Skip to main content

Review: Strong!

Cheryl Haworth isn't just strong, she was the youngest athlete to win an Olympic weightlifting medal.

The documentary, Strong!, follows Haworth as she recovers from a frightening injury. But what made this story poignant was how weight, femininity and beauty are discussed. 

At one point, Haworth and two other women who weight-lift discuss what it means to larger than average and it was heartbreaking. Haworth recounts that during the 2000 Olympics a man asked her to pose with a cheeseburger. Now imagine me in my living room yelling, "REALLY?!" Haworth and the other women talk about how they are athletes and thus watch what they eat. But at 300 lbs, Haworth looks more fat than strong to most people.

And that conflict between loving her strong body and conforming to society's beauty standards plays out during a shopping trip where Haworth voices her displeasure with even finding clothes in her size. "I find solace knowing I could beat up anyone in this store," she remarks as her friend scours for the elusive size.



Later on in the documentary, Haworth ponders her future career choices, one of which is being in the Coast Guard. Which would require her to lose 110 pounds. This ignites more conversation about Haworth's body image where she admits to wanting to lose weight for vanity's sake. Haworth's struggle against beauty standards seems similar to current USA Olympian Sarah Roble not being valued by companies who usually gobble up young Olympians for endorsement deals.

Strong! is an intriguing peek into women's weightlifting and does a great job at the body image issue. Together this is a documentary well worth your time. It premiered on PBS in late June, so check your local listings for when it will reair in your area or perhaps it still hasn't shown on your local station.

Disclaimer: I received a review DVD of this documentary.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Is there love after abortion?

Over two years ago , way before I started writing for Girl w/Pen, Alison Piepmeier wowed me with an essay about getting an abortion and how her decision made with her husband was a love story : ...the story I most want to tell—and one I have never heard—is of abortion as an intimate part of a couple’s life together.  Our abortion was a love story. I’d worried that Walter and I were rejecting a gift from the universe.  What I discovered, though, was that when we stripped away the distractions of everyday life so that we could make this difficult decision together, it bound us together as surely as if our choice had been different—and as it turns out, that was the gift. Every once in awhile their story returns to me. I often don't know why it stumbles into my brain and says, "Hey! Ponder me!" but it does. This morning it returned to me yelling, "Why?!" I was half-listening to WBEZ's 848 and some story about a man running away from his life. Original, I kn

Book Review: Wolfpack by Abby Wambach

Less than a year ago, Abby Wambach took the stage at Barnard's commencement and gave a speech that shook many, including myself, to the core . Her speech went viral and I made the above image in order to share the highlights of her speech. Earlier this month Abby released the speech in book form. Wolfpack : How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game is short (less than 100 pages) but is much more than just her speech . You get a peek into how the speech came together and why she said everything. And because the book is short and is an expanded speech, it moves quickly. I feel that it moves with the same ferocity that Abby use to move down a soccer field. And you might find yourself cheering as she takes you through the story. Abby has always been one of my favorite players. The way she ran amok on the pitch was exactly the way I felt I played sports. Never caring how you looked and giving it your all. Leaving it all on the field. When she retired from socc

Chicago Women Who Owned 2015

When I asked social media which Chicago women kicked ass in 2015, I got a list far too long to do justice. I also realized how many of my lady friends kick ass every day, but it's a constant kicking of the ass, not a lot of headline kicking. Ya know what I mean? So I tried to make this list a mix of Chicagoans who had some headline kicks and some who kick ass every day and deserve a shout out. Let's get started, shall we? Photos from social media or public domain pages Luvvie Ajayi Luvvie did my job and summed up her amazing year herself! I love it when women do that. Yes, let's take a moment to reflect on our accomplishments and dance at our own parties. Luvvie makes us laugh, even when we want to cry. She pushes us to be active, even down to our shoes. You'll never laugh so hard when learning so much than when you are in a meeting with her. From hanging with celebs to her epic travel schedule, Luvvie definitely owned 2015. Charlene Carruthers Carruther