Emily Abbott Shuts Down Dating App Match Who Said He Prefers a “Real Woman”

Even if you’re a world-class athlete, it’s hard to catch a break on dating apps.

Emily Abbott, a three-time Reebok CrossFit Games athlete and the eighth place finisher at the 2015 Games, is currently single and navigating the waters of online dating apps. Yesterday, she posted a screengrab of a maddening exchange with a man she was matched with.

“Exchange” is probably the wrong word, though — it was a one-sided barrage of body shaming that Abbott, justifiably, is pretty tired of.

She wrote the following on her Instagram and Facebook.

This is the kind of bullsh*t that I have to put up with…this isn’t the first time either. And I know lots of ladies who deal with this kind of bullsh*t too. Be nice to people out there my friends – everyone is fighting a hard battle. Oh yes and this fuels me to train even harder. Thanks Dave for the inspiration! #futureisfemale #f*ckyoudave #woman #crossfit #realwoman

The image quickly went viral and was picked up by The Daily Mail, among other outlets. Abbott — who likes to play up her resemblance to Ygritte on Game of Thrones — is one of the best known names in the sport, and she also played basketball in college and served as captain of the University of Windsor Lancers for two national championships.

In a week that involved an incredible amount of controversy regarding Lady Gaga’s appearance at Super Bowl LI, body shaming is receiving a particularly high amount of scrutiny by strength athletes and trainers both male and female.

It’s a thorny issue that we’ve written on before, and responses to flashpoints like these aren’t always constructive. Many well-intentioned comments on Abbott’s Instagram and Facebook posts aim at reversing the shame back onto the guy, calling him out for having “long hair, trying to look like a chick,” “I’m sure (Emily) likes (her) men to look like men,” and the like.

The guy may have some issues himself for feeling a need to send judgment and shame to a person who didn’t ask for it, and women can obviously be both strong and beautiful. But our interview with Elisabeth Akinwale made us think twice about the idea that negative or positive values should be assigned to a person’s body at all.

In some communities, thin is what you have to be and in other communities, you have to have a fourteen-inch waist and forty-inch hips. I just don’t want any expectations anyway, so I don’t personally promote “Strong Is the New Sexy” or anything like that. It’s anything you want to be! That’s sexy. Just go with that.

The bottom line is that judging a person’s worth based on their bodies is not cool, regardless of fitness level. As far as someone’s value goes, let’s try to keep our focus on strength of character.

Featured image via @abbott.the.red on Instagram.


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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.