Women.

If you haven’t seen Nike’s recent “Dream Crazier” campaign, stop immediately, open another tab, YouTube that shiz and come back to me when you’re done.

Up to speed? Great, now we can talk about it. And it’s important that we do talk about it, just like it was important that we talked about why we opened a women’s only gym (have a listen to the podcast here).

We’ve had a few men question the validity of why we needed our own gym.

If we want to be treated equally, shouldn’t we just train with men? Aren’t we all the same?

In short, no, we’re actually not, but I’ll elaborate...

It’s mind blowing to me that in 1967, a woman was dragged out of the Boston Marathon. Only men were allowed to take part in the event. Why?

Because at that time, women were considered too fragile to run the distance.

This was only 52 years ago, let that sink in.

It took another five years (1972) for women to be officially allowed to compete.

It wasn’t until 1997 that a women’s weightlifting bar was even made, and it wasn’t until 2000 that women were allowed to compete in weightlifting at the Olympic Games.

BUT, it’s gotten a whole lot better since then.

The rise of Crossfit in circa 2007 (although it actually started in 2000) coupled with our daily (hourly, let’s be honest) exposure to fitness accounts on social media, has us seeing more women in the gym, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting and crossfitting.

We’re seeing strong, athletic women getting under the barbell and lifting insane amounts of weight, that you’d think was impossible if you weren’t watching it happen.

If you’ve been following the Arnold Sports Festival this week, you might have seen powerlifter Stefi Cohen back squat 225kg, at under 56kg body weight. That’s four times her bodyweight. Absolutely phenomenal!

It’s sparked something in women around the world, with female participants in strength based sports increasing each year, and it’s incredible to be a part of… but it’s a far cry from where it should be.

We still have gender pay gaps in professional sport, we still have sports presented to us as ‘masculine’ e.g. football and ‘feminine’ e.g. figure skating, and we still don’t have as much media representation for women’s sports as we do for men’s.

We still have incredible female athletes who should be celebrated for their achievements, being critiqued on their appearance, on their outfit choices, on their displays of emotion.

We are still, to a degree, treating women with remnants of the same outdated views that were imposed on them 50 years ago.

“She looks too masculine”

“She’s strong, for a girl”

“A woman can’t lift more than a man”

“That’s a men’s sport”

Sound familiar? Maybe you’ve heard these words being thrown around, maybe you’ve even thought them yourself.

When the media does give coverage to female athletes, their achievements are devalued by focusing on their appearance, questioning their femininity and expecting them to smile, and be pleasant, never unhappy, not too emotional.

If this is all we are exposed to, if all we ever see is elite female athletes being torn down for their appearance, and continuing to be viewed as inferior to male athletes, how can we ever feel like we are enough?

How can we ever reach our full potential?

If all we will ever know is that our athletic success is conditional to our obligation to maintain our ‘femininity’, to meet societal expectations of what a woman should look like and how she should act, how can we ever truly be equal?

Look, it’s not that I don’t like men, it’s not that I think women can’t train with men and hold their own, I LOVE that Crossfit has opened the door for women and men to be seen as equal training partners, doing the same movements and training at the same intensities.

BUT I also know that men have always known their potential, their power, their ability, and their strength. They haven’t spent the last 50 years sitting in the bleachers and slowly piece by piece earning their right to express their fitness. Men have never been told what they can’t do and they have never been limited by societal expectations of how to look and how to act, the way women have.

Women are the ones who now need our help to discover their power, to understand that they are equally capable and that the only standards they need to uphold are the standards they set for themselves.

Women for the most part, still aren’t aware of what their bodies can do. They need female athletes who are unafraid and unapologetic, to show them that their bodies are designed for more than being desirable to the opposite sex, and until the world stops diminishing female athletic achievements and undermining women’s potential - Women of Treign is stepping in.

We’ve created more than just a gym.

We are helping women feel understood and celebrated for who they are, irrespective of appearance, and we are creating some strong, bad-ass motherf*ckers.

We are teaching women to own their space in this world.

Melanie Corlett