“I Want To Change The Skinny Culture”, Australian-Pakistani Powerlifter Maryam Nasim
In our society the number of professions a woman can choose are very limited. Who made these rules and why? Was it the men who were too scared of women’s potential? Or maybe women who didn’t want their powerful and strong sisters to succeed? Whoever it was had not been successful in keeping women chained. Many women have challenged the flawed system of our society. But the way Maryam Nasim has challenged the misogynistic system of our society to follow her passion is an example for many women who wish to follow her footsteps.
While talking to Twittistaan, the Australian-Pakistani powerlifter, Maryam Nasim said that her passion for changing the SKINNY culture and promoting a culture that promotes a healthy and fit lifestyle is what motivated her to choose this profession. From her personal experience, Maryam had learned many benefits of following a fit and healthy lifestyle, not just physically but also mentally and that’s what made her want to change the trend.
But it wasn’t just about the powerlifting. Maryam said, “I wanted to show that Pakistani women are strong and independent, and can definitely achieve anything.”
Having made the path easier for future female athletes is what brings her the utmost happiness. She said, “I have inspired many girls to come forward and I feel very happy at how people are accepting them and it is a lot easier for them now.”
On the question of whether or not it was scary to join a male dominant profession, she said, “I never felt scared but yes, even today I face a lot of backlash from men who work in the fitness industry where they try to create a fuss only because they keep comparing their journey to mine. I don’t take their opinion too seriously as my only focus is myself and my cause.”
Although the path Maryam had chosen was a unique one but her family and friends backed her.
“In the beginning, I had to explain to everyone why I wanted to do this. I guess everyone questions you until you make it or prove it to the world. Once you prove it, nobody questions you.” said Maryam while explaining that not everyone was as supportive as her family.
She has faced criticism from different channels. She does appreciate constructive criticism but the people who criticize just to spread negativity are sad about their own lives according to her. The way she handles negative remarks is inspiring. Maryam told Twittistaan, “To negative remarks, I say, “I have never seen a hater doing better than me”. They can keep doing what they are good at, and I will keep on doing what I am good at which is ‘minding my own business and focusing on myself and my work’.”
Along with the negative remarks, she does not pay any attention to fame either. She said that she does not want to lose focus of her cause. The whole country expects a lot from her and she does not want to disappoint them.
If you ask Maryam Nasim about her achievements, she won’t tell you about her medal. To her, every single effort is an achievement whether it leads to failure or success. According to her, “the courage to make an effort is my biggest achievement”.
Maryam Nasim hails from Peshawar but she has been living in Australia for over a decade now. She said that being multicultural has made her more accepting of others. Working in Australia has taught her how to maintain a work life balance. It has also made her punctual and organized.
As we arrived at the end of our discussion, Maryam Nasim told Twittistaan about her future plans, “My future goal is to represent Pakistan in the worlds one day, Inshallah. Till then, I would like to compete in different competitions, not to earn a medal but to actually go to the platform and challenge myself and represent a modern Pakistani woman on the stage. I want to promote a fit and healthy culture where people start making themselves a priority. They start caring for them.”
Maryam Nasim is a role model for women everywhere but particularly for the women of Pakistan. In a society like ours, we need someone like Maryam Nasim to remind men, and women too, that the women of Pakistan can break every chain and change every norm that tries to stop them from achieving their dreams. Here is to hoping that Maryam Nasim and many strong women like her will continue to make us proud.