I’ve got big, muscular legs – and I’m finally proud of them | Jessica Fostekew

Women are made to feel that if they have chunky, powerful legs, they should hide them. But it’s time we showed them off to the world

I’ve started wearing shorts for the first time, aged 39. I’ve got some serious legs on me – and by serious, I mean funny. They’re short, they’re thick, they’re hench. They’re the sort of legs that when people see them, they think: “I might have ham for lunch.”

But with adulthood comes a heady and increasingly confusing relationship with pride. My legs are massive whether I do weightlifting or not, but I do lift weights and it brings me extreme joy. On a good day, I can squat 1.5 times my bodyweight, which I’m aware is a mega-brag. So I’m proud of these mighty jambons. I’m grateful that they work for walking – and sometimes slightly faster walking.

On the other hand, I’m less proud. I don’t care anywhere near as much as I would have done a decade ago whether you fancy me, or even if you’re repulsed by me. I don’t mind if my legs are pre-waxed or full-wolf. I don’t mind if they’re scratched or bruised from clumsiness or adventures. I don’t love cellulite, but I’ve got much more important things to have emotions about. So why on earth was I still not wearing shorts?

Half a lifetime of feeling disgusting about bigness, is why. Listening to really brilliant women in my life, including physically brilliant professional athletes, to this day, saying “I don’t want big legs, though” is why. But I don’t look at big legs and have negative thoughts, and the more people who agree with me, the better the world will be, frankly. The wind and the sun feels so lovely on my trunks. If you’ve got big ol’ yams, free them! Show them the sky!


Jessica Fostekew

The GuardianTramp

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