Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Toughness Knows Not Gender

An ex-boyfriend once told me that he felt emasculated by several aspects of our relationship. He didn’t like that I was higher in rank than him, earnt more money than him and he hated that I trained harder and more often than he did. It made him feel like 'less of a man'. It still shocks me that, in a society where a woman is running for presidency in the United States, that there are men out there who still hold these primitive views on the relationship between sexes.

I recently watched a short film, made by PS Cummings for The CrossFit Games, and felt so inspired. The film pushes the message that, ‘toughness knows not gender’.

Being a female soldier, I know this more than most. I often get frustrated with individuals when they tell me, outright, that women are not strong enough, fit enough, fast enough or robust enough to serve within the British Infantry. TOUGHNESS KNOWS NOT GENDER! It is not the individuals sex that makes them weak. It is THAT individual. More importantly, it is the mindset of that individual that makes them weak. I have worked alongside some outstandingly fit female soldiers during my career and some very unfit ones. Likewise, I have worked and trained with some exceptionally fit male soldiers and some that I could run rings around.

Susan Cahn, author of Coming On Strong, wrote, ‘if women were no longer a fragile, timid group in need of protection, men could not be assured of their own role as powerful protectors, and consequently relations between the sexes would have to change.’

In his thought provoking video, PS Cummings describes the barbell as a symbol of strength. He goes on to state that the barbel, 'stands for everything a ‘boy' is taught to chase, power and bravery.' But thousands of gyms are now filled with women all learning the barbell's lessons of resilience and grit. Sending out the message that toughness knows not gender. 

Women are incredible and, in today’s society, are more than capable of performing in the same arena as men. Men should lose no pride to conceding victory to any woman that runs further, finishes faster or lifts heavier than they do! If your partner is fit, disciplined and driven, you should be proud of them. Don't feel intimidated or emasculated by their success!

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