Strong, Female Athletes Confront Body Shaming & Embrace Their Muscular Form In Totally Body Positive Badassery

While there may be many who assume that body shaming only affects those struggling with being overweight, that is, unfortunately, not the case. Cosmopolitan interviewed female athletes facing body shaming in their every day lives, and the ladies had incredible words of wisdom for the glossy's readers. The women are the perfect example of how these types of critiques effect people of all shapes and sizes, even those whose entire lives are dedicated to getting their bodies into tip top shape.

Cosmopolitan sought out several women with strong backgrounds in fitness and athletics including two Olympic gold medalists and a social media fitness guru. Each of these women are at the top of their respective games regardless of what type of activity it is. However, despite their dedication, hard work, and passion for what they do, each of the five women interviewed by the magazine have experienced cyber bullying with many social media users calling their bodies too muscular or their frames too masculine. Despite the harsh and sometimes hurtful criticism, the ladies have confronted the body shaming head on. In the piece, each stellar woman is seen in their traditional workout gear and glam dresses proving that women's bodies and their styles have no rules.

One of the fabulous ladies from the piece is Massy Arias, a certified fitness trainer and bona fide social media celebrity. Arias's fitness journey began while she was involved in a destructive relationship, but it was her connection to exercise and fitness that helped her both get out and accept herself. She told Cosmopolitan, ""Now I'm strong and I'm happy. Exercise makes me happy. And I love my body because I understand now, structurally, this is my body type. Unless I take and break my bones, there's no way I'm makin my hips bigger. There's no way I'm getting smaller shoulders. There's no way I'm getting taller or shorter...I love my body because it is the best version of what my body can look like. I understand now that women come in different shapes and forms. We're all beautiful, and I'm beautiful."​

Like Arias, Olympic Gold Medalist Natasha Hastings had quite the journey to accept her body. Hastings underwent severe body shaming in high school. Of the experience and her evolution into acceptance, Hastings says, "I was body-shamed in high school. I was teased for looking like a boy because I was pretty muscular even before I started lifting weights. I've always had an athletic build so even now sometimes people say, 'Oh, you look like a boy, you don't have boobs.' Knowing how successful I've been over the years in sports, it's now easier to brush it off."

Each of the ladies from Cosmopolitan have unique experiences, but the overall message from each athlete is that you define your own happiness. No one can ever have the perfect body for everyone, but it's your acceptance of yourself that allows you to move past the criticism. Head over to Cosmopolitan for interviews with all five of the female athletes, and check out their inspiring video below!

Images: MankoFit/Instagram; Natasha Hastings/Instagram

Video: Cosmopolitan