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With the CrossFit Games happening this weekend, it seemed like a good time to look back and reflect on the more subtle effects a year and a half of crossfit has had on me. One unexpected benefit was that my perception of women’s bodies has changed drastically!

Andrea Ager There was a time when I would have agreed that yeah, it’s totally possible to become “too bulky” as a woman. And I probably would have argued that the veiny forearms, bulging quads and trunk-like cores of the Games’ top competitors like Andrea Ager would fall well within that category.

Lifting weights has given me an appreciation of the effort and dedication those muscles represent on a girl. It means she’s developed some steely mental fortitude, she’s set goals and pushed through them, she’s failed and bounced back. It means she’s fought stereotypes and championed above the prevailing opinion. I know how much work goes into it, having been through some of it myself, and I respect the shit out of her success. A muscular build is a thing of beauty to me now, not repulsion.

That being said, it’d be cool to see some more representation of muscular women in media. If this is the build we can expect from someone who makes fitness a living, why shouldn’t we see it in most of our female characters (fighters, action-adventure heroines, platforming protagonists)?

Why is it that our fantasy heroines aren’t even as badass as the ones we have in real life?

laras2 There’s been a movement towards “more realistic” and that works pretty well for some characters like Chell or Zoey who are supposed to be ordinary people in extraordinary situations.

The quest for realism has brought Lara’s boob size down and made her look more interesting, for sure. But why are her arms so small? If her life revolves around shooting, climbing, and generally vaulting herself around, shouldn’t she look like she can knock out a few dozen pull-ups with ease?

(I don’t mean to pick on Lara too much here, but it’s hard to pick out recent examples of females who are supposed to be physically strong. Zero Suit Samus, Jill Valentine, Faith from Mirror’s Edge, Eva from MGS3, Purna from Dead Island for a handful of others.)

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