All Girls Are Weak

Meet Anna Watson. She is a junior at the University of George, an exercise and sports medicine major, and an avid church member. One could say Anna is strong; she is able to bench press 155 lbs., squat 255 lbs., bicep curls with 35 lbs., and dead lift 230 lbs. Many look at this picture and automatically think: steroids, because a girl couldn’t possibly be that strong; well, they’re wrong. Anna is completely natural, in fact, a prospective company wanted her to put on an additional 50 pounds with the assistant of a supplement and she refused to.

Through the different components of communication we notice certain practices and habits. One solid practice our entire society has is to generalize and stereotype. It’s hard, I will admit that; since beginning my time in the communication program, and these nasty habits being brought to my attention, I’ve really tried to stop myself. How does this relate to you? Think about everyday conversations with friends at school. A prime example is conversation at d-hall; watch what you say next time. It’s almost a guarantee that from people watching that you will generalize or stereotype one person. I’m not saying this is on purpose at all; I feel horrible when looking back, however, generalizing has become almost second nature in our society. Anna faces this problem every game day when displaying her “masculine” body. People will automatically assume that because she doesn’t look like a “natural” or “regular” cheerleader that she is on stevedores or possibly a different gender. This generalizing or assuming could also be seen as “symbolic interactionism”.

Symbolic Interactionism is “individuals learn to participate competently in their society and to share its values through communication with others.” (Wood, 2003) Through symbolic interactionism, girls are usually taught through their peers and family members the usual practices of a young lady. (i.e. be “lady like”, play with dolls, and wear pink) “Symbolic interactionism makes it clear that the process of defining a personal self is inevitably a social process that reflects the views of others we have incorporated into our own perspectives.” (Wood, 53) The beautiful thing about Anna though is that she doesn’t care! She admits that it’s not exactly easy but she’s happy doing exactly what she’s doing. ‘”It was hard for a girl, because psychologically, you’re like, ‘I don’t want to gain any weight, whether it’s muscle or not,’ Waston said. “And a lot of girls and even a lot of people [in] in society look down on girls with a lot of muscle…”‘ (Glaser, 2012) Anna is fighting against stereotypes daily, and the amazing thing is that she’s in love with her body, even if it is considered extremely “masculine”.

Anna is a successful athlete. She has been involved in two different sports her entire life: gymnastics and cheerleading. I find this amazing that she continues to be apart of the University of Georgia cheerleading squad even though she may be criticized for her physique. She is not only a physically strong woman, however, she is also a very strong woman emotionally wise. Anna is proof that yes symbolic interactionism is everywhere, however, not everyone is extremely influenced by it. Anna Watson is a beautiful woman, on the inside and out.

Resources:

Glaser, L. (2012, January 26). Cheerleader not defined by physique. redandblack.com. Retrieved from http://redandblack.com/2012/01/26/cheerleader-not-defined-by-physique/

Wood, J. (2003).  Communication, gender, and culture. Chapel Hill, NC: Thomson Wadsworth

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One Response to All Girls Are Weak

  1. Greg Thorpe says:

    I thought that your use of symbolic interactionism was a great theory to use in order to explain how Anna Watson learned how to be herself and to ignore the possible ridicule she may or may not have had to endure because of her “masculine” body. The fact is society does have a perfect mold that it views women should fit into, and Anna certainly does not fit. It’s fantastic that Anna is “in love with her body” and doesn’t care about what society’s norms are. It is refreshing to hear a story of someone who is breaking past the common ideology of wanting to “fit in,” dress like everyone else, like the same movies and music as everyone else, and even make the same diet and exercise choices as everyone else.
    It is interesting that Anna’s masculine body ever came to be, considering that her day-to-day interactions for most of her life were probably with a majority of other females. I can infer this because if she made a division I college cheer leading squad, she’s probably been cheering with other girls for most of her life. Assuming this is true, Anna contradicts the social-learning theory, in which a child develops his or her personality based on imitating others and analyzing feedback from others about their own behavior. It is interesting that Anna could not only break through the societal norms that are all around her, but also prove to be a unique in that she contradicts this theory of development.

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