Guest Post: A Mountain, a Bird, and Misogynist Discourse

Guest post by the wonderful Jennifer.  (FYI: Sassy Femme or SF and TT were our 2 friends that did Ironman Wisconsin with us in ’08)

A Mountain

As Sassy-Femme noted, we rode up Mt. St. Helen’s to get our climbing legs on. For me, the ride was great for many reasons:  1) SF and TT (their longest and steepest ride ever) showed incredible endurance and mental toughness getting up to the top of that ride;   2) it was beautiful and you could see the mountain (which is more often than not, not the case);   3) i was riding with my sweetie who has a depth of stamina that bouys and astounds me; 4) TT followed her intuition and her body so that we all stayed safe, healthy, and happy; and 4) i felt really strong.

I am excited about the bike portion of the triathlon and know that Meg and I will have a strong race. We plan on doing the entire race together, pushing and/or pulling each other to the finish. When Meg did her first IM two years ago, I saw a couple doing the whole thing together and it was just really sweet and powerful to watch them support each other through the physical, emotional, etc. ups and downs of the race. The race as a metaphor is not lost on me.

A Bird:

Update on Jeoff, who we are now simply calling the Roadrunner because I don’t know how to pronounce both of the F’s in his name: We went back to his spinning class last week, even though I had not forgiven him for smiting my compliment. Meg decided that the Roadrunner must be loved for his performance and not for his interpersonal skills. He should be watched and not spoken to. He should be theatrically enjoyed and not befriended. Sage advice…so I will be content to spin my little legs off and simply bird watch.

Misogynist Discourse:

I have an issue with my body….have since I was a kid and I come by it honestly. My mother thought she had a “weight problem” as did both of my grandmothers….perhaps their mothers before them. Shocking! A woman, with a hang-up about weight? Really, in this country?

Yes, as trite and platitudinous (so not a word) as it is…I have always struggled with my body image. Now, I have been thin, chubby, awkward and round, curvy, muscular, lean, flabby, and somewhat overweight…but always powerful, athletic, and able to take up physical space. Through all of those shapes I have thought the same thing: “I am fat. I am not what a woman should be. I am not what a woman should look like. I am fat.”

OK people….i have internalized this misogynistic discourse not only at the hands of my mother and my mother’s mother and her mother’s mother’s mother. Notice how we hold the women responsible for perpetuating misogyny. This fat discourse is really a U.S. fairy tale and not the good pro-woman kind like where….hmmm….are there good pro-woman fairy tales?

So, I learned this disgust for my body, my fat, my “bigness,” and I continue to struggle to find both my strength and my beauty. As a kid, I thought that I was in the wrong kind of body because I loved baseball, basketball, running around, getting dirty, climbing trees, digging holes, making forts. I learned my gendering properly and thought there was something wrong with my “girl-ness.” I was that girl that everyone called tomboy and I mostly wore the label with pride. But, I thought inside, “I’m not what a girl should be…and I’m fat.” I know this is not a unique story…I think in some regard that is exactly my point. It isn’t unique because the misogynist discourses surrounding gender and weight are pointed and purposeful, these discourses police us. Yeah, yeah…Judith Butler says it better…so go read her blog.

You know what….now that I’m into this discussion this far….I don’t have the wherewithal to continue. I think my point is….I continue to struggle with this…even though my body is going to move 140.6 miles in one day in three different kinds of events and sometimes all I can think about is how fat I might look in the damn wetsuit.

more on this later….i will just continue to subvert these discourses even as they inhabit my body.

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