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When James Brown said this was a man's world, he must have known a thing or two about the fitness industry. Primarily dominated by men, this industry is crawling with amazing girls who lift, including female trainers, fitness instructors, nutritionists, and physique competitors. Yet female bodybuilding did not emerge until the late 1970s when Henry McGhee stumbled upon the striking realization that women's bodies were also worthy of being recognized for the results of hard work and training.

Something about seeing a woman with muscles gets people all riled up, and instigates irrationally strong reactions that make a person wonder: what are you really upset about? The fact that a female body, that does not conform to societal expectations, often elicits guttural shock, or disapproval from the “general public" seems a little bit warped, considering that we completely accept muscular physiques on men.

There is clearly an expectation that femininity look a certain way, but if a rose really smells as sweet by any other name (and let's face it, it does) then why can't a woman have both her femininity and her physical strength? Is our notion of what it means to be a real woman so old fashioned that we revert back to our primal ideas of what women should emulate when confronted with girls who lift?

Girls who lift are dominating the era and flaunting their right to seek gains in weight rooms all over the world. Yet, the vast majority of women represented at fitness trade-shows and competitions are scantily clad booth girls! And we don't have to tell you twice that the women depicted in popular media are generally slender and frail. Where are all the female bodybuilders?

For many up-and-coming women in the industry, physique competitors like Dana Linn Bailey are paving the way to the promised land, in which girls who lift are seen as beautiful and strong, despite their flirtations with the alleged line between “feminine" and “masculine."

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What does it mean to be feminine? Why are girls who lift constantly ridiculed for being too big or too small?? How has thigh gap become worthy of having its own Instagram? Why would women rather be skinny than strong? Is strength really such an inherently masculine trait that we become uncomfortable when faced with a woman who can outlift a man?

Once you start asking yourself where these societal constructs (and that's all they are: constructs) stem from, it becomes clear that the gender stereotypes we mindlessly uphold are hurting us more than we realize.

Girls who lift may think that their relationships with their bodies are only impacting themselves, but they are unknowingly leaders of a larger movement. They are the voices that refuse to stay quiet in the face of stereotype and traditional expectation.

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Girls who lift are no longer afraid to show the world that there is more to being a real woman than what meets the eye. Strength, beauty, confidence and determination are defining characteristics of the modern woman and it's about time the world accepts it. It may be a man's world, Mr. Brown, but “it would be nothing without a woman or a girl."

This post about badass girls who lift has been brought to us by 6 Pack's social media maven Jade. Check out Jade's interviews with Firefighter Trent Vann, 6 Pack's Geoffrey Clausen on how to meal prep with the if it fits your macros diet and Maribel Lalanne on how to love your body, as well as her posts on being proud to prep and how to build muscle as a vegetarian. Browse our meal management systems, gym totes, gym backpacks, and more to find the perfect 6 Pack Bag for you!

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