The idea of a physically strong woman who is able and capable of defending herself still eludes many people today. Society considers women to be weak and meek; which means any woman with well-defined biceps or abs makes people worry or automatically gets discarded as not being enough of a ‘woman’.
Yashmeen Manak, a two-time winner of the Ms India Bodybuilding Championship and a Bronze medallist at the Ms Asia Bodybuilder contest, crushes these societal constraints. She redefines what is feminine and beautiful by standing against the stereotypical idea of a woman’s body and the policing that follows. Yashmeen, who stands in her truth, is constantly regarded as ‘ugly’, ‘manly’, or ‘androgynous’.
Physically and mentally strong women stand as hope for a society which does not define women by setting narrow and unachievable standards; nor does it hinder half its population from reaching their full potential. Yashmeen’s work as a bodybuilder and gym instructor advocates for women to take charge of their physical strength, body image and at the same time frees them from society’s mindset towards women. It challenges the policing of women for being too fat, too thin, too tall, too short etc. Furthermore, this allows the traditional gender roles allocated to men and women to be replaced by a fluid system where everyone has the option and capability to find what best suits them.