This up and coming professional triathlete continues to impress. She knows how to rock a Skirt Sports photoshoot. Kristen shares how she has come to embrace femininity in sport.
We're entering a new age for women's sport, one in which “femininity” is no longer a dirty word but an empowering idea that builds confidence and individuality in its female athletes. After years of rejecting the word, it's taken some of us a little longer to begin to understand the strength that comes with embracing our inner femininity. But wherever your road has taken you, it's these unique experiences that have molded us into the exceptional women and athletes we are today.
My journey was a long, windy, and sometimes muddy path. Growing up, I was the quintessential tomboy. I wouldn't be caught dead playing with dolls or painting my nails, and I spent most of my school recesses playing football with the boys. As for sports, swimming was my main focus right up through high school and college. Countless hours spent staring at the pool's black line ingrained the “tougher, stronger, more aggressive” mentality deeper and deeper with each and every stroke. The pressure to race and train as a serious and focused athlete left little room to consider my inner feminine qualities. As a high school girl, I was sadly under the assumption that to be taken seriously as an athlete, a woman couldn't show signs of “weakness” in the form of beauty, fashion, or other girly pleasures. Femininity did not equal fast. Or so I thought.
Just a year and half ago, halfway through my second year in professional triathlon, I finally hit the turning point toward understanding this idea of athletic femininity. I had spent so many years racing the boys and trying to be as fast and strong as my male teammates that I completely overlooked the powers behind embracing ones feminine qualities. This once ignoble word was quickly becoming a symbol of resiliency, self-awareness, strength, and confidence. Things first started to change with my equipment choices for training and racing. I no longer automatically chose the men's products with the assumption they were higher quality, lighter, and faster. I found myself asking why I was using the same saddles and wearing the same jersey as my male training partners. I obviously had different needs physically but also aesthetically. It was understanding these needs that lead me to better understand the meaning behind individuality and femininity.
Femininity has nothing to do with how the world views you. It's a genuinely personal state of mind that empowers ones confidence and self-acceptance. Each of us is different in our choices and preferences, which leads us all to display our feminine qualities in unique and personal manners. For me, being a feminine athlete doesn't mean racing in lipstick or riding a pink bike. Little things like braiding a small bit of my hair for races, or wearing my skirt capris to yoga makes me feel feminine and more confident in everyday life. Through these small expressions, I've finally found my balance between embracing my feminine qualities and maintaining my aggressive athletic qualities that were developed through so many years of sports.
Whatever it is that makes you feel strong, sexy, or excited about yourself, do it. Find what gives you confidence and pursue that with passion. It doesn't have to be deliberate or obvious to others, this is about you and how to maximize your inner strength.