The Legless Singlet

viviana--podhaiski-olympic-weightlifting-photography.jpg

This is an unscheduled post and I stopped all projects to write about the legless singlet.  Last night I put up an Instagram Story sharing the news of how women will not be allowed to wear legless singlets at the 2018 World Masters.

Soon after the post, I had received so many messages and texts that I had to follow up with an overview of why people think this announcement was made.  

Here is what I gathered:  At the 2017 World Masters in New Zealand, a few and maybe even one man, were told to change out of their legless singlet into a regular singlet because it deemed "inappropriate."

Many felt that the real issue was how, according to the IWF technical manual, all their singlets met  guidelines.  But a select few were allowed to say otherwise and weightlifters were made to change anyway.  

This has been a topic of discussion by many weightlifters and coaches- now especially by women attending World Masters.  Well, at least here in the U.S. and more so since people have been ordering custom singlets.  Naturally the conversation goes back to, "Well... women wore leotards back in the day." 

Leotards

When women were first allowed to compete in the sport of weightlifting, they wore leotards because singlets were not made for women!  It was only something male weightlifters wore.  

Some felt that as the sport continued to grow, the women were looking for equality.  They started wearing what the men wore... the traditional singlet.  They didn't have it easy since there was resistance to women competing in the sport and they weren't taken seriously.  I can see how a simple act of wearing a singlet, (at the time only seen on male weightlifters), would have made a woman feel powerful and an equal on the platform.  

When did the shift occur?

THOT? (really?)

 Photo by: Viviana Podhaiski- Copyright Viviana Podhaiski.  

Photo by: Viviana Podhaiski- Copyright Viviana Podhaiski.  

I went to Reddit to see what people had to say about legless singlets and came across a thread where people discussed Ms. Welch's singlet at the 2018 Pan Am Trials.  

I saw this post below.  Read what people had to say about her.  THOT: a woman considered to be sexually provocative or promiscuous; a slut or whore.

“Thot” “Classless” “Disrespecting the sport” and looks like I’m “going to a porn contest” are some of the names or statements made about me in my legless singlet. A style worn previously by BOTH men and women for Olympic Weightlifting and that apparently some choose to sexualize on a body even remotely curvy. I wanted this singlet made because this was my first Arnold, a meet that could qualify me for my FIRST International meet and one that would allow many of my friends and family who have never seen me lift before in person see me compete. It was special to me so I wanted a special singlet for the occasion. Most people loved this piece of art my good friend and teammate @janyce.okamoto made for both myself and @alyssaritchey1 but then you have those people up there that choose to impose their misogynistic and sexualized views to put you down and call you names. I refuse to apologize for my body, called those names or go out of my way to cover my body because it offends you. Perhaps instead of thinking that someone who wears a legless with fun patterns and stones who has some junk in the truck as an “amateur” thirsty thot or hoe maybe you should take a step back and look at them as a hard working, dedicated athlete just trying to make a name for herself in a sport that she loves. To those who showed all me all the love in the world and sent positive vibes, I appreciate you so much and am so thankful for you. This weekend was emotional but meeting a lot of you made it a much better experience. Thank you SOOO much ❤️ Photo by @divinefitness

A post shared by Quiana Welch (@chuckiewelch) on

Now, if we are to get technical, it is possible her singlet, which fell under the category of "costume" did not meet the requirements in the New Singlet Rule.    I can understand why some were a bit salty about this.  

However, not having 8 inches of fabric to cover her legs and some see-through fabric gave people the thumbs up to call her a hoe?  The irony in this that she wore this to celebrate her strong body, her spirit and excitement in being an athlete.  She felt empowered.  

Some felt she did this for attention, to make money etc.  

But how about the other women who have worn legless singlets?  What has their experience been like? After this post from Sydney Goad the comments started to come in...  things like "she can sit on my face" and "when a normal singlet ain't hoe enough." 

Did she too do this for attention?  

Just a few months back someone left a real inappropriate comment on Rebeka Koha's lifting video and Gregor from All Things Gym swooped right in and took care of the troll.  Btw: She was completely covered.  

Some may say that this is the risk weightlifters take from being on social media. Expect the trolls and inappropriate comments.   

Where do I stand?  

I do not wear them when I compete because well, I don't have the balls to do it.  Why?  I will get to that in a minute.

The circumference of my thighs are at about 24inches. That could be someone's waist size. haha!  I love my legs... I really do.  I've always been bigger bottom half.

I have a very vivid memory when I was 11 years old and a  boy in my class grabbed my ass from under my skirt.  Bobby, if you're reading this... I hope you were able to have children.  

But that was the first time I felt like I had  to completely cover myself at all times.  Forget wearing shorts!  "I guess it was my fault for wearing a skirt to school that day."  I guess it was a risk I took.  All the boys could see my legs". 

In order for a singlet to fit, I have make some slits  so I can feel comfortable in the bottom position.  All because I don't want to be called a thot or get arrested because I kicked a grown man in the groin for looking at me sideways.  

A legless singlet sounds wonderful.  My legs wouldn't feel restricted and my thighs could breathe!  ha!  

 

To Be Continued...

There is so much more to share on this topic such as ettiequte and things considered inappropriate for a woman is very okay for man.    I edit photos and yes, many men's singlets are see through.

 I wonder how many men have had to defend their see through singlets during a competition?  I would be mortified if I had to explain to an official what I was or wasn't wearing under my singlet.  

People are still sending me messages and actually have this article to read Living the Paradox: Female Athletes Negotiate Femininity and Muscularity.  How do female athletes negotiate  the social expectations surrounding femininity with athleticism?

This article can also make you think that perhaps a uniformed look is the way to go for us (both men and women).  In the mean time, as I continue to gather more information, 

I'll leave you with this...

"I once saw a lifter who showed up to a competition without a weightlifting singlet, and the meet director was requiring everybody to wear one. So the guy put on a white tank-top, grabbed the bottom of the tank-top in front and back, pulled it down beneath his scrotum, and safety-pinned it together to make a singlet."   


This is my personal blog as Everyday Lifters. The views expressed on these posts are mine alone and not those mentioned in the article or my husband since I like to blame him for stuff.  hee hee her. Photos may not be reproduced or shared without consent.
Also, I am not a blogger, this sort of happened.  You will find errors in my writing.  Just keep reading and enjoy the photos.  I will eventually come back to fix all the mistakes.  maybe...