Aly Raisman Is Proving Boys Who Said She Was "Too Muscular" WAY Wrong
The gymnast was just named as the new face of lingerie brand Aerie's body-positive movement.
At 23, Aly Raisman is a gold-medal winning Olympic gymnast, with several big endorsements with brands like Reebok under her belt. Beyond that, she's become a fierce advocate for body positivity and sexual assault awareness-and recently opened up about being sexually abused by a Team USA doctor, which she shares in her just-published memoir, Fierce.
Now, she's embarking on a new endorsement to help her combat two issues close to her heart: Bullying and body-shaming. In her new role as an AerieREAL Role Model, she'll be following in the footsteps of body-pos model Iskra Lawrence, who announced her as the latest face for the brand at yesterday's Glamour Women of the Year Summit.
Raisman then gave an emotional speech about what it really means for her to be working with the groundbreaking body-positive lingerie brand as someone who never saw herself as being "feminine enough."
"When I was younger, people told me that it wasn't cool to be a female athlete, because muscles aren't seen as girly," she shared. "At recess, I would play kickball with the boys in my class and they would stare and laugh at my muscles saying that they were disgusting and I looked like I was on steroids. They began calling me 'roids,' saying there was no way a girl could ever be that strong without taking illegal drugs. It took me a long time to have the courage to love my arms and my muscles. I was so embarrassed and I thought every person I met would judge me because I didn't think they'd find me feminine enough. How wrong is that?"
"I look back and regret worrying so much about what those boys in my class thought of me. Our society is constantly telling us that we aren't good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough," she continued. "I love that Aerie is breaking these stereotypes for women, and reminding everyone that staying true to yourself is most important. I want to help teach young boys and girls to respect each other, and that shaming one another is never ever okay."
Raisman has reflected this messaging in her own social media presence, sharing in an Instagram caption earlier this summer, "Females do not have to dress modest to be respected. Be proud of your body. It's never about the number on the scale it's about the way you feel. You are all unique and beautiful in your own way. No one is perfect."
She concluded her speech with this powerful message: "In the last year, while writing my book, I realized the person that I wanted to be. I realized that winning gold medals isn't everything, that being skinny or pretty isn't the most important, and that the amount of followers that you have doesn't make you better than the next person."
"What is important is how we treat ourselves and others. Sometimes it's okay not to be okay. We all have our days, and everyone in the world is battling something. The change and the kindness in the world starts with each of us."