It was about 27 years ago when mainstream media had its first desirable, strong, fit female role model. We can thank Linda Hamilton's role in Terminator 2: Judgement Day for that. Her lean, sinewy, muscled body became the new physique for women to aspire to and men to find desirable, sexy, and appealing.
When Kerri Keegan started lifting weights in high school, she remembers people telling her “oh, just make sure you don’t get too big.” But she never let it bother her, and she says that she has seen a huge shift in mentality over the past few years. Now the high school girls she coaches say that they don’t want to be skinny. They want abs and muscles. Keegan feels that this is in part due to shifts in marketing, popularity of women’s sports, and the positive image and morals that many elite athletes are promoting. Most women that Keegan talks to now aspire to look like and appreciate the physiques of the elite-level CrossFit women in the sport.
At Wodapalooza, an annual crossfit and fitness festival held in Miami, saw 1,700 athletes and 30,000 spectators gather for the multi-day event. Divisions like the adaptive standing and seated divisions had athletes with prosthetics doing more burpees than most people with all their limbs. The popularity of Wodapalooza attracted female competitors ranging in age from 10 years to 55 years old.
The first ever Wodapalooza was held seven years ago and had a mere 62 female competitors. Now, in 2018, there were 847 women competing from all over the world. That is a 1,282% increase in less than a decade. It is easy to see where the trend in strong and fit women is going.
Although many women still have the irrational fear that weight training equals getting bulky and too big, the recent fitness movement encourages women to be both strong mentally and physically, and it seems that guys are going for it too. In terms of what is attractive, Keegan said, “Guys seem to find it very attractive that I have such an investment in my fitness. Not only in the way it makes me look, but the confidence it gives me, and the dedication and passion that is apparent from training in that capacity. It’s always funny at the gym when I’m at a new place and me a 5 foot 115 lb female is doing 198 lb clean and jerks and squatting the same as a big guy beside me, haha… it always turns into a conversation starter.”