Sunday, August 10, 2008

A role model

Photo: David Harry Stewart

This is Cheryl Haworth. According to the NY Times:
Age: 25
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 300 lbs.
Resting Heart Rate: 75 beats per minute
Waist: 50"
Thighs: 32"
Biceps: 17"
Bench Press: 160 lbs.
Squat: 495 lbs.
Vertical Leap: 30"
Body Fat: 28-30 percent
Daily Calorie Consumption: 3,000-4,000
Flexibility: Can do splits both ways

"I started training when I was 13, so almost everything about my body is completely different now. I’m taller and a lot heavier than I was. When I say that my thighs are 32 inches, they’re really hard all of the way around, and my butt is huge from squatting all the time."

According to the Banana Republic website:

According to BR, their largest dresses will only go over this woman's thighs. And their size chart is uncommon only because it goes down to a size XX small.

She's been shut out of polite society. In fact, she's been effectively neutered by society, unable to meet their standards of femininity. Odds are the only clothing she can buy in the marketplace is sweats and t-shirts, if that, and her choices in colors will be white, heather gray, and navy blue. Clothing we consider so indicative of lower status in this society we routinely give it to prisoners to wear.

She's also supposed to be about ready to keel over from heart disease, cancer, and every other ill known to man, according to common wisdom. Although, if you go over to JunkFood Science and actually look at the studies, being heavier actually gives you a better chance of surviving those ills, especially as you age. But why believe actual science when it's soooo obvious she's not healthy.

She's also the #1 weightlifter on the US Olympic team, counting men AND women. She's ranked #3 or 4 in women's weightlifting overall, and stands a good chance of bringing home the gold this year.

I think my friend K is right, I think it has more to do with society still believing that strong =/= feminine, and that body mass = strong.

Go to the NY times slideshow, here, and look at all the different shapes and sizes top athletes come in. Then ask yourself why, as a society, we only consider gymnasts and ice skaters "healthy" and "pretty"

You can learn more about Cheryl here.