British weightlifter Zoe Smith lifted 118 kg (260 lbs.) at the summer games, finishing out of the medals, but setting a national record in the process. But before she did that, she took to the internet to shoot back at sexists making the stale argument that women can’t be attractive and athletic at the same time.
After appearing on a documentary about women’s weightlifting, Smith penned a post thanking fans for their support. Smith said that most fans were “very positive.” But she noted that there were “a very small percentage of idiots” who attacked the women.
“The obvious choice of slander when talking about female weightlifting is ‘how unfeminine, girls shouldn’t be strong or have muscles, this is wrong.’ And maybe they’re right… in the Victorian era,” Smith wrote. “To think people still think like this is laughable, we’re in 2012!”
Smith then blasted the men (and women) who found weightlifters “unfeminine.”
As [fellow weightlifter] Hannah [Powell] pointed out earlier, we don’t lift weights in order to look hot, especially for the likes of men like that. What makes them think that we even WANT them to find us attractive? If you do, thanks very much, we’re flattered. But if you don’t, why do you really need to voice this opinion in the first place, and what makes you think we actually give a toss that you, personally, do not find us attractive? What do you want us to do? Shall we stop weightlifting, amend our diet in order to completely get rid of our ‘manly’ muscles, and become housewives in the sheer hope that one day you will look more favourably upon us and we might actually have a shot with you?! Cause you are clearly the kindest, most attractive type of man to grace the earth with your presence.
Oh but wait, you aren’t. This may be shocking to you, but we actually would rather be attractive to people who aren’t closed-minded and ignorant. Crazy, eh?! We, as any women with an ounce of self-confidence would, prefer our men to be confident enough in themselves to not feel emasculated by the fact that we aren’t weak and feeble.
The tired trope that female athletes can’t be attractive is as old as it is wrong. At least Smith managed to rebut the argument nicely — and follow it up with success at the Olympics.
Image Credit: London Youth Games