A couple of months ago, FHM Philippines declared Jessy Mendiola the winner of a poll to crown the Sexiest Woman in the country. The announcement quickly turned controversial as people immediately began attacking her on the Internet, claiming she wasn’t remotely sexy, let alone deserve to win over the likes of Jennelyn Mercado and Nadine Lustre. Other criticisms thrown at her included accusations of being the reason behind a local love team’s break-up, and a big head (due to an admittedly dangerously-phrased comment).
To begin to address every single negative comment thrown at Jessy would be well beyond the scope of this blog, so I’d rather focus on Jessy’s rebuttal. I am one of those who made sure to log in every day to vote her up the ranks, and for what I consider good reason: if this doesn’t fit your definition of “sexy”, you need to rethink it. The interviews she gave after winning simply gave me more of a reason to love her: she focused on shutting down body shaming, and on being able to love yourself for what you are and can do.
As far as I am concerned, your body will never look better than when it can do everything you want it to. This is apparently something Jessy believes in as well: when asked about the “thunder thighs” insult people threw at her, she replied that they were the result of the training she took on, and that was what mattered.
I mean, they’re functional. I can walk, I can jump, I can sprint, I can even kick. I do pole dancing for crying out loud!” – Jessy Mendiola, FHM Philippines September 2016
Without even going into whether or not muscular legs are more your type – and I’m pretty sure other entries on this blog have made it clear that yes, they absolutely are mine – it’s hard to disagree with the logic of “They work, and therefore they’re beautiful”. I have always trained myself and others the same way: what’s important is what you can do, and that will always lead to something beautiful. It’s a principle I have been pushing ever since I started training, and I could not ask for a more excellent example.
Jessy also illustrates – and discusses – the stupidity of judging everyone by a single standard. That she was derided for not being skinny enough shows that many people still hold onto the idea of only certain body types being beautiful, and therefore only certain “health” (yes, I have a reason for those quotation marks) practices are acceptable. It’s the same battle fought by female weightlifters, for example, who apparently need to justify themselves to the world by something other than their sheer physical ability. Why is it so hard to accept that there are many kinds of beauty? Is our understanding of the phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” really that terrible?
Underneath all the hatred, however, is something perhaps even more distressing. Some people have put forth the idea that the hatred for Jessy stems from an extreme form of insecurity, namely that – despite her spectacularly beautiful face (no criticisms I’ve seen there) – there isn’t anything particularly special about her. She isn’t very tall, doesn’t have a six-pack, and isn’t proportioned like a Greek statue. She is anatomically and physiologically a normal person, if aesthetically on the extreme end. People apparently cannot stand the idea of worshiping someone who doesn’t have anything they can’t have themselves.
This is the most disappointing thing to me (and believe me, it faced some stiff competition): that the absolute worst thing anyone sees in Jessy Mendiola is that she could easily be the girl next door. If her body is that much better than yours, it’s because you just don’t train as hard. If she is more popular than you, it’s because she works harder. As long as all the things that make her stand out are conceivably within reach, she makes people hate themselves for not trying as hard, which they twist into hating her for doing the opposite.
That is crap. That is one of the worst things about humans, and one of the things I really truly hate most. Bringing others down because of our own insecurities is the complete opposite of what we should do if we want society to progress. Resenting others for working hard when we won’t, is just sad. The point is perhaps even more obvious if like me you’ve been following Jessy’s progress over the last three or four years, watching her physique develop with every new sport she takes on. I would honestly say this year is the best she has ever looked, and that is saying something.
Admirably, Jessy has chosen not to ignore the hate, but to address and fight it. To her, the publicity has provided a new avenue to take on body shaming. It’s a worthy cause, to be sure, and an excellent champion.
That being said, there is one thing on which Jessy and I strongly disagree. In a video taken of the moment she was informed that she had won, Jessy said that if she could be seen as sexy, then everyone is. Jessy, there are several million men and women who would probably disagree.
3x Pull-up + 2x Chin-up (switch grip while hanging)
2x 30s Push Press / 30s OH Hold @ 2×15#
2x Pull-up + 3x Chin-up (switch grip while hanging)
2x30s Push Press / 30s OH Hold @ 2×20#
3x Pull-up + 2x Chin-up (switch grip while hanging)
Strength and Power
5 rounds / 2min rest between rounds
2x Grip-Switch Pull-up
5x Push Press @ 2×60#
20x Sledgehammer Slam
10x Wall Ball @ 10kg
5x 5m Rope Pull @ 2x28kg (KBs tied to rope)
Alternating 10-1 ladder
1h KB Press @ 16kg (left side only)
- I have been trying to incorporate more power training into my workouts lately. I am not yet quite at the level of athletic programming I used to work at, so it’s a factor that hasn’t been adequately addressed in a while.