Be Well: Where did the shirts go?

Image sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Given that I write about working out and weightlifting in particular once a week, I find myself searching for stock photos of women exercising quite frequently. I'm constantly typing things like "woman lifting weights" or "woman exercising" into Google or Pinterest to find quality photos that I can use on this blog.

Thanks to the tons and tons and tons and TONS of photos on the internet, image searches are generally highly successful. However, I think searching for classy images of women working out is a major exception to that rule. Week after week I find myself asking the same question: "Why are none of these women wearing shirts? (Or for that matter, appropriate-length shorts?)"

Maybe it sounds like I'm joking, but I'm serious - WHY is it so impossible to find photos of women lifting weights where they are wearing something more than a sports bra? For real, how many of y'all default to working out in only a sports bra? Like two of you? And when you wear only the sports bra, do you also only wear teeny tiny shorts? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Here's the most ironic thing of all: several of these half-naked photos have sayings printed on them (on Pinterest, at least) touting the importance of health over being skinny. Does ANYONE look at the pictures above and actually believe that? To me, all these pictures are saying is that weight lifting is worth it because it can make you thin. It's not worth it because it will make you healthier, happier, or stronger. No, if we only photograph women lifting weights when they have their shirts off, I'm pretty sure we're saying that flat abs make it worth it. Not a longer life.

All of this is to say that I sometimes find myself completely overwhelmed by how every media outlet out there completely distorts why lifting weights is so important for women. It's NOT because it gives you toned limbs and tight abs, although that is a benefit. It IS important because it will strengthen your skeleton, help protect you from injury, and keep you mobile for much more of your life. I write and write and write about weightlifting not because I care about the flatness of your abs, but because I truly believe in its intrinsic health benefits. The extrinsic stuff is just the icing on top.

So please...do me a favor and don't repin exercise photos of women wearing no clothing. We're better than that.

Stay clothed, and have a great Wednesday!