My recent break from basketball has put me in a position I’ve never been in before. I used to have to practice five days a week with extra work outs on the side but now I have no obligations to be in any gym. It sort of freaks me out. I’m used to team work outs and team practices and doing all exercises with 12 other girls and a coach so it’s definitely weird to have to do things on my own now and it’s definitely more difficult.
Walking into the gym before would never give me anxiety but it’s a completely different story now. I actually get super nervous stepping into the weight room by myself. I used to have the mentality that as a woman, I was supposed to be there; I played basketball, I had a right to be in this room, I had a reason to be in here. Now, I walk in there and feel like all male eyes are on me and laughing every time I picked up a 10 lb free weight. I avoided the gym all of August, worked out in my basement and even considered joining an all ladies gym in an effort to not be afraid.
Now, I am not one to be insecure. I have an almost annoying confidence when it comes to how I live as a girl. So this kind of inferior emotion was something that was completely new to me.
Girl’s are constantly made fun of. We are taught since day one that we are physically “less” than the men around us. Yes, the strongest man in the world will be stronger than the strongest woman because of our biological make ups but that does not make us females any less than the men around us. To use the statement “you throw like a girl”, as an insult is just the beginning of what creates a mind set in girls that we live with forever.
To think that I am nervous to go into the gym because I feel as though I don’t belong there is pretty sad. Why do I need a predominantly male sport to legitify my presence in the weight room? Why do I need to have 12 other girls there with me in practice uniforms to make it okay? I shouldn’t feel the need to prove myself worthy to the men in the room so they accept me as I walk around and go through my work out. I should not feel so nervous as to need a good reason to be there. I should be able to enter the gym and feel like an equal. The only requirement for a gym membership is a paid fee, not a try out to see if I am good enough to make the weight room team.
Now, I am not saying men are sitting in there pointing and laughing and judging the females working out, in fact most of the time they are probably impressed or don’t even think twice about a girl on the leg press but I am not the only one who has this mind set. Talk to most girls who are not intensive athletes, going to the gym is scary. We are raised to believe that, physically, we are weak, that throwing it like a girl is bad, taking it like a “bitch” is embarrassing, so to enter a room that is made for strength, how are we supposed to feel comfortable?
Always feminine products has put out a great campaign in attempt to remove the negative ideals that come from the phrase “like a girl”. In this video, it really makes you think about the way women’s minds are warped as we grow. The young girls who have not been introduced to this culture do not understand the unfavourable situation that is females and athletics. The fact that two female coaches in the NFL and the NBA is a huge deal would fly right over their head. To them, there is nothing wrong with being a girl as there shouldn’t be.
All in all, I want to project to other girl’s that you do throw like a girl, that you do run like a girl, that you do take it like a girl. You know why? Because you are a girl and what other way would you do something? Ronda Rousey punches like a girl and Serena Williams serves like a girl because they are girls.
So here I am, three months since beginning my break from basketball and I am finally able to enter a gym without feeling extreme anxiety. This goes out to everyone too, whether you can squat 225 lbs or barely do one bicep curl, just go do it for your health. Don’t let societal ideals stop you from doing what you want to do. Post about it on Instagram, talk about it, let everyone know you are working out and are doing it like a girl.