I recently read this post in The Cut: I spent Two Weeks Working Out ‘Like a Man’ and I was slightly annoyed.
The author writes about a 14 day period in which she tried out a bunch of different workouts she determined to be ‘manly’, like Crossfit, P90X, Martial Arts, and Bootcamps.
Showcasing to women these workouts that traditionally appeal to men is an awesome idea. The author could have done so much to encourage women to add them to their fitness regime.
For one, she could have refrained from defining male and female dominated exercise styles as mutually exclusive. She might have highlighted all the great fitness and women’s health benefits that come with these workouts, or the fact that women are often welcomed and made to feel comfortable in male dominated fitness environments, or the fact that the challenge of trying new workouts can be extremely rewarding.
But she doesn’t. So, to me, the article is a total failure.
Instead the author draws the line in the sand about what makes a workout ‘manly’ (we’re trying to break down these stereotypes and she just sustains them). She complains about the smell of the mats in a Muay Thai gym, laments about how she couldn’t keep up in many of the classes, and dramatizes about how her unbearably soreness is making simple daily tasks impossible for her.
Even I don’t want to try any of these workouts after that sort of review. Evidently neither do some of the commenters:
“I’m pretty happy with Tracy Anderson‘s workouts”
“I will stick to my yoga, spinning, and elliptical circuit, thank you. Just reading about not being able to put my shirt over my head is not appealing to me personally.”
Men should feel comfortable in a yoga studio or aerobics class. Women should feel like it’s okay for them to lift weights or kickbox. Can we just stop with the stupid exercise stereotypes already?
I think it’s awesome that the author tried out so many new exercises (and I’m kinda jealous too). Trying new forms of fitness is a great way to learn new skills and discover a new passion. But by framing the article around the fact that the workouts she chose to try are traditionally preferred by men does nothing to encourage women to try them out.
She missed a great opportunity to get women excited about trying something new.
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