I haven't spoke openly about this before, wrote Sharon on her Instagram recently,
but it's a topic which has plagued me and I'm sure other athletes.
We've decided to reproduce her post in full, because it's eloquent and true and all those things, but also because we, in our adoration of Sharon and her peers, can often forget that not everyone is so in awe of these magnificent women, and just because we are, it doesn't mean that the way we might behave when we are lucky enough to encounter one of them is the right way to behave. Our swestruck gawping might inadvertently be just as offensive to them as a negative comment.
Muscular women put up with a lot, even in the supposedly more forward-thinking countries of the world both online and in their daily lives. This very fact might make us, or indeed anyone else, admire their dedication and commitment even more, but that doesn't mean it is emotionally easy for them to be who they want to be and look how they want to look, on top of all the physical effort.
Enough of my yakking. Sharon says it so much better...
Being a female bodybuilder is my choice and I'm extremely proud of how I look and the person I am. I know what sacrifices and dedication it has took and I never force my opinions upon anybody else.
So I struggle to understand why people stare and comment so disrespectfully. I'm subjected to this on a daily basis. Some offer their hand to congratulate me on my look, some even ask for a pic or ask inquisitively about my training, which is lovely, and is something I will always give time to.
Unfortunately though too many simply stare ignorantly at me and question my look (body). Often I even hear their comments: "Why would she look like that?", "Is that a women?", "She's spoiled herself"... Or the best one: "That's not natural".
I'm a serious professional athlete but I'm also a normal person, a mother, wife and Grandma. I have feelings like anyone else.
It is hurtful above all.
I know I'm not perfect, and I have the same hang ups and insecurities about myself like anyone else has.
Please read this with an open mind and next time you are out and about take notice of how you and your family/friends react. Don't be someone to pray on others in this way. Compliment, or even question, those who may not be your society's "normal" - their story will most likely be amazing, with the potential to change lives.
Let's try to do our best to stamp out this type of abuse in our society and bring our kids up differently. Praise others around us, raise them up and it's likely you'll be happier too!
'Listen and learn without prejudice and pass no judgment. We are all the same, just on different adventure paths.'