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.