“Never have I ever posted a booty pic on the internet.”
Jk, I suck at drinking, I’ve never been a fan of drinking games, but I am a new fan of the booty pic (in a certain context), and I’d love to share with you why.
This week, I was going to write a lovely wrap-up of the awesome guest-featuring month I’ve had at idealisticisabel.com, but instead, with a fire in my belly, I’ve decided to write about the pornographication of lifting. So put on your booty shorts and sports bras ladies, or your baggy training shorts and cotton tee if you prefer, or HECK, even read this in the NUDE because it’s all cool to me – I’m just happy you lift AND you read.
Where’s the meme about girls who lift and read? Oh, it doesn’t exist yet…
Well guess what? Now it does!
Back to the topic: I know some of you’ve been squatting for years, and you wouldn’t be able to raise your protein shaker to your lips after I stated the opening sentence of this blog. You lift, and you don’t broadcast your skin all over the interweb. When you share your journey it’s tastefully done in your singlet, t-shirt, or tank, in training videos or fully-clothed photos.
Others of us prefer to train in the tiniest shorts humankind has ever seen, and a sports bra. Some of us will even post slightly? racy pics in a bikini. We’ve embraced showing off our bodies, but you know what I’ve learned?
Whether you’re broadcasting your booty, or showcasing your sport we’re all striving for similar missions – sharing our story while inspiring other girls to pick up some weights – and because of that, we should celebrate each other.
This is a new way of thinking for me – I didn’t used to think it was okay for a woman to showcase her bod all over social media. I used to be one among the clan who thought women should be adored only for their athleticism. It took me years to proudly post a picture of myself in a bikini that wasn’t just like a cute selfie or me playing with my niece at the beach (and I even took two days to decide if I should share those!).
But over the years, my opinion has changed. I’ve watched people like Christmas Abbott and Jackie Perez take over the world with not only their bodies, but also their brains, and their hearts. I’ve seen the positivity behind their movements, I’ve heard the authenticity in their voices, and I’ve seen the actions of the women following in their footsteps to better their lives.
Ultimately, how you choose to share your athletic journey with the world is up to you, but I really think all it is is a difference in preference and we simply need to learn to celebrate all #girlswholift. Here are three reasons why I’ve changed my stance (and sometimes the camera angle on my videos):
1. Life’s short; I want to squeeze all the positive enjoyment out of it.
If you’re like me, you’ve worked your ass off (or on?) training for years, chasing improved performance, and your body has changed as a result. You can squat a ton, and so you’ve grown a bigger butt and legs, your torso has probably thickened into a strong tree trunk (is this a new sexy thing? I think so), and you’ve somehow managed to build biceps, scarcely ever doing a curl. I think you deserve to be celebrated in every way humanly possible.
I believe that if I can learn to delight in my lifts and my looks, I’m squeezing more enjoyment out of the same task, and I’m having a more positive experience of the same life.
Sure, it will be cool to look back and watch videos crushing a 140 kg (308 lb) squat in a sexy singlet (see below), but I also want to be an old, grey-haired lady who can scroll back through my Instagram feed and say, “look at that booty I had; when referring to my backside, someone once said, ‘You could crack an egg on that butt.’” (Someone actually said that once).
I’ve worked hard for my body to be able to do the things it does, and I also love the way it looks. I want to celebrate both now – not just performance, but also appearance because I believe in squeezing every drop of joy out of the process and this is one way I do it.
2. It’s okay to feel sexy; we’re supposed to be sexual beings.
We could act like sex doesn’t exist. We could all wear turtlenecks and keep our hands away from the opposite sex and never post a picture in tight clothing.
Or we can embrace that sex is a really good, beautiful thing, and we can believe it’s okay to feel sexy and to give the world glimpses of that side of ourselves as well.
If you read my article back in November about the lovely Ms. Christmas Abbott, you know I believe we are three-part beings: mind, body, and spirit. I think the world would be a more beautiful place if we all stopped hiding and shared more of who we really are with each other.
In my posts I let you into my mind. I show you my spirit. Although parts of a woman or man’s body should only be seen by her or his lover, I think it’s perfectly fine to let some sexiness slip into an Instagram post, because bottom line – we all have a sexy side too! But, if that’s not for you that’s also perfectly fine. What matters is that you’re being true to you, and you’re not stepping on anyone else’s toes for being true to herself (even if that’s different from you).
3. It’s okay to have aesthetic goals.
I’ve gone from one extreme to the other on this one and now I find myself kneeling down to kiss the gorgeous middle-ground. I did a bikini competition caring only about how my body looked – eating chicken and vegetables for weeks and being scolded by my coach for eating all of the yolks in my boiled eggs. I wanted to get rid of all my body fat and walk on stage and win based on others’ judgements of my body.
I got third. And I cried.
And then I found CrossFit. And I didn’t let myself write down an aesthetic goal. I wanted to deadlift 200 lbs I wanted to snatch 65 lbs. I wanted to do 1 muscle up. 30 double unders. Yadda yadda yadda. No goals about booties or biceps.
I achieved all those and I chased the next bigger performance goals and I felt guilty anytime I thought about doing an accessory movement for aesthetic gains and I judged the people doing bicep curls, but when I looked in the mirror I still didn’t love what I saw.
I went through the stage many CrossFit women go through before they learn how to master their nutrition; I was muscley but my muscles were buried under a layer of fat and I just felt big. I acted like I was proud because my performance was improving, but I didn’t love the skin I was in and I’d beat myself up when I wasn’t putting on a smile for the whole world to see.
Once I learned how to dial in my nutrition to get lean (because of a performance goal to be in a weight class) I noticed how my body changed after working on it for years. And I liked it.
I’m not sure when the moment was that I decided it’s okay to have both performance and aesthetic goals, but I think it must’ve been over an extended period of watching people like Christmas kick ass at life.
It must’ve been in my remembering that there are many aspects of who I am as Brittney – I am an athlete, but I am also a girl who just wants to feel gorgeous when I look in the mirror. Trying to act like all I cared about was the weight on the bar was a lie. I learned it’s okay to want to look sexy. I’m going to spend my whole life in this body; I might as well love most minutes of it (none of us is going to be able to love every minute of it. I’ve talked to some of the worlds finest athletes like Brooke Ence and Christmas herself, and even these lovely ladies have days when they don’t feel the most gorgeous).
Anyway, I try to set one goal in each of the following areas: physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional. Here’s my physical goal for my life: “To feel I’ve reached my potential as a strength athlete, and to always have a physique I am proud of.” I now believe aesthetic and performance goals can coexist.
When all is said and done, here’s what it comes down to for me:
- Women who lift are awesome, whether they show pics of their booties or videos in singlets. They are being productive and working towards self-betterment. The girls in tiny shorts and sports bras might reach girls the ones in tees and baggy shorts don’t, and if another woman finds her strength because of it, I will rejoice.
- I believe in a world of vulnerability. I think the world would be better if we all talked openly about our stories. I think if you could see into the life of that girl posting booty pics, you’d understand her a lot better. She’s probably a lot more like you than you think. Have you ever asked her about her “why?” Why does she do what she does? What gets her out of bed in the morning? What inspires her to broadcast her booty? Her answer probably won’t be “Instagram followers.” A lot of the women posting these pictures are in their late twenties and thirties, afterall. They aren’t spring chickens. They are women who have spent years training their minds and bodies, and they have the vulnerability to showcase their spirits. Sharing your journey might look different, because your journey is different, but please do share it in your own way.
I believe in a place where we openly share our stories for others to learn from. Some of us will feel our booties play an important role in our story, and others will not. It’s not a question of who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s a question of what really matters.
To me, this is what matters:
#girlswholift are spending their time in the gym instead of at the bar.
#girlswholift are learning how to fuel their bodies to perform, or to look great – either way they’re escaping our fast food society and choosing healthier options.
#girlswholift are in a pursuit of betterment.
I’m on my own path to betterment. If you’re reading this, you’re probably lifting your way to self-improvement. Whether your path involves booty pics or not (I know mine will involve a few), I salute you.
I’m just happy you lift and you read.
“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” – Abraham Lincoln
Our podcast with Christmas Abbott – she is real, and really nice, and you’ll also see naked pics of her everywhere. And I was obviously didic excited to talk to her!
Our podcast with Brooke Ence – she shares a lot about her struggles with body image.
“Why I Still Respect Christmas Abbott” – a heavier blog on how we’re made up of mind, body, and spirit.
Want to perform and look like a badass? I designed my nutrition program for you.
Professional photo credits: Warne Photography