Saturday, January 29, 2011

An argument about muscle

I want to do a freewrite about a conversation I had with a friend. She's known for a few days that I've been dieting and exercising, and I don't generally divulge my techniques, mainly because dieting and exercising only have one real technique and I didn't think it was relevant. I mentioned that I often visit for inspiration, and even have a picture of Zuzana from the site on my phone. This picture to be specific:

I showed her this image, and she seemed more than a little upset. I won't quote her directly because I don't want to misrepresent her words, but basically she told me this woman looked starved and overworked, and I believe she used the phrase "that's some beefed up dyke shit." At first I felt really angry, and defensive, but I realized it's not that big of a deal, I knew already that not everyone finds muscular women attractive. I do, and I told her this, I told her if I could, I would look like this woman. I know I won't, because my body is different, but I'd love to build some muscle. She seemed even more distressed, and said that Zuzana only had muscle definition because she's cut all fat and sodium from her diet. I argued back that although she eats little fat, her diet and her workouts are very safe and very healthy. I made the arguments that she doesn't take supplements, and even told her about Zuzana's past, which if you aren't familiar with is on her website. My friend didn't believe me, just like I wasn't believing her. I tried to reassure her, but she insisted that she had trained as an athlete and she knew what athletes were supposed to look like. I didn't want to argue, and I valued her concern (although not her comments) so I let it drop.

I feel like this is a common reaction among women to this kind of physique. Yes, I am aware that Zuzana is very unique, but I'm very confused as to the extreme concern for my well being when I am currently killing myself with extra weight. I know very well that it's possible to obsess and under eat, but I'm not that stupid or naive, and I was hurt that someone assumed that about me. I can't get too mad, as I had a sneaking suspicion my friend knew someone who'd gone down a very bad version of this path. But really, I can't look at that picture and think that Zuzana is anything but a pinnacle of health.

my friend tried to tell me what she thought a healthy woman should look like. She mentioned a flat stomach and a healthy amount of curve and fat. I tried to find an image that I found best fit this description:

This is a victoria's secret model, and this company is known for NOT pushing their models to eat less or get unhealthy. This woman is beautiful, thin and has the features mentioned in my discussion with my friend. However, I want muscle. I'm still uncertain as to how the viewpoint started that women can't have this and be healthy. Is it because so many women are stupid enough to go to unnecessary extremes to get what they want? Last time I checked, a woman who said she wanted some definition didn't mean she wanted to be in the strongest woman competition, and really, so what if she did? I understand the concern with bony thin, with starving yourself and taking chemicals you aren't familiar with, but I'm very confused about the fear of muscle.

As far as I know, it's physically impossible to support muscle unless you lead a healthy lifestyle. If you didn't, your body would feed on your own muscle. If you didn't get enough fat and protein, your muscle would break down, so wouldn't a muscular woman suggest that she is extremely healthy?

my friend mentioned jillian michaels, saying that she used her workouts to lose weight when she was my age, suggesting that I do the same.
Is there really a huge difference between this ^ and this:

Really, the only difference is that zuzana is a little more cut, but they're pretty  much the same. This comment made me even more confused, because now I didn't understand why jillian michaels was an appropriate role model, but not zuzana. Perhaps being on television makes it acceptable to be build and cut as a woman. I'm still going to try to build muscle, and I'm eating to support both weight loss and muscle build. I find this to be a very desirable look for a woman, and I guess I just have to accept that not everyone will feel this way. I want to look good and get healthy for me first, and then my husband as a close second. I have to put aside other opinions and just run my race.

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