Ms S

I’m 54 and a woman. I’m also a decent power lifter-elite standard for my weight. When I’m in the gym with my (young, male) training partner everyone gets out of our way, it’s nothing but respect. When I’m on my own, which is most days and I ask to share a lifting station with a man I’m frequently turned down, or I find that the equipment I need to use has been moved and not put back. I get stared at, and it’s not friendly, it varies from ‘I can’t believe she can do that’ to ‘I want her to leave’. Or there’s the questions-both to me and to my husband about who wear the trousers (obviously we both do, also shorts). I’ve been told the weights section of the gym is ‘for men’ and that ‘proper girls only come to the gym to make their arses bigger’.
As far as I’m aware I can lift and press more than any other person, male or female in the place and yet every day I go in to train alone I’m made to feel like I don’t deserve to be there. I do all I can to encourage and support the other women who come in, but in spite of the fact I hardly have bulging muscles I have been told, by other women that weight training will make them bulky and unattractive to men-something which is untrue. Most days it’s all fine with me, some days, like today I just hate it. Why does everyone want women to be weak, quiet and decorative? Being strong in body feels great! But it’s a joy being denied to women because of an outright lie.