Can You Do As Many Push-Ups As The "Average" 40-Year-Old Woman?

Illustration for article titled Can You Do As Many Push-Ups As The Average 40-Year-Old Woman?

We keep ignoring this story, which has topped or near-topped the New York Times "Most Emailed List" for days and days, mostly because, well just consider the headline, "An Enduring Measure of Fitness: The Simple Push-Up." Aaaaaaah! We can endure without measuring said "fitness", thanks very much! But today I finally read the story, and now have reason to warn you against following suit: it is BLATANTLY sexist. There is, for one, extensive discussion of 93-year-old push-up pioneer Jack Palance, who set numerous world push-up records, but there is not a single word addressing any record-holders in the arena of girl push-ups, or even really much mention of the girl push-up at all. No, it simply assumes women should be not only able to complete male push-ups, even though the push-up is an exercise invented by males and for males which, like its brother exercise the pull-up and all those spacial analysis questions, has served for generations solely to fuck women on elementary school achievement tests. But what's more: the story suggests that a woman of forty should be able to complete sixteen of these patriarchal exercises. Sixteen! Drop your MacBooks and give me sixteen, Jezebels!

Jessica: completed five regulars.
Maria: failed to complete a regular, did seven "girl" style.
Jennifer: did none. Try the girl kinds, I offered. "i failed at those too. i also cannot do a headstand
if that matters. oh and add to list: i can neither ride a bike nor swim."
Megan: managed 10 girly-style before her back cracked. But she is hungover.

Me: I did five. My nose got really, really close to the floor, and I blame a dust ball for wrecking my concentration. Then I tried to do girl push-ups. Much effort was expended finding a towel and placing it on the ground so as not to punish my knees. I managed 22. Then Snoop Dogg appeared on The View and I needed to get up. I totally could have done thirty. Not that I ever will again.

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I can't do a push-up. My upper body strength is actually a joke, but I have yet to be in a situation where I need to do a push-up, or a (god forbid) pull up. My abs are pretty spectacular (if i do say so myself) and I have been described as "made of fucking rubber" by the people in my yoga class. (In fact, my instructor modifies every pose for me so that I'm not over-extending, which proves no challenge what-so-ever, but am rather building muscle tone... ... it sucks because it's challenging, and I don't dig challenge.)