Women lifting weights – it’s something that I am very passionate about and something that the general population seem to struggle with accepting. Just yesterday my husband had the pleasure of refereeing The Static Monsters World Championships on the Gold Coast and he witnessed some amazing feats of strength by both men and women. Unfortunately the newspaper that was invited to attend and report on the championships failed to celebrate these feats and chose to focus on a female athlete that experienced Stress Induced Incontinence (SIU) when lifting 4x her body weight. That’s right… a professional journalist and widely published newspaper chose to shame a woman instead of celebrating her success.
I refuse to acknowledge the athlete by name as that doesn’t matter and she’s been through enough by now but I will say that this woman flew halfway around the world to compete in a World Championship and won the 62.5kg weight class – which was one of the most competitive classes on the day – and yet this was overlooked by the reporter.
At first I had hoped that the reporter simply didn’t understand what they had done, but when we contacted them this morning to request that the article be retracted they refused and have since moved it into prime position on their website. I will not name and shame as that is not the purpose of this blog post. I want to discuss why the strength community will not tolerate this…
Women that lift weights have already decided that they don’t care about what society thinks of them. We’ve already made the decision to ignore all the garbage out there and do it anyway. The men of the strength community are also very supportive and celebrate the achievements of the women just as much as their own. We are a tight-knit community because we have to be, and we are only growing. The outcry from the community over this issue has been incredible and it’s only just occurred this morning – we will move mountains to be heard about this issue, after all, we have the strength (both physical and mental) to do this.
Now, the issue of the incontinence – I do want to quickly address this… Although SIU is considered common, it should not be normal; however, that does not mean that it’s ok for anyone to make a joke about it. There are many women that experience SIU while lifting heavy weights! When you consider the sheer pressure placed upon the muscles in the pelvic region when lifting any amount of weights, it is no surprise that there are problems. We recently held a workshop on the Pelvic Floor and Powerlifting with Marnie from Sports and Spinal Physiotherapy Centres and I learned so much. I had no idea about the muscles, the pressure created by lifting, and why there can be problems. In fact I think this needs to be something that all women that take up ANY SPORT should learn about to ensure they are well prepared. It is nothing to be ashamed of and it should be something that we can openly talk about.
I will finish up here as there is not much more I feel I need to say about this issue. As I said on my Facebook post regarding the article:
Ladies, DO NOT allow people like this reporter to cause you to feel shame over your achievements. DO NOT back down. KEEP LIFTING and continue to SMASH STEREOTYPES.
We are strong because we DO NOT let the opinions of others define who we are and what we do.
If you would like to talk to a health professional that takes strength training for women seriously, please contact VALHALLA Strength – South Brisbane so we can point you in the right direction!