Hieu Truong’s previous work for The Toast can be found here.
Most women her age are usually doing weak things, like hugging family members, cooking for large groups of small children, or spending much of their waking hours trying to support themselves financially. This woman is different. She lifts heavy weights. Maybe she lifts more weights than you, presumably male reader of undetermined size and athletic ability. Isn’t that crazy, a mere woman lifting more than you? She must be cheating. Maybe you should make derogatory remarks in the comments section, or speculate whether or not she is using steroids.
“Strong is the new pretty,” she says, as she chalks her hands for her 120lb log clean and press. “However, I have to make sure I’m the old pretty as well or I won’t get any sponsorships or any significant financial support to continue in any sport I love.”
This female lifter is completely unlike the kind of woman you tend to think of when you think of female lifters, because she loves the color pink. She loves the color pink so much that she has painted herself entirely in neon pink prior to a meet, in order to blind the other lifters. Once, she painted the referees in the middle of introductions and was stopped by a weight loader before she got to the meet director.
Many girls her age are usually preoccupied by trivial things, like attracting boys, or following up on the latest celebrity gossip, or doing well in school so they can finally escape the clutches of their overbearing parents. This girl is different. She lifts weights. Doing this very masculine activity makes her 95% more interesting than any other girl her age, aside from all of the girls around the world who work on farms or often carry around their younger siblings or their own children.
“I think it surprises a lot of people to know this about me, but I’m just a girly girl, deep inside,” she gushes, and immediately pulls a 5-year-old girl in pigtails and bedecked in pink tulle out of her stomach to demonstrate. The 5-year-old girl is clutching a doll. Satisfied by this affirmation of femininity, the legions of Kreplath creatures that have been ominously gathering around her slink away to find a new target. Their last target was Serena Williams, who easily beat them all off with her tennis racket.
In response to critiques from both men and women that being strong and showing off one’s muscles was unfeminine, Eleiko Sport USA is announcing a new line of singlets made entirely of lace, tulle, and taffeta, while Rogue is announcing their new line of weight belts, complete with the bedazzled phrase “GIRLY.”
She is a Black woman who lives in the community and lifts a lot of weight, but because she is Black, she’s very definitely not particularly feminine to the assumed audience is (white people) so this is barely worth acknowledging. If she is below the age of 20 or above the age of 50, then the commentary will focus on her age. Let’s ignore the intersections between race and gender and how this might have influenced her experience of the sport. None of this matters, even if she sets a world record or two. It’s just not that interesting unless her interest in lifting is contrasted with perceived femininity.
Part of her pre-meet routine includes a manicure the day before, and an hour carefully doing her makeup. Although this may strike some as unusual for a sport usually associated with large bulky men like Russian Olympian Dmitry Klokov, she explains, “I love looking and feeling pretty when I’m getting ready for my lifts. Also, my mascara is made from purified deer antlers and my foundation is made from elk fur, which are known to add at least 5 kg to each lift.”
Typically, when the average person thinks about women lifting weights, they imagine female bodybuilders with large, bulky muscles. This woman is different: she’s not bulky at all. In fact, she has no muscles at all, and her existence and her ability to lift weights and compete is being investigated by biophysicists as we speak. However, she looks fantastic in haute couture!
Her nemesis is a woman who loves the color grey.
Unlike the large, burly men that are often associated with this sport, this female lifter is small and petite. Granted, this sport has over seven weight classes in the women’s division and other women in her weight class are also of a similar height and build, but they didn’t collect all of the Sparkle Unicorn Shards to rebuild the Adora’s Amulet, which grants +13 Cuteness. Everyone knows that 5 points in cuteness results in additional 10% protection against the Kreplath.
There is a local Asian lifter who can lift more than 10lbs. You might have overlooked her because she is awfully small and petite, and who would’ve thought that she would even be allowed to lift weights? Let’s focus on how small she is, and ignore that she also competes in a sport with weight classes and that she also has competitors of a similar height and build. Or that there are Asian lifters who set world records and dominate weightlifting at the Olympics.
Actually, let’s not. Let’s forget about her altogether and assume she doesn’t exist. The Asian domination of weightlifting at the Olympics doesn’t happen. This article doesn’t exist. Move on.
Unlike the large, burly men that are associated with strength sports, this female lifter is merely an athletically-built woman of above-average height. This is especially strange and surprising observation considering that she competes against other women, not men. Her size makes the large, burly men she trains with highly uncomfortable, but not as uncomfortable as they might be if they knew that she has been collecting bits of their hair, their used lifting chalk, and slivers of their lifting belts. She already knows their True Names, and merely awaits the Harvest Moon to commence with the ritual.
Contrary to the idea of a masculine-looking woman who typically spends her days lifting weights and eating men, this woman with long, flowing hair only eats young boys. Their flesh helped her fend off 15 pairs of possessed scissors. Once she defeated the ur-Scissor, the Avatar of All Split Ends, they gave up their fight and she’s been luxuriating in her soft hair ever since.
Unlike the stereotypes of other women that participating in strength sports, this woman is light-skinned, cisgender, and conventionally attractive. Sure, other lifters may love romantic comedies, design and sew their own clothes, shoulder the primary caretaking of their aging parents, or make less money than their male counterparts, but those traditionally feminine activities can’t easily be captured in a photo nor is it immediately obvious when they lift. Why bother acknowledging it?
Hieu Truong lifts weights on a regular basis, and still trying to find that last shard for her own Adora's Amulet. She can be found tweeting away about niche sports and Neko Atsume at @Hieuzon1st.