Women, please, get stronger. #Rippedgoddesses

Who wants to be a ripped goddess? I do, which is why for two weeks now, I have faithfully visited the gym, read articles about strength training, changed my diet and bought a bunch of workout clothes. I have even forced myself to become more sociable, so that my fellow gym goers can teach me proper weight lifting form.

I intend for fitness to be a habit, a lifestyle, as opposed to one-off activities that leave me cursing the day I was born. The goal is for my muscle to develop enough to make me double take every time I pass by a reflective surface + general body strength.

It has been interesting, peoples’ reactions to my ambitions.

My cousin gave me a look that was half pity, half snarl and said, “I hope this phase will pass.”

My friends cheered me on, obviously, because I don’t make friends with idiots.

The men in my life have nodded nervously before shifting the topic to a different subject, but the most interesting of reactions come from strangers, specifically, strange men.

I have been told how a woman with muscle is a man’s greatest fear, how they will run away from me, how women are meant to be soft and fat.

I have been questioned about who exactly I want to beat up, told how I am already hot and that my desire to pack some muscle is an indicator of my low self-esteem.

I have been told how I will look scary and always, always I think, how come these men, strangers at that, are viewing my fitness plan in the light of their desire, or more specifically, how they desire me to look so that “men”, aka they, will find me attractive?

It makes no sense, but that is how women have been looked at for a long time, as mannequins that exist solely for visual, and other kinds of enjoyment. We are to tailor the way we look to society’s expectations, whose plan is to send us into dull unions, from which we shall be expected to pop babies.

I would never consider marrying a man who is threatened by me taking my health and body image into my hands and regardless of how good looking the jama is (and I really like good looking jamas you guys), when he starts to spout nonsense about how I belong in the aerobics section thanks to my being female, I tell him to stop speaking to me because the conversation just ended.

Here are a few reasons why I think every woman should make it a point to get into fitness and become stronger:

Osteoporosis: Strength training reduces your risk of getting osteoporosis, a condition which causes your bones to become weak and leads to fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist. If you don’t want to be as brittle as a pringle when you hit 50, start accumulating bone density now.  

Molestation and rape: One out of every four women around you has been a victim of rape or molestation. One reason that unsavory characters feel it is OK to harass you is because they know they are stronger than you. Men are also routinely encouraged to molest women, by our own leaders. Take for example youth minister Ronald Kibuule who has once again opened his rapey mouth to spew rapey sentiments, like,

“I have talked to the IGP and the police in Kampala to see that if a woman is raped they look at how she was dressed. Most women currently dress poorly especially the youth. If she is dressed poorly and is raped, no one should be arrested,”

Asked to define what amounted to indecent dressing, the minister, who is also Mukono North MP, listed mini-skirts, bikinis and tight jeans.” This is from the Daily Monitor website.

When you can fight back, you are that much safer.

Posture: I don’t know about you, but I want to be walking as straight as a jambula tree at the young age of 95.

Peace of mind: Depression cannot share space with sweat. The more active you are, the more likely you are to feel energetic, motivated, confident, sexy and in control of your life. Take it from a girl who has battled some mean demons. Working out will shoo the black birds away.

One thing women worry about a lot is that when they begin to lift, they will bulk up ala the hulk. Honey that isn’t going to happen. You don’t have the testosterone necessary for that. You’re just going to get super toned and you’re going to feel even more beautiful, stronger, more alive. For more information on that, holla at the Google. 

Check this page out for inspiration: Who wants to be a ripped goddess?

And please sign this petition that is demanding the resignation of Ronald Kibuule. We cannot have rapists in public office. This rape apologist is youth minister. I will not have him as my minister any longer. Sign here: Out with Kibuule


The politics of clothes

I recently read the stories of two young women from Delhi who were brutally gang raped.  They’re both dead now. The 17-year-old committed suicide because of how the police officers handled her case. Apparently, she was told to settle the matter peacefully with her assailants and to marry one of them. I am paraphrasing heavily, so I hope have the gist of it right.

The way I feel reminds me of how shaken I was when Daily Monitor ran a story about how one Ronald Kibuule told youths in Masaka that a law was in the pipeline which would regulate the way women dress. The purpose of this is to avoid rape, apparently.

What utter bum-rash.

From when we are small, we are told in age-appropriate ways that men are sex-crazed dogs that will catch and ‘spoil’ us if we’re not careful. We are also told to view the lecherous comments of men on the street as compliments. Our society is stuck in a mind frame where the body of a woman is hers until a man wants it, and then he can pick from a plethora of justifications for his actions.

This is why a boda man, a wheelbarrow pusher, a douchebag in his SUV all will, without a second thought, comment on what a lady is wearing and if she slaps or spits words of disgust at him, watchers will judge and call her “unladylike”. What do people think? That we women walk around with big shields around our emotions that keep us unaffected by these stupid comments? What kind of society is more inclined to defend a sexual predator and to blame my clothes for his sins against my dignity?

Please. Let’s not get it twisted. Rape existed before the miniskirt. It exists in societies where women are culturally required to cover most of their skin. It exists in societies where people celebrate their nakedness. It exists in Kampala that is a mix of many cultures. A rapist is a rapist and he doesn’t need a trigger to rape.

My miniskirt and low-cut blouse will no doubt cause arousal, but my society should be women-friendly enough to recognize that a man who looks at me and thinks, “must force into sex now” is a devil that deserves the strongest punishment.

Feel free to judge a woman on every other level for wearing what you call ‘skimpy’, but for heaven’s sake do not insinuate that a man who rapes her is justified on any level.

I leave you with two stories. A little friend of mine, all of eight years old, was ‘squeezed’ against her will by a group of boys during a school party. They surrounded her and touched her all over. Now they aren’t adults, but recognize that it is the mindset with which they are being brought up that makes them believe it is normal, even funny to do such a thing. Oh. And she was wearing a big dress with lots of petticoats.

The other story is my own. I was in senior 5, on my way from school. I was wearing school uniform, a grey skirt and a grey sweater. As I was stepping out of the taxi, I felt a weird pressure at breast level. When I looked down,  I found the finger of the now-amused and leering conductor rubbing against my sweater.  I wanted to vomit on his face, cry and to bemusedly comment about it to my friend, all at the same time but ended up not doing any of these things.

This man did not fondle me because of the way I was dressed. He did it because he was a disgusting and disrespectful human being.

Be ashamed, greatly ashamed if you believe that clothes cause rape. You wouldn’t think the same if women began raping men and then insisting that it is their fault for looking so ravishing in trousers.

Look at her! Her joy is encouraging rape! Her knees are sending me a message. They are screaming rape me! Mssswww

Look at her! Her joy is encouraging rape! Her knees are sending rapists a message. They are screaming rape me! Mssswww.