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Why Women Might Love the Weird and Wacky World of Strong Men (and It Is NOT the Muscles): Guest Post By Kelly Diels

Kelly Diels

Kelly Diels

Something different today. This is a guest post from Kelly Diels. Kelly’s blog is one of the few I follow. She offers a female perspective on some of the more macho aspects of World’s Strongest Librarian. It’s nice to realize I haven’t forgotten how to blush.


Is it possible to have a crush on a blog?

I can’t tell you exactly which strange, dark, gorgeous karmic forces steered me to World’s Strongest Librarian.

I’m a girl, and even more than that, I’m a Girly Girl (capitalization totally, madly warranted). I’m all frou-frou, all the time, and I think, write and obsess about consumately, profoundly XX stuff, and please rest assured that I’m referring to chromosones, not porn.

I write about love; I write about body image; I write about my fat ass; I post pictures of my fat ass; I gently, stridently suggest that having a fat ass is not a reasonable basis for social discrimination; and I have learned recently that if you want to double your blog traffic in a day, posting a picture of your fat ass is totally the way to go (note to Josh, and bloggers everywhere: I challenge you to try this technique and report back to me).

So, with this in mind, I think we can safely assume that “Kettlebells”, “Nail-bending” “RKC”, “Bruce Campbell” (fist bump, fist bump), “Adam Glass” (who sounds like the most ethical, intelligent, compassionate Strong Man ever) and “Tourettes” (and who knew Tourettes could be so “undeniably awesome”?) were not any search words I would ever have used, at any time, ever. I’m not just saying that for effect; I literally had to google “kettlebells” after my first visit.

Visiting WSL is like taking a trip to Weird Guyville. I can’t live there, because, well, I’m not a weird guy, but wow is it fun to visit. Again and again.

And that is exactly what I love about World’s Strongest Librarian: it is such a foreign country to me.

My experience with bodies, and goals, and female strength training is positively teeming with fraught, deeply unresolved issues. When women – this is a horrible, horrible generalization to make and as feminist I should be deeply ashamed, wrist slap, wrist slap – talk about training and challenging their bodies, it is often a twisted morality play that would shame and frighten Edgar Allen Poe. Nevermore, nevermore.

It is about conforming to social images of beauty (oh, we make noises about ‘health’ but that is an outright lie – it is about looking hot); it is about having a flatter stomach than your prettier sister; it is about slaying men with a hip-swish; it is about “good” food and “bad” food and failure and feeling virtuous by starving yourself; and it is a deeply draining failure trap, mentally and physically.

And none of that happens at World’s Strongest Librarian. The way training and physical and mental challenge and strength are approached is so…functional. It is almost a math equation: Do this plus this, and you’ll likely get this. There’s no talk that goes like this:

  • OMG I ate that brownie and now I’m doomed
  • I will die alone because I do not possess a comely waist-to-hip ratio
  • the obesity crisis, the obesity crisis, the OBESITY CRISIS SWEET PETE WHAT WILL WE DO, THINK OF THE (POOR, FAT) CHILDREN!
  • do my forearms look fat in this nail-bending exercise?

And for that, I’m deeply grateful. And inspired. I may even get a sport. If I can find one that involves pretty shoes, I’m totally in.

Who knew that it would take a weird window into the strength community to finally teach a woman (women?) that what bodies can do – and what those bodies sometimes decide to do of their own volition (just ask Josh’s poor, maligned thumb) – is truly, madly, deeply more interesting than what they look like?

The Internet, that’s who. I heart the internet. And World’s Strongest Librarian, too.

Kelly Diels describes herself as a freelance writer, blogger, social media syncophant, reluctant suburbanite, and ecstatic single mama. You can visit her on her blog and follower her on Twitter. Please go say hi.


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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Casey July 21, 2009, 8:22 am

    Pretty shoes? How about tennis!?

    Not only do you have the shoes and athletics, but you also have unrealistic female role models which you can try to conform to! 😉

    …Wait… no… you were trying to move past that…. ummm…. maybe bowling?

  • Kelly Diels July 21, 2009, 9:14 am

    I’ve discounted bowling on account of the shoes. Specifically, wearing rental shoes. But tennis does have pretty skirts…we may be on to something here!

  • Lorna Suzuki July 21, 2009, 9:40 am

    I loved this guest blog & I’m enjoying this website! I’m a girl, but not a girly girl even though I’ve used my girliness to disarm and disable male martial arts students I teach and my main protagonist in my fantasy series is a female, too. However, even she is not a girly girl although she can easily seduce the enemy before killing him!
    Thanks for sharing, Kelly! A fascinating look into the mind of a girly girl! Love it!

  • Marie July 21, 2009, 11:16 am

    It is truly tragic how we women malign our bodies and our own self worth. For the most part, women don’t want muscles (or at least not the bulging, veiny type.) They want smooth, young, firm body parts that will get noticed by those XY’s (or other XX’s if you so prefer.) Oddly enough, I don’t need the cute shoes only some form of exercise that will make me not sweat like a galloping horse in front of others or make me have an asthma or heart attack.

  • Kelly Diels July 21, 2009, 11:21 am

    It is TRAGIC, I agree with you. Let’s make a collective decision to STOP the madness. (That’s why I love WSL so much – there is madness, but it is of such a refreshing, healthy, quirky variety.)

    That being said, I think that we’re probably not exercising – or exercising enough – UNLESS sweating “like a galloping horse” (great simile, love it! will plaigiarize you mercilessly). Or so I’ve heard.

  • Liz July 21, 2009, 12:12 pm

    Kelly great post! How about horseback riding as a sport of choice? I’ve seen boots like the ones I used to wear riding in the store as “fashion boots.” Now that’s cool!

    You know there’s a site/catalog store called “Title 9.” (And another called “Athleta.”) If you didn’t think athletic wear could be pretty…check them out. Of course, I make no promises regarding the state of your pocketbook when you’re done!

    The good news is that the clothes still look pretty and fun, even if you don’t exercise in them.

  • Marc July 21, 2009, 12:21 pm

    I definitely want my forearms to look fat in any exercise.

    And for the shoes: Come and visit Germany. We got the perfect combination for you 😛 http://tinyurl.com/kokt8k

    • Josh Hanagarne July 21, 2009, 1:36 pm

      Marc, who is “Bruce” from that video? He kind of looked like the police chief from The Wire.

  • Kelly Diels July 21, 2009, 1:13 pm

    Oh my goodness, all of you are making me laugh out loud.

    I SO appreciate the resources for pretty athletic wear (and for fictional protaganists who seduce and/or kill their enemies). Offline, someone recommended pole dancing classes. Apparently heels are required, and the vampier the better.

    I’m not sure I (or Josh) ever expected his manly-man blog to be hijacked in quite this way 🙂

  • Marc July 21, 2009, 2:08 pm

    Josh , his name is Bruce Darnell. He was a member of the panel of judges for the show Germany’s Next Topmodel.
    That’s all I know and all I wanna know.

  • We Fly Spitfires July 22, 2009, 1:54 am

    Whoa, awesome article! Posting a pic of a my ass on my blog? What a great idea! I better warn my host though as it’s likely to cause enough traffic to bring down the server. I have a cute ass, see. Cute enough to make women scream and grown men cry.

    • Josh Hanagarne July 22, 2009, 8:58 am

      @ We Fly Spitfires. I can’t wait! There are too many servers out there anyways.

  • James Sjostrom July 22, 2009, 8:08 am

    Marie,
    Here is a fact. In order for you body to “burn fat” your body temperature must rise. If your body temperature rises, you will sweat. Find a gym with out mirrors, at least this way you won’t have to see yourself sweat. No one else even cares how much you are sweating, they are too concerned with themselves. I promise!

    • Josh Hanagarne July 22, 2009, 8:57 am

      @James and Marie. No mirrors is the best advice I know.