I’m not too big into movies since it’s hard to keep my attention focused for that long. Especially when the film drags out or becomes predictable. Nonetheless, I’m really into documentaries! I like all types… especially ones that I normally wouldn’t be interested in at first glance, such as ‘Strong!’
It features Cheryl Haworth, an Olympic heavyweight weightlifter who has competed in three Olympic Games, winning the bronze medal in Sydney in 2000. The film is about her efforts at the end of her career to compete at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
It also tells the story of Cheryl’s weightlifting career, the strenuous training for competition, and her personal experience of being big in a culture that values women who are small. She states that her large size is a plus, in that it makes her sturdier and more stable, enabling her to lift weights in excess of 300 pounds, but at the same time, admits to feeling big, heavy and cumbersome, to feeling unhappy in her body — a body that’s good for weightlifting, but not appealing in today’s society.
She’s very funny and doesn’t hold anything back. Which makes your heart break for her when she confesses how much she’d just like to “get whistled at every now and again.” And when I heard that she wishes she was smaller and could wear pretty clothes and be a pretty girl I was like, “Uh, what??” How could someone so accomplished and as strong as her still be influenced by our artificial culture??
It hits home how warped our society has become regarding the standard of beauty for women. And how influential it can be on ALL women if it can effect such a successful woman as Cheryl.
Towards the end I was sympathetic and I was rooting for her to stick with it. To continue to be all she can be. And that all us females have the ability to ignore the mainstream and see ourselves from the inside out. Her and all women have so much to offer other than trying to stay young and obsessed with being smaller than a size 6. Of course we all know this, but we buy into what the media says all the time!
This film definitely got me thinking about my unordinary life and to keep listening to my gut and instincts, and trust that I am doing exactly what I want to do at this given moment — Just me and Mr. Basketmaker, and our two dogs Chance and Jaxson, working and living our unique adventure in rural, middle Tennessee.
A little tidbit about Cheryl Haworth: She studied at the Savannah Arts Academy and has a bachelor’s degree from Savannah College of Art and Design.
Interested in seeing the film too? If you have Amazon Prime, then it’s free to watch. If not, it’s only a few bucks to rent it online here: Independent Lens: Strong! If you’re interested in Prime, the link is below. Eric and I love it. Two-day shipping, movies, tv shows, books… in 2014 the yearly membership paid for itself many times over! Like when his planer broke down during his busy season and the cheapest price we found was on Amazon. The cost to ship was over $100 but if we got Prime, the shipping was free. So no-brainer! We purchased it and reaped the benefits all year!
If you want to check out the trailer…