What leads people to think women shouldn't lift weights?

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Nachi, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Just curious. I got used to my mum worring the sports I chose are too manly or dangerous or what. Kind of to be expected from one's parents.
    What I didn't expect was that I also heard something similar from a fellow MAist. Isn't crossfit too much for you? Questioning especially the weightlifting part, I'd say. Why would it be? I kind of figured some people think lifting heavy (or lifting at all) isn't for women, but I just can't wrap my head around why would they even think that when I thought about it. Everyone uses the weights they can, women usually lighter ones, right? So it isn't about injury. So... do people think women shouldn't work too hard because they would grow muscle? Or just because... I don't even know... women are weak and aren't suited to it? Which is kind of nonsense...
    I am just curious, really, what the reason may be. Is this opinion common? I suppose not around here, but in general... And why?
    axelb and Knee Rider like this.
  2. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Deep rooted and persistent sexism and outdated ideas of what makes a "man" (or manly) and what makes a "woman" (or womanly) IMHO.
    Although it could be the old idea that "weights make you stiff and slow" coming into play?
    Frodocious, axelb, Mushroom and 3 others like this.
  3. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Sexism, but more than that the amount of women I've met who didn't want to lift weights because they would male them "bulky". A huge misconception is that lifting big weights will make you gain size which simply isn't true. That's the biggest reason I've seen women deciding not to try weights.
    axelb, Mushroom and Knee Rider like this.
  4. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    It's a two way street mis information on both sides, the amount of women who have asked for help training wise but prefix it with I want to tone not bulk up is quite high, I tend to point out my girlfriend can dead lift 125kg, do weighted pull ups and bodyweight in each hand on farmers and actually weighs slightly less now than when she started lifting (60kg) and is a dress size lower now....
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  5. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick


    Anyone who reads just one textbook on exercise physiology will realise how absurd is the myth that women should not lift weights.
    axelb likes this.
  6. Latikos

    Latikos Valued Member

    I think lots of it comes due to what PiP wrote: The myths, that once you look at a weight, you obviously transform into a Schwarzenegger or a She-Schwarzenegger.
    You don't even have to lift it, just look at it obviously.

    That plus old-school sexism; most I do give credit though, that it's not even meant as sexism, but more that people just aren't used to it and therefor think it strange.

    As for me: I'd love to lift weights (did a few times with my guardian, and actually enjoyed it), but don't do it for a couple of reasons right now:
    I don't know how - and before I do it wrong, I don't to it, because I'm concerned to actually make things worse.
    My shoulder is still hurt and I really should see a doctor about it.
  7. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Thanks for the replies, guys (and girls :) )

    Yep, I kind of hoped to hear some reason that makes sense, because I don't believe the person who said that is a sexist. But it made me wonder what's the reason behind it, still.

    About the stiff and slow, no, that wasn't mentioned in any way and I think there was no reason to think I am getting stiff and slow, but it certainly is a possibility! :)

    Yeah, women can get a nice sporty look, but I don't know, I suppose they'd have to try really hard to look like men or something. And muscle isn't only allowed in men, is it?

    Now it makes me wonder whom did this thought come from. From men trying to get women not to work-out and be stronger than themselves, or women making excuses to men why they shouldn't work out too hard :D

    Yep, that is a good example. Your girlfriend sounds really cool by the way! :)

    Well, I didn't really need to read a textbook, but looking around and watching the women who work out hard is enough to give me an example...

    Haha, yes, indeed! :D

    Yep, it wouldn't surprise me maybe if my grandma held that opinion, because women didn't use to exercise for the sake of exercising or getting fit before, but nowadays... there are so many fitness centers aimed at women. But, would it mean when the exercising is too difficult, women shouldn't push themselves?

    I don't dare to say I am lifting like, really focus on lifting. I just do here and there on crossfit and use not too heavy weights for the I'd say also cardio-based work-outs.
    Sorry to hear that. I hope it gets better. If it gives you trouble, you really should visit a doctor...
  8. Latikos

    Latikos Valued Member

    I certainly hope not.
    Without pushing past barriers there will be no progress after all.

    Just going slowly and without false pride - like everyone, men, chimpanzee, Gorilla... ;)

    It's mainly annoying as hell.
    As long as I don't do push-ups and the like it's okay.
    But, yeah, I should see my Doc about it.
  9. Morik

    Morik Well-Known Member Supporter MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Sexism I'd guess... I live in New England, which tends to be pretty liberal. Not sure if that makes a difference in workout populations, but there are lots of females in this area that lift weights.
    My wife lifts (for general health/strength), there are lots of female weight trainers who train (both males & females) out of the gym I train at, and a bunch of my female friends & my wife's female friends lift (some on their own, some with cross-fit, some with a trainer).
  10. Mushroom

    Mushroom De-powered to come back better than before.

    Outdated education in regards to fitness etc. I am always saying (to my female friends)
    "no, you're not going to wake up one day and be Arnie. If it was that easy, that's what I would look like everyday".

    Also it's the aesthetic preference.
    Nachi, axelb and Dead_pool like this.
  11. Travess

    Travess The Welsh MAPper Supporter

    Not realated to lifting, but it is still a glaring example of misogyny and prejudice, in what continues to be (wrongly) viewed as Male territory.
    (Link is to a Facebook page)

    BJJ Combinator

    David Harrison likes this.
  12. Brigid

    Brigid Kung Fu Mother

    I started lifting weights this year and am seeing good benefits already. It’s disappointing that you’ve been met with such a discouraging attitude.
    In terms of practical concerns, the only issue that might be more relevant for women as far as I can see would if you have any pelvic floor issues, which become more of a possibility with age and/or after having kids. Deep squats are not a good idea if you have an underlying problem. Pelvic floor exercises are a good thing to do regardless of age or gender.
  13. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Wierdly though, everyone looks good after moderate weight training, as long as you don't go the vitamin S route.
    Mushroom and axelb like this.
  14. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    Make insecurity comes into play too.
  15. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    I think much of it is the same mindset that makes some people say that martial artists shouldn't lift weights. They have a very specific and old fashioned view of what lifting weights is.
  16. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    It's certainly an old fashioned view, however one that seems to have risen in the 20th century.

    Women have been doing heavy labour for a long time and only in the mid 1900s did it shift so that women became less physical in their profession.
    My grandmother had heavy lifting jobs carrying heavy loads up stairs in the mills, my great aunt worked on a farm in Poland where my grandad few up.

    Nowadays more jobs are less physically demanding, and the sexism has imprinted on society that it is unacceptable unless you are a precessional athlete.

    I always like the Arnie quote when people say to him "I would never want to look like you"
    He would say "don't worry, you never will"
  17. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    When I said old fashioned I meant 80s.....
    axelb likes this.
  18. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Oh, I somehow didn't notice there were so many reactions!

    Yeah.... well... I hope he gets what he asks for :D

    Yep, me too :) Though I only do crossfit, so I am not focusing on lifting per se, but I am definitely seeing benefits, too!
    That is a good point. I have no kids yet and I think my pelvic floor muscles are fine, or I've never had trouble, but I also try to exercise them from time to time. I actually never thought about how deep squats would be bad for them.

    That was precisely my argument. That women will still look like women, unless they really don't want to. And when it comes to looks, I think a defined muscles and sport-type body is only a good thing.
    And besides, here, too, or at my gym there are probably less women, but it is still close to a half of all the people. The head coach and owner is a successful woman who is 1st place in the elite category in my country in CrossFit games. She can lift weights I could only dream about. Does she look like Arnie? No. She has well-defined muscles, but it's not like her arms are huge, or wayy bigger compared to other crossfiters there. Just very well defined.

    Unfortunately, I think that is also probably one of the reasons. :(

    Yes, I agree, though I think this is discussed mostly from the MAists who wants to lift themselves (and they're afraid). It's not like someone would tell you not to lift, you're a martial artist so it would be too much for you... And anyway, doing MAs is one's choice, being a woman isn't. But other than that, yes, there definitely are similarities.

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