For Girls Who Read, Play and Dress Up… and the Mamas Who Love Them

RHAW Strength – I Weigh in on Strong not Skinny


I read this post  last week, which was written by a young woman who after many years of struggling with her body image, made the realization that it’s better to be strong than skinny.  For the writer, it took years of crash dieting, working for a health and fitness company, and finally being forced into the gym in order to do her job to come to this conclusion.  And I’m so glad she did.  I’m even more glad she’s written about it from the point of view of a young and incredibly cool twenty-something.  Thank you Sophie.

So here I am.  A forty-something, decidedly less cool Mama wanting to help guide my daughter toward this realization a decade or so earlier than Sophie…and what I’ve been thinking about since I read Sophie’s post is, how?  How?  How do we help our girls discover for themselves that it’s better to be strong than skinny?

Well, this afternoon I came up with one solution.  Hip hop.  Not on MTV or VH1 or whatever channel now exists that I am way too un-hip to know about.  Take your girls to the theater to see live dancers dance hip hop in front of them.  Cate and I cheered on strong, cool, female dancers who can out-pop, out-crump, out-whatevah cuz lord knows I don’t know what all they were doing, any guy on that stage.  They were flying.  My little ballerina was mesmerized.  And so was I.

So what did we see?  Appropriately dressed, beautiful, athletic, strong, cool, sparkly, acrobatic, unbelievably compelling women of all races dancing.  Hip hop.  With each other and with men.

And they were skinny, yeah, because they dance their butts off for hours each day.  But more than that.  They were strong.  Look at this video.

The show was called RHAW – by Rennie Harris’s company out of Philadelphia.  And let me tell you, they are fierce.  This hot dance company features a wide variety of music and dance styles, all choreographed spectacularly to convey the life of kids growing up in an urban environment.  RHAW was founded as a training company for young dancers with a focus on community outreach, education, and sharing the thrill of hip hop dancing with kids all over.  RHAW plays at the New Victory Theater here in New York until May 26th and if you can, you should take your girls to see it.  It’s 75 minutes including an intermission–perfect length (honestly that’s about what I have in me for dance performances) and somehow even I left the theater feeling like I could pop.  And fly.  And dance.  If you can’t make it to NYC this month, like them on Facebook to keep track of their latest shows.  Or look for a similar company in your area.

Not just skinny.  Strong.  Dance performances like this one, with a powerful message from powerful dancers, are working actively to develop that mentality in our girls.  Now let’s shut up and dance!

Have any other thoughts on the skinny versus strong debate?  How do you hope to show your girls strength in action?

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