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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