Pretty Strong

by Lauren on September 1, 2011

I was stunned. That was the only way to describe my reaction when reading an article in Men’s Journal about giving commands to a dog. It suggested leaning forward when giving a command, in order to communicate leadership. Confidence. The author then wrote, “…consider it practice for your next big boardroom pitch.”

Pause for a moment. Ladies, how often do magazines or journals mention preparing us for the boardroom? In my infrequent perusing of magazine stands, the takeaways are different. We’re taught abdominal exercises in order to look good on the beach – Men’s Journal might say, “for a better spike in beach volleyball.” We tone our upper arms to make them more “sexy.” Why not in order to throw a better punch? Or to pick up the kids all day, more easily?

What I like about the following ad from Under Armour is the strength of the women portrayed. It features Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, soccer star Lauren Cheney, and Olympic track idol Monica Hargrove:

These women are attractive to me because they are strong. In many magazines geared toward women, strength and confidence are secondary to the superficial. Being beautiful, we are told, will make us confident. But does it? Deeply and truly?

In many ways, one might argue that looking good is inextricably linked to success in the corporate world. In the boardroom, sure. I, for one, am a fan of high-heeled shoes. They’re arranged neatly next to my hiking boots… Moreover, not all women’s magazines subscribe to this idea of a focus on the superficial. Take Women’s Adventure, for example, which encourages active gals to have fun adventures in the outdoors.

Imagine the world we might live in if women-focused media taught practical things, like how to swing an axe (also seen in Men’s Journal). And then getting a manicure. What if it were common knowledge that beach weather = kayaking weather? I am not suggesting a dependence on media to realize our personal strength. Rather, I imagine it as enforcing the values we already own.

What would this world look like? My guess is there might be more women in the boardroom. I’ll think about it some more while climbing my next mountain.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous September 1, 2011 at 10:38 pm

You go girl!!! If women can fly into outer space, they can conquer the boardroom — and lift those babies with strong arms.

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@jessicamacho September 15, 2011 at 7:28 pm

This post really resonates with me. I yearn for the day when women's magazines and media promote strength and function before beauty. After all, is strong not implicitly beautiful?! Some media-outlets (like your blog and Women's Adventure, Under Armour and Nike) are paving the way and for that I am grateful!

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