By the time of Aril 28, 2017, Yu Duan has been doing her workouts for 3 months. While most ladies are in a frenzy of losing weight, Duan is mostly concerned with muscle growth.
In the weight lifting room during the whole semester, she’s the only Asian girl.
“Muscle shows power and strength, and looks healthy. Besides, growing muscles can also help improve the rate of metabolism, which can help lose weight and fat,” says Duan.
Duan comes from China where a stereotype of beauty has long been defined as the skinny, pale, not even muscles for women. Chinese social media, sees the glorification of skinniness above all else. There’s a trend that all over Weibo, Chinese women are posting pictures showing how slim and how white they are, including one challenge to twist your arm behind your back to touch your belly button and another to stack coins on your collarbone to demonstrate thinness.
“I’m not really affected by the way how Asian boys think of a good body or figure now. But it did have some influence on me when I was younger. And I also tried to lose weight and become skinny once, in an unhealthy way like being on a diet,” according to Duan.
Gradually, she found herself addicted to doing weight lifts and muscle growth exercises.
“When you are addicted to challenging yourself and then feeling good about yourself, you’ll find out there’s too much fun and passion in life, and that’s actually what I’m seeking for and dying for,” according to Duan.
She encourages girls, especially Asian girls, that to love their bodies no matter how other people may think of them. “Confidence is a source of charm, and working out is just one way of acquiring your confidence,” says Duan.
It doesn’t matter which kind of beauty should we pursue, but maybe think about this: Next time when you tinker your image just to make it a slim figure and youthful, innocent-looking beauty, make sure that you are happy with yourself, not coping with anyone else. Above all, it’s you that define what beauty is.