Awesomely Athletic: The Enigma Of The Female ‘Bro’


“Wow, you have such a flat stomach!”

“Dude, I wish I was as in shape as you are.”

“You are SO athletic!”

If we’re going to use labels, then yes, I suppose I am considered an athletically built female. As an energetic and all-around off the walls type of girl, I need my exercise.  I get it through multiple sports, hitting the gym and daily routines before bed. 

If you ask a stranger out in public, “Do you find athletic people are attractive?” nine times out of ten the answer will be “of course!”  Who doesn’t like a healthy, active human body? Mother Nature designed us to seek out potential mates based off of our ability to survive, procreate and pass on valuable genes to the next generation.

But when it comes to society’s view of the female body, the lines of femininity and athleticism become, in my opinion, blurred.  Guys in high school and college will swear up, down and sideways that they find an athletic girl attractive.  Despite what comes out of their mouth, I think the male gender is still slowly coming to terms with the type of girl that people often refer to as “tomboy.”  I’ve spent some time observing the types of girls that are flirted with, hit on and singled out for hook-ups in this modern college culture.  And, although it is true most college males are open to procreation with anything that moves; there is a specific type of female that garners a sober male’s attention. 

I’d like to think I have a pretty standard countenance, not too awkward and relatively symmetrical.  I have the body of an athlete: tall, broad shoulders and lean, muscled legs.  Standing 5 feet eight inches, I’ve been told time and time again, “You seem intimidating.”

I’m a bubbly person. Effervescent and kind, I will grin at you awkwardly until I receive a wave, smile or acknowledgement of some sort in return. 

I’m friends with many guys.  I find many of them down-to earth and less drama ridden than their girl counterparts.  But I feel, perhaps childishly, that I am seen as a “bro” by most if not all of them.  A bro is defined by the Free Online Dictionary as “A brother, A friend; pal, used as a form of familiar address for a man or boy.” 

In short, as a girl, you do not want to be referred to as a “bro”, especially from a male you may be romantically interested in.  Having gone through those standard insecure teenage girl years, I can honestly say that there are few body parts attached to me that I have not openly declared war on.  I’ve lamented over my deficit in curves and other feminine attributes.  I blamed my gangly, boyish body-type for my inability to date.  Guys have often complimented me on my athletic ability or aggressiveness in a game.  I’m always flattered, but also wonder at why they add quips to the ends, such as: “You hit hard for a girl!” “Never seen a chick throw like a dude!” or, “I’ve never met a girl as intimidating as you!”

Is that the answer? Intimidation? Are guys so repelled by the fact that their partner might be able to outmuscle them in a game of touch football or dunk a basketball?  I think it may be a mixture of all these traits, but one thing’s for sure.  Males usually find girls with a certain level of softness and lady-like qualities a little easier to approach and more attractive.  But, I’ve thought about it and I’m okay with how I look and move.  I appreciate the fact that I have a straighter body and my knees aren’t bent in.  And I absolutely love the fact that in a game of soccer, I can hold my own against an 180lb adult male, and push him off the ball on that last, victorious stretch to the goal. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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