Being the Token Girl in the Weight Room
This year, I became a weightlifter. Sure, it made me stronger. But walking into a gym full of men also pushed me to strengthen my confidence.
Every year, I learn a new skill that’s outside of my comfort zone. It started with ukulele, then skateboarding, even beatboxing.
This past summer, I set my mind on weightlifting. I spent an hour each day working out. Soon, I went from barely completing a push-up to doing several pull-ups.
Then, one day, I went to the gym with classmates. It didn’t surprise me that I was the only girl there. The room was dominated by shouting and weights clanking on metal racks. I felt fragile.
I felt like the odd girl out in this hypermasculine atmosphere. I wondered if I should have instead focused on being lean—like every female model I see.
As I was lifting dumbells, one of my classmates shouted: “Woah, Sarah is actually strong.”
Going to the gym is supposed to be straightforward–something anyone could benefit from. But it isn’t the same for many girls. Unlike the men there, I had to push away female expectations with every weight I lifted.