The slogan “strong is the new skinny” has been making the rounds this summer, with mixed results. One blogger embraces this attitude, wishing she’d learned it sooner and saved herself a lot of grief, while another blogger thinks that idealizing strong bodies is the same as idealizing skinny bodies, just with a different image being idolized.
I would advise proceeding with caution, as we shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that being strong carries with it all these positive character traits when in actuality, different people experience strength differently. Some people put on muscle quickly, while others don’t; some people feel pride in their strength, while for others it’s a reflection of a career or hobby (such as mountaineering or rock climbing). And finally, “strength” means different things to different people: to some it might be the ability to crank out push-ups or pull-ups, while for others it might be the ability to go through one’s daily tasks, from opening pickle jars to carrying babies, without fatigue or pain. The more we do to avoid a normative body image that everyone should conform to, the more we support the diversity inherent in humanity.