By Lisbeth Darsh- Writer, lover, thinker, mom, Words With Lisbeth
Imagine if the world was like this:
Fewer women killed by their spouses or lovers.
More women completing college.
More women earning higher salaries.
Less teen pregnancy.
More girls without bulimia.
More girls without anorexia.
More girls who see themselves as having value outside of their physical attractiveness.
More girls with love and hope and self-worth in their hearts.
More girls who see their future as something they define, instead of something the world defines for them.
Imagine if the world was like this:
How do we get there? Some folks might answer education or money or social programs. Some people may say the answer is stronger families.
But I have a different answer: the barbell.
What? That’s crazy talk, right? How can the barbell help anything outside of strength or fitness? How can the barbell help anything or anyone outside the walls of a gym? How could the barbell ever change lives?
Simple: because it already has.
Take a look around. When women get stronger, our society gets stronger. Our world gets stronger. It doesn’t matter if you powerlift, Olympic lift, do CrossFit, or work out in a regular gym, one fact is clear: when we put barbells in women’s hands, we change them for the better.
What was once scary becomes routine, what was once foreign (“You want me to do what? What’s a power clean?”) becomes familiar -- and, overwhelmingly, what once felt unempowering (“I don’t know how to do that”) becomes empowering -- “Heck, yeah! I just did that!”
All because of the barbell. Sure there are other tools that help anyone (not just women) get strong: dumbbells, kettlebells, sleds, prowlers, etc. But there’s just something about the barbell. Something about holding the cold steel in your hands, something about slipping the weights on the ends, something about pulling this weight -- this bastion of masculinity for so long -- to your shoulders and then pressing it overhead, and then letting gravity do its work as what was up comes down again. Same as life. It’s ritual and symbol and strength -- but it’s also beautiful. Damn beautiful. Same as life.
Most people probably don’t look at a 7-foot piece of steel and think of it as beautiful … but once you do, the world changes simply because you change.
And that’s how you make a difference: the world changes because you change.
Strength becomes natural to you. Effort—and repeated effort—becomes second nature. Self-esteem grows for what you can do, not for just the way you look. And if it can happen for you, it can happen for anyone.
Other things might get you there too, but, just as the barbell has no peer for developing strength quickly, perhaps it also has no peer for developing an athlete’s mind quickly. The barbell is one formidable tool.
Put a barbell in a woman’s hands. Put a (light) barbell in a girl’s hands. Teach them what to do with it. Teach them how strong physically and mentally and emotionally they can become.
Change the world … if you dare.
This article inspired the #gorgogirl movement:
Who is Lisbeth Darsh?
(excerpt from her blog Words With Lisbeth)
Someone who is here to help … really. For years now. Writer, lover, thinker, mom, whatever! What I label myself (or what others label me) is not nearly as important as how I can help you.
I’m big into fitness … for the physical benefits, but for the mental benefits too. When I move my body, my mind moves better all day long. I’m betting you’re the same way, even if you don’t realize it right now. We are not meant to be sedentary animals, yet this is what we have become. I say no more. Get up and move in some way. I used to think it should be CrossFit, but before that I used to think it should be triathlons or cycling. Now, I just want you to do what works for you.
Stuff I’ve done: BA from Vassar College, MA from CSU-DH, former USAF officer, former writing professor, former CrossFit affiliate owner, former CrossFit, Inc. key staffer (I helped build it in the early years), etc — but who cares? What matters is what I’m doing now — and what you’re doing now.
I’m here. You’re here. Read. Explore the archives at Words With Lisbeth. I’ve got a lot to say. I hope something here helps you in some way. And if you need to reach me, click on “Follow Me” in the header. All my contact info is there. Come find me on social media. I think you’ll like what you find.