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An Open Letter to That 'The Bachelorette' Jerk Hating On Strong Women

Dear Chad,

I'm writing because I'm not sure you totally understand the scope of the words you tweeted last night. Need a refresher? Last night, you tweeted a plea to all "girls" to "stop doing Crossfit" because "powerlifter bodies are not sexy." Also, all guys apparently agree with you on this opinion, so you signed it "all dudes." This disgusting comment spread like wildfire across the Internet—and then you deleted the tweet. But, you know, screengrabs are a thing.

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As an active member of the fitness social media community, we are not pleased with your comment, Chad. (Okay, not pleased is an understatement.) I hope you don't mind me clearing up some problems with your declaration.

CrossFit and powerlifting are not the same thing
This is hardly the point, but let's clear up the basics first. CrossFit is a fitness phenomenon that incorporates interval training, Olympic lifting, gynmastics, and other elements of fitness into a series of high-intensity workouts. Conversely, powerlifting is a standardized sport of three barbell lifts—the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift. If you're going to throw shade, at least get it right.

We don't all lift for looks
As a competitive powerlifter, I've competed on regional and national platforms within USA Powerlifting. I currently train at Total Performance Sports in Malden, Mass., where I've met incredibly strong women—of all shapes and sizes, BTW—who blast the stereotype that "lifting = manly" every time they pick up a barbell. Training and competing in powerlifting has taught me that strength is a powerful tool and can be used in so many aspects of life outside of the gym—why should men be the only ones who get that benefit?

What's "sexy" is subjective
My fiancé very much disagrees with your statement, Chad. As someone who's been in a relationship for over six years with a man who has loved me at 211 pounds, 134 pounds, and everywhere in between, "sexy" doesn't always describe a person's exterior (and even then, it's still totally subjective). Confidence and internal strength play a pretty big role when it comes to sex appeal too. And if lifting were somehow objectively unsexy, I'm still not sure I'd stop. (See "we don't all lift for looks.")

Lifting is empowering
Speaking of confidence, powerlifting has completely changed my outlook on life, and it gave me strength I never knew I had. If you had told me five years ago I would be 65 pounds lighter and picking up barbells for fun, I would have laughed in your face. I've been bullied because I was fat, and thanks to comments like yours, I've been bullied because I am strong. I'm proud of my accomplishments, and I'm proud of my body. Nothing you (or anyone) say will diminish that, but I really wish you wouldn't try to.

We don't lift so you can look at us
Frankly, Chad, when you said that "powerlifting bodies are not sexy," I just had to stop and laugh. I don't lift for you—I lift for me. And while I love how my body looks when I lift, that's not my main goal in working out. I lift to feel strong and empowered, not to be something you like to gaze at.

You can't stop us from getting stronger
If you search #TryAgainChad on Twitter, you'll see thousands of women who love the fact that fitness and strength training is a part of their lives. If I want to deadlift 300 pounds, I can and will. I don't need your approval, and it doesn't make me any less sexy.

All I ask of you, Chad, is that you either listen to us or stop talking. If you cannot wrap your head around the fact that strong women don't work out for your personal pleasure, please do us all a favor and remove yourself from this conversation. We didn't want you here anyway.

Sincerely Signed,

Alyssa Frey, a bunch of female strength athletes, and everyone who is tired of being body shamed

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