Sunday, 8 February 2015

Julia Vins: Powerlifter

There seem to be very clear parameters when it comes to describing the subject of today's post, the 18-year-old powerlifter from Engels in Russia, Julia Vins.

She's the Bodybuilding Barbie. A doll-faced Russian teen [who] has arms that could crush you! She's King Kong Barbie, the girl with the Barbie face and the muscle body. Don't be fooled by the doll-like face, they warn, Julia Vins is one tough chick.

And after the lack of imagination in the headline, whether the sub-heading promises she could beat the crap out of you, break your arm, "destroy" you, or rip your face off (I made the last one up), it's the the same story every single time. Without exception.

And the story is... pretty much what was covered in the headline. She's beautiful, she's strong. Or she's beautiful and powerful. Or she's beautiful, she's young, and she has "a body like the Hulk". The horror! The horror! Conventional beauty from the neck up, "manly" from the neck down. And only 18. The horror! The horror!

It's the kind of thing that can provoke the (normally peaceable) female muscle brethren into lashing out. We read the dumb comments attached to the stories and our ire gets ignited. For me, it's not even the ones you expect that get me riled - "that is a man" or some similar variation is so old, and so obviously nonsense that I don't get wound up by it anymore. Instead it's the ones who lay out their theories of what a woman should look like that rub me up the wrong way. Take this masterpiece on the subject of Julia's breats: I am mostly against community standards and believe everyone is free to do whatever they wish and people shouldn't negatively criticize them about it BUT it is horrible to lose a part of your body because you are dedicated. Breasts are awesome to look at. There really is nothing that signposts impending stoopidity like a big old BUT in the middle of a sentence, is there?

Most recently, I found myself feeling the exasperation of a fellow female muscle head when he posted this on his excellent Tumblr, Mike 'Mires Muscular Maidens...

So this popped up in my Facebook news feed today. Naturally I recognize her as Julia Vins, who is kind of internet-famous for being both feminine and muscular.


I followed the link to the clickbait-y article, which has you click through no fewer than 8 pages. The commentary on the pictures isn’t as offensive as it could be, I suppose. (There’s a “joke” about how she might beat you up if you ask her out, ha, ha.) I always shake my head when I see people who are floored that a woman can be beautiful and have muscle all at the same time. For some reason, the misconception persists that muscles are just for men, and women with muscle must be “manly.” At least articles like this spread the word that that’s not the case.

It's not often I agree 100% with anybody, BUT on this occasion...

At least articles like this spread the word. So true. And the main reason I should calm down, stop reading the comments and see these stories in a more positive light.

The fact that Julia has become the (doll-like) face (and Hulk-like body) of so many stories, or more accurately, so many versions of the same story, has got her a legion of fans, both male and female. It's hardly surprising. Despite her youth, she is, after all, a powerlifter of some note. Already a national champion, her "best lift" stats continue to rise - most recently, as far as I can ascertain, she improved her squat to 180kg. Initially, I set a goal to become stronger because I have absolutely no confidence in myself, she says. I do what I want. This is my life. There will always be people who respect my choice, but it's impossible to please everybody. I am following my dream.

Guess I shouldn't worry so much.

Check out Julia's website and/or follow her Instagram. There are a plethora of clips of her on YouTube, and not just on her channel. A good example of the typical Julia story can be found here, and an appearance she made on Chinese(?) TV here.


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