Equality for all body types

by Kenneth Leonard

Class and gender privileges have long been hot topics when discussing oppressed or marginalized groups in society.  Body consciousness is at the forefront of sociological activism and body acceptance is a critical step toward advancement as a culture. Of course, one group in particular is discriminated against more than any other and it needs to stop.

I’m referring, obviously, to swole persons.

You may not be familiar with the swole acceptance movement, so let me explain. Swole acceptance means not systematically reducing swole people to the size of their pectoral muscles or deltoid measurements.  Swole acceptance is abolishing the stigmas surrounding swole persons.  Swole stigma is real, ubiquitous and aggressive.  It has invaded entertainment, science, the media, advertising, business, education, dating/love/sex/marriage, travel, academia… The list goes on, but you get the idea.

As a swole American, it’s not unusual for me to be publicly swole-shamed.  People have openly asked me what supplements I take or where the best gyms are.  Do they have any idea how offensive this is?  Oh, because I’m swole, I must just automatically know where the best gyms are.  Do these people walk up to random Mexicans and ask where the best taco shops are?  I certainly hope not.

I can’t go to the grocery store and buy protein bars without ending up on the receiving end of judgmental glances as I push my meat-laden cart down the aisle.  I’ve also been a victim of swolestation.  People seem to assume that because I have big arms I should be groped, and that by wearing a tank top in public I’m somehow “asking for it.”

Oh, and good luck trying to find clothing as a swole person.  Many times, my swole brothers and sisters have found themselves in fitting rooms, struggling to pull a pair of jeans up over their massive quads, lamenting the current trend toward skinny jeans.  Fashion trends push swole persons to the very fringes of society by subliminally shaming them for their size.  If you’re a small person, you can always move up in size, but there is no hope for the swole.  It’s not like we can make small clothes bigger.

Swole persons are frequently victimized by vicious stereotypes.  Slurs such as “meathead” are tossed around with no regard for the lasting damage caused by such abusive language.  Swole people aren’t dumb, but for reasons I don’t fully understand, the media continuously portrays us as unintelligent or somehow mentally deficient because of our size.  In the workplace, we are always the ones asked to replace the jug at the watercooler or carry boxes.  Our coworkers may not even realize when their prejudices are revealed.  They’ve been trained by our swole-shaming culture to judge us by our bodies.

Even our families don’t necessarily know how to relate to us.  I remember the first time my mother walked in on me doing curls in my room.  We were both so embarrassed.  Things only got worse when she found my stash of muscle magazines under my mattress.  She just couldn’t understand.  It’s like she thought swole was something I decided to become, instead of realizing it’s just who I am inside.  This is a common misconception.  We can’t just stop being swole any more than a person can change sexual orientation or skin color, and it’s deeply offensive to imply that swole is merely a lifestyle choice.

So, at this point, if you are non-swole, transswole or just a little bicep-curious, you may be wondering what the do’s and don’ts are when interacting with swole persons.  First of all, don’t act surprised when you find out a swole person is intelligent or articulate.  Second, don’t make generalizations.  If you look at a swole person and say something such as, “That guy must work at GNC,” you’re perpetuating the cycle of swole-shaming, even if you’re just kidding.  Try to avoid statements implying people shouldn’t be swole, or that smallness is something to be desired.  For example, saying, “I just don’t understand why someone would get so big” is the type of judgmental statement a swole person just doesn’t need to hear.  Swole isn’t some horrible thing people should avoid.  The only thing people should avoid is dumping more shame on the broad shoulders of the swole community.

Hopefully you’re now aware of the swole persons’ plight.  It’s time for swole discrimination to end and for non-swoles to realize swole persons are simply people, too.

The bottom line is this: No matter what your level of swole is, remember to love yourself for who you are and don’t accept negativity from outside sources.  Love your swole, people.