Being the Token Girl in the Weight Room

by Sarah Ng
Also Featured on KCBS

Being the Token Girl in the Weight Room

by Sarah Ng
Also Featured on KCBS
12.30.18
Photo: John Arano on Unsplash
12.30.18

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.


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