A discussion on the double standards that exist between men and women when it comes to fitness, diet, and lifestyle.
There are obvious differences between men and women in society. The way we act, the way we dress, the way we interact with each other! And with all these differences come some double standards.
For instance, men are said to get better with age, while women are called menopausal and moody anytime after 30. Women are revered for their ability to empathize and feel emotion, while men are often ridiculed for it. It’s acceptable for women to be stay-at-home parents, but people turn their noses up at men who forgo their careers in exchange for a family-oriented life. Men can walk around without tops, and women…well we aren’t allowed to be as “free”.
These are just examples of course! And I’m sure there are some better ones out there.
One that I don’t think is considered very often though, is the double standard when it comes to men and women exercising.
Now what exactly do I mean by this?
Well, have you ever noticed how people are so quick to make a comment to a women about time spent in the gym, a lack of a rest day, or their workout intensity? People are so quick to pass judgment, make assumptions, and be outright critical!
I mean I am sure we’ve all done it…myself included. You’ve looked at a person’s (more specifically a woman’s!) daily mile/strava account, workout Instagram picture, or exercise-focused blog post and started to draw conclusions or make assumptions on them based on what it was. But a man’s? Most people just overlook.
So what that they’re at the gym for 4 hours, only eat chicken breast and eggs whites all day, and shape their life around diet and exercise (extreme examples obviously…but still!)…no one bats an eye.
But with women, especially in the HLB (healthy living blog) world…as soon as their workout routine seems a little different or their diet changes slightly, everyone is quick to put in their two cents.
“Are you trying to lose weight?”
“Why don’t you take more rest days?”
“You aren’t eating enough!”
“Why are you eating paleo now?”
“Oh, you’re gluten-free?”
And my all time favorite…
“I’m worried about you.”
Thanks but no thanks for the fake ‘sympathy’.
Sorry gentlemen, but you have it easy in this respect. Maybe its because women are more associated with things like eating disorders, over exercising, and unhealthy “health” practices…but in all honesty, men are just as susceptible to these issues! The way people perceive them in men and women, however, differs.
From what I’ve seen, especially in the blog world, people rarely question men’s eating habits and fitness regiments (no matter how extreme they are in reality), but with women, it’s a constant game of comparison and judgment.
It’s as if we feel the need to constantly be monitoring each other or making sure no one gets the one up on us. But frankly I think the constant commenting on other people’s routines (especially other women’s exercise and eating habits) is a sign of insecurity within ourselves. Like we feel the need to be aware and involved in what other people are choosing or doing at every moment of the day.
I usually don’t like to buy into the whole stereotype that men are more easy-going than women, but in this case, I think a guy’s carefree attitude could be a positive. Not only do people in general not seem to pay much attention to guys fitness regimes, but you don’t see a lot of guys making critical comments on other peoples health routines in general.
It’s great to have camaraderie and a good support system in the health and fitness community. However, when people begin to but in and give ‘advice’ where it not necessarily wanted (or NEEDED), it’s time for us all to take a step back and reevaluate why we are putting so much stock into other people’s choices.
At some point, I think we all have to accept that what works for some doesn’t work for others and that we are all individuals. It’s time to be more mindful of ourselves and our own lives instead of being so preoccupied with others. Of course, offering someone encouragement and positivity is awesome and a great way to build a relationship…but in some instances we seem to be getting a little to wrapped up in other people’s lives.
Do you think men have it easier when it comes to being criticized for lifestyle choices (especially those related to health and fitness)?
When is it appropriate to make a comment of ‘concern’ to someone about their health or fitness regiments?
Do you think women pay more attention to other people’s workouts/eating habits more than men?
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