Have you all heard about Olympic weightlifter Zoe Smith? If not, you’re in for a treat. Let’s take a minute and allow this 18-year-old athlete to remind us all why those sexist assholes who want to demean and insult women don’t really matter.
Smith had experienced waves of negative comments and rude insults in the run-up to her Olympic debut. The weightlifter had her appearance and “masculine physique” criticized, at the exact time when people should have been rallying around the athletes who were about to represent their country.
Then, she effectively shut the jerks up when she lifted a combined total of nearly 800 lbs and broke Great Britain’s female weightlifting record. She didn’t get a medal, but the young woman certainly proved her strength and excellence in her sport.
And once she was done kicking ass in the London Games, she took just a minute to let her detractors know this.
“The obvious choice of slander when talking about female weightlifting is “how unfeminine, girls shouldn’t be strong or have muscles, this is wrong”. And maybe they’re right… in the Victorian era. To think people still think like this is laughable, we’re in 2012! This may sound like a sweeping generalization, but most of the people that do think like this seem to be chauvinistic, pigheaded blokes who feel emasculated by the fact that we, three small, fairly feminine girls, are stronger than them …”
Now, take a second and envision a man who talked down to you, who assumed you were weak, who thought that you couldn’t possible handle a big, important man-task on your own. Now imagine saying this to him:
“We, as any women with an ounce of self-confidence would, prefer our men to be confident enough in themselves to not feel emasculated by the fact that we aren’t weak and feeble.”
That feels good, doesn’t it? We should all be thanking Zoe Smith for giving us that feeling. It was nice.
Zoe’s response reminded me about something that I think we don’t consider often enough. These sexist pigs are a dying breed. Sure. there was a time when they were everywhere. But there are fewer and fewer of these insecure men out there. Every day we raise more young men to respect women as equals. Every day the sheer enormity of women’s accomplishments make it more impossible for young men to doubt their strength and capabilities.
There will always be assholes and jerks, but we’re moving past them. Zoe Smith demonstrated just how ridiculous their assertions are.