's Hour Power List of powerful women

Britain's Home Secretary and Chief medical officer, the CEO of the Royal Mail and David Cameron's speech writer are all women.  Powerful women.  

There are a hundred listed but there are plenty more who weren't on the list!  

I am trying to bring up both my boys and my daughter with the belief that anything is possible.  If you want something badly enough and you are willing to work hard for it then the sky's the limit; regardless of gender.

It's got me thinking about what makes us feel powerful - not necessarily what makes us powerful in an influential way but what makes us feel strong and confident and like we can do anything.

Generally I believe a lot of it comes from feeling in control of our bodies, our environments, our choices and our lives.

So, how do we become in control of these things?  

Firstly we have to allow ourselves to take control.  We have to believe that it's possible, that we have the power within us already to do whatever it is we put our minds to doing, if only we want it badly enough and are prepared to do the work.

Secondly, we have to have support.  We might need other females to support us.  We might need a champion.  For some it's a strong mother or father who makes us feel we are worthy and capable, for others it's a teacher or a friend.  It could be a partner who supports us by doing some of the chores that frees up time for us to achieve whatever it is we want to achieve above and beyond cleaning the loos and changing the bedclothes!  We might just need a physical or mental space in which to work.  Sometimes we just need someone else to believe in us - a Personal Trainer or Nutrition Management Counsellor, for example...

Every single one of my female Personal Training clients, without fail, tells me how powerful and strong they feel due to lifting weights; not just physically but mentally!  
Lifting weights has the amazing ability to give us something as women that isn't handed to us on a plate like it is for most men.  

Doing something we weren't sure we would be able to do, feeling a little bit of fear or anxiety before we do something, not sure if we are going to manage it or not, this gives us an edge.  

Lifting weights never gets easier, we just get stronger; the weights get heavier and before you know it, you've hit a PB and lifted more than you ever thought possible!   Those weights you began with feel like toys.  You have tangible progress.  You see the results of your endeavour  you feel the results of your endeavour.

You are in control of your body.  It does what it's told.  It performs what you ask it to, when you ask it to.  You feel like you can do anything.  You feel like you can achieve anything.

Lifting weights gives you the power to do what you previously thought was out of reach.



Being in control of our bodies enables us to wrestle back some of the power that we have been denied. Nourishing ourselves with food that keeps us healthy and strong - not so fat we become ill, not so thin we disappear - working our bodies until they behave how we want them to, so they respond how we tell them to, that's one way to make us feel powerful not only in body but in spirit!

Having said that, we also need something else that validates us as a person.  

We need to feel that the job we do is valued by others, that what we value in ourselves is appreciated by others.

So women, do yourselves the biggest favour you possibly could and 

  • nourish yourself with foods that make you healthy and strong 
  • lift heavy things that show you both your inner and outer strength 
  • and do something you love every day, so well that someone else notices and appreciates what you've done!

Put yourself top of your own Power list!   

1 comment:

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