On Being More Than a Firm Rear End in a Bikini…
The surprising truth that women are motivated by more than a desire for more penis
I wear a lot of different hats as a badass female scientist, but when people ask me what I do, I almost always tell them that I am an “exercise physiologist.” At the core of my science is a desire to understand how we respond to exercise. Some of it is for the sake of curiosity, but exercise is also incredible because it allows us to understand how the body responds normally to extreme stresses — extreme environments, an exceptional increase in blood flow and ventilation, an enormous demand for oxygen, high mechanical loads, elevated nerve trafficking. You get the point. Then, by understanding how the body responds normally to stress, we can start to understand how these processes get derailed by disease.
Even though I am a huge geek about exercise, exercise physiology can be a tough place to be a woman. It tends to draw a lot of ultra macho, male athletes. It can be a pretty testosterone drenched field. More than once have I been at a professional dinner and heard one of my male colleagues make the joke that he knows he should go to work on his “clean and jerk” (a reference to weight lifting) but he’d rather go and work on his “jerk and clean” (a reference to masturbation).
I love exercise for exercise’s sake. That feeling of your heart pounding as you push the edge of breathlessness and your muscles are on the brink of failure is absolute perfection to me. I love to race and I love to see the results of dedication to exercise and nutrition. But, recently I was reminded of why exercise physiology is such a sausage fest.
We’re taught as women that exercise is not an activity to enjoy for its own sake, or a source of intellectual curiosity. We’re not here to get stronger and faster. Exercise is a tool to help us get more penises in us. Allow me to elaborate with an example…
I recently started exercising at a place that focuses on high intensity, shorter duration workouts to build strength and power. The instructors are fantastic and usually great at motivating everyone to find their “beast mode.” But, last week I was at an early morning class doing squats with a group of other women when the male instructor came over and yelled,
Come on ladies. Squat deeper and really focus on your gluts. Think about the part that hangs out of your bikini and what you want your man to be looking at.
Full fucking stop.
There is so much that is amazing about exercise. I could spend hours just pondering the incredible changes in gene expression that happen after a session of squats. Yet, society teaches young women that they should be exercising in order to look good for a man.
Worse, if you’re naturally slim, you’re golden. No need to exercise, even though the scientific literature is teeming with data indicating that exercise is necessary for slim women too, especially as they age.
It’s tough to be a woman who also happens to be a huge geek. Women don’t get to be geeks about things without the assumption that fucking is the core motive for her interest. Like exercise? It’s to look hot in order to bag or keep a man. Interested in video games and computing and cosplay? Well, clearly you’re a siren trying to lure a man into the abyss. We all know that math is not for girls. An ivy league school is a place to hunt for a husband. Sci-Fi? Muscle cars? All reflective of our unsung need for more cock.
Stuff like this makes me want to grab every young girl I find and hug her and tell her to find the joy in the things that she’s passionate about, boys be damned. I hear frequently from my male colleagues that the gender wars are over. Women are getting degrees in science at the same rate as men. Unfortunately, this doesn’t translate to every field. Mathematics, computer science, engineering, and my beloved exercise physiology, to name a few. There’s still a lot of work to be done in these fields to convince young women that they belong.
We older ladies have a duty to talk with these younger women about our loves and our passions, if only to counter the message that certain fields are off limits to them unless they are seeking to get sperminated.